Introducing Google Ad Innovations

The principle behind the advertising products we build at Google is simple: ads are information. But the type of information that ads provide is getting more varied and inventive all the time, and as a result ads are getting more interesting, social and useful.

As advertising evolves, we want to build the tools that make it possible for marketers to connect with customers in meaningful, creative ways. We’ve found that the best way to do that is to focus on the user, test new approaches regularly and listen closely to the feedback of the advertisers using our products. To work closely with advertisers on what comes next, today we’ve launched Google Ad Innovations, where we’ll show you some of our latest ideas around advertising technologies and get your feedback.

One of the new features we’re showcasing is a set of AdWords reports, launched last week, called Search Funnels. These reports can help an advertiser understand whether there are keywords in her account that are helping to drive sales at a later date. At Google Ad Innovations, you can read more about this feature, watch a video walking you through how it works and send us your ideas on how to improve it.

If you’re interested in the future of advertising with Google, pay Ad Innovations a visit — we’ll regularly add tools and features to the site, and we hope you’ll check them out!


what was the last thing you had the most fun doing?

i thought you guys might like this funny shirt i got while i was in LA a while back. this picture was obviously taken before i chopped my hair off....spring break is over, back to school :-(

Improved chat for iGoogle and orkut

Have you ever wanted to quickly send a file to a friend who's online? Now you can share pictures, documents and other files directly with your friends while chatting in iGoogle and orkut, without having to switch to email to send the file as an attachment. File transfer works directly in the browser so you don't need to install anything. Just start a conversation with a friend and click “Send a file...” in the “Actions” menu. After you select a file, your friend will be asked if they want to accept the transfer. You can learn more on the Google Talkabout Blog.

You might have noticed that we recently gave iGoogle and orkut chat a face lift. Several tools now have a new home at the top of the chat window. From the new toolbar, you can click the blue camera and phone icons to start video and voice chats with your friends or the group chat icon to add additional friends to a text chat. If you've never used video or voice chat before, all you need is a webcam and microphone attached to your computer and a small plugin application available for free at www.google.com/chat/video.

We're working to bring file transfer and the new toolbar to Gmail too. In the meantime, you can continue to access voice, video and group chat in Gmail from the “Video and More” menu in a chat window.


This week in search 3/26/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week we're highlighting a few recent internationalization projects, as well as some improvements to the way you conduct your searches. Here's a summary.

Improved Google Suggest interface & internationalization
In 2008, we launched Google Suggest to help you formulate queries, reduce spelling errors and save keystrokes. Since then, we've made a number of visual changes to Suggest for English-speaking users of google.com, including:
  • Boldface search suggestions to make it faster to scan the list of suggestions and find what you're looking for
  • Adding the "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky" buttons to the box so they're still accessible even when the Suggest box is open
  • Removing the result counts, which previewed the number of results for each search, to simplify your experience
Given the popularity of these changes, we've just rolled them out in 50 languages across all 170 domains where Google Suggest is available. No matter where you are, we hope you find that Suggest is now faster and easier to use.

Real-time search in more languages
As you've probably noticed, on our search results page for Google.com in English now includes a dynamic stream of real-time content from popular sites like Facebook, FriendFeed, Jaiku, Identi.ca, MySpace and Twitter. Since we launched real-time search, we've continued to make significant improvements in the relevance technology. As of today, real-time search is available in 40 languages. Now when you're visiting family in Puerto Rico, or if you speak German and live in Switzerland, you'll be able to see live updates from people on these popular sites as well as news headlines and blog posts published just seconds before.

Refinements for local searches
Whether you're looking for info close to home or while you're traveling, it's now easier to find things to do in the cities you're searching for on Google. Now when you search for a city name, we'll show you popular query refinements for places in those cities. We've found that people like to explore several places during a trip, so when we show one point of interest, we'll also show you related points of interest. For instance, if you're looking for food or a place to stay, you'll also see some of the top category and neighborhood refinements to help you choose a place. This new feature will be rolling out over the next couple days for 200 U.S. cities, and in the coming weeks we'll expand coverage to more cities internationally.

Example searches: [maui], [pikes place market] and [restaurants berkeley california]

Lists in Bookmarks
This week we introduced lists in Google Bookmarks, an experimental feature that helps you easily share sites with friends. With lists, you can sort and categorize your Google Bookmarks or starred search results. Once you've created a list, you can share it with specific friends or make it publicly visible and searchable (lists are private by default). Based on the content of your list, we'll also generate suggestions for related links, so you can discover more helpful info related to a list you're already building. We’re launching lists as an experimental feature, and it is available at www.google.com/bookmarks or by clicking the "Starred results" link on your search results page. From there, select the links you want to share and click “Copy to list.”

Example lists: [welcome to lists] and [seattle sites]

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more search improvements next week.

Google Apps highlights — 3/26/2010

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label "Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

We've been busy over the last couple weeks launching updates to make Google Apps more useful, whether you use Google Apps at work, at school or at home.

Smart Rescheduler Lab in Google Calendar
If you’ve ever tried to schedule time with a group of people who have packed agendas, you know how hard it can be to find a good meeting time that works for everyone. With the Smart Rescheduler, Google Calendar can sift through the details for you. When you need to reschedule an appointment, Smart Rescheduler quickly compares people’s calendars and ranks potential meeting times based on criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms, and time zones. You can enable Smart Rescheduler by going to “Labs” under “Settings” in Google Calendar.

Suspicious account activity alerts
To help keep Gmail users and the data in their accounts safer, on Wednesday we launched a new security feature to alert you if our systems detect suspicious activity in your account. When something unusual is identified, you’ll see a warning notification near the top of your inbox. You can choose to view a log of recent activity, and if it looks like your account has been compromised, you can change your password immediately. (And while we’re on the topic of security, we encourage you to brush up on our tips to keep your account safer.) We know that security is also a top priority for businesses and schools, and we plan to bring this feature to Google Apps customers once we have gathered and incorporated their feedback.

Contact delegation
Businesses using Google Apps can use a feature called email delegation, which lets employees appoint delegates who are allowed to read, send and manage email on their behalf. For example, this allows executive assistants to handle email for their managers. As of last Monday, delegates can also access and manage contacts. Now, a delegate can pick contacts from the manager’s contact list when composing a message on behalf of the manager, and keep the manager’s contacts up-to-date.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange
Millions of companies and schools have switched to Google Apps, and we hope to help millions more “go Google” in the near future. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we’ve released Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange, a server-to-server migration utility that brings email, contacts and calendar data from a legacy Microsoft® Exchange system to Google Apps. This makes the transition more seamless for employees, faculty and students. When they sign in to Google Apps, they’ll see the messages, contact information and calendar appointments from the old system right in Gmail and Google Calendar.

Who’s gone Google?
The number of businesses and other organizations using Google Apps continues to shoot up, and we hit another big milestone by crossing the 25 million user mark. Among those are the 7,000 employees at Konica Minolta, who are using Google Apps to help the company move fast and be more productive.

We’re excited to welcome another string of schools and universities too, including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the College of William and Mary. Marshall University has a particularly great story: their technology group challenged themselves to deploy Google Apps to over 50,000 students in less than 24 hours – quite a feat when it typically takes large organizations months or even years to make major technology changes. We hope Marshall’s nimble approach inspires others to make the switch!

I hope you're enjoying the latest round of new features, whether you're using Google Apps with friends and family, with colleagues or with classmates. And don’t forget, you can always check the Google Apps Blog for more details and the latest news in this area.

Next steps for our experimental fiber network

Since we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks, the response from communities and individuals has been tremendous and creative. With just a few hours left before our submission deadline, we've received more than 600 community responses to our request for information (RFI), and more than 190,000 responses from individuals (we'll post an update with the final numbers later tonight). We've seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities.

We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate. This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.

So what's next? Over the coming months, we'll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we'll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

Of course, we're not going to be able to build in every interested community — our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment. Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn't have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.

Thanks again to all the communities and citizens that submitted a response. We feel the love, and we're honored by your interest.

Update at 5:26pm: The response deadline has now passed. We've received more than 1,100 community responses and more than 194,000 responses from individuals. This map displays where the responses were concentrated as of 1:30pm PT. Each small dot represents a government response, and each large dot represents locations where more than 1,000 residents submitted a nomination. We plan to share a complete list of government responses and an updated map soon.

hair cut

i realize i'm so sporadic with my hair, i guess it's a good thing it grows at an awkwardly fast rate. i just decided to make a faux-hawk at like 12am, and i'm quite pleased at how it turned out. it takes me a while to cut it (about an hour and half) because i go slow so i wont make too much mistakes. what do you guys think? :-D


Muji catalog

more nice Muji things. i also just changed the song on my page to a short clip from a muji commercial. i thought it was a cute and happy song, but it will probably get annoying after a while, so i probably won't have it up for long :-P