Archive for the 'google' Category



Google+ may spin out a standalone photo service

Friday 1 August 2014 @ 2:42 pm

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Maybe Google+ is not the Facebook-like, all-encompassing social product Google needed, and maybe a separate Flickr-like photo-storage service is what it could be.

The Internet giant could spin out Google+’s photo service as an independent part from the social network, according to Bloomberg’s sources. The service would allegedly be called Google+ Photos and would still work with the social network despite also being available on its own.

This would be Google+’s latest attempt in finding its way a forming a new user base. Google acquired photo-editor Picnik in 2010, and integrated it into Google+ in 2012, which would likely power Google+ Photo’s editing features.

Just like Facebook, Google+ users can store photos and videos on their accounts and use Google+ to share those with friends, family, and their networks. Google+ Photos would be more akin to Flickr, the Yahoo-owned photo-storage network that also sports social sharing capabilities.

Google+ Photos could also be an attempt to keep up with Facebook-owned Instagram, a photo-focused social network the company acquired in 2012.

“Over here in our darkroom, we’re always developing new ways for people to snap, share and say cheese,” Google said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, vaguely alluding to this rumor.

Google+, originally launched in the summer of 2011 as Google’s effort to battle social network Facebook, has had a tumultuous ride, experimenting with features, various degrees of integration with other Google products, user engagement challenges, and ultimately losing Vic Gundotra, who was heading the project back in April.

In October, the Google+ team made a huge push in enhancing photo-related features, unveiling 18 new things for its photo-loving users. At the time, Gundotra also said that Google+ had more than 500 million users and that more than 1.5 billion photos were uploaded each week, a far cry from Facebook’s 1 billion users.


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Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

(from Wikipedia) Google+ is a social networking service operated by Google Inc. The service launched on June 28, 2011, in an invite-only testing phase. Google+ is built as a layer that not only integrates different Google social se... read more »











Google slurps up data from Songza following acquisition

Friday 1 August 2014 @ 10:08 am
Google slurps up data from Songza following acquisition

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No surprise here. Exactly one month after snapping up streaming music startup Songza, Google is ready to take charge of its user’s data — you didn’t think they just wanted the team, did you?

If you’re not into that sort of thing, you’re out of luck; Songza alerted users today that they’re now required to transfer their “personal information Songza to Google” and agree to the “new Google Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.”

“If you choose to disagree, you will not longer be able to log into your old account,” reads an alert shared by Andrea Harrison.

More to follow.


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Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »











Google’s answers to European regulators give us first picture of the ‘forgotten’

Friday 1 August 2014 @ 9:25 am

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Who are the people looking to be forgotten?

Yesterday, Google released its 13 pages of answers to the 26 questions European regulators presented Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo with late last week. The questions ask how the companies are implementing Europe’s “right to be forgotten” ruling.

In addition to showing how the regulators and the EU’s Court of Justice left the companies with zero guidance about how to navigate this minefield, the answers give the first hints about who the requesters are.

First, the largest number of requesters are French, or at least they reside in that country. About 17,500 individuals from France requested removals of about 58,000 links, not far above the 16,500 requests from Germany involving 57,000 URLs.

In this ranking, the UK is in third place as the source country, with about 12,000 requests and 44,000 URLs, followed by Spain (8,000 requests and 27,000 URLs), Italy (7,500 requests and 28,000 URLs), and the Netherlands (5,500 and 21,000 URLs).

In its answers, Google points out that:

“Our webform makes it clear that individuals need to select a relevant country. Practically, individuals will need some connection to that country, which will normally, but not always, mean that they are resident in it. Individuals need to select a country so that we know which country’s law to apply.”

It also noted:

“We do not read the decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the case C-131/12 (the “Decision”) as global in reach — it was an application of European law that applies to services offered to Europeans.”

This is a dig at the regulators, whose questions include several asking if the tech giant is restricting its implementation to European domains. The regulators may be considering whether to require that, if Pierre in France requests a link be removed to an article about his much-publicized divorce, the link also be removed from Google.com and all other country domains, not just European versions of Google.

“Fewer than 5% of European users use google.com,” the search engine points out in its answers, “and we think travelers are a significant portion of those.”

The company also reports trends in processing results:

“Removal of around 53% of URLs for which a removal was requested. More information required from requesters for around 15% of URLs for which a removal was requested. Non-removal of 32% of URLs for which a removal was requested.”

Microsoft and Yahoo have not yet responded to our inquiry about whether they will be making their answers publicly available.

The “right to be forgotten” ruling came in May in response to a 2009 complaint by a Spanish lawyer that Google searches led to outdated bankruptcy notices about him. The ruling, by the European Union’s Court of Justice, states that any requesting user can have links removed that result from a search on his or her name if the linked content is inadequate or irrelevant/no longer relevant. The content still remains; only the link resulting from that search is removed.


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Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through ... read more »

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Yahoo! is the premier digital media company. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that hel... read more »











Google to Europe: No, we won’t stop telling web publishers when we ‘forget’ them

Thursday 31 July 2014 @ 2:30 pm
Google to Europe: No, we won’t stop telling web publishers when we ‘forget’ them

Above: Google HQ

Image Credit: Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Google intends to continue letting publishers know when it has removed links to their sites because of the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” ruling.

That practice has resulted in agitated publishers, writers penning stories about the very article that someone was trying to hide, and more exposure about the consequences of forgetting.

Some observers of what might now be described as The Forgotten Continent have suggested that European regulators do not welcome the attention from these angry publishers and writers.

This notification was also reportedly a key topic of concern from the regulators, when they met for a sit-down last Thursday with representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The search engine reps emerged from the meeting with a sheet of 26 questions the regulators wanted answered, and today Google released its answers.

One of the questions was: “Do you notify website publishers of delisting?” And, its companion: “In that case, which legal basis do you have to notify website publishers?”

Google’s reply, in part:

“We think that it is important to let third party publishers know when we stop linking to their sites. We have already started receiving complaints from webmasters about the removal of links to their sites, and we already face challenges from publishers about removal decisions that result in reduced traffic to their sites. The notice to webmasters both ensures transparency and makes corrections possible when a removal proves to be a mistake. We have received information from webmasters that has caused us to reevaluate removals and reinstate search results. Such feedback from webmasters enables us to conduct a more balanced weighing of rights, thereby improving our decision-making process and the outcome for search users and webmasters.”

The extensive and detailed nature of the regulators’ questions emphasize the complete lack of direction that the European Court and the regulators have provided to the search engines in trying to decide a range of subtle issues.

In addition to the subject of letting sites know when they’ve been delinked, the questions asked about such basic issues as how the validity of a request or the identity of a requester is determined, what domains are included, and how a decision is made between the public’s right to know and “the right of the data subject to have search results delisted.”

In one key answer that shows how the company has had to make it up as they went along, Google wrote:

“We generally have to rely on the requester for information, without assurance beyond the requester’s own assertions as to its accuracy.”

After listing dozens of examples of issues and its attempts to solve them, Google essentially sighed:

“The examples above illustrate the difficulties a search engine provider faces in attempting to effectively strike a fair balance interests regarding information published by a third party.”


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Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »











Amazon-style product ratings to hit Google Shopping modules

Thursday 31 July 2014 @ 6:41 am
Amazon-style product ratings to hit Google Shopping modules

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

How effective are product ratings in converting the casual googler into a buyer? Google is betting they are very effective, or so its latest move would seem to indicate.

Google intends to start displaying a 5-star rating below each product featured in the shopping module that frequently appears at the top of search results pages, according to a company blog post from July 29.

Never seen one of these modules? Here’s an example. That link takes you to a search results page that displays a five-product box entitled “Shop for nespresso pixie on Google.” Clicking the small “i” in the corner of the module reveals why you’re seeing it:

Based on your search query, we think you are trying to find a product. Clicking in this box will show you results from providers who can fulfill your request. Google may be compensated by some of these providers.
Prices do not include shipping costs. Additional shipping costs may apply. Prices shown include VAT and applicable fees.

Google’s adoption of a 5-star rating system — one that is identical to the system used by Amazon.com — is intended to “help differentiate products across google.com and google.com/shopping and will help merchants drive more qualified traffic through Product Listing Ads.”

If you’re one of Google’s merchant partners, this should seem like a no-brainer, right? Well, maybe.

Merchants don’t have to have a rating displayed against their products; they aren’t obliged to participate (for now). But do you really want your product to be the only one of five displayed in that module that doesn’t have a rating? Google is quick to remind partners who might be reticent that “In initial tests, product ratings also helped increase click-through-rates of Product Listing Ads.” Pow. How can you not participate knowing that?

But therein lies the catch: If you do want to participate, you’re going to have to add your site’s product review content to the list of data points that Google requires for each displayed product.

This means that all participating partners are effectively donating valuable ratings data to Google, without any additional compensation. Moreover, participating and sharing this data in no way guarantees that ratings will appear beneath your products, as the blog post somewhat ominously warns: “please note that just because a product has reviews does not mean that we’ll always show ratings.”

Why this caveat when a partner agrees to share its data? Presumably it’s Google’s way of covering its butt in the event that the merchant’s review data is the only data available and thus less likely to be a trusted assessment of product quality. According to Google, “the 5-star rating system represents aggregated rating and review data for the product, compiled from multiple sources including merchants, third-party aggregators, editorial sites and users.” By that definition, a single source of ratings data will not meet Google’s criteria for display purposes.

While there’s no question that Google is the ultimate beneficiary of this new ratings display scheme, there’s an upside for shoppers too. As merchants quickly figure out which of their products have a high aggregated rating score and which don’t, they’ll likely favor the highest-rated products for inclusion in Google’s Shopping module, in the hopes that the higher rating will offer the most converted clicks from shoppers.

Being shown the highest-rated products at the top of a search results page is a time-saver for shoppers.

For now, the ratings display system will be limited to merchants targeting U.S. consumers, but Google plans to roll it out to internationally targeted ads “soon.”

 


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Internet.Org’s App With Free Access To Facebook, Google, Wikipedia, Local Info Launches In Zambia

Wednesday 30 July 2014 @ 11:00 pm
Internet org App 85% of the 5 billion people without Internet simply can’t afford data plans. So Facebook’s accessibility initiative Internet.org today launches its Android and web app for the developing world with free data access to a limited set of services including Facebook, Messenger, Wikipedia, and Google Search. It also provides local health, employment, weather, and women’s rights… Read More



Medialets’ tools mean mobile advertisers can track campaigns in real time

Wednesday 30 July 2014 @ 4:39 pm
Medialets’ tools mean mobile advertisers can track campaigns in real time

Above: Medialets chief Eric Litman rallying his crew

Image Credit: Medialets

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Mobile ad publishers looking to maximize campaigns — and dollars — may have a new friend in town.

Mobile-attribution play Medialets, headquartered in Manhattan, unveiled a new set of tools today that enables publishers and advertisers to track how their ad campaigns are fairing across multiple mobile devices. This isn’t analytics per se; it’s about real-time attribution. Medialets, a software provider, is calling its new suite of tools Servo Total Attribution.

“This is about every place that saw the ad and then the placement of that ad. We can tell the advertisers where people saw the ads,” said Medialets founder and chief executive Eric Litman. “The question is: How is that ad performing?”

The mobile ad attribution sector — where advertisers can see where their campaigns are receiving clicks and downloads — is getting crowded. Brands want to see how their ads are fairing, and attribution software is one of the primary ways they are able to do this.

For their part, Medialets competes with Google’s Doubeclick, and, to a lesser degree, mobile analytics standout Tune (formerly known as HasOffers) and a host of others. Litman recognizes the challenge but is undeterred.

And he has the paying clients, many of them brick-and-mortar, to prove it: Procter & Gamble, Verizon, Mondelez, American Express, Kraft, Chase, Capital One and Toyota, among others.

Mobile is where its at. And the big brand advertisers, once comfortable only on desktop, are increasingly realizing this. And they are more comfortable opening their wallets than they were six months ago. The numbers back this up. Mobile was a $17 billion industry in 2013, and that number is expected to crest $35 billion by the time 2014 calls it quits, according to eMarketer.

With the Servo tool suite, publishers can track their campaigns down to individual clicks or downloads. This means they have a real-time intelligence funnel on ascertaining whether money is being well spent — or wasted. Litman claims Servo is the only software platform to connect view-throughs and clickthroughs across mobile apps and mobile browsers.

And it’s all in the name of improving conversion rates, or more specifically, converting site visitors into paying customers.

The data that Servo’s software collects is then routed directly back to publishers, networks, and ad exchanges for example.

One positive facet of the Servo suite is that advertisers are no longer on the hook for unused inventory.

“We are giving advertisers the understanding of how ads are performing. We are giving them the tools to understand how well their ad dollars are performing in mobile,” the fast talking Litman said.

Ben Phillips, global head of mobile at WPP’s MediaCom, put it this way in a release trumpeting the new suite of Servo tools:

“Measurement is everything. Mobile provides a digital footprint throughout the consumer journey, from intent to the ultimate engagement, whether that be a social share, video view, store visitation lift, purchase, or test drive. It is important to be able to demonstrate the role of mobile with confidence and conviction. Servo measures acquisition to retention and enables intelligent optimization to take place within a mobile campaign.”

Having real-time intel on campaign performance also enables advertisers to tweak and weed their efforts. Litman asserts that Servo Total Attribution, at day’s end, makes easier the “process of running app installs and app re-engagement campaigns across the entire mobile ecosystem, all without the need to install SDKs.”

Medialets has its work cut out for it. Going head-to-head with Doubleclick and others with deeper pockets than the six-year-old company will not be easy. It is a challenge that Litman relishes. That and fending off buyout offers he says some of the bigger players are making for Medialets.

But they all say that.

“I’m a 90 percent gross-margin business,” Litman said.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Medialets is the most widely deployed rich media advertising platform for mobile and tablets. In operation since 2008, Medialets has pioneered the creation, delivery and measurement of premium rich ads on mobile devices for top adverti... read more »











Google makes Chromebox for Meetings more business-friendly with sweeter service

Wednesday 30 July 2014 @ 9:08 am
Google makes Chromebox for Meetings more business-friendly with sweeter service

Above: Google's Chromebox for Meetings in action during a demo at Google headquarters.

Image Credit: Jordan Novet/VentureBeat

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Google looks keen on making its new Chromebox for Meetings videoconferencing system really well suited for businesses. Today the tech giant added some new features to the product.

The most notable upgrade: a service-level agreement (SLA) that ensures Google will keep the system working 99.9 percent of the time. That puts it on par with Google services like Drive and Gmail, which many businesses already use.

Clay Bavor, vice president of product management on Google Apps, announced the upgrade in a blog post today.

The second thing to flag: integration. Blue Jeans and InterCall are now working with Google to make existing systems work with Chromebox for Meetings.

These might not sound like announcements you’d expect from a consumer-facing search engine company. But Google in recent years has been turning more toward businesses that pay big money for reliable software and hardware. You can see this in the Google cloud infrastructure strategy and in less-than-sexy Chromebook feature announcements.

Google’s Bavor also wrote today that anyone with a Google Apps account can jump on a video Hangout, not just people with Google+ accounts. And admins can control calls from a Google Apps console.

Oh, and in the future, Bavor wrote, it will be possible to hook up two displays to a Chromebox for Meetings system.


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.


Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »











Google’s European Privacy Rights Debate Forum Calls For Public To Weigh In

Wednesday 30 July 2014 @ 2:01 am
Europe Earlier this month Google announced its committee of Google-selected “experts” who are sitting in public judgement on Europe’s so-called ‘right to be forgotten’ (rtbf) ruling — by interrogating privacy-related issues, holding public meetings, banging the debate drum and generally doing the work of a public policy thinktank at Google’s behest. The… Read More



Snowden: “If I end up in chains at Guantanamo, I can live with that”

Saturday 26 July 2014 @ 12:32 pm
Snowden: “If I end up in chains at Guantanamo, I can live with that”
Image Credit: The Guardian

He looks like a man with a lot on his mind. Thinner. Jacketed, but not well-slept.

On July 10, Edward Snowden — possibly the biggest whistle-blower in history — gave an interview to The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and reporter Ewen MacAskill in Moscow.

In the 13-minute talk, the former National Security Agency contractor said he was resigned to someday being imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, that he’s not a Russian spy, and that Google Hangouts has been totally infiltrated by U.S. intelligence. (You can read the transcript here.)

The pale-faced Snowden further disclosed that he had reached out to U.S. officials about getting a fair trial in the States “and they declined.” In the interview, which was filmed inside a Moscow flat, Snowden said he was “very fortunate” to have received asylum in Russia.

When asked by the interviewer if he thought technology was compatible with privacy, Snowden, 31, said yes.

“Absolutely. Technology can actually help increase privacy, but not if we sleepwalk into new applications of it. … There shouldn’t be a distinction between digital information and printed information.”

He vehemently denied being a Russian spy and said his former NSA bosses would have known it the moment U.S. intelligence assets suddenly went quiet. His denials don’t jibe with former KGB major general Oleg Kalugin, who exclusively told VentureBeat that Snowden was working for Russian intelligence.

Kalugin, for his part, did not provide proof. See my interview and story on Kalugin here.

When asked how his Russian was coming along, Snowden laughed and declined to speak a sentence for the camera.

“The last thing I need is clips of me speaking Russian floating around on the Internet,” he said.

Later, Snowden was asked about cloud computing.

“Do you think this is the end of cloud computing?” the interviewer asks.

“I don’t,” Snowden said. “What cloud companies need to pursue to be truly successful is what’s called a ‘zero knowledge’ system, which means the service provider host process content on behalf of customers. But they don’t actually know what it is.”

“That’s the only way they can prove to customers that they can be trusted with their information.”

Snowden laughed when asked if he used Google and Skype. He said no, because both company’s had been thoroughly compromised, so he avoided them.

Snowden is wanted by U.S. authorities on charges of espionage. He is currently thought be living on the outskirts of Moscow.

 



Edward Snowden is an American former technical contractor for the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who leaked details of several top-secret U.S. and British gov... read more »











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