Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wandering in the footsteps of the polar bear with Google Maps

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

This guest post is from Krista Wright, the executive director of Polar Bears International. We’ve partnered with PBI to share a fascinating look at polar bears in the wild using Google Maps. -Ed.

In Inuit poetry, the polar bear is known as Pihoqahiak, the ever-wandering one. Some of the most majestic and elusive creatures in the world, polar bears travel hundreds of miles every year, wandering the tundra and Arctic sea ice in search of food and mates. Today, with the help of Street View, we’re celebrating International Polar Bear Day by sharing an intimate look at polar bears in their natural habitat.
The Street View Trekker, mounted on a Tundra Buggy, captures images of Churchill’s polar bears

We’ve joined forces with Google Maps to collect Street View imagery from a remote corner of Canada’s tundra:Churchill, Manitoba, home to one of the largest polar bear populations on the planet. With the help of outfittersFrontiers North, the Google Maps team mounted the Street View Trekker onto a specially designed “Tundra Buggy,” allowing us to travel across this fragile landscape without interfering with the polar bears or other native species. Through October and November we collected Street View imagery from the shores of Hudson’s Bay as the polar bears waited for the sea ice to freeze over.
One of Churchill, Manitoba’s Polar Bears on Street View

Modern cartography and polar bear conservation 
There’s more to this effort than images of cuddly bears, though. PBI has been working in this region for more than 20 years, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of warmer temperatures and melting sea ice on the polar bear’s environment. Understanding global warming, and its impact on polar bear populations, requires both global and regional benchmarks. Bringing Street View to Canada's tundra establishes a baseline record of imagery associated with specific geospatial data—information that’s critical if we’re to understand and communicate the impact of climate change on their sensitive ecosystem. As we work to safeguard their habitat, PBI can add Street View imagery to the essential tools we use to assess and respond to the biggest threat facing polar bears today.

Polar Bear International’s Bear Tracker

We also use the Google Maps API to support our Bear Tracker, which illustrates the frozen odyssey these bears embark on every year. As winter approaches and the sea ice freezes over, polar bears head out onto Hudson Bay to hunt for seals. Bear Tracker uses of satellite monitors and an interactive Google Map to display their migration for a global audience.

Mapping the communities of Canada’s Arctic
Google’s trip north builds on work they’ve done in the Arctic communities of Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit. In the town of Churchill, the Google Maps team conducted a community MapUp, which let participants use Map Maker to edit and add to the Google Map. From the Town Centre Complex, which includes the local school, rink and movie theatre, to the bear holding facility used to keep polar bears who have wandered into town until their release can be planned, the citizens of the Churchill made sure Google Maps reflects the community that they know.

But building an accurate and comprehensive map of Canada’s north also means heading out of town to explore this country’s expansive tundra. And thanks to this collaboration with Google Maps, people around the world now have the opportunity to virtually experience Canada’s spectacular landscape—and maybe take a few moments to wander in the footsteps of the polar bear.

Guest post from Bravehearts: Protecting Australia’s children from harm

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Hetty Johnston, Founder and CEO of Bravehearts

Keeping our children safe from sexual assault is a challenge that requires everyone in a community to work together -- law enforcement, Internet companies and civil society groups alike. While we may never be able to entirely prevent the kind of crimes that we hear coming to light via the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we must all pull together to do everything we can to protect children from harm.

Bravehearts has been using Google’s technology to help promote the services we provide in this area. Right now, through Google Grants (a service available to any Australian non-profit), Bravehearts is receiving more than 1,000 hits a week to the Bravehearts Royal Commission Support Services website to help victims of child sexual assault. When people search for terms like ‘Royal Commission’ or ‘Child Abuse Prevention Services’, Google puts up a free ad directing people to our site.

Technology can help in other ways too. We’re pleased to see the warnings Google is now showing at the top of search results for queries associated with explicit child sexual abuse terms. The warnings make it clear that child sexual abuse is illegal, provide information on how to report abuse, and offer advice on where to get expert help. People can click through to find the right information about reporting illegal material to the appropriate authorities.
We also applaud Google’s ongoing work to combat child sexual exploitation, working with and seeking advice from organisations like Bravehearts to better understand the ever-changing landscape of offender behaviour and language.

We are optimistic that measures and technologies developed by civil society groups in partnership with the technology industry will help make a real difference in the fight against these terrible crimes.

Posted by Hetty Johnston, Founder and CEO of Bravehearts

8 Custom Reports from the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery

The following is a guest post from Rachelle Maisner, who recently transitioned from Sr Analyst to Account Manager at Digitaria, a Google Analytics Certified Partner.
New analysts have it easy these days. Back in my day, we have to walk uphill in the snow both ways to get decent enough web reporting. My first blush with web analytics came upon me when I was a marketing coordinator for an advertising agency several years ago. I got the hand-me-down grunt work of pulling stats for one of our client's websites using server logs. Server logs, people. It was painfully slow, and gut-wrenchingly inefficient. So for the sake of my sanity, I started looking into better solutions, and I knew if it could help the client out with more meaningful reporting, that would make me look really good. When I found a solution I liked, I needed to pitch the client for their buy in. That conversation went something like... "I found this great tool, and it's free- we can install it on your website and try out this fast new reporting. It's called Google Analytics."
Since then, there are now so many fantastic resources available to budding young analysts. From the Analysis Exchange to Avinash's own Market Motive courses, not to mention GA's recently revamped Analytics Academy, there's a wealth of quality education and training just a click away to anyone who’s willing to learn. 
I'm blogging to tell you all about one of my absolute favorite new resources-- a tremendous goldmine of knowledge sharing unlike anything else this industry has ever seen-- Google Analytics’ very own Solutions Gallery.
The Solutions Gallery is a free and public platform that allows users to share custom reports, segments and dashboards. It's invaluable resource not only for those that are new to digital analytics, but also for analytics veterans looking for fresh ideas and new approaches. I mean, wow, you can download reports and dashboards from experts all over the globe and instantly apply them to your own Google Analytics account. 

I was so excited about the Solutions Gallery that I uploaded 8 custom reports of my own to share with the community, and in about a month I had over 1,600+ imports. 
I have received awesome feedback and gratitude for the custom reports I created, so I am absolutely thrilled to be able to share them here on the Google Analytics blog and showcase them to a wider audience. I hope you find these helpful and I hope they encourage you to not only get more from your data, but to upload some of your own solutions to the Gallery.
All my custom reports are organized into four categories. These categories are based on the ABC's of analytics, plus D for bonus points: Acquisition, Behavior, Conversion, and Diagnostics.
A is for Acquisition
Visits and Goal Conversion by Traffic Source: Take your traffic source reports one step further by understanding volume & conversion by each channel. This is one way to see how your best visitors are getting to your site. I recommend setting up a goal for “engaged visits”, for this custom report and some of the following reports. When you import this custom report, change Goal One to your engaged visits goal, or another significant KPI configured as a goal.
B is for Behavior
Page Effectiveness: Ever ponder the question, “How is my content doing?” This custom report provides page-level performance, allowing you to discover your top and bottom performing pages using various traffic and engagement metrics.
Social Sharing: A four-tab custom report chock full of site-to-social reporting. Tab 1 is the Shared Content Trend, showing how top pages are shared to social networks over time. Tab 2 is Top Shared Content by Network, a first step to discovering what content works for specific channels. Tab 3 is a report on Socially Engaged Visitors, providing a quick profile of visitors that engage in social sharing links. And finally, Tab 4 is Social Outcomes and Conversions, tying social engagement to site goals.
C is for Conversion
Simple E-Commerce Report: A starting point for trending revenue or purchases against visits, with a traffic sources breakdown.
PPC Campaign Goal Performance: Analyze paid search performance against goal conversion by search engine. Change goal one completions to your engaged visits goal. This report filters for Google campaigns. To filter for Bing change the source filter for "Bing" or delete the filter to include all search engines.
PPC Keywords: Get a paid keyword report with traffic volume, CPC, goal conversions, and cost per conversion.
D is for Diagnostics
Page Timing: Use this custom report to QA page load timing and reveal problem pages. Switch from the "data" table view to the "comparison" table view, and compare load time to bounce rate, allowing you to view the bounce rate for each page against the site average.
Internal and External 404 Report: A custom report to help resolve 404 errors. Includes two report tabs. Tab 1: bad inbound links, and Tab 2: bad internal links. Be sure to change the filter for "page title" to the page title used on your site's 404 page.
Posted by Rachelle Maisner, Account Manager at Digitaria, a Google Analytics Certified Partner

Easily find hotels by travel time with Hotel Finder

If you’re visiting an unfamiliar city or just want to stay near a specific landmark or location, Hotel Finder can help. Use the search by travel time filter to quickly narrow your options and find the closest hotel -- whether you’re traveling by car, public transit or walking.

Lets say you’ve always wanted to visit the famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes’ home in London but you’re not really sure which hotels are nearby. Start by going to Enter “Sherlock Holmes Museum, London” and select your dates. In the top left corner of the map, click “Show hotels 15 minutes from...” to filter by travel time. Select 10 minutes by public transit. In less time than it takes to read these instructions, you’ve just narrowed your search from 2000+ choices to less than 200.

If you want to narrow your options further, you can sort by travel time and only hotels with a 4.0+ user rating. Elementary my dear Watson! You’ve further refined your choices to only 33, making it much easier to plan your trip!

We’re very excited about the planning power this gives you, and we hope Hotel Finder makes planning your next trip a little more fun and a lot easier.

Konrad Gianno, Software Engineer

Source: Google Travel

Join us at the Game Developers Conference!

When we’re not guiding a tiny bird across a landscape of pipes on our phones, we’re getting ready for our biggest-ever Developer Day at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. On Tuesday 18 March, all the teams at Google dedicated to gaming will share their insights on the best ways to build games, grow audiences, engage players and make money. Some of the session highlights include:

  • Growth Hacking with Play Games
  • Making Money on Google Play: Best Practices in Monetization
  • Grow Your Game Revenue with AdMob
  • From Players to Customers: Tracking Revenue with Google Analytics
  • Build Games that Scale in the Cloud
  • From Box2D to Liquid Fun: Just Add Water-like Particles!

And there’s a lot more, so check out the full Google Developer Day schedule on the GDC website, where you can also buy tickets. We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the trip, don’t worry; all the talks will be livestreamed on YouTube, starting at 10:00am PDT (5:00pm UTC).

Then from 19-21 March, meet the Google teams in person from AdMob, Analytics and Cloud at the Google Education Center in the Moscone Center’s South Hall (booth no. 218), and you could win a Nexus 7.

Posted by Greg Hartrell, Lead Product Manager

Join us at Game Developers Conference 2014!

By Greg Hartrell, Google Play Games team

When we’re not guiding a tiny bird across a landscape of pipes on our phones, we’re getting ready for our biggest-ever Developer Day at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

On Tuesday 18 March, all the teams at Google dedicated to gaming will share their insights on the best ways to build games, grow audiences, engage players and make money.

Some of the session highlights include:

  • Growth Hacking with Play Games
  • Making Money on Google Play: Best Practices in Monetization
  • Grow Your Game Revenue with AdMob
  • From Players to Customers: Tracking Revenue with Google Analytics
  • Build Games that Scale in the Cloud
  • From Box2D to Liquid Fun: Just Add Water-like Particles!

And there’s a lot more, so check out the full Google Developer Day schedule on the GDC website, where you can also buy tickets. We hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the trip, don’t worry; all the talks will be livestreamed on YouTube, starting at 10:00AM PDT (5:00PM UTC).

Then from 19-21 March, meet the Google teams in person from AdMob, Analytics, and Cloud at the Google Education Center in the Moscone Center’s South Hall (booth 218), and you could win a Nexus 7.

Making it easier to manage pages on your blog

Adding pages to your blog can be a great way to organize content - like ‘About me’ or ‘Advertise’ sections. To make managing pages easier, we redesigned the ‘Pages’ tab in the Blogger dashboard to make it look and feel more like something you’re already familiar with: managing posts.

With the new design, you can:

  • view important details about your pages like view count and comments
  • manage multiple pages at once with new selection tools
  • easily see whether pages are in draft, imported, or published states

Happy blogging!

Posted by Cal Smith and Katrina Le

Source: Blogger Buzz

Introducing Google Maps Gallery: Unlocking the World’s Maps

Editor’s note: Last year we introduced the Google Maps Engine public data program, which lets organizations easily publish their map content online. Today, we’re expanding on that program and letting organizations improve the discoverability of their maps. To find out more information about the program, read our FAQ.

Governments, nonprofits and businesses have some of the most valuable mapping data in the world, but it’s often locked away and not accessible to the public. With the goal of making this information more readily available to the world, today we’re launching Google Maps Gallery, a new way for organizations to share and publish their maps online via Google Maps Engine.

Maps Gallery works like an interactive, digital atlas where anyone can search for and find rich, compelling maps. Maps included in the Gallery can be viewed in Google Earth and are discoverable through major search engines, making it seamless for citizens and stakeholders to access diverse mapping data, such as locations of municipal construction projects, historic city plans, population statistics, deforestation changes and up-to-date emergency evacuation routes. Organizations using Maps Gallery can communicate critical information, build awareness and inform the public at-large.
Screenshot from 2014-02-24 12_55_17.png
Google Maps Gallery also offers several key benefits for organizations. With the Gallery, governments, nonprofits and businesses can publish maps and manage their content on their own terms with settings that enable control over maps branding, styling and licensing. Additionally, with the ability to synchronize maps from legacy systems and open data portals to the Gallery, organizations can take advantage of having a complementary online channel for their data. This lets their maps be more accessible and useful for their audiences — all powered by Google’s reliable cloud infrastructure. 

Today, Gallery users can browse content from organizations such as National Geographic Society, World Bank Group, United States Geological Survey, Florida Emergency Management and the City of Edmonton — but this is just the beginning. Maps Gallery is now open to organizations with content for the public good. Organizations interested in submitting content can apply to participate in Maps Gallery.

Google Maps Gallery gives organizations better ways to surface maps and make data more discoverable. Together with governments, businesses and nonprofits, we can unlock the world’s geospatial data.

Posted by Jordan Breckenridge, Google Maps, Product Manager 

More love for playlists and a new look for YouTube

The way you watch YouTube keeps changing, so we’re making a few tweaks to YouTube to keep up with you. Starting today you’ll see some changes to make it easier to find what you want to watch on YouTube and collect playlists to watch again and again.
Like a playlist, watch it from anywhere
Want to quickly find your playlists or save Aloe Blacc’s favourite music videos playlist? Your guide now has all of the playlists that you’ve created, as well as playlists from other channels that you’ve liked. If you make a playlist, you’ll also see a new page that makes editing easier. And if you’re looking for new playlists to check out from your favourite channels, check out the new playlist tab on a channel like this one from YouTube Nation.

We moved!
YouTube now has a centre-aligned look, fitting neatly on any screen size, and feeling similar to the mobile apps you’re spending almost half your YouTube time with. You can quickly flip between what’s recommended and popular in “What to Watch” like Postmodern Jukebox’s Timber, and the latest from your subscribed channels like iamOTHER in “My Subscriptions”, with both options now front and centre. Click the guide icon to the right of the YouTube logo at any time to see your playlists, subscriptions and more.

To learn more, please visit the Help Centre.

Yining Zhao, Web Developer, recently watched “18 Great Books You Probably Haven't Read

DoubleClick Search teams with Boost Media for ad optimization

Search marketers understand that the right optimization tools can make or break campaign performance. But for many, optimizing ad creative can be a challenge: beyond just relying on algorithms, marketers can spend hours repeatedly writing, testing, and refining ad copy across large-scale campaigns. To address this, today we’re excited to extend the suite of DoubleClick optimization solutions by partnering with Boost Media (formerly BoostCTR) -- bringing the company’s ad creative optimization solution to the DoubleClick Search platform.

With DoubleClick Search, customers are already taking advantage of performance-driving features to save time and improve results -- including inventory-aware campaigns for dynamic ad creation, A/B landing page testing to drive traffic to the highest ROI landing pages, and the Performance Bidding Suite for real time bid optimization. By coupling Boost Media’s ad optimization platform with core workflow and optimization tools from DoubleClick Search, advertisers can benefit in the following ways:

  • Increase ROI with proven optimization algorithms. On top of intra-day keyword bidding from DoubleClick Search, Boost Media tests ads side-by-side, and chooses ads based on Boost Media’s proprietary algorithms. According to Boost Media, their clients experience an average of 30 percent increase in sales volume.
  • Scale campaigns, save time with custom-tailored ad creation. Boost Media offers a network of professional copywriters to develop engaging and high-performing ads at scale. Advertisers can expect unique and creatively written ad text, distinguished from the standard Dynamic Keyword Insertion templates that are often used today. According to Boost Media, advertisers save an average of 60 hours per month on writing, testing, and reporting on creative.
  • Cut costs by focusing on the right ads. Boost Media decreases cost by identifying and eliminating underperforming ads, allowing clients to capture additional, unseen revenue from their ad groups. According to Boost Media, users see an average 5% decrease in CPAs.

DoubleClick Search customers interested in using Boost Media can contact their DoubleClick Search Sales representatives.
We’ll continue to develop more optimization features to drive ROI for our customers. Stay tuned to learn about our plans in to deliver deep performance-driving capabilities across audience, attribution, and more.