Tag Archives: Updates

Accelerating Android Updates

Posted by Eddie Hsu (Technical Program Manager), Brent VerWeyst (Product Manager), Maya Ben Ari (Product Manager), Amith Dsouza (Technical Account Manager), Iliyan Malchev (Project Treble Architect)

Over the past few years we’ve introduced new capabilities that enable us to deliver updates more uniformly, quickly, and efficiently to Android devices. These capabilities include:

  • Oreo’s introduction of Project Treble created a system/vendor split for a much cleaner separation of OEM and SoC dependencies from the rest of the code base. This effort sped up the adoption of Android Pie by 2.5X. Every Android device that preloads the Google Play Store has been Treble compliant since that point.
  • In Pie, we started publishing the Generic System Images (GSI) so that developers can use them for app-compat testing on real hardware. Treble compliance means that every device is compatible with our GSIs, even if it does not ship with them. We also worked with our major partners to launch an OEM developer preview program. As a result, we saw a further 1.5X increase in the adoption of Android 10.
  • In Android 10, we started updating components of the OS directly via Google Play system updates (Project Mainline). Mainline provides security and privacy updates for the OS in a way that’s similar to apps – through Google Play. For example, in our most recent deployment, we directly updated 285 million devices with fixes for security vulnerabilities.
  • Google Play is also responsible for updating critical applications and services, such as authentication, push notifications, and Google Play Protect. A good example is the launch of the Exposure Notification API. Exposure Notifications are a tool to help public-health agencies in the fight against COVID-19. The API was deployed in May via Google Play to over 2 billion devices in the space of just 4 weeks.

Android 10 Adoption

Thanks to these efforts, the adoption of Android 10 has been faster than any previous versions of Android. Android 10 was running on 100 million devices 5 months post launch – 28% faster than Android Pie.

Updatability in Android 11

Below are the major themes in updatability this year:

OEM Developer Previews: In Android 11, device makers (OEMs) are continuing their developer previews ahead of the official launch. Seven OEMs have released Developer Preview builds on 13 devices to provide app developers with diverse hardware as they test for compatibility.

Google Play system update: 21 OS components are now updatable, including 9 additions in Android 11 focused on improving privacy, security, and developer consistency across devices. Highlights include an enhanced permissions component that standardizes user and developer access to critical privacy controls on Android devices, a Neural Networks API (NNAPI) component that optimizes performance and guarantees consistent APIs across devices, and a Tethering component for improved interoperability. The new updatable OS components in Android 11 are: Tethering, NNAPI, Cell Broadcast Receiver, adbd, Internet Key Exchange, Media Provider, statsd, WiFi, and SDK extension.

Generic Kernel Image: Our ongoing updatability work extends to the Linux kernel itself, with initiatives such as 6-year LTS support. In Android 11, we are further isolating common code in the Android Linux kernel to create a Generic Kernel Image (GKI) that works across all Android devices, as well as to enable faster security deployments. Stay tuned for a more detailed post on GKI in the coming months.

Virtual A/B: Most OS updates are not delivered via Google Play. Instead, they use separate third-party Over-the-Air (OTA) services that differ among the various OEMs. These services use a mechanism that, while very space efficient, has the disadvantage of being slow to apply, rendering the device inoperable for the duration. To solve this problem, in Android Nougat we launched a mechanism called "A/B OTA" (aka Seamless Updates). A/B OTAs have the advantage of appearing to be near-instant from the user's perspective, since they apply in the background and become active on the next reboot. However, they doubled the amount of storage reserved for the OS itself, limiting adoption among OEMs.

We’ve developed a new OTA mechanism – Virtual A/B – that combines the benefits of the previous two: being seamless from the user's perspective while requiring less storage. We are working closely with our OEM partners to begin implementing Virtual A/B in Android 11 devices, making OTAs as frictionless as possible. Going forward, Virtual A/B will be the only supported OTA mechanism in Android.

Looking to the Future

We’re excited by the increased adoption of Android and are grateful for the close collaborations with our chipset and OEM partners to deploy updates earlier. We continue to work on a number of enhancements in the platform and infrastructure to make it easier for developers and users to benefit from the latest versions of Android.

Reminder that the Android engineering team will host a Reddit AMA today at 12:00PM PST to answer your technical questions about Android 11. See this post for details and to submit your questions.

ICYMI: A monthly roundup of stuff developers want to know

Posted by Natalie Dao, Google Developers Social TeamHappy New Year … is something we won’t say again until next January, promise. Still. There’s a lot to be thrilled about in 2020. Check out our Top Ten list of videos, blogs, and events to find out why we’re already excited for next month, the month after that, and beyond. It’s been a bit of a slow start, but one thing is for sure: 2020 is going to rule. Let’s get into it.



1. Game On 🎮



Gamers rejoice! The annual Indie Games Festival from Google Play will hit Europe, Japan, and South Korea on April 25th. Whether you’re an indie game developer or a devoted gamer, this is your chance to showcase your unique skills. Submissions close on March 2nd, so get to it!

Learn more about it on the official website.

2. It’s A Dirty Job 🧹

Finally, a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t suck! Wait. Ecovacs Robotics manufactures robotic vacuum cleaners powered by a TensorFlow Lite model to help detect and avoid obstacles.

Read the blog to learn more.

3. Take The DSC Challenge 🏆

Developer Student Clubs from 800+ universities across the globe will use technology to solve local problems within their communities. 10 winning teams (up to 4 members) will be chosen and receive prizes including a curated experience with Googlers to celebrate! Submissions will be accepted between March 15-30, 2020.

Up for the challenge? Learn how you can enter here.

4. You Gotta Check Out This New Podcast 🎙

Sound up! The Assistant on Air podcast from Actions on Google is now streaming. Tune in to listen to your favorite couch-friendly series, where guests chat about building for the Google Assistant.

Get to listening on Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Apple, and Spotify!

5. Flutter/Dart Do Design And They Do It Well 🎨

Photo courtesy of Fast Company

Look Ma, we made it! Our favorite UI toolkit and the programming language that powers it have been listed in Fast Company’s most important design ideas of the decade. Flutter and Dart allow developers to build beautiful experiences that can be seamlessly deployed across all platforms.

Check out the star-studded lineup on Fast Company.

6. Summit Season Starts Now 🙌

The time is now to register for the TensorFlow Dev Summit! Join the machine learning community in Sunnyvale, CA this March for two full days of highly technical talks, demos, sessions, and networking with the TensorFlow team.

See how you can witness that ML magic on the official event website.

7. Registration Open For Google Cloud Next '20 ⏩

SO. MANY. EVENTS. Registration for Google Cloud Next ‘20 has been announced! Taking place in the charming city of San Francisco, this epic conference brings together some of the brightest minds in tech for three days of networking, learning, and collaboration. Get the scoop on all the latest products, learn how leading brands use Cloud to solve challenges, immerse yourself in exhibits, and more.

Get your registration locked down on the official event website.

8. New Coral Products For 2020 👍

Coral is a platform of hardware components and software tools that makes prototyping and scaling local AI products easier. Launched last year, this portfolio of products has been used for many applications across different industries ranging from healthcare to agriculture. To kick off the new year, Coral has released new products to expand the possibilities of local AI!

Get all the details on the blog here.

9. SERIES SPOTLIGHT: Get To Know Cloud Firestore 🔥

In this episode of Get to Know Cloud Firestore from Firebase, Todd Kerpelman tackles Cloud Functions and five interesting scenarios you might come across when implementing them in your app.

Watch the full video here and don’t forget to subscribe to the Firebase YT channel.

10. Countdown to IO 🕛

#GoogleIO is returning to Mountain View in May! To announce the event, Google launched a collaborative game where users worked together to repair an intergalactic satellite network. Although the date has been decoded by savvy internet detectives, you can still embark on the mission for fun!

More event details are coming soon on the official event website. See you at Shoreline.





Stay connected!

Follow and subscribe to get all the latest news and updates from the Google Developer ecosystem.

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Instagram
Facebook
Youtube

ICYMI: A monthly roundup of stuff developers want to know

Posted by Natalie Dao, Google Developers Social TeamHappy New Year … is something we won’t say again until next January, promise. Still. There’s a lot to be thrilled about in 2020. Check out our Top Ten list of videos, blogs, and events to find out why we’re already excited for next month, the month after that, and beyond. It’s been a bit of a slow start, but one thing is for sure: 2020 is going to rule. Let’s get into it.



1. Game On 🎮



Gamers rejoice! The annual Indie Games Festival from Google Play will hit Europe, Japan, and South Korea on April 25th. Whether you’re an indie game developer or a devoted gamer, this is your chance to showcase your unique skills. Submissions close on March 2nd, so get to it!

Learn more about it on the official website.

2. It’s A Dirty Job 🧹

Finally, a vacuum cleaner that doesn’t suck! Wait. Ecovacs Robotics manufactures robotic vacuum cleaners powered by a TensorFlow Lite model to help detect and avoid obstacles.

Read the blog to learn more.

3. Take The DSC Challenge 🏆

Developer Student Clubs from 800+ universities across the globe will use technology to solve local problems within their communities. 10 winning teams (up to 4 members) will be chosen and receive prizes including a curated experience with Googlers to celebrate! Submissions will be accepted between March 15-30, 2020.

Up for the challenge? Learn how you can enter here.

4. You Gotta Check Out This New Podcast 🎙

Sound up! The Assistant on Air podcast from Actions on Google is now streaming. Tune in to listen to your favorite couch-friendly series, where guests chat about building for the Google Assistant.

Get to listening on Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Apple, and Spotify!

5. Flutter/Dart Do Design And They Do It Well 🎨

Photo courtesy of Fast Company

Look Ma, we made it! Our favorite UI toolkit and the programming language that powers it have been listed in Fast Company’s most important design ideas of the decade. Flutter and Dart allow developers to build beautiful experiences that can be seamlessly deployed across all platforms.

Check out the star-studded lineup on Fast Company.

6. Summit Season Starts Now 🙌

The time is now to register for the TensorFlow Dev Summit! Join the machine learning community in Sunnyvale, CA this March for two full days of highly technical talks, demos, sessions, and networking with the TensorFlow team.

See how you can witness that ML magic on the official event website.

7. Registration Open For Google Cloud Next '20 ⏩

SO. MANY. EVENTS. Registration for Google Cloud Next ‘20 has been announced! Taking place in the charming city of San Francisco, this epic conference brings together some of the brightest minds in tech for three days of networking, learning, and collaboration. Get the scoop on all the latest products, learn how leading brands use Cloud to solve challenges, immerse yourself in exhibits, and more.

Get your registration locked down on the official event website.

8. New Coral Products For 2020 👍

Coral is a platform of hardware components and software tools that makes prototyping and scaling local AI products easier. Launched last year, this portfolio of products has been used for many applications across different industries ranging from healthcare to agriculture. To kick off the new year, Coral has released new products to expand the possibilities of local AI!

Get all the details on the blog here.

9. SERIES SPOTLIGHT: Get To Know Cloud Firestore 🔥

In this episode of Get to Know Cloud Firestore from Firebase, Todd Kerpelman tackles Cloud Functions and five interesting scenarios you might come across when implementing them in your app.

Watch the full video here and don’t forget to subscribe to the Firebase YT channel.

10. Countdown to IO 🕛

#GoogleIO is returning to Mountain View in May! To announce the event, Google launched a collaborative game where users worked together to repair an intergalactic satellite network. Although the date has been decoded by savvy internet detectives, you can still embark on the mission for fun!

More event details are coming soon on the official event website. See you at Shoreline.





Stay connected!

Follow and subscribe to get all the latest news and updates from the Google Developer ecosystem.

Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
Youtube

Android Q Scoped Storage: Best Practices and Updates

Posted by Jeff Sharkey, Software Engineer, and Seb Grubb, Product Manager

Application Sandboxing is a core part of Android’s design, isolating apps from each other. In Android Q, taking the same fundamental principle from Application Sandboxing, we introduced Scoped Storage.

Since the Beta 1 release, you’ve given us a lot of valuable feedback on these changes -- thank you for helping shape Android! Because of your feedback, we've evolved the feature during the course of Android Q Beta. In this post, we'll share options for declaring your app’s support for Scoped Storage on Android Q devices, and best practices for questions we've heard from the community.

Updates to help you adopt Scoped Storage

We expect that Scoped Storage should have minimal impact to apps following current storage best practices. However, we also heard from you that Scoped Storage can be an elaborate change for some apps and you could use more time to assess the impact. Being developers ourselves, we understand you may need some additional time to ensure your app’s compatibility with this change. We want to help.

In the upcoming Beta 3 release, apps that target Android 9 Pie (API level 28) or lower will see no change, by default, to how storage works from previous Android versions. As you update your existing app to work with Scoped Storage, you’ll be able to use a new manifest attribute to enable the new behavior for your app on Android Q devices, even if your app is targeting API level 28 or lower.

The implementation details of these changes will be available with the Beta 3 release, but we wanted to share this update with you early, so you can better prepare your app for Android Q devices. Scoped Storage will be required in next year’s major platform release for all apps, independent of target SDK level, so we recommend you add support to your app well in advance. Please continue letting us know your feedback and how we can better align Scoped Storage with your app’s use cases. You can give us input through this survey, or file bugs and feature requests here.

Best practices for common feedback areas

Your feedback is incredibly valuable and has helped us shape these design decisions. We also want to take a moment to share some best practices for common questions we’ve heard:

  • Storing shared media files. For apps that handle files that users expect to be sharable with other apps (such as photos) and be retained after the app has been uninstalled, use the MediaStore API. There are specific collections for common media files: Audio, Video, and Images. For other file types, you can store them in the new Downloads collection. To access files from the Downloads collection, apps must use the system picker.
  • Storing app-internal files. If your app is designed to handle files not meant to be shared with other apps, store them in your package-specific directories. This helps keep files organized and limit file clutter as the OS will manage cleanup when the app is uninstalled. Calls to Context.getExternalFilesDir() will continue to work.
  • Working with permissions and file ownership. For MediaStore, no permissions are necessary for apps that only access their own files. Your app will need to request permission to access media contributed by other apps. However, if your app is uninstalled and then reinstalled later, you’ll need to request permission from the user in order to be able to access media your app previously contributed.
  • Working with native code or libraries. The recommended pattern is to begin your media file discovery in your Java-based or Kotlin-based code, then pass the file's associated file descriptor into your native code.
  • Working with many files efficiently. If you need to perform bulk file operations in a single transaction, consider using ContentProvider.applyBatch(). Learn more about ContentProvider batch processing here.
  • Integrating with the system file picker.
    • Documents apps, such as a word processor, can use the ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT or ACTION_GET_CONTENT action to open a system file picker. You can learn more about the differences here.
    • File management apps typically work with collections of apps in a directory hierarchy. Use ACTION_OPEN_DOCUMENT_TREE to let the user pick a directory subtree. The app can further manipulate files available in the returned directory. Through this support, users can access files from any installed DocumentsProvider instance, which can be supported by any cloud-based or locally-backed storage solutions.

We’ve also provided a detailed Scoped Storage developer guide with additional information.

What’s ahead

It’s been amazing to see the community engagement on Android Q Beta so far. As we finalize the release in the next several months, please continue testing and keep the feedback coming. Join us at Google I/O 2019 for more details on Scoped Storage and other Android Q features. We’re giving a ”What’s new on Shared Storage” talk on May 8, and you’ll be able to find the livestream and recorded video on the Google I/O site.

Evolution of Android Security Updates

Posted by Dave Kleidermacher, VP, Head of Security - Android, Chrome OS, Play

At Google I/O 2018, in our What's New in Android Security session, we shared a brief update on the Android security updates program. With the official release of Android 9 Pie, we wanted to share a more comprehensive update on the state of security updates, including best practice guidance for manufacturers, how we're making Android easier to update, and how we're ensuring compliance to Android security update releases.

Commercial Best Practices around Android Security Updates

As we noted in our 2017 Android Security Year-in-Review, Android's anti-exploitation strength now leads the mobile industry and has made it exceedingly difficult and expensive to leverage operating system bugs into compromises. Nevertheless, an important defense-in-depth strategy is to ensure critical security updates are delivered in a timely manner. Monthly security updates are the recommended best practice for Android smartphones. We deliver monthly Android source code patches to smartphone manufacturers so they may incorporate those patches into firmware updates. We also deliver firmware updates over-the-air to Pixel devices on a reliable monthly cadence and offer the free use of Google's firmware over-the-air (FOTA) servers to manufacturers. Monthly security updates are also required for devices covered under the Android One program.

While monthly security updates are best, at minimum, Android manufacturers should deliver regular security updates in advance of coordinated disclosure of high severity vulnerabilities, published in our Android bulletins. Since the common vulnerability disclosure window is 90 days, updates on a 90-day frequency represents a minimum security hygiene requirement.

Enterprise Best Practices

Product security factors into purchase decisions of enterprises, who often consider device security update cadence, flexibility of policy controls, and authentication features. Earlier this year, we introduced the Android Enterprise Recommended program to help businesses make these decisions. To be listed, Android devices must satisfy numerous requirements, including regular security updates: at least every 90 days, with monthly updates strongly recommended. In addition to businesses, consumers interested in understanding security update practices and commitment may also refer to the Enterprise Recommended list.

Making Android Easier to Update

We've also been working to make Android easier to update, overall. A key pillar of that strategy is to improve modularity and clarity of interfaces, enabling operating system subsystems to be updated without adversely impacting others. Project Treble is one example of this strategy in action and has enabled devices to update to Android P more easily and efficiently than was possible in previous releases. The modularity strategy applies equally well for security updates, as a framework security update can be performed independently of device specific components.

Another part of the strategy involves the extraction of operating system services into user-mode applications that can be updated independently, and sometimes more rapidly, than the base operating system. For example, Google Play services, including secure networking components, and the Chrome browser can be updated individually, just like other Google Play apps.

Partner programs are a third key pillar of the updateability strategy. One example is the GMS Express program, in which Google is working closely with system-on-chip (SoC) suppliers to provide monthly pre-integrated and pre-tested Android security updates for SoC reference designs, reducing cost and time to market for delivering them to users.

Security Patch Level Compliance

Recently, researchers reported a handful of missing security bug fixes across some Android devices. Initial reports had several inaccuracies, which have since been corrected. We have been developing security update testing systems that are now making compliance failures less likely to occur. In particular, we recently delivered a new testing infrastructure that enables manufacturers to develop and deploy automated tests across lower levels of the firmware stack that were previously relegated to manual testing. In addition, the Android build approval process now includes scanning of device images for specific patterns, reducing the risk of omission.

Looking Forward

In 2017, about a billion Android devices received security updates, representing approximately 30% growth over the preceding year. We continue to work hard devising thoughtful strategies to make Android easier to update by introducing improved processes and programs for the ecosystem. In addition, we are also working to drive increased and more expedient partner adoption of our security update and compliance requirements. As a result, over coming quarters, we expect the largest ever growth in the number of Android devices receiving regular security updates.

Bugs are inevitable in all complex software systems, but exploitability of those bugs is not. We're working hard to ensure that the incidence of potentially harmful exploitation of bugs continues to decline, such that the frequency for security updates will reduce, not increase, over time. While monthly security updates represents today's best practice, we see a future in which security updates becomes easier and rarer, while maintaining the same goal to protect all users across all devices.

Introducing the Google Analytics 360 Suite


An enterprise-class solution for a multi-screen world

Our lives are filled with micro-moments: intent-rich moments when we turn to the nearest device to find a store, buy a product or look for answers to all kinds of wants and needs. In these moments, today's consumers decide what to do, where to go, and what to buy.

If you're in marketing or analytics, you know this consumer behavior brings new opportunities to reach your customer in the right moment with the right message. At the same time, it's harder than ever to get a complete view of the consumer journey and then make sense of it all.
That’s why we’re introducing the Google Analytics 360 Suite, a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products, designed specifically for the needs of enterprise-class marketers. It all starts with understanding consumer behavior in the moment — getting the right insights, and then making your brand useful to consumers.

The Google Analytics 360 Suite gave us the really big ah-­ha moment. When we launched our mobile app, it provided insurance quotes. But after looking at the data, we saw people were attempting to buy insurance. So, we shifted our mobile strategy to offer ecommerce. Google gave us that insight,” said Pawan Divakarla, Analytics Leader at Progressive.

Modern measurement tools that are simple to use
Sophisticated marketers who use analytics platforms are three times more likely to outperform their peers in achieving revenue goals.1 It’s no wonder enterprise-class marketers have been telling us they need more from their marketing analytics tools. Many toolsets can't cope: They're too hard to use, lack sufficient collaboration capabilities, are poorly integrated, and require hard-to-find expertise.

Several years ago, Google engineers set out to simplify marketing analytics in the same way we simplified web search with Google.com. With infrastructure that allows us to handle billions and billions of daily search queries — generating answers before users even finish typing — we set out to give enterprise marketers the same utility.

As we built the system, enterprise marketers shared what they needed with us:

  • See the complete customer journey. Marketers require full visibility and context to see what’s really happening across all customer touchpoints, devices, and channels. 
  • Useful insights, not just more data. Marketers need enormous computing power, data science and smart algorithms, all working together to quickly make sense of data for them. In other words, built-in intelligence to do the heavy lifting for marketers and make insights easy to see.
  • Enable better sharing within your organization. Marketers seek to put insights into everyone’s hands and get the whole company on the same page — resulting in stronger cross-functional goals and smarter decision-making.
  • Deliver engaging experiences to the right people. Marketers want to make their brand immediately useful to consumers. With integrations across multiple Google technologies, the suite products not only work well together, but also with other products, including AdWords, DoubleClick, and 3rd-party platforms — enabling marketers to take immediate action and drive business impact.

The Google Analytics 360 Suite is built to address these needs. Its powerful set products are unified, providing a consistent user experience and cross product data integrations, plus services. Simply put: it’s a complete measurement platform.
Using the integrations in the Google Analytics 360 Suite, we are able to manage everything in one seamless platform,” said Khoi Truong, Director of Analytics and Media at L'Oréal Canada.

Loaded with six products, four of which are brand-new, the Google Analytics 360 Suite offers easy-to-use tools that enable sharing of data and insights throughout an organization.

  • Google Audience Center 360 (beta). This powerful data management platform (DMP) helps marketers understand their customers and find more like them across channels, devices, and campaigns. It offers native integration with Google and DoubleClick, plus it's open to third party data providers, DSPs and more.
  • Google Optimize 360 (beta). This website testing and personalization product helps marketers deliver better experiences. Marketers can show consumers multiple variations of their site and then choose the version that works best for each audience.
  • Google Data Studio 360 (beta). A new data analysis and visualization product that integrates data across all suite products and other data sources ― turning it into beautiful, interactive reports and dashboards. Built-in real-time collaboration and sharing is based on Google Docs technology.
  • Google Tag Manager 360. Built from our industry-leading tag management product, it empowers enterprise marketers to move faster and make decisions with confidence. It offers a simplified way to gather site information (all those tiny bits of code) and powerful APIs to increase data accuracy and streamline workflows.
  • Google Analytics 360, formerly known as GA Premium, will roll out exciting new capabilities throughout the next couple of months as investments continue to grow. It will serve as the measurement centerpiece by analyzing customer data from all touch-points and integrating with our ad products to drive marketing effectiveness.
  • Google Attribution 360, formerly known as Adometry, has been rebuilt from the ground up to help advertisers value marketing investments and allocate budgets with confidence. Marketers can analyze performance across all channels, devices, and systems to achieve their most effective marketing mix. 
Achieve more with your Google media

The Google Analytics 360 Suite offers integrations with many third party data providers and platforms. It also plugs right into Google AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing, our core ad technology. That means marketers can turn analytics into action by combining their own data from multiple sources ― website data, audience data, and customer data (e.g. CRM) and more ― and using it to make ads more relevant for people.

The Google Analytics 360 Suite has a native integration with DoubleClick — that’s a game-changer. Now I can personalize my media based on website user behaviors, such as what they purchase,” said Khoi Truong, Director of Media and Data Optimization at L’Oreal Canada.

When will the Google Analytics 360 Suite launch?

The new products -- Audience Center 360, Optimize 360, Data Studio 360,  and Tag Manager 360 -- are available today in limited BETA. If you're a Google Analytics Premium or Adometry customer, you will see the products renamed in the coming months, and we'll let you know when you're eligible to join the new betas.

This is just the beginning of our ongoing  innovation in enterprise marketing analytics -- we can’t wait to share more. In the meantime, visit our website for more details or hear from directly from our customers below.
Over the coming weeks we’ll dive into the capabilities and benefits of all the new products on the newly refreshed and renamed Google Analytics Solutions blog, and on the Google Analytics Google+ and Twitter pages. We’d love your feedback.

Posted by Paul Muret, Vice President of Analytics, Display, and Video Products, Google

Source: Forrester Research, Inc. Discover How Marketing Analytics Increases Business Results

Source: Inside AdWords


Use Smart Goals, powered by Google Analytics, to optimize in AdWords

To advertise smart, you have to measure smart.  And a key metric for almost any business is conversions, also known as “that moment when users do the thing that you want them to do.”

Many AdWords advertisers are already measuring their website conversions, using either AdWords Conversion Tracking or imported Google Analytics Ecommerce transactions.  Measuring actual conversions is ideal, because it allows you to optimize your bids, your ads and your website with a clear goal in mind.

However, hundreds of thousands of small and medium businesses aren't measuring their website conversions today.  Some businesses may not have a way for users to convert on their website and others may not have the time or the technical ability to implement conversion tracking.

The Google Analytics team is committed to helping our users use their data to drive better marketing and advertising performance.  So, for businesses that don’t measure conversions in AdWords today, we’ve created an easy-to-use solution: Smart Goals. Smart Goals help you identify the highest-quality visits to your website and optimize for those visits in AdWords.
"Smart Goals helped us drive more engaged visits to our website. It gave us something meaningful to optimize for in AdWords, without having to change any tags on our site. We could tell that optimizing to Smart Goals was working, because we had higher sales than usual across our channels during the testing period." - Richard Bissell, President/Owner, Richard Bissell Fine Woodworking, Inc

How Smart Goals Work

To generate Smart Goals, we apply machine learning across thousands of websites that use Google Analytics and have opted in to share anonymized conversion data.  From this information, we can distill dozens of key factors that correlate with likelihood to convert: things like session duration, pages per session, location, device and browser.  We can then apply these key factors to any website.  The easiest way to think about Smart Goals is that they reflect your website visits that our model indicates are most likely to lead to conversions.

Step 1: Activate Smart Goals in Google Analytics

To activate Smart Goals in Google Analytics, simply go to the Admin section of your Google Analytics account, click Goals (under the View heading) and select Smart Goals.  The highest-quality visits to your website will now be turned into Smart Goals automatically.  No additional tagging or customization is required; Smart Goals just work.

To help you see how Smart Goals perform before you activate them, we’ve built a Smart Goals report in the “Conversions” section of Google Analytics.  The behavior metrics in this report indicate the engagement level of Smart Goals visits compared to other visits, helping you evaluate Smart Goals before you activate the feature.
Step 2: Import Smart Goals into AdWords

Like any other goal in Google Analytics, Smart Goals can be imported into AdWords to be used as an AdWords conversion.  Once you’ve defined a conversion in AdWords, you’re able to optimize for it.
Step 3: Optimizing for Smart Goals in AdWords

One of the benefits of measuring conversions in your Adwords account is the ability to set a target cost per acquisition (CPA) as opposed to just setting a cost per click (CPC).  If you aren’t measuring actual conversions today, importing Smart Goals as conversions in Adwords allows you to set a target CPA.  In this way, you’re able to optimize your Adwords spend based on the likelihood of conversion as determined by our model.

Smart Goals will be rolling out over the next few weeks. To be eligible for Smart Goals, your Google Analytics property must be linked to your AdWords account(s).  Learn how to link your Google Analytics property to your AdWords account(s) in the Analytics Help Center or the AdWords Help Center.  Note that your Google Analytics view must receive at least 1,000 clicks from AdWords over a 30-day period to ensure the validity of your data.

Posted by Abishek Sethi, Software Engineer, and Joan Arensman, Product Manager

Source: Inside AdWords


Introducing new interactive ads to drive app installs

Developers are constantly looking for new ways to bring users to their apps. But because people’s attention on mobile is becoming shorter and more intent-rich, finding engaged users of your app is an ongoing challenge — both before and after an install. In fact, we found that one in four installed apps is never even used. We’ve focused our efforts on offering developers advertising tools that engage users and showcase an app at its best. We recently redesigned one of our in-app ad formats, and are building on our desire to create beautiful app ad experiences. That’s why today we’re introducing two new rich, immersive ad formats to our growing suite of creative app install solutions.

Play a game within an ad with Trial Run Ads
Trial Run Ads are an app ad format that lets a user play a game for up to 60 seconds by streaming content from the app before downloading. The immersive demo increases the likelihood that an install is coming from someone who enjoys playing the game. Users get a taste of the game before going through the download process,  and the app developer attracts better qualified users who’ve chosen the game based on their experiences in the app.

Trial Run Ads provide:
  • Ultra-immersive and delightful ads designed for games
  • The opportunity for gamers to trial before download 
  • More relevant ad clicks, app downloads, and pre-qualified app users
Cookie Jam's Trial Run Ad
Get ultra-creative with customized mobile ads
We’re also launching a beta for Interactive Interstitial ads, which are HTML5 ads that offer a completely customized user experience tailored to each advertiser's app. They give advertisers creative freedom to use HTML5 instead of standard templates and pull in data dynamically. Diversity potential is high with this format and it's not limited to just gaming apps. Interactive Interstitials offer a truly custom experience that can include your app’s value proposition and the functionalities you want to highlight, all painted in your personal branding strategy. This is particularly valuable for advertisers who are looking for higher user engagement in installers.

Interactive Interstitials provide:
  • A beautiful and flexible canvas for the advertiser to become truly creative
  • Unique testing and optimization capabilities
  • The opportunity to bring a piece of the app experience to the user before download
  • Unique brand building possibilities
Marketers are already taking advantage of these engaging ads to drive app installs. Zalora built a an ad that allowed users to swipe to discover an exclusive offer.
Zalora's Interactive Interstitial allows users to use a finger to
swipe a screen to discover a special promotion.
Customization can be as big or small as you want — from adjusting standard templates to developing a fully custom creative. Marketers can also use their live app content to create compelling, real time ad formats. With more control over layout and interaction, you can A/B test creatives and try various CTAs to increase conversions. Rather than just telling a user about your app, you can offer them an experience unique to your app that inspires them to want to spend time with your app.

Advertisers can use Interactive Interstitials to showcase their latest product offerings through galleries, highlight elements of their personal branding, and to more powerfully demonstrate the value of their app before someone installs.
Zalora showcases a gallery of products that users can
swipe through in its Interactive Interstitial ad.
We understand that experiences on mobile need to be made for mobile, and an ad is no different. We’re continually exploring new and better ways to build out interactive formats for the small screen.

Trial Run Ads and Interactive Interstitials are currently in beta and available to a limited set of advertisers. Reach out to your account manager if you are interested in joining the betas.

Posted by Sissie Hsiao, Director of Product, Display and Pasha Nahass, Product Manager, Display

Source: Inside AdWords


Introducing Google Compare for U.S. mortgages

Buying a home is a major financial decision — so when it comes to getting a mortgage, people want an easy way to understand and compare their options online. That’s why we added a mortgage calculator to organic search earlier this year. Yet nearly 1 in 2 borrowers still don’t shop around for their mortgage and often feel like they don’t have enough information to make an educated choice.1 To help them make confident, more informed financial decisions, we’re introducing the newest addition to our suite of Google Compare products: mortgages, which we announced earlier this year and is now available in California with more states to follow.
Google Compare for mortgages provides a seamless, intuitive experience that connects lenders with borrowers online. Whether you’re a national lender or one local to California, people searching for mortgages on their smartphone or desktop computer can now find you, along with a real-time, apples-to-apples comparison of rate quotes from other lenders — all in as little as a minute. Borrowers can also see ratings and read helpful reviews, and enter relevant information — like loan amount, estimated credit score, or home value — to receive rate quotes that match their needs. They can then visit your website to apply directly online or over the phone through one of your agents or loan officers.

Here’s what some of our partners are saying:

Zillow Group and Google share the same vision to first and foremost empower consumers with comprehensive access to valuable information that helps them make confident, more informed financial decisions. This partnership allows us the unique opportunity to help borrowers by providing them with the industry’s most accurate, real-time information about home loans and mortgage lenders.” - Erin Lantz, Vice President of Mortgages, Zillow Group.

We’re thrilled to be a part of Google Compare, further helping to connect prospective borrowers with qualified mortgage providers as the transition to online lending accelerates. The choice and convenience offered to consumers is imperative when loan shopping online, and Google Compare makes the process even easier.” - Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO of LendingTree

Participation in Google Compare is based on a flexible cost-per-lead (CPL) model, however payment isn’t a factor in ranking or eligibility. You can learn more about joining Google Compare by reaching out to your Google account team.

Posted by Nicolas Wk, Director of Product Management, Google Compare

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, January 13, 2015

Source: Inside AdWords


Google Helps You Shop Between Holiday Cooking and Tree Trimming

This fall, shopping-related searches on mobile surpassed desktop, signaling a shift from shopping marathons to shopping moments.1 To help shoppers more easily discover, browse and buy on mobile this holiday season, we’ve redesigned Google Shopping to be incredibly fast, seamless, and intuitive.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

Helping shoppers narrow down options

Shoppers often don’t know the exact product they’re interested in — forty-percent of shopping searches are on broad terms — so they turn to search to discover and explore.2 With the new mobile redesign, if a shopper searches for droids, we’ll show the most commonly searched categories to help her narrow down her search. Similarly, if she searches on Google Shopping for tricycles for kids, we’ll show tricycles grouped by attributes that people commonly shop by: features, brand, and price. This gives her the freedom to discover what she might want in a more organized way, while helping drive more qualified traffic to your site.
android_groupby_1_gif.gif  
Browse by Scrolling and Swiping

Once a shopper’s narrowed down her options, she can now easily browse through lots and lots of products without having to load entirely new pages to see more. She can get a feel for a specific product, such as a Lego Starwars Turbo Tank, that she's interested in by tapping on the product, flipping through images, skimming reviews and scanning product info. She can easily swipe to the next product or dig deeper into specs, features, and even videos to learn more about what you offer.
android_infinite_1_gif_colorcorrected1.gif
When she knows exactly what she wants, and searches for a chromecast, for example, we’ll surface more information upfront. She can see which merchants carry the product, which stores have it in-stock, and also get a quick glance at reviews and manufacturer details.
Driving shoppers In-store

Lastly, if she’s out and about it’s important for her to know what products are available nearby. One in four people who avoid stores do so because they don’t know if a product is in-stock.3 Now, if she searches for olaf toys near me or applies the available nearby filter, we’ll show a map of stores closest to her with the toy in-stock.
This new mobile experience makes it easier for shoppers to discover and explore products. To make sure they’re browsing and exploring your products, follow the tips in our Holiday Shopping Readiness and Holiday Shopping Survival guides.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Karen Corby, Senior Product Manager, Google Shopping

Google Internal Data, shopping-related searches defined by those that trigger a Shopping ad, October 2015. 
Google Data, anonymized, aggregated searches that trigger a Product Listing Ad, US, November, 2015.
Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands, Digital Impact on In-Store Shopping, Published on Think with Google, May 2014.

Source: Inside AdWords