Monthly Archives: February 2010

Census Bureau Launches Map Powered By Google

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today the launch of a new online mapping tool that will detail how well communities responded to the 2000 Census in an effort to raise awareness for the upcoming 2010 Census, according to Web Pro News.

New visitors to the Google-based map can see the 2000 Census mail participation rates or states, countries and cities; as well as smaller areas titled, “census tracts.” Once the 2010 Census forms are in the mail mid-March, the online map will get an update that includes a tracking tool with daily updates of the 2010 Census mail participation rates. Users can then compare their 2010 Census progress using their 2000 Census rates.

“The future of your community starts with a look at its past,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves.

“The 2000 Census map allows communities to see which areas need extra attention and reminders to improve mail participation. We will be challenging communities nationwide to take 10 minutes to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms next month.”

According to the Census Bureau, for every one percent increase in mail response, taxpayers will save an estimated $85 million in federal funds. These funds will be used to send census workers to collect census response in person from households that don’t mail back the form.

As noted by the U.S. Constitution, the once-a-decade census must count every single person living in the U.S. The data will help figure out how more than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to state, local and tribal governments every year. This is money that will go towards roads, hospitals, schools and social services.

Google Trounces Yahoo & Bing In Mobile Search Report

Even though Google is known for domination the search market, the company is no stranger to mobile either. New data from Opera shows that Google has a huge lead over its closers rival.

According to the most recent Opera State of the Mobile Report, Google’s search portal accounts “for more than 9% of all page views on the mobile Web.”

Yahoo can only claim 4.3 percent of page views, which isn’t bad, just not good when compared to Google’s numbers.

To get Bing’s share, Opera had to consider an extra place to the right of the decimal point. The final number was 0.03 percent, which is one three-hundredth of Google’s share.

Don’t worry; Google hasn’t taken over the world, yet. Opera’s co-founder, Jon von Tetzchner, released a statement saying, “While Google performs well globally, we also see several local search engines, such as Yandex in Russia and Ukraine, and Baidu in China, have impressive results in their key markets.”

Local Business Search as Q&A

ChaCha, a human-driven Q&A; search service, launched new functions for local businesses this wee. Now users can get information for more than 15 million businesses in the U.S.

“Across all platforms – mobile (SMS), online and now Facebook – we are up to nearly 20 million unique users per month,” a ChaCha representative told Web Pro News. “Our run rate over the past several months has [averaged] 15 million uniques per month. The user base is split almost half male, half female – with over 80% of users between ages 13 and 24. We also answer over 1 million questions per day, and over 400 million answers have been served.”

With the number of ways to access local business information going up, it’s interesting to know what ChCha will bring to the table that can’t be found on other sources.

“Unique User benefits on ChaCha were the deeper questions, answers and info about the businesses, and in the future, the ability to get mobile coupons, join a businesses mobile lists, get discounts and more,” she said. “These are the ChaCha value-adds over other sources, and features and content will continue to expand.”

So far 2010 has been a big year for local search. Most of which came from search engine giant Google, which can make for some strong competition for anyone. Google started showing mobile users “nearby places,” which allows businesses to post announcements/coupons on their Places Pages, which will also show reviews from more sources, tailoring mobile search recommendations to location and even recommending competitors for local business searches.

Google Calls Off Android Event In Beijing

More than month ago, Google delayed the launch of two Android phones in China. Now the company followed up with their decision to cancel an Android developer event in Beijing.

Note that Google’s claimed that no event was ever planned. According to corporate representatives, gatherings in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan are all that were scheduled to take place in Asia next week.

Both Reuters and the IDG News Services, however, have heard from sources that Google was in fact supposed to meet with developers in Beijing about the Nexus One and Android. Due to the ongoing dispute over hacking and censorship, the company called the event off.

Bizarre Ruling in Italy Threatens Social Media

A judge in Milan, Italy convicted three Google executives over a video that was uploaded to YouTube. This ruling can have major implications for social media. Uploaded in 2006, the video features a group of school kids bullying an autistic child. Google states that the company worked with Italian authorities to help ID the person that was responsible for uploading it and the other participants from the video were sentenced to community service.

Now, Google executives David Drummond, Peter Fleischer and George Reyes (3 out of 4 defendants) were convicted of “failure to comply with the Italian privacy code” and were found not guilty of criminal defamation.

“In essence this ruling means that employees of hosting platforms like Google Video are criminally responsible for content that users upload,” wrote Matt Sucherman, VP and Deputy General Counsel – Europe, Middle East and Africa on the Google Blog. “We will appeal this astonishing decision because the Google employees on trial had nothing to do with the video in question.”

“The video was totally reprehensible and we took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police,” said Sucherman.

“To be clear, none of the four Googlers charged had anything to do with this video,” he said. “They did not appear in it, film it, upload it or review it. None of them know the people involved or were even aware of the video’s existence until after it was removed.”

If a ruling like this again Google was something that would happen more often, how much would this affect the social media industry? Companies like Google, Facebook, MySpace, etc. won’t be able to let their users upload content, which is what social media is all about. Without that, it wouldn’t even exist.

This is why Google is upset about the ruling against its executives, but calls it a “serious threat to the web.”

Advocacy Group Asks DOJ To Probe Google Search Results

Consumer Watchdog called on the Justice Department in order to guarantee its ongoing antitrust probe of Google’s business practices, which includes an investigation into whether or not the company is manipulating its search results in favor of its own products.

The nonprofit advocacy group said they sent a letter to Christine Varney, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Division, once news broke that the European Commission received three complaints against Google alleging that the company manipulated search engine results in an anticompetitive way.

“We know and appreciate that your department is conducting an ongoing antitrust investigation of various business practices by Google, some of that related to the proposed Google Books settlement,” wrote John M. Simpson, consumer advocate.

“Today I write to call upon you to ensure that included in that probe is consideration of how Google may use its search algorithms to manipulate Internet search results to favor its own products.”

With around 70 percent of the search market in the U.S., Consumer Watchdog stated that Google is the most effective as the Internet’s gatekeeper for majority of people. The group said that whether a website is ever visited can depend entirely on where it lands in Google search results.

“As part of your continued antitrust investigation we call on you to shine a light on Google’s black box, and require it to explain what’s behind search results,” Simpson wrote.

“If, as it appears, Google is tweaking results to further its narrow agenda, this anticompetitive behavior must be stopped.”

Xerox Sues Google and Yahoo

It seems Google and Yahoo are getting sued quite a bit without having a good shot at winning. Now, both companies are facing an even bigger lawsuit, as Xerox, which has a market cap of $8 billion and a genuine legal team, is taking them to court.

Xerox is claiming that Google and Yahoo have “infringed” on two patents it holds. Susan Decker explained this morning that, “One patent, issued in 2004, is for a way to automatically generate a query based on keyword searches . . . . The second patent, issued in 2001, is for a way of updating pages based on user reviews.”

Xerox wants to be compensated for Google and Yahoo’s alleged infringement and wants to bar them from using the tech again without its consent.

It’s no surprise to hear that Google and Yahoo aren’t liable to hand over money to Xerox. One of Google’s lawyers already described the claims as being “without merit,” and Carol Bartz isn’t going to back down without a fight.

So, this can turn into an ugly legal battle and AdSense, AdWords, Google Maps, Google Video, YouTube, the Yahoo Publisher Network, Yahoo Search Marketing, Yahoo Shopping, and the Y!Q Contextual Search tool might be affected by the outcome.

Google Upgrades Ad-Serving Product for Publishers

Google announced a new DoubleClick for Publishers. This service is known as the “next generation of ad serving technology for publishers.

“For the past few years, we’ve been investing in a suite of solutions — AdSense, ad-serving technology and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange — to help online publishers make the most money possible from their content, whether they sell advertising directly through their own sales force, through an ad network such as AdSense, or a combination of both,” says Vice President of Product Management Neal Mohan. “For major online publishers — including social networks and online communities, entertainment sites, e-commerce sites and news sites — managing, delivering and measuring the performance of ads on their websites can be a hugely complicated process. A publisher’s ability to manage this process can have a significant impact on how much money they make from their online content.”

The new release will include a new interface, which will save users time and lessen the amount of errors and provide more detailed reporting. Google says it has “sophisticated algorithms” that will automatically improve ad performance and delivery.

DoubleClick for Publishers will also include a new public API that allows publishers to build and integrate their own applications with this service. They could also integrate third party applications create for the service into their own.

DoubleClick for Publishers will be available in two versions, one for large publishers and another for small businesses. The later is free and a lot easier.

Google’s DoubleClick Gets a New Look

Google announced the new release of DoubleClick for publishers, which will be available in two versions (for large and small publishers). The new release also comes with a new logo makeover for the program.

“To reflect our continued investment in DoubleClick’s products, as well as the central role of DoubleClick’s technology products within Google’s display advertising business, we’re also today unveiling some changes to the DoubleClick logos — including typeset changes, incorporating a new ‘by Google’ theme and retiring the ‘DART’ brand,” explains Vice President of Product Management Neal Mohan.

“This is the next generation of Google Ad Manager, bringing many requested features such as a new web services API, an improved user interface, and new reporting capabilities,” says Google Ad Manager Product Manager Alex Vogenthaler. “We will be upgrading all Google Ad Manager accounts to DFP Small Business automatically. GAM users will see the new DFP Small Business name and logo within the product and related resources upon completion of the upgrade. Usernames, passwords, ad delivery data and account data will be unaffected by this change. New customers signing up for Google Ad Manager today will automatically be upgraded on the same schedule as current Ad Manager publishers.”

Google Earth Comes to Android

Google launched its Google Earth for Android, which is only available for the Nexus One. Google calls it the “fastest mobile version of Google Earth yet.”

“As with other versions of Google Earth, you can also browse photos, places, and local businesses, whether it is in your local community or on the far side of the globe,” says Product Manager Peter Birch. “Click on an icon to see photos, videos, and read about prominent places in the world. You can easily customize your version of Google Earth to display the layers that most interest you.”

Google Earth for Android takes advantage of voice recognition that “responds to your every command,” according to Google. “With Google Earth for Android, we have brought together the convenience of Google Search by voice with the power of Google Local Search to make it easier than ever to navigate the globe and find whatever you are looking for,” says Birch.

Google Earth will be available in the Android Market for devices that have Android 2.1 or higher.