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Google Weblog
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Google Search Results for iPhone Improved

iPhone 2.x users now get a new Google search results page that is better optimized. The new search features suggestions as you type. Local results include phone number and “Get directions” links to the right of the result, and also include an AJAX map (either linked or if your search is precise, the map will automatically display).

The new search results make Google Search for iPhone even easier to use. Unfortunately, I still cannot get the default search interface inside Safari to return the mobile optimized Google results on my iPhone, so I have to first navigate to www.google.com.

Video after the break…

Read more

Google Alerts Now Available in RSS

Google recently announced the support for RSS in Google Alerts. Previously only available as an email notification, this significantly increases the worth of Google Alerts for me.

I have email alerts setup for some searches (like my name) but there are many more searches I can think of that I wouldn’t want an email alert for. A daily RSS summary would be all that I’d want because of the frequency of the searches.

With RSS results now available, I think a lot more people will be using Google Alerts and the people that are using it will be searching much more.

Does Google care about user privacy, or just public image?

In this post on Mashable, Stan Schroeder questions Google’s motives in their jab to Microsoft about privacy. In the official Google Weblog entry, Google states “Google became the first leading search engine to announce a policy to anonymize our search server logs in the interests of privacy.”

Google has already been anonymizing their logs after 18 months, so this is more of a change than anything new. They’re simply reducing that time to 9 months.

This is a good thing, as it reduces the amount of time that the government or some organization with a court order can obtain access to your search history or website activity on any of Google’s properties. Don’t think it can happen to you? Just take a look at what happened in the recent Viacom case, where Google was ordered to hand over user data, and Viacom demanded that data include the users’ IP addresses, which could be used to identify them.

Viacom caved to the pressure, however, and users’ IP addresses were not given up (this time). But the threat is real, and it’s only a matter of time before a judge in a lawsuit or a government agency forces a company to give up their logs. The fact that Google will only have 9 months of logs on file is definitely a positive, since the average court can often take that long to make it to trial.

So does Google care about user privacy, or just public image? Google’s mantra is “do no evil” and so as a serious Google user I hope they are sincere. Still, as they continue to grow to monolithic proportions, I’m skeptical at how long before they turn to the dark side.

Google Launches Video for Businesses

Google added video to the list of applications inside the premium version of Google Apps. Video for Google Apps allows businesses to share videos securely within their organization using Google Apps.

Companies and employees can upload videos within your Google Apps intranet, and videos are searchable and sharable only within the organiztion. Videos can be shared selectively or with the whole company.

Some uses of Video for Google Apps might include:

Here is an overview of the product from Google:

Google Ad Planner Launched

Google recently launched Google Ad Planner, a media planning tool designed to help advertising agency media buyers choose and manage their media buys. According to Google, with Ad Planner you can:

Google Ad Planner helps you identify websites to advertise on by searching popular websites by demographics and interests. Once you have selected various websites to advertise with, you can create a media plan and/or export the data.

Google Insights for Search Shows Trends Over Time

Google just released Insights for Search, a new service that lets you enter one or more keywords and compare their popularity and use over time. Search results include geographical information, related news articles, related searches and rising searches.

The service bears a strong resemblance to Google Trends, with some added features such as the ability to distinguish from similar phrases that mean different things, and added a heatmap showing where concentrations of searches came from.

Google Talk Now Available for iPhone/iPod Touch

Google has released a version of Google Talk optimized for the iPhone/iPod Touch. The new web application will only run in the currently active window, however, and you will not be able to receive messages if you navigate to another window or close the Safari application.

With the release of iPhone/iPod Touch 2.0 software this coming week, I wonder why Google has chosen to spend the time and effort to create a web application instead of a downloadeable native Google Talk application for the iPhone.

There will most certainly be other third-party applications that will allow you to instant message through all your IM accounts (some already available if your iPhone is jailbroken).

Google Shuts Down Cross-Channel Conversion Tracking in Adwords

Google sent an email to Adwords users today notifying them that cross-channel conversion tracking in Adwords will be discontinued on August 25, 2008 and all conversion data and reports will be deleted. See full email below:

Dear AdWords Advertiser,

We regret to inform you that we will no longer be providing cross-channel tracking in your AdWords account beginning August 25, 2008. As of that date, the feature and its related data will be removed from all accounts. If you’d like to keep a copy of your cross-channel conversion data, please make a record of it for yourself before the removal. AdWords conversion tracking will not be affected by this change.

As an alternative to cross-channel tracking, we encourage you to use the free Google Analytics service to track all your online marketing efforts. Analytics offers the same functionality as cross-channel tracking, plus much more. It shows you how people find and explore your site, which keywords are really working, which ad text is the most effective, and where your visitors are dropping off during the conversion process. To get started using Analytics, visit http://www.google.com/analytics/features.html.

If you already have an Analytics account and would like to track your non-AdWords online advertising campaigns, you’ll need to tag your destination URLs with special variables. Visit http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/answer.py?answer=55518 for instructions.

Once cross-channel tracking has been retired, we recommend that you remove the cross-channel tracking code from your site.

We apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause you. If you need further help transitioning from cross-channel tracking, please contact us at http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/request.py?ctx=cuffhelp.

Sincerely,

The Google AdWords Team

——————————————–

Email preferences: You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about the retirement of an AdWords feature.

Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Google Redesigns Search Results for Blackberry

Google has redesigned the search results for Blackberry devices, vastly improving usability, speed and overall design.

Take a look at the video to see the new design:

Google Mobile Community Added to Groups

I’m very excited that Google has added a Google Mobile Community to Google Groups. The group will serve as a place to get help from other members about using Google Mobile products, such as search, Gmail, calendar, and more. Google now has many of its services available for many types of mobile phones.

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