Posts Tagged ‘Google’
The new format allows user to compare multiple relevant offers and make ads more useful for users. Comparison ads also helps advertisers reach the people who are most interested in their products and services said the announcement.
As an example, Google uses a mortgage scenario where users searching for “mortgage” may see a promotion from Comparison Ads prompting them to select the type of loan they’re looking for and to compare rates offered.
If users click the promotion, they’re taken to a page with more detailed sponsored results. They can choose directly from the offers listed on that page, or they can further refine their search by providing additional information like income and home value.
By giving users the ability to refine their search on a number of relevant attributes, Google says it can show more targeted ads and provide its customers with more valuable leads.
Advertisers will only pay when a user calls the phone number on the business offer (Google will provide to track) or fills out a form to request a quote.
While Comparison Ads is still an early-stage feature, Google is focusing on a number of ways to enhance the user experience:
- Speed — Comparison Ads shows targeted offers in less than a second. There are no long forms for users to fill out – Users see specific offers immediately and only need to fill in additional information if they wish to further refine their results.
- Transparency — Comparison Ads only shows real products. There are no teaser rates, or bait and switch offers. Comparison Ads also standardizes the information presented to users, making it easy for them to sort and compare offers on a side by side basis.
- Privacy — Comparison Ads won’t send advertisers any user information, including anonymized phone numbers, unless the user explicitly requests more information about an advertiser’s offer.
Why is this a big deal for the reverse mortgage industry? Google has provided targeted traffic for lead providers like Bills.com and Lendingtree through its search engine which they use to generate leads for reverse mortgage lenders. In a way, Comparison Ads take the “middle man” out of the equation and allow the advertiser (lender) to reach consumers directly through the search engine.
Comparison Ads also provides advertisers with a Cost per Acquisition (CPA) model where they no longer pay for clicks like the traditional AdWords model. Now, lenders will only pay when an action (phone call, form filled out) is completed.
However, reverse mortgage lead providers don’t seem all that worried. One company that spends a significant amount of money using Google Adwords to generate leads told RMD it’s skeptical of how much an impact the new format will have because reverse mortgage lenders don’t compete nearly as much on rate as most “forward” lenders.
While the new format is only being shown to a small amount of users in certain states, Google says it will increase the number of users who see Comparison Ad offers as well as the number of advertisers able to participate.
Currently, it only allows traditional direct mortgage lenders (non-reverse mortgage) to participate. You can see an example of how it will look at the link below.
Google is launching a new product today that will allow users to find recently updated public online postings by a person’s network of friends, colleagues or media sources.
The goal of “Social Search,” available starting this afternoon at www.google.com/experimental, is to find relevant postings on Twitter, in blogs or other public web content published by a user’s circle of online colleagues.
Social Search would highlight content posted by those people every time a user does a Google search.
“We want to return a lot more relevant results to users, results that are either offered or linked by their social circle,” said Google Fellow Amit Singhal.
A Social Search query for “Bridge School Benefit,” Neil Young’s annual acoustic fundraiser in Mountain View, wouldn’t just produce the home page for the concert. It would also highlight any tweets, blog postings or newspaper reviews produced by a user’s designated network of friends or media souces.
Google considers today’s launch an experiment and is asking users for feedback. But the company says the results it had using Social Search internally were “exciting” because they allow web users to save time by finding content posted by the people or sources they are most interested in.
Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for search products and user experience, demonstrated a version of Social Search at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco last week. “I think it demonstrates our commitment to innovating in search,” Mayer said last week.The new product, executives said, is “completely separate” from the agreement Google announced last week to make available up-to-the-minute search results of Twitter postings. However, content available through that Twitter deal could be used to improve Social Search down the road.
For the lovers of the iPhone, it’s like daddy and mommy are getting a divorce. If that wasn’t the case–if Apple and Google weren’t calling it quits–why would Apple buy a mapping company?
Steve, tell us it isn’t so!
The tight integration between the iPhone and Google, especially its mapping products, is a big part of why people love their iPhones. Hearing the Apple has bought its own mapping company, Placebase, is unsettling.
The deal, which supposedly happened in July, added talent to a supposed “Geo” unit inside Apple. Nothing wrong with that, but before Apple starts messing with Google Maps on iPhones, it needs to think very seriously about the consequences.
If a new Apple mapping product is to replace Google Maps, it needs to be done by offering customers a choice of mapping providers. If Apple is good enough, people will switch and eventually the rest can be moved over by force, if necessary. But, only after Apple Maps does everything that Google Maps does–and then some.
There are reasons why this may be a much ado about very little. Apple can find plenty of location-based applications or features to add to iPhone and Mac OS that could run on top of Google Maps. New mapping apps might use new Apple technology while the existing ones could remain on Google Maps and be improved upon.
There doesn’t have to be a conflict here, but we’re sure Apple and Google aren’t as chummy as they once were. Apple’s penchant for secrecy makes matters worse and leads to speculation that perhaps exceeds reality.
As for Placebase, the Los Angeles startup was founded to sell a mapping system to businesses, which is hard to do when Google offers such a service free. GigaOm has a nice story that explains what founder Jaron Waldman hoped to accomplish. Here is an example of Placebase and its PushPin Java API in action at a site called PolicyMap.
Waldman’s LinkedIn profile says he now works at Apple, after four years at Placebase.
There is a strong possibility that Apple didn’t actually buy Placebase, just hired Waldman (and others?) when the company failed. That’s the rumor inside the mapping business and makes as much sense as anything else. Regardless, Waldman’s arrival at Apple demonstrates that the company is seriously interested in mapping.
There is much to be done in the mapping space and Google has brought tremendous value to the iPhone with its cool mapping application. Apple is rarely a stupid company, so I have to guess it will think long before dumping Google Maps for something created in-house.
While Apple may someday offer a mapping platform of its own, the company would be wise to remain tied to Google until it has something truly incredible to offer.
Google Maps will be much easier to add value to than for Apple to beat.
Generally you can trust the ads on Google to at least be safe. But that’s not the case right now for the top ad being served on the query “Firefox.”
The top ad says it is linking to “Firefox ® OfficiaI Sit?” at the URL www.mozilla.com/firefox/. And that is indeed the official Mozilla Firefox site. But the link actually goes to the much more sinister firefox.mozilla-now.com, a site that dishonestly tries to get users to pay up to $2.50/month for an ongoing subscription to “24/7 Expert Customer Support” (a screenshot of the landing page is below). The credit card provider is based in the Netherlands.
Even advanced users who hover over the link won’t know what’s up before they click, due to Google’s ad redirect URL.
Most savvy Internet users will know this is a con as soon as visiting the site, but a all those middle-America Yahoo users may not know any better, particularly since they were just told it was the Firefox official site. It just goes to show that not even the stuff Google publishes can always be completely trusted.
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Apple told the Federal Communications Commission last month that it hadn’t rejected Google Voice for the iPhone. Google’s new phone service hasn’t yet been approved for the iPhone app store, but Apple said it is still studying it.
Google, Apple and AT&T Inc. (T) all were asked by the FCC about reports that Google Voice had been rejected for the iPhone store. The iPhone is carried exclusively on AT&T’s network, which allows the telecommunications company to subsidize the cost of the phone.
Google originally kept confidential its response to the FCC’s question about the company’s discussions with Apple. But Google notified the FCC on Thursday that it was lifting its request for confidential treatment.
In a blog posting Friday, Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel Richard Whitt said the company at first asked the FCC to redact that portion of its letter because it “involved sensitive commercial conversations between two companies.”
According to the now-unredacted parts of Google’s letter, Apple informed the company July 7 that it was rejecting the Google Voice application for the iPhone. “Apple believed the application duplicated the core dialer functionality of the iPhone,” Google’s letter said.
Apple told the FCC last month that Google Voice “appears to alter the iPhone’s distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone’s core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface.”
Apple didn’t redact any portions of its letter.
Whitt said several people submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the FCC for access to Google’s redacted content.
“In light of Apple’s decision to make its own letter fully public and in the interest of transparency, we decided to drop our request for confidentiality,” he said.
The unredacted version of Google’s letter to the FCC was posted on the FCC Web site Friday.
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) on Monday launched an enhancement to Bing that allows users of the search engine to find certain items by viewing images instead of sifting through pages of text-based Internet links.
For instance, a search on HDTVs yields rows of images of flat-panel televisions. The results can be grouped by manufacturer, display technology, screen size, and resolution. Similarly, a query on new cars renders pictures of various models that are sortable by automaker, mileage, price, and vehicle type.
At present, Bing’s visual search engine is in the beta stage and is limited to several search categories predetermined by Microsoft. But company officials believe the technology has big potential and could help Microsoft close the gap with market leader Google.
“It’s clear that images play a big part in helping consumers with a variety of search activities,” said Bing product manager Todd Schwartz, in a blog post Monday. A study by Microsoft found that consumers can process image results 20% faster than text-only search results, according to Schwartz.
“Visual search is a new way to formulate and refine your search queries through imagery, particularly for sets of results that tend to be more structured,” wrote Schwartz. “What you’ll see is an amazing new visual search experience,” said Schwartz.
Bing’s visual search capability, which is powered by Microsoft’s Silverlight Web display technology, is the latest sign that Redmond is pulling out all the stops in its effort to catch Google. The company in July announced a far-reaching deal with Yahoo under which Bing will become the primary search engine on Yahoo’s Web properties while Microsoft gains the right to add search technology previously developed by Yahoo to Bing.
Still, Microsoft has, to put it mildly, its work cut out. Google holds about 83% of the worldwide search market, according to the most recent numbers from market watcher Net Applications. Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) holds 7%, while Microsoft, mostly through Bing, owns a mere 3.5%.
Microsoft isn’t giving up. In his blog, Schwartz said the software maker will roll out more new Bing features—including additional visual search capabilities–in the coming months.
A new report on consumer satisfaction with search engines and Internet portals says we like them more they now than this time last year. Of the major engines, only last-place AOL improved its score. The big winner? “All others.”
The American Consumer Satisfaction Index compares customer satisfaction among and across a number of companies and e-business and other sectors. It was released earlier today.
In the quarterly rankings, conducted since 2000, all the major search engines/portals have improved their scores over time, with only Ask.com and AOL now below their highest historic rankings.
Overall, Google leads the pack, with an 86 percent satisfaction rating, the same as last year. Ranked number 2 is “all others” with 78 percent, up 2.6 percent from a year ago. AOL improved by 1.4 percent to a 70 percent satisfaction rating. (See chart for details).
The survey was conducted before the announcement of Microsoft’s Bing search engine as well as the deal that replaces Yahoo search with Bing.
Among the industries surveyed, Internet Portals & Search Engines did quite well, with an overall 83 percent satisfaction rate, up 3.8 percent from last year, based on the strong showing by “all others” and the 1.4 percent improvement by AOL.
Internet News and Information ranked 71.5 percent overall satisfaction. Only USA Today showed improvement, up 1.4 percent to 74 precent. The category leader was “all others” at 75 percent. That left the New York Times, MSNBC, and ABCNews sites all showing significant decreases in consumer satisfaction over the past 12 months.
Comparing tech to other industries: Automobiles received an 84 percent satisfaction rating; Electronics (TV/DVD/VCR) 83 percent; and Major Appliances, 81 percent.
Over the past few months, Google has been working on optimizing its search engine architecture for better, faster results. For some this may seem ridiculous: isn’t Google already the fastest and most reliable search engine out there? Perhaps, but Google isn’t about to rest on its laurels; it’s committed to evolution.
The secret project is named Caffeine — a wink at its speed increase — and is designed to “push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and other dimensions.” Right now anybody can try out its coffee-amped powers. But don’t expect a mind-blowing spectacle of change: Caffeine’s tweaks are all under the hood. I Googled myself using both Caffeine and the ordinary search and found no difference between the two. “Most users won’t notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we’re opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback,” Google wrote in a blog post.
If you’re dissatisfied with your new and improved search results, Google wants to know. Check out the bottom of your search page and you’ll see a link asking “Dissatisfied? Help us improve.” Click there and submit feedback on Caffeine. Google is always looking to improve its systems — hence why everything stays in beta forever — and could use a shout-out.
Matt Cutts, a Google software engineer, worked on Caffeine before its release and gave some Q&A on his blog. Cutts even answers the question that is likely on many minds: is Google giving itself a makeover in response to Microsoft’s Bing? The answer is no. “I love competition in search and want lots of it, but this change has been in the works for months,” Cutts wrote. “I think the best way for Google to do well in search is to continue what we’ve done for the last decade or so: focus relentlessly on pushing our search quality forward.”
I’m not sure I believe that statement. Yes, Google has undoubtedly been working on Caffeine for months, but Microsoft has been building Bing for a while, too.
The test of Caffeine’s success rests on whether or not people will care and understand, and if the changes prove more substantial than a few additional pages of faster results.
Google’s new Latitude Web app for iPhone is so hamstrung that Apple customers may be wishing they had a BlackBerry or Android handset instead. Why? Because lacking multitasking, Latitude really isn’t Latitude.
Google Latitude iPhoneHere’s what the free Google Latitude service does: It allows you to make your location available to other users in near real-time. On the color BlackBerry models, Android, Symbian/Nokia, and Windows Mobile–lets call these “real” mobile platforms–this is done constantly and in the background.
This is how God–and Google–intended Latitude to work: Without user attention or intervention. And this is the functionality that iPhone users have been waiting on for months, only to receive a third-rate version of a first-rate application.
But, there’s more: On the iPhone and iPod touch, Latitude isn’t even given application status, but is delivered as a Web application in the Safari browser.
I have a number of potential uses for Latitude in my business and volunteer lives. This is an app I’d been anxiously waiting for, smug in my knowledge that my iPhone was always the better platform.
I’d even imagined that Apple would open up multitasking on the iPhone, just for their Google buddies, if no one else.
Obviously, I was wrong–and I’m also disappointed. Which is bad news if other platforms that turn multitasking into a key feature they have (and iPhone lacks).
On its Google Mobile blog, the company bravely tried to turn this lemon into lemonade. First the bad news:
“Unfortunately, since there is no mechanism for applications to run in the background on iPhone (which applies to browser-based web apps as well), we’re not able to provide continuous background location updates in the same way that we can for Latitude users on Android, Blackberry, Symbian and Window Mobile.”
Followed by the lame attempt at a save:
“Nevertheless, your location is updated every time you fire up the app and then continuously updated while the app is running in the foreground. And, of course, you can check in on where your friends are, so we think there’s plenty of fun to be had with Latitude.”
In other words, Google expects the iPhone to be a mostly one-way Latitude device, used to find your friends all the time, but able to send your location only when Safari is the foreground application.
That’s not plenty enough fun for me. I want a tool, not a toy.
OK, I won’t junk my iPhone over this, but my love is diminished. And maybe my anger shouldn’t be directed at Apple. Perhaps, Latitude generates enough network traffic that AT&T put the kibosh on it.
Either way, my smug iPhone superiority has been pierced and now I have to make excuses to my friends who use Latitude on platforms that support it properly.
This seems like a small thing, but it has me thinking that someday my next device won’t be an iPhone.
Good work, AT&T and Apple!
(For the record, here a list of the handsets that Latitude supports, besides Apple: Android-powered devices, such as the T-Mobile G1, most color BlackBerry devices, most Windows Mobile 5.0+ devices, and most Symbian S60 devices such as Nokia smartphones.)
Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Bing posted higher search-engine growth on a weekly basis in June than its three main rivals, according to online Web site measurement researcher Hitwise, though Google Inc. (GOOG) continued to distance itself from its rivals.
The software giant’s search engine has gained market share on a weekly basis since it was launched last month, going from 3.4% in the first week of the month to 6.63% by month’s end, according to Hitwise. Microsoft, long an also-ran to Google, is hoping Bing becomes a bigger player in the lucrative online-advertising arena.
Still, Google accounted for 74% of all U.S. searches conducted for the four weeks ended June 27, up fractionally from May and the prior year’s 69%. Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) accounted for 16% last month, up a bit from May but down from 20% last June. Microsoft’s sites dipped a bit from both periods, to 5.3%, while IAC/Interactive Corp.’s (IACI) Ask.com slid to 3.2%.
Longer search queries have increased in popularity over the past year, said Hitwise. It noted average searches of five to more than eight words in length increasing 8% from a year ago. Searches of eight or more words increased 16%. At the same time, shorter search queries – those averaging one to four words long – fell 2%.