News and notes from Google Down Under
Introducing the Australian AdWords Online Classroom
Monday, May 24, 2010
We've just released our latest online training for Australian small- and medium-sized businesses wanting to advertise online: the
AdWords Online Classroom
You can get
, hands-on online training in over a dozen AdWords topics, available for viewing at any time that suits you. To fit with the busy schedules of small business owners, we’ve kept the courses bite-size, usually just 15-20 minutes long.
We have something for everyone, so choose the selection of courses that best suits you, or follow one of our suggested series below depending on your knowledge level:
-- Discover how to
create a successful account
navigate through it
, and then
with the simple, free Conversion Tracking tool.
Improving your Account Performance
-- Review tips for using your
to improve performance, as well as optimization tips for
advertising on relevant websites
-- Take your online conversions to the next level with
, and take your website to the next level of performance with
Our experience with tens of thousands of small business owners has shown that the most successful advertisers are those who invest a bit of their time to improve their knowledge of online advertising and AdWords. We hope that the AdWords Online Classroom will let more Australian businesses use AdWords to connect with customers.
All you'll need to sign up to any of these courses is your AdWords email address and ten digit account number which you can find in the top right of your AdWords account.
See you in class!
Posted by Rich Flanagan, Google Australia AdWords
The Promise of IT
Thursday, May 20, 2010
There has been plenty of talk recently about older bastions of the Australian economy, such as the car industry, the energy industry and others. Yet no other industry has more potential to spur on Australia's future economic growth than information technology (IT).
Over the past few years, the internet has become ingrained in almost everything we do. It has evolved into an essential platform for businesses and communications, and has helped Australia to overcome the "tyranny of distance" by levelling the global playing field for Australian companies and entrepreneurs.
But right now, our focus as a nation on IT is inversely proportionate to IT’s importance and IT’s untapped potential. We face a serious IT trade deficit in Australia, and the number of students graduating with IT degrees is declining.
Australia has the potential to become a global IT leader, but this can only happen if we act now to make IT a top national priority, and encourage our children to embrace the power of an IT education, to foster a new generation of innovators.
The speed, interconnectivity and openness of the Internet inherently produce innovations on a remarkable scale. Cloud computing, user generated content, the mobile web, social networks, online advertising: these are just the beginning of a new, universally accessible web ecosystem driving efficiency in business and opportunities for consumers everywhere. If IT were biology, we're about at the point now where we're discovering the microscope.
Fundamentally, IT fuels the economy like no other technology. It is not only a $85 billion-plus industry that employs over 260,000 Australians; but also an enabler of other industries, generating new opportunities and businesses, new workplace arrangements, and connecting people more quickly and more broadly to get things done.
More than ever before, we need to create fantastic IT opportunities that will keep our talent at home. This effort starts with recharging the imaginations of our children, opening their eyes to endless possibilities of careers in IT. We need computing to join the ranks of reading, writing and arithmetic as an essential in the classroom.
Think how much more powerful our IT industry can be if all our technical pistons are firing at once: enhanced research, development and investment, an open internet and most importantly a world-class skilled workforce.
Part of the current decline in graduates with IT degrees (including Computer Science and Software Engineering) is due to a lingering fear after the dotcom crash that the world of IT is unstable, and jobs unreliable, when in fact the situation is the opposite: the opportunities in IT are boundless and booming, and the choice of career paths is incredibly diverse. Those who do emerge from college and high school with IT degrees are incredibly sought after. Companies are competing heavily with each other for today’s engineering talent, and that competition translates into better jobs and job security for everyone graduating with an IT degree.
There are opportunities in IT to work as part of a large company with global reach, or as part of a small team running with a new and revolutionary idea, or even as an individual developer or web designer--many who have designed Facebook or iPhone apps have sold their ideas for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Often, engineers have the opportunity to experience each of these worlds, and to move between them. From there on, there are opportunities to teach and conduct research, to consult, and even to advise in government.
Many positive steps have already been taken to raise awareness of IT in our schools, but we need more. New, national initiatives are being developed at the Universities of Adelaide and Melbourne, including ventures into puzzle-based learning, problem-solving curricula for computers, and "Integrated Virtual Learning Environments" (IVLE) to help students develop fundamental computing skills.
Universities across Australia have begun to work closely together and are beginning to open up a forum of discussion through the AIIA and the Council of Deans. Fantastic programs like the University of Sydney's National Computer Science Summer School are reaching out to high school students across Australia, posting materials online for access anywhere, and empowering teachers to find new ways of incorporating IT learning in the classroom.
At Google Australia, we're
actively hiring talented engineers
at all levels to work on challenging and exciting problems in geo-spacial technology, cloud computing and collaborative software. This year, we're also sponsoring the inaugural
for Innovation in Computer Science.
We need now to build upon these foundations. Investing in IT education is investing in a stable and prosperous future for all Australians. It's not enough anymore to talk about the benefit's of a digital economy. We need real change, and we need to bring IT to the forefront of our national consciousness. We need to act as a nation to seize this moment, and to inspire that next generation of great imaginations that will lead us in the coming century. We've just discovered the microscope. Imagine where we can go from here.
Editor's note: This opinion piece was first published in the Australian Financial Review
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director Google Australia and New Zealand
At five years, two billion views per day and counting
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
(This is a cross post from the
Official YouTube blog
Five years ago, after months of late nights, testing and preparation, YouTube’s founders launched the first beta version of YouTube.com in May, with a simple mission: give anyone a place to easily upload their videos and share them with the world. Whether you were an aspiring filmmaker, a politician, a proud parent, or someone who just wanted to connect with something bigger, YouTube became the place where you could broadcast yourself.
Over time, these aspirations have created a vibrant and inspiring community that helped transform a murmur of interest into something far greater than any of us ever could have imagined. Today, thanks to you, our site has crossed another milestone: YouTube exceeds over two billion views a day. That’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. television networks combined.
What started as a site for bedroom vloggers and viral videos has evolved into a global platform that supports HD and 3D, broadcasts entire sports seasons live to 200+ countries. We bring feature films from Hollywood studios and independent filmmakers to far-flung audiences. Activists document social unrest seeking to transform societies, and leading civic and political figures stream interviews to the world.
To celebrate our birthday, today we’re launching the
YouTube Five Year channel
. There, you’ll find the “My YouTube Story” project which features people from all over describing how YouTube has changed or shaped their lives.
Please add your own story to the mix! You can upload your video
-- and it may be selected to appear on the channel’s video wall or map.
The channel also hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in our short history. It was tough to pick -- and just scratches the surface of all the amazing things that have happened on YouTube over the years. What else? We’ve asked a handful of luminaries like
to curate playlists showcasing their favorite videos on the subjects they know best. You can also check out
our Infographic here
; it contains lots of neat facts and figures.
Since we never could have predicted all that happened in YouTube’s first five years, we certainly can’t imagine what the future will look like. But we do know there’s a lot more to be done. For instance, we want to make it even easier for you to sort through and find the videos that matter to you. Although the average user spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube, that’s tiny compared to the five hours a day people spend watching TV. Clearly, we need to give you more reason to watch more videos! And we want to give you all the tools and support to make YouTube both your career and your community. After all, this is only the beginning of the video revolution. We’re just getting started.
Posted by the YouTube team
Tips from the AdWords experts: Measure the success of your campaigns
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Over the past few weeks, we've posted
that suggest easy improvements you can make to your AdWords account in response to the top questions we get from Australian small- and medium-sized businesses. This week in our final video of the series, we'll provide you with some guidance for measuring the results of your advertising campaigns and see the progress that your account has made.
With AdWords, you can see how successful your advertising is by monitoring key statistics in your account such as impressions, clicks, and click-through-rate. Going one step further, you can implement our free
tool to monitor which of your clicks translate into a desired action on your website, such as a sale or request for more information. Understanding these statistics will allow you to assess your results and further tweak your campaigns for even better performance.
Take a look at this video to learn how to track and understand your AdWords results in order to fine tune your advertising.
Have you have found this series of videos useful for improving your advertising and growing your business?
Let us know
. We love reading your feedback and will use it to help create future trainings focused on small businesses.
Posted by Posted by Rich Flanagan, Google Australia AdWords team
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
(Editor's note: This is a cross-post from the
Google Enterprise blog
This week Microsoft will take its Office 2010 suite out of beta. If you’re considering upgrading Office with Office, we’d encourage you to consider an alternative: upgrading Office with Google Docs. If you choose this path, upgrade means what it’s supposed to mean: effortless, affordable, and delivering a remarkable increase in employee productivity. This is a refreshing alternative to the expensive and laborious upgrades to which IT professionals have become accustomed.
Google Docs has been providing rich real-time collaboration to millions of users for nearly four years. It lets employees edit and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in the browser from anywhere in the world. We recently made tremendous strides in improving
Google Docs formatting, speed and functionality
, and a growing number of companies are now using it as their primary productivity software.
Of course, you probably already own Office 2003 or 2007 (or maybe Office 2000?), and there’s no need to uninstall them. Fortunately, Google Docs also makes Office 2003 and 2007 better. For example, you can
store any file
– including Microsoft Office documents – in Google’s cloud and share them in their original format (protected, naturally by Google’s
across datacenters). Plus, in the coming months, Google will enable
directly in Office 2003 and 2007, as you can see
Google Docs represents a real alternative for companies: a chance to get the collaboration features you need today and end the endless cycle of “upgrades”. For more information on the choices available to you, check out the summary below. But don’t take our word for it – you can
try Google Docs and the rest of the Google Apps suite for free
. The only thing you have to lose is a server or two.
For further information on Microsoft's offerings and requirements, please reference the Microsoft TechNet articles on
Posted by Matthew Glotzbach, Google Enterprise Product Management Director
Google's new look
Thursday, May 6, 2010
(Editor's note: This is a cross post from the
Official Google Blog
Using Google today, you may have noticed that something feels slightly different — the look and feel of our search results have changed! Today’s metamorphosis responds to the increasing richness of the web and the increasing power of search — revealing search tools on the left and updating the visual look and feel throughout. While we are constantly rolling out small changes and updates, today’s changes showcase the latest evolutions in our search technology, making it easier than ever to find exactly what you're looking for.
What’s new and what’s changed?
We’ve added contextually relevant, left-hand navigation to the page. This new side panel highlights the most relevant search tools and refinements for your query. Over the past three years, we've launched
Search Options panel
, and it’s those three technologies that power the left-hand panel.
Universal Search helps you find the most relevant types of results for your search. The top section of the new left-hand panel builds on Universal Search by suggesting the most relevant genres of results for your query and letting you seamlessly switch to these different types of results. The “Everything” option remains our essential search experience with different types of results integrated into the main results, but now you can also easily switch to just the particular type of results you are looking for.
Our expandable Search Options panel launched last spring brought many rich slice-and-dice tools to search. The new left-hand navigation showcases these tools and enables you to get a different view of your results. Perhaps you’d like to see images from each of the results or just the newest information? These options are all on the left, and our technology will suggest the tools that are most relevant and helpful to your query.
Google Squared (available on Google Labs) helps you find and compare entities. Our “Something different” feature builds on the technology in Google Squared to find other entities that are related to your query, so you can easily explore not only the results for your current query but other related topics.
In addition to the left-hand side changes, we’ve updated our look and feel in terms of our color palette and our logo. These changes are slight, keeping our page minimalist and whimsical, but make our overall look more modern.
The new design refreshes and streamlines the look, feel and functionality of Google, making it easier to pinpoint what you’re looking for. It’s powerful, yet simple. Today’s changes are the latest in our continuing efforts to evolve and improve Google. We've been testing these changes with users over the past few months, and what we're launching today reflects the feedback we've received. We want to ensure that the Google you use today is better than the one you used yesterday, and these latest changes open up many possibilities for future features and enhancements.
To hear more about our new design, check out this video:
Our new interface begins rolling out today globally across 37 languages.
Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience
Privacy is alive and well at Google
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
(Editor's note: Yesterday
the New Zealand Herald ran this article
by Google Privacy Engineering Lead Alma Whitten, about Privacy Awareness Week - we're reposting it here for you to enjoy).
This week marks
Privacy Awareness Week
, the annual effort to put the spotlight on all things privacy-related. At Google, we're thinking about privacy every single day, across every level of our company. Why? Because privacy is both good for people who use our services and critical for our business.
Google, like any company, needs to make a profit to stay in business. But we know that the only way to stay in business is to give people what they want. They want useful products that make their lives easier - products that help them get where they're going, keep in touch with their family, or find the right recipe for dinner. Most people are willing to provide some basic data, such as their current location, their e-mail address, or their food preferences, in order to find the information they're looking for and get great service. But it's a reasonable expectation that with sharing that information comes real control over the data they've provided, and the information they receive.
At Google, real control means choice and transparency. For choice, we work hard to give users a range of detailed options for our different products. With transparency, users should know what information we collect when they use our products and services, why we collect it and how we use it to improve the overall experience. If we fail to provide choice and transparency, we fail to provide real control. And with no control, our users will simply leave. After all, there's nothing to stop people switching to another search engine.
This is why we recently launched the
, which shows information connected to a Google Account for products like Gmail, Picasa and Web Search. It also provides links for people to control their own privacy settings, empowering them to decide what to share, what to keep private, and what to delete.
Data Liberation Front
is a group of engineers dedicated to ensuring people rightfully have control over the information they store with us, empowering them to move or even export information offline altogether. Yes, it means users can take information they previously stored with us and then put it in a competing service, but that's what control really is about. Other examples include our Chrome browser, which includes an
for users to browse privately and our move this January to
encrypt Gmail by default
, becoming the first major email provider to do so.
All that said, we're not perfect. When we launched Google Buzz recently, some users let us know they weren't happy. So our engineers worked around the clock and within 48 hours we had made significant product changes. Now, instead of automatically creating a list of followers, we suggest people for Buzz users to follow. We also made it easier for people to block others from following them. And we added a tab to Gmail settings making it easier to hide Buzz or disable it completely. We also sent out a confirmation page to early Buzz users giving them another opportunity to understand and
reconfirm their settings
. These are the kind of updates and improvements we're making to all our products all the time, from e-mail to search to mobile because control is what our users want and deserve. And it's what we want to provide.
Privacy is not just a matter for internet users. Or Governments. Nor can Google do it alone. Ensuring real privacy control in our ever-changing world is one of the most important challenges our society faces, and it's a challenge that will take all of us - companies, advocates, academics, policy makers and users - working together. Together, we must find new and better ways to guarantee privacy today and for the future.
Privacy is alive and well. At Google, we're working to keep it that way.
Posted by Alma Whitten, Privacy Engineering Lead, Google
Tips from the AdWords experts: Improve your ads to capture more customers
Monday, May 3, 2010
Australian business owners tell us that they use AdWords to stand out from the pack. The best way to do this? Write must-click ads. The four lines of text in your AdWords ads are one of the best ways to make your business more appealing than the competition. Potential customers may choose to visit your website over your competitors' based largely on what you say in your ads. If your ads don't distinguish your site or really sell your message, then you're probably missing out on valuable sales.
To help you think about your ads from a prospective customer's perspective, we've put together the following video with tips for making your ads more appealing to your customers. Some of the suggestions you’ll discover include putting your
keywords in your ads
and a strong
call-to-action in the ad
, and making sure that the ad
to the web page with more information on the advertised product or service.
Check it out, and then sign into your AdWords account and make sure that your ads are working as hard as possible to win you customers!
Did you find this video useful as a starting point to optimise your ads?
Let us know
. If you'd like to find out more about ad text optimisation, visit the
AdWords Help Centre
Posted by Rich Flanagan, Google Australia AdWords team
Privacy Awareness Week
Monday, May 3, 2010
It’s Privacy Awareness Week - a good time for a check up on your privacy settings.
At Google we are keenly aware of the trust that you place in us, and of our responsibility to protect your privacy. We make privacy a priority because it’s a core part of Google's culture and because our business depends on it.
We have five
that describe how we approach privacy and user information across all of our products:
Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
Make the collection of personal information transparent.
Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
Be a responsible steward of the information we hold.
At Google, we strive to design products that give you real and meaningful control -- this means choice and transparency.
has information and videos that explain in plain English what data Google stores and how we use it to provide you with services like Gmail, Search and more.
The Privacy Centre also contains information about privacy settings you can choose when you use our products. For example in our Chrome browser, you can choose to browse privately by selecting
, and since January we
encrypt Gmail by default
, becoming the first major email provider to do so.
From the Privacy Centre or from your account, you can link to the Google Dashboard (
) which lets you take a look at your privacy settings and control the data associated with your Google Account.
And, if at any time you want to stop using a Google product, we do our best to make it easy for you to leave. Through the Data Liberation project (
) we work hard to make sure you can export any data that you create in (or import into) a Google product.
Why not take a moment to review your privacy settings?
Posted by Ishtar Vij, Policy Counsel, Google Australia and New Zealand
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