Google Apps Go Offline

Google is taking steps towards offering offline access to its web apps, by offering Gmail offline starting today— and offline Google Calendar and Docs over the next week. Gmail offline, a Chrome Web Store app, will allow users to read, respond, organize and archive email without an Internet connection. The app is powered by HTML5, and is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was also made to function with or without Internet access. As for Google’s other offline apps— Google Calendar allows users to view events and RSVP to appointments without an Internet connection, while Google Docs allows users to view documents and spreadsheets. Although offline editing isn’t available yet with Google Docs, it may be in the future. To use Google Calendar or Docs offline, simply click on the gear icon that appears in the top…

Google+ Business Profiles Update

Google product manager Christian Oestlien wrote a Google+ blog post on Thursday night indicating that the new social media platform has slightly accelerated the timeframe for business profiles and promises “to have an initial version of business profiles up and running for EVERYONE in the next few months.” Presently, a “tiny handful” of business profiles exist on Google+ “solely for the purpose of testing how businesses interact with consumers.” The Ford Motor Company is one such account that Google+ selected from tens of thousands of businesses applying to take part in the test. Accelerating the process of getting business profiles up and running, writes Oestlien, is a direct result of the overwhelming response from businesses, as is Google’s request that companies refrain from trying to open new accounts before the platform is ready. From the blog post: “In the meantime,…

Google Buys G.CO Domain for Shortened URLs

Google has announced in a blog post that the company has acquired the g.co domain as its new URL shortener for official Google products and services. The move was made to create URLs that are easier for users to remember and more easily distributed across the social Web. Google’s vice president of consumer marketing Gary Briggs writes in the post: In the world of URLs, bigger is not always better. In 2009, we helped shrink up long, unwieldy URLs by launching our public URL shortener, goo.gl. Today, we’re announcing a new URL shortcut that will only link to official Google products and services: g.co. The shorter a URL, the easier it is to share and remember. The downside is, you often can’t tell what website you’re going to be redirected to. We’ll only use g.co to send you to webpages…

What’s New in Google Product Feeds?

Google announced several important changes to its product search feed specification this week. If you’re an Internet retailer and use Google Product Search as a channel to promote products, the developments should be top of mind. The changes relate primarily to providing shoppers with more accurate and “fresher” information. Google is now requiring merchants to show availability of products, include the appropriate Google product category, and is making the image link mandatory as well. For retailers selling apparel, merchants will need to include information such as size and color as well as for whom the product is designed (age and gender). Perhaps the most important aspect of the announcement was that starting September 22, 2011, Google will take “taking action” against accounts with feeds targeting the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany that do not comply with the…

Google +1 Reporting with Webmaster Tools

Last week was a busy one for Google, and summer vacationing Webmasters may have missed the global release of +1 buttons to Google search sites, as well as the introduction of the Google+ project. Both are key elements to Google’s social networking initiative, designed to compete directly with Facebook by making it easier for users to connect with friends and colleagues online. The +1 button aims to bring recommendations from friends and trusted contacts into actual Google searches – potentially giving it similar weight for marketers as the Facebook Like button. Google may make up for being late to the party by providing the kinds of analytics that marketers have been yearning for in the social space. Late last week, the company released a number of reports within Google Webmaster Tools that will show website owners the actual value that…

Convert SWF Files to HTML5 with Swiffy

Google has released the first version of Swiffy, a Google Labs product that converts SWF files (Flash) to HTML5. Users only need to upload a SWF file and Swiffy produces an HTML5 version which runs in modern browsers with lots of SVG support such as Chrom and Safari. While Swiffy won’t convert all Flash content, it seems to work well for ads and basic animations. Google provides several example of SWF files converted through Swiffy. Check out the Google Chrome ad and Symphony Orchestra ad for examples. According to Google, Swiffy uses a compact JSON representation of the animation, which is rendered using SVG and a bit of HTML5 and CSS3. ActionScript 2.0 is also present in the JSON object, and is interpreted in JavaScript in the browser. This representation makes the Swiffy animations almost as compact as the original…

Google Mobile and Places Integration

Google has been focusing heavily on mobile and local search recently and released two features today which help further its prominence in these arenas. Google added new “shortcuts” (see image below) to commonly searched local categories e.g. restaurants, bars, coffee shops, on the mobile Google homepage. Selecting these icons will send the visitor to a results page which displays a map with markers of the users current location and nearby places. Users will be able to scroll through the results while the map remains constant at the top of the page and will adjust to the listing being viewed. Other Places directories, like ATMs, fast food, and gas stations, can also be searched locally. Another feature introduced today is a way for users to build longer, more complicated (specific) searches. Users can essentially now add suggested phrases to the search…

Google’s “20.5” Hour Blogger Meltdown

Millions of blog publishers using Google’s Blogger.com service were unable to use the service mid-afternoon Thursday (including Google itself). Service has since been restored after 20.5 hours of issues. According to Google, during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, the service experienced some “data corruption” that impacted its behavior. As the near 24-hour long meltdown continued, bloggers and readers were experiencing a variety of anomalies including “intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages” according to the official announcement post. Google did indicate that a small subset of Blogger users (estimated at 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday Google rolled back to a pre-maintenance state/version of Blogger – from Wednesday May 2011 – and is currently restoring posts which may have been temporarily removed around that time. WM will provide more information…

Ready for Remarketing? Google says Yep…

Display advertising has the potential to reemerge as an essential promotional technique for online advertisers thanks to remarketing. Google, on its Inside Adwords blog, makes the case today for remarketing on display advertising by showcasing a few advertisers that grew an average of 113% every quarter after launch using the technique: – Yankee Candle Company used remarketing to re-engage shoppers and increased conversion rates by 600% while cutting cost-per-conversion in half. – Lenovo PC manufacturers increased sales by 20% and lowered their overall expense-to-revenue ratio by 14% in a campaign that included remarketing and display across multiple networks. – etrailer.com, an online towing parts retailer, saw twice the click-through-rate at a 75% lower cost-per-click with remarketing compared to their typical display advertising campaigns. Google has made several key enhancements to Adwords remarketing including the ability to show relevant ads right after…

Google’s Stock Plummets

Is Google on the Ropes? Google’s stock is in a tailspin. Since Friday, it’s down about 10 percent, around $522 per share as of this writing. That’s what happens when you miss projections, even though earnings are again on the rise. Earnings of $8.08 missed the mark by two cents and, as reported by Adweek, expenses went through the roof — to the tune of 34 percent. What is Google paying through the nose for? In large part, employees. Out of fear. Apparently Google offered two employees a combined $150 million in stock grants to keep them from defecting to Twitter. It’s not the first time — Google previously offered another employee millions to not join Facebook’s staff. Then, Larry Page did Google no favors by basically ignoring Wall Street’s concerns and questions about the missed earnings and rising expenses….