Developer program makes Nest a focal point for the smart home


by    June 23, 2014 9:00 PM PDT

Nest’s promised developer program is now live, bringing together connected features from Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool, and Logitech to the company’s smart thermostats and smoke detectors.


Nine months after announcing a plan to let third-party products integrate with its line of popularLearning Thermostats and connected smoke detectors, Nest Labs’ Developer Program has announced an impressive first set of partnerships.

The inaugural group of supported third party products will all come bearing a “Works with Nest” indicator. The roster includes well-known firms like Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool, and Nest’s parent, Google, as well as less established companies such as smart LED bulb-maker LIFX, and IFTTT, makers of the self-named connectivity software that can automate behavior between various Internet services and devices.

According to Nest Labs senior product manager Greg Hu, the company’s goal is to keep the interactions between his company’s products and those in the Works with Nest program simple. Rather than exposing the full breadth of options to program your Nest Learning Thermostat, a supporting Mercedes will only trigger home and away behavior in your thermostat based on the car‘s proximity to your home.

Read the rest of this article on CNET


Google Follows Facebook and Twitter Into App-Installation Ads


Adds Targeted App-Install Ads Within YouTube and Mobile Search

By . Published on April 22, 2014


Google on Tuesday plans to introduce its latest updates to AdWords, its core search product, and allow app developers to buy ads promoting installed apps in paid mobile search and YouTube. In 2011, Google introduced app-install ads in mobile search. Consumers have been able to open pages within apps via organic search results on mobile since November, but now the company is offering the capability to paid search advertisers.

The news comes a weeks after Twitter started selling app install ads, following Facebook’s lead. Yahoo is floating the idea as well.

YouTube’s app install ads will run with TrueView, the in-stream service that allows users to skip through videos, the company said. It was added to mobile in August of 2012.

A mobile ad with the new capability of opening an installed app on a user’s phone.

Read more…

Will Google+ Rule the World?

Following is an article from Ad Age on Google+ and a link to a demo of  Google+.


Google+ image







It looks like Facebook is in for some real competition in the coming months. Google+ is in a closed friendly-user trial right now. They are gathering feedback and tweaking it, but soon it will be available to everyone and Google will know more about us  and our behaviors than anyone ever has.

How Google+ Will Transform Search and Search Marketing

What Search Giant’s Social Foray Means Behind the Scenes
By:            Ad Age               Published: July 21, 2011

Google+ is gaining users faster than any social network ever before. After many stumbles, Google has finally built a social network that delivers value to consumers. That makes Google+ a bigger competitor to Facebook than anything we’ve seen.

So far, a lot of Google+ coverage has debated its value, and examined the network from a consumer and tactical standpoint. Less scrutinized is the way the launch of Google+ could end up enhancing the competitive positioning and value of Google’s search business, giving it an unprecedented view of consumer interest, social graph, intent data and conversion data.

What you want vs. what you like
The biggest difference between Google and Facebook right now is that thanks to search intent data, Google knows what consumers want. Facebook, on the other hand, has a very clear understanding of what users like and who they know. Google+ is the first step for Google to close this gap. It aims to build out a complete profile of Google’s users, giving Google access to profile data, likes, interests, and friends.

Google+ integrates across all of Google’s products to make sharing easier and more relevant, but also to add value to Google search. If Google can incorporate data from the social graph to deliver more relevant results, it will have a product competitive with Bing’s Facebook integration . This is of critical importance in order for Google to maintain search market share and growth by improving relevancy and personalization of search results vs. the aggressive challenger Bing.

In my opinion, Google is interested primarily in building user profile data to deliver more relevant and personalized search results with better, more relevant advertising. Studying Google+ and collecting even more consumer data empowers the company to integrate its data for a better consumer experience and advertising across all their products, from search to social to mobile and even to email.

Engagement and ROI
One major issue with Google+ is the absence of brand and corporate pages. If Google wants to compete with Facebook, these pages are crucial. Facebook works as an advertising platform because it goes far beyond traditional display. Rather, it’s an engagement platform where brands and advertisers interact with consumers.

Adding brand pages to Google+ will finally give Google a branding engagement platform. Right now, Google’s big revenue business is search, which relies on clicks to measure ROI and advertising success, whereas Google+ can offer a branding platform where the campaign goal is engagement rather than immediate ROI.

Once brand pages are launched and populated, the next logical step is to build an ad platform that encourages engagement and incorporates the social graph. With this, brands can appeal to consumers by using interest data — the things consumers say they actually like — just as we see on Facebook. The difference is that Google can target ads based on consumer intent data, at a higher level of relevancy than is possible on Facebook. An engagement model based on social and search intent data will improve the efficiency and efficacy of social advertising, in terms of both relevancy and performance.

Keys to success
One thing lost in Google+’s rapid growth is the importance of user engagement and time spent. Success in social networking is not determined by total number of users. Twitter has tons of registered users, but a very small percentage is responsible for the majority of activity. Google+ must regularly engage consumers, or the content loses relevancy and thus its power as a branding tool. Without broad and regular participation, scale and frequency (and successful advertising) become impossible.

The key to Facebook’s success is not just the social interest and social graph data, but the tremendous amount of time users spend on the network. That time creates the advertising opportunities. The ultimate measure of success would be for Google+ to become the first social network consumers visit when they go online. It’s a similar obstacle in search, where Google owns 65 percent of the market, compared to Yahoo’s 15 percent. Being second place is far different from being the industry leader, and Google is already late to the social game.

Google+ has several other demerits, which is to be expected for a brand new product. The system doesn’t recognize corporate Gmail addresses, a fact that agitates against its “easy-to-use” premise, especially for corporate Gmail power users. Google is also pushing the limits of data and privacy, given its recent FTC investigation. Consumers should be concerned about giving too much personal, professional and social data to one entity, and Google is already collecting data on search queries, mining usage data across its networks, purchasing data from third parties, collecting conversion data from Google analytics, taking impression and click data from its Doubleclick ad-serving product. Thanks to Google+, it will soon also know what you do, who you are, and who you know. That’s frightening from a consumer standpoint, especially if Google+ becomes the top social network.

There’s also the chance that Google could stretch itself too thin. This moment is oddly reminiscent of the time that Yahoo tried to become a portal, a search engine, and everything at once. Ultimately it diluted its brand and its position in the industry. Social networking is Facebook’s core business, and it has a massive head start and loyalty from all the core demographics.

But we’ve seen Google topple web titans before, so Google+ unseating Facebook is not outside the realm of possibility. The biggest and most important aspect of Google+ is that Facebook is no longer the only channel on TV worth watching. Strong competition leads to innovation, and a Facebook/Google+ battle will lead to a better consumer social networking experience, as well as improved advertising results and options. Google+ has value, and we look forward to further developments, innovation and continued growth.

Google+ demo

Google Adds Own ‘Like’ Button in Foray Into Social Search

google logoInteresting move with wide-ranging implications.

By: Michael Learmonth Ad Age Bio  RSS feedPublished: March 30, 2011

Google is adding its take on the “like” button — which it is calling the “plus-one” — in its latest bid to make search more social, as well as combat the growing dominance of Facebook.

Google's plus-one icon
Google’s plus-one icon

Starting this afternoon, Google will allow users to vote plus-one on search results they find useful, and to share that preference with their connections in Gchat, Gmail, Google Reader, Buzz and, soon, Twitter. Users will see both the total number of plus-one votes, as well as the names and photos of their contacts who have stated a preference.

It’s the most aggressive foray into social search to date and the first time Google has added a direct social signal into search results. Over time, Google will integrate the plus-one into the search algorithm itself so human votes will have an impact search ranking.

“When someone recommends something, that’s a pretty good indicator of quality,” said Matt Cutts, Google’s principle engineer for search. “We are strongly looking at using this in our rankings.”

Google is also adding the ability to vote plus-one on search ads. Internal tests have shown that plus-one votes increase clicks; Google won’t charge for the functionality, but expects better ads to return more plus-ones and, in turn, more clicks. Higher click-through rates can improve quality scores, meaning marketers with better ads could pay less for a given keyword or position.

“We will provide reporting in AdWords for plus-ones,” said ads group product manager Christian Oestlien. “Our belief is that advertisers will see increased performance from ads with personalized annotations.”

The changes are some of the biggest to the visual architecture of search, the classic list of blue links, as well as its functional underpinnings. Plus-one buttons and social connections are going to join a search-results page getting more and more complicated with both real-time and local-search results, in addition to search ads that have also added functionality.

Traditionally, inbound links have been the strongest indicator of relevance and component of page rank. Last year, Google added Twitter updates to also add results that are more recent. Adding the plus-one will add another social component.

“Injecting a social layer into the algorithmic search is key to relevance,” said Dave Karnstedt, CEO of Efficient Frontier. “Do a search on ‘DVD player’ today now you will see 35,000 results in less than 3 milliseconds. It’s meaningless, but if you can sort through those by people who have given a social signal and those rise to the top, I think that can only enhance the user experience.”

But the biggest move here may not be about search at all, but about taking another swing at the social networking business — and at Facebook itself. The first time users clicks on a plus-one button, they will be prompted to create a Google profile, as well as be given the opportunity to adjust privacy settings.

Microsoft’s Bing integrated Facebook “likes” into search results late last year but not into its actual algorithm, meaning a “like” has no affect on search rankings. Google has no immediate plans to add Facebook connections to the system, partly because they don’t have the right to do so. “It would depend on whether that data were available,” Mr. Cutts said.

“Its important for Google to bring in social influence into search results to prevent the social web from becoming a parallel universe,” said Bryan Wiener, CEO of 360i, a unit of Dentsu. “I do think they need to have the Facebook ‘likes’ in there because you’re going to have two webs, the social web and the open web.”

In addition, Google will allow publishers to add the plus-one button, so users can vote on content outside of search, and ultimately improve the ranking of that content in organic search results. Google has by far the largest publisher network, including websites that use DoubleClick for ad serving or Google’s ad exchange, so penetration of the plus-one will be immediate and comprehensive.

The question is whether Google can keep bad actors from gaming the plus-one system for fun or for profit. Google, to its credit, has a lot of experience filtering out attempts to game its algorithms. “The worst case is you just ignore them,” Mr. Cutts said, adding that more complexity makes that more difficult. “If you give somebody five signals — and give them five more — it can actually get harder for spammers.”