Monthly:June 2012

Extending the Google+ Platform To Mobile

Since unveiling Google+ to the world a year ago, the number of mobile users on Google+ has grown rapidly. In fact, there are now more people that use Google+ from a mobile device than from a desktop computer. We have always believed in the importance of mobile for our users, and today, we are announcing an offering for mobile developers — the Google+ platform for mobile, in early developer preview.

This platform includes mobile web optimized social plugins and Google+ SDK for iOS and Android (coming soon). With these new SDKs, you can integrate Google+ identity, sharing, and history into your mobile apps to create more engaging social experiences and connect with more users.

Check out the mobile platform documentation to learn more about integrating Google+ into your app!

We are just getting started and would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Share your thoughts and follow the conversation on Google+.

Posted by Francis Ma, Product Manager, Google+Read More

Apps are a Plus in Hangouts

We’ve seen Google+ Hangouts being used in the most creative and innovative ways, connecting fans, facilitating debates, and making a difference in people’s lives.

Three months ago, we launched the Google+ Hangouts API, with the belief that developers can build even more memorable experiences and activities inside the face-to-face-to-face setting of hangouts. The response so far has been exciting.

In the 90 days since we launched apps in hangouts, we’ve seen:

  • over 200 apps built for hangouts 
  • the average duration of a hangout increase by 2.5 times when participants use an app 
  • 1 in every 3 hangouts use an app. 

Today, we are introducing a new set of featured apps built by developers around the world that provide fun and entertaining activities for our users. 

  1. Google Art Project: Explore collections from around the world with thousands of artworks photographed in extremely high resolution. You can play an art guide and take your friends on a tour of different museums. 
  2. New YouTube App: Create, control, save and even share playlists of videos with friends—all inside a hangout. It’s like your own VIP table at the world’s coolest YouTube party. 
  3. New Effects App: One of the most popular hangout apps gets more fun with a brand new UI and with the introduction of new effects. 
  4. Symphonical: Conduct your business meetings and manage projects in real-time using the Symphonical app for hangouts. 
  5. MiniClip 8-ball Pool: Challenge friends to a game of pool with real-time stats tracking. 
  6. A Story Before Bed: Family hangouts just got better with this app. Pick a storybook from the shelf and read it to your loved ones. 
  7. Panoramio Game: Compete with friends to be the most precise wanderer by finding out where a photo was taken while traveling around the world with Google Maps through stunning Panoramio photos. If you are the best, you get to choose your next destination. 
  8. Cheer On: Root for your favorite sports team by customizing your video appearance in a hangout. With so many sporting events coming up this summer, this is one app you must have next time you are in a hangout.

We are still in the early days of this real-time platform and can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Learn more about how you can get started building hangouts into your app.

Posted by Amit Fulay, Product Manager, Google+Read More

Launching Google +1 Recommendations Across the Web

UPDATE (7/9/12): After a few productive weeks in platform preview, we’re rolling out +1 recommendations to all users today. Thanks for your feedback at Google I/O, in the discussion forums, and on our Google+ page. We’re always eager to hear from you — so keep it coming.

Working on +1, we often hear people say they want to see more of what their friends recommend. Likewise, when we talk to site owners, they ask us to help them show more relevant content to their users. Today, we are rolling out a new feature of the +1 button in platform preview: when users hover over a +1 button, they will see recommendations for other great content on your site.

For example, when I go the the Chrome Web Store and look at +1 recommendations on the Gmail app, I see related apps and recommendations from friends.

To keep these recommendations more relevant and on-topic, they will always refer to pages on the same domain or subdomain as the +1 button.

If you’ve already added the +1 button to your site, there’s nothing more you need to do. Recommendations will work across all +1 buttons for all users, whether or not they’re signed into Google+. This update will go live to all of your users in the next few weeks.

If you want to see recommendations today, sign up for the developer preview group and tell us what you think. The +1 team and I would love to hear from you! As always, we are iterating quickly and are hungry for your feedback.

Join the conversation on Google+.

Posted by Julie Farago, Engineering ManagerRead More

With over 940,000 followers, H&M captivates Google+ users with exclusive content

When H&M produces hot new collections, the Swedish fashion retailer knows just how to get the word out. With around 2,500 stores spread across 44 markets, not only does the company engage in traditional forms of marketing, but also integrates its social media with other communication activities. An early adopter of Google+, today H&M has more fans on the platform than any other retail brand – over 940,000 followers.

Unique, exclusive content wins followers
Instead of replicating the experience of shopping in the store or on the website, their page supplies a steady stream of interactive content tailored specifically to the Google+ audience. H&M publishes unique coverage, including a captivating range of exclusive collection previews, contests and behind the scenes footage, such as a Vogue editor preparing for an H&M photo shoot. Their most popular posts are the ones for their top collections with Beckham, Versace and Marni.

Using ripples to understand trendsetting
H&M has a very high rate of shared posts. Their team can “View Ripples” to see who has shared content and what has been said. In this way, the ripples feature lets H&M see how posts spread across Google+, who’s sharing and resharing the content and whose opinions matter. The feature can be used to identify influencers and see how communities form around content. The larger the circles in ripples, the larger the reach they might have.

Social extensions to integrate their social strategy into search
Another feature H&M uses are social extensions in its AdWords advertising. Social extensions help the company obtain a higher number of brand recommendations, +1’s and direct traffic to their Google+ page, effectively increasing their number of followers by doing so. On average H&M has achieved a 22% CTR uplift on all their AdWords campaigns thanks to implementing social extensions.

It’s all adding up…

All of this has contributed in great levels of engagement from fans with the following results so far:

  • Average number of +1’s per post: 72
  • Average number of reshares per post: 11
  • Average number of comments per post: 22

To learn more about H&M’s inspirational example, read the full case study here.

Posted by Natalia Cano, PMM Google+ for BusinessesRead More

38% of Eurovision searches happened on mobile devices during the grand final

If you were watching the exceptional vocal achievements of the contestants like 100 million Europeans on Saturday 26th, it is likely that you had a smartphone or a tablet device in your hand at the same time.

From our recent Our Mobile Planet research, we know that consumers actively use their smartphones when multi-tasking with other media and more than 50% of Europeans do this while watching the TV. We therefore wanted to understand how Eurovision viewers were using their mobile devices during the finals by analyzing Google search results.

Top 10 mobile Eurovision countries – share of Google search queries related to Eurovision

Looking at related search queries from all 42 Eurovision countries on the day of and day before the finals of the Song Contest, we saw an increase in the share of smartphone and tablet searches by nearly 50% from Eurovision 2011. Consumers in a handful of European countries were particularly savvy, actively using their mobile devices to learn more about the mind-blowing performances they saw on screen. More than 54% of Eurovision fans in Denmark searched from mobile devices, along with more than 40% in both Switzerland and Norway. Additionally, Denmark and Norway had the highest share of Eurovision searches conducted on tablets with 11% of Norway’s and 14% of Denmark’s Eurovision queries occurring on tablets.

Tablets and smartphones come out when the show starts – please note this does not show absolute search volume

Looking at a timeline of searches for Eurovision (normalized based on total search queries for each device type), shows us that these mobile and tablet searches were largely complementary to desktop searches. At the primetime of the Eurovision finals, on the evening of May 26th, we observed that people were switching to their smartphones and tablets with more than 38% of queries coming from mobile devices. This is similar to previous search data showing that tablets come out as the sun goes down. The large screen and compact form factor of tablets favour usage in front of the TV and from previous studies we know that the top browsing location is on the couch.

So, how can advertisers take advantage of all these multi-tasking mobile consumers? Make sure that you are on their screen with Google Mobile Ads so that you can get in front of them at the right time with the right ad formats. This way, if a customer sees your TV commercial and then picks up their phone to find more information, you may show up at the top of the results.

You can easily show your ads only when your customers are on their couch looking for information thanks to custom scheduling in AdWords. Or, you can configure your account to bid more aggressively at the times of the day that correspond with your television advertisements.

And don’t forget to add a mobile specific call-to-action such as a clickable phone number for potential customers holding a phone in their hand. You should also ensure that the site your users see on their smartphones is mobile optimized for the best user experience. With all that done you can sit back, relax and watch the stunning performance of Loreen from Sweden who finally won the Eurovision Song Contest.

Posted by Frank Albert Coates, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile & Social ads EMEARead More