Simpler Printing Using Google Cloud Print

From Google Chrome Blog

Have you ever needed to print a boarding pass, whitepaper, or speech, and didn’t have your computer at hand? Google Cloud Print helps you print from anywhere to anywhere using any device, and we’ve recently made several improvements on that front.
First, if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, we’ve released the Cloud Print app in Google Play to make it easier to print documents and files on the go.
Second, if you work out of different offices or other public spaces like a school, you can now easily share a printer with anyone nearby, by simply publishing a link.

In addition, we’re releasing two new tools today to make it even easier to print anywhere, anytime. The first, Google Cloud Printer, makes it possible to print to any of your cloud printers from Windows applications such as Adobe Reader.

The second, Google Cloud Print Service, runs as a Windows service so administrators can easily connect existing printers to Google Cloud Print in their businesses and schools.
We’ll continue evolving Google Cloud Print to make printing simple and easy from as many devices as possible. For now, the future looks good on paper.

Starbucks’ WiFi goes Google

Starbucks’ WiFi goes Google

Google providing higher speed networks to Starbucks.  This would be fun in my neighborhood.  Of course, when they turn off my phone because they wish to control precisely what I do with it, my favorite company will have bitten me.   But it sounds so good.  Is Google now Apple on control?  Say it isn’t so.

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coffee shop + Internet—it’s a pairing that many of us have come to rely on. WiFi access makes work time, downtime, travel time and lots of in-between times more enjoyable and productive. That’s why we’re teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free WiFi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months. When your local Starbucks WiFi network goes Google, you’ll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you’re in a Google Fiber city, we’re hoping to get you a connection that’s up to 100x faster.

Google has long invested in helping the Internet grow stronger, including projects to make Internet access speedier, more affordable, and more widely available. The free Internet connection at Starbucks has become an important part of many communities over the years, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, or for students without Internet at home who do their homework at Starbucks.

We’ll start rolling out the new networks this August. We appreciate your patience if it’s still a little while before we get to your favorite Starbucks—you’ll know your new network is ready to go when you can log in to the “Google Starbucks” SSID.

Posted by Kevin Lo, General Manager, Google Access

The Changing Face of Search

I was less excited by the issue of Google’s losing web search ground, as the fact that simple search engines are losing ground.  It is inevitable; however, and not doom and gloom for anyone.  As more people use the Internet, and more granularity is important, there are better communities for specific areas.  One engine, one site, will not rule them all.

Disclaimer: I am not an avid Facebook user, I use Google a great deal, I have a Polyvore and Pinterest account, and I love Google Now. And I will miss Goodreads when I leave.

Google’s Eroding Lead in Web Search | Though Google is the undisputed king of search, alternative services are chipping into its share of the market, Claire Cain Miller reports in The New York Times.

The nature of search is changing, especially as more people search for what they want to buy, eat or learn on their mobile devices. This has put the $22 billion search industry, perhaps the most lucrative and influential of online businesses, at its most significant crossroad since its invention.

No longer do consumers want to search the Web like the index of a book – finding links at which a particular keyword appears. They expect new kinds of customized search, like that on topical sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Amazon, which are chipping away at Google’s hold. Google and its competitors are trying to develop the knowledge and comprehension to answer specific queries, not just point users in the right direction.

People are overwhelmed at how crowded the Internet has become – Google says there are 30 trillion Web addresses, up from one trillion five years ago – and users expect their computers and phones to be smarter and do more for them. Many of the new efforts are services that people don’t even think of as search engines.

Amazon, for example, has a larger share than Google of shopping searches, the most lucrative kind because people are in the mood to buy something. On sites like Pinterest and Polyvore, users have assembled their favorite things from around the Web to produce results when you search for, say, “lace dress.” On smartphones, people skip Google and go directly to apps, like Kayak or Weather Underground. Other apps send people information, like traffic or flight delays, before they even ask for it.

People use YouTube to search for things like how to tie a bow tie, Siri to search on their iPhones, online maps to find local places and Facebook to find things their friends have liked. And services like LinkedIn Influencers and Quora are trying to be different kinds of search engines – places to find high-quality, expert content and avoid weeding through everything else on the Web. On Quora, questions like “What was it like to work for Steve Jobs?” get answered by people with firsthand knowledge, something Google cannot provide.

Simple Ways to Get More From Google Analytics

Today I was inspired by Dawn Foster to try one or two new things using Google Analytics to get more out of it.

I setup Alerts and found that it was easy to set them up on multiple sites.  I am only going to use one or two and try them out and then see which ones I like and will use and go from there.

I did look at In-Page Analytics to find out exactly what people were clicking on and found that was extremely useful.

And part of doing anything is doing just one or two things and then going back and learning more again.  Who has time to learn it all at one time?  Be simple, move forward.

It’s free and easy to get started with Analytics, but there are also a lot of advanced features that can make it even more useful. I’m sometimes surprised by how many people only look at their dashboard page and never really drill down into some of the more interesting details and features. I thought it might be time to do post with a few quick tips for getting more out of Google Analytics.

  1. Alerts. If you want to keep on top of your sites and know when something out of the ordinary is happening, you should visit the “Intelligence” section and set up a few alerts. You can configure the service to email or text you when something specific happens. For example, on one of my websites, I have it set to alert me when the number of visitors goes over a certain threshold on any one day. Alerts can be set using most of the many different metrics available in the various reports. You can also apply your alerts to multiple profiles and use them on several different websites.
  2. Custom Reports. Don’t just use the built-in reports; create your own custom reports (available in the “My Customizations” menu). Spend a few minutes thinking about what you really want to know, and create a custom report that you can view every time you log in. For example, I have a custom report that shows the unique visitors, new visits, time on page and pageviews for each blog post, and when I drill down into a single blog post, I can see which keywords people used to arrive at the page from search engines. The best thing about these custom reports is that you can share them across your Analytics accounts and use them on multiple blogs.
  3. Export. Most of us would probably think about exporting our data as a CSV or XML file that we could use to crunch the numbers in some other application, and Google Analytics can certainly do that. However, it can also be used to create some nicely formatted PDFs of your data that you can send to your manager or your clients. This is a great way to quickly give someone who isn’t familiar with Google Analytics an overview of some specific event or a monthly analytics report with little extra work on your part. My favorite is to create a report by exporting from the dashboard, which gives you a multiple page file with overview numbers and graphs for visitors, traffic sources, maps, content and anything else you’ve added to your dashboard. You can get PDF exports by using the “Export” drop-down menu of any report; you can even export your custom reports.
  4. Customize Your Dashboard. You should also take the time to customize your dashboard. First, add any frequently-used reports to your dashboard using the “Add to Dashboard’ button at the top of any report. You can even add your custom reports to the dashboard. Each box on your dashboard also has a very faint and tiny “x” in the upper-right corner that you can use to remove any unwanted information. Now that you have the right information on your dashboard, you can use the upper-left corner of each box to drag the components around to put the ones you want to see first near the top of the page. and less frequently-used items further down the page.
  5. In-Page Analytics. I saved the best for last. In-page Analytics is one of my favorite features, since it lets you see where people actually click on your pages. You can find In-Page Analytics under the “Content” section in the left-hand navigation. You can navigate to various pages on your website to get a different view of where people are clicking on your subpages. You can also use the drop-down filter at the top to hide any clicks below a certain percentage to focus on where most people are clicking, or you can create your own filters to only see clicks from new or returning visitors, certain geographies, or based on almost any other available metric.

Think Quarterly from Google

From Google a new quarterly magazine, Think, which is a great read about interesting subjects.

At Google, we often think that speed is the forgotten ‘killer application’ – the ingredient that can differentiate winners from the rest. We know that the faster we deliver results, the more useful people find our service.

But in a world of accelerating change, we all need time to reflect. Think Quarterly is a breathing space in a busy world. It’s a place to take time out and consider what’s happening and why it matters.

Our first issue is dedicated to Data – amongst a morass of information, how can you find the magic metrics that will help transform your business? We hope that you find inspiration, insights, and more, in Think Quarterly.

Matt Brittin
Managing Director, UK & Ireland Operations, Google