5 things you should know about Google’s new privacy policy

With all of the buzz surrounding Google’s new privacy policy, you may be confused about the exact changes and how they will affect your internet usage. The bottom line is, the changes aim to improve the services that Google offers by making your Google experience more personalized.

The notification box that lets users know Google's privacy policy is changingHere are five things that everyone should know about the changes that will come occur when Google’s new policy takes effect on the 1st of March.

5. Google will gather information across all of its platforms

Google’s new policy puts the majority of its platforms into one privacy policy. Through this policy, Google will be able to put together a more holistic view of each user, as it can track one user’s data across all of its platforms together.

For you as user, this means that all of Google’s platforms will be more closely integrated than before and will allow you to work across multiple platforms at once more easily. Some critics however say that Google trying to create a ‘cauldron of data’ of its users.

4. You’ll see more personalized search results and advertisements

Since Google will be able to get a more complete view of you as a user, it will be using this information to personalize your internet experience more than ever before.

For example, this means that Google will tailor advertisements and search results to suit your specific needs, correct frequent spelling errors in search queries, remind you of appointments about which you may have forgotten, provide you with a suggested contact list, and much more. You can also contribute to the personalization of your internet experience by using features like the Ads Preference Manager to take control of what kind of advertisements you see.

These changes should help to improve user experience, as well as Google’s profits, as users are more likely to click on ads more relevant to them.

3. The more Google services you use the more you should benefit from the changes

Because Google will rely on your user information across all of its platforms to determine what type of advertisements, search results, and more are best for you, the more Google services you use, the more improvements you will be likely to see.

This is because if you use a host of Google services, such as all of those included in Google Apps, Google will be able to get the most complete picture of who you are, what you look for online, and how you generally use the internet. To track your usage of Google services, you can use the Google Dashboard to see your activity as a Google user.

2. You can still use Google services without it logging your data

Although allowing Google to learn information about your online usage will provide a more personalized experience, there may be times when you don’t want Google to collect certain information about you.

In these instances, you can utilize Google tools like “off the record” chat in Gmail and the “incognito window” in the Google Chrome web browser to ensure that all of your data will not be logged by Google.

However it is thought that Google will try to persuade users to remain logged in and connected through their Google profile, more of the time.

1. Google believes the new policy will allow it to better meet your needs

Google redid its privacy policy because it believes the changes will enable it to offer each individual user a more tailored, better experience of the web. In summary, Google is hoping to meet your needs better and faster by learning who you are and what you look for online.

What do you think about the proposed changes? Do you think you will benefit?

Tips to improve your mobile SEO

Mobile search engines contain different algorithms and bots than used for traditional web searches. They evaluate websites as it is being rendered on a mobile phone. The ranks are computed based on how well the page is rendered for the phone that submits the queries. One thing you can do to improve your mobile SEO is to make verify the user agents, and the mobile crawlers can pick up your content.

Mobile phone search engines are not as finely tuned as traditional search engines. They are still placing tons of weight on bounce rates and using mobile visitors as barometers for how websites renders on phones.

One neat suggestion in improving your mobile search results is to follow traditional SEO strategies. Mobile indexes and bots determine different from web search. The differences entail things such as alt tags; heading tags and title tags are still dominant with mobile SEO.

After performing traditional SEO strategies, it proves necessary to create a secondary mobile sheet from your website. This will allow for formatting of existing pages to be viewed on mobile phones without having to create separate content. It gives you strength with the SEO value that you have already performed on your website minus creating new pages. You can use the mobile style sheet to assist in blocking things from being rendered with using a “display: none” on the style sheet. All mobile phones with the exception of iPhones can automatically pull the “handheld” style sheet.

iPhones determine different with not searching for mobile “handheld” style sheets. In addressing this critical problem, ensure that you copy your handheld sheet, and create on that is geared for the iPhone. The iPhone is meant to render entire website pages, and people statistically still prefer mobile-formatted content on their iPhones.

What Google search results look like on a smartphoneSometimes, mobile search engines will rank traditional pages but consider them ill-suited for rending on mobile phones even with mobile-specific style sheets. When this happens, the mobile search engine will rank the traditional content but “transcode” it for viewing on mobile phones.

Transcoded versions of websites are hosted on temporary subdomains on search engine’s domains. Typically, this provides a user experience that proves under-optimized. This is because navigation sometimes is broken or misplaced and the individual pages are separated into different pages for faster downloading. This can prove problematic when it comes to tracking activity on your mobile website, and if someone links to your content, the website might not receive credit for the links. Address this problem with a “no-transform”header of your content. The no-transform in the cache-control should stop transcoding.

Next, you should include a mobile-site map. Google provides tools that can help you in building one of these. For website owners using multiple-markup languages such as WML (Wireless Markup Language) or XHTML, you should submit separate mobile sitemaps per languages being used on the website. Ensure that you link to mobile site maps in your robots.txt file, the same as you would for traditional site maps.

When you are submitting a mobile site map, add the mobile style sheet and the no-transform tag for this should confirm fitting in getting the mobile search engines to rank your content.  Another excellent tip is to make sure your traditional content will work on mobile phones. This will provide the best chance of faring well with higher numbers of browsers and phones.

If your content on your website does not include external style sheets, or contains sloppy code or too many media files, the content will have problems rending on mobile phones. You might want to make mobile-specific content on a mobile sub-directory or sub-domain. This can generate tons of problems for SEO strategists because it can end-up splitting traffic and links between two sets of similar pages.

You should use a “handheld” style sheet with the no-transform designation. You can also re-arrange code so that it proves more suited for crawling and rendering. Redirection and browser-detection and self-selection are how websites and mobile phones interact with one another. Browser detection and re-direction is the process that appears to see what browser the website visitor is using to access your website. If the mobile browser is requesting the traditional website, a single PHP script can redirect the user to the mobile phone website. If a browser is requesting the mobile website, it can redirect them to the traditional website. This proves helpful if your website out-ranks your mobile website in mobile searches.

When you think of mobile SEO, the act alone proves dangerous to create a duplicate copy of your website and placing it in a sub-domain. Most website owners think that mobile phones are capable of interpreting the duplication, but unbelievably, they can become confused. When confusion occurs, your new mobile content has a very-little chance of outranking your traditional website in the mobile searches. Redirection and browser-detection should take care of these issues, but there is always a chance of duplicate content taking away value from the content located on the main website.

If this happens, you can try using a canonical tag that will promote the value from your mobile website back to your main website. You can then rely on your browser-detection and re-direction to take care of it. What proves dangerous in this scenario is that you might hurt your rankings for searches on the primitive mobile phones. The reason is that you are pushing the total SEO value into non-mobile content.

How does Google make money?

The other day someone asked me how Google makes its money. At the time I called upon the knowledge I had and talked about the ads they have in the search results, the Chromebooks and Android systems they are selling, and Google Apps and Docs.

This week Google announced, it was disappointed with its 27% rise in revenues. Yes you read right, it was disappointed! Profits were up 6.4% and revenues 27%. In the same period, (the last quarter of 2011) Microsoft saw its revenues rise just 5%, and its profits fall by 0.15%!

Here is the interesting (weird) thing, Google’s share value fell 10% after the announcement, whilst Microsoft’s grew by around 2%! How crazy.

Anyway, this got me thinking, what are all the way Google makes money, as that is a lot to get just from the ways I mentioned.

How does Google make money?

The fact is, the majority of Google’s revenues come from the ads it presents to users on search result pages. However in recent years it has started making more and more money in other ways. So what are these other ways Google makes money?

Chromebooks

Introduced mid last year, Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google Chrome OS, where the laptop and the internet are one. There are no programs, desktop or start menu, the who experience runs from the cloud, utilising all Google’s (and other) online applications.The Google Chrome Logo

Samsung and Acer are the two firms which currently offer Chrome OS powered laptops, however expansion to more brands in the future is inevitable. Samsung and Acer obviously take their share the sales, as will Amazon and the other places Chromebooks are sold, however the laptops do make money for Google.

Android

I assumed that Google made money from Android, however I was wrong – Google does not make money from its Android mobile operating system. Android is a Google-led open source mobile OS framework, however Google does not profit from it.

Google Android's Logo

YouTube

Since Google bought YouTube in 2006, the site hasn’t been that profitable for it. YouTube is now the site with the third most traffic on the web, meaning that it has huge potential, however until recently, it was only making money from ads.

Before Google AdSense ads used to appear alongside videos, which they still do, however now they also advertise within videos too. Furthermore, YouTube have started offering online movies, which users can pay to watch from the comfort of their own home – or wherever they are.

Google Storage

Many Google services offer online storage, however this is only a finite amount. Should you want to purchase extra storage for Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa or Blogger (photos on blogger, not posts) then you can do so from Google Storage. I doubt this brings in Google a lot of revenue, but nerveless, it makes the internet giant some money.

Google Store

Google have an online store which distribute to may different locations around the world. They sell everything from branded keyrings and juggling balls, to t-shirts and even accessories with past Google Doodles printed on them.

DoubleClick, AdSense and AdWords

The majority of Google’s revenues come from the advertisers who use AdWords and DoubleClick. These ads are then either shown in the search results, or on websites which host AdSense units. Google makes lots of money out of ads. It doesn’t tell AdSense hosts what cut of the advertisers fees they get, but it makes Google a lot of money, so I would guess that they take home more than website owners hosting their ads.

Other Ways Google Makes Money

These are not the only ways Google makes money, other ways include, Google Apps for Business, Google Cloud Connect, Google Docs, Feedburner (through ads), Google Earth Pro, Google Mini (where you effectively buy the Google search engine to use on your own site/intranet), Google Checkout and more.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into just how many ways there are that the search giant that is Google makes money.