It’s been only two short weeks since Google I/O 2011! There was fantastic energy at the event, and developers had their choice of over 100+ sessions on topics ranging from Google Apps to Android to App Engine to HTML5 to Cloud Robotics.
Here are the highlights from the Google Apps track:
In the Google Apps track, we had 8 sessions on a variety of topics of interest to Google Apps Marketplace developers, systems integrators and customers alike. All of the sessions are available in HD on YouTube and we’ve also posted many of the session slides and notes.
Google Apps Marketplace:
Launch and Grow your Business App on the Google Apps Marketplace provided an intro to the Apps Marketplace, but most of the session was third-party developers telling the story of their businesses, demoing their integrations and providing guidance for other developers looking for success on the Marketplace. Teaser: 30% free->paid conversion rates from GQueues on the Google Apps Marketplace.
Apps Marketplace: Best Practices and Integrations covered a wealth of best practices for business app development and Google Apps integrations based on experience working with hundreds of developers building applications for the Google Apps Marketplace.
Google Apps Script:
Developing Apps, Add-Ins and More stepped through building Add-Ins with deep integration into the Google Apps UI and full applications. The team announced the Apps Script GUI Builder to drag and drop UI components and full Apps Script APIs for Gmail and Google Docs.
Google Tasks API announced the brand-new API to interact with a user’s Google Tasks. Several third-party developers demonstrated how they integrated tasks with their project management and CRM apps.
Compliance and Security in the Cloud talked about the suite of APIs and tools available for Google Apps customers to handle policy compliance, audit, incident response and more. Very helpful session for IT administrators, CTOs and CIOs using Google Apps, with much of the session diving into several examples using real-world use cases.
We had 24 fantastic companies in our Developer Sandbox this year, showcasing the applications they built for the Google Apps Marketplace and the services they provide Google Apps customers as system integrators or VARs. We were excited to see many of the companies talking about new integrations they have recently built with Google Apps.
Parties and Fun
The official After Hours event celebrated technical and artistic innovation and included robots, games and transforming vehicles in addition to a live performance from Jane’s Addiction. Many Google teams and companies attending I/O also threw plenty of great parties at nearby bars and restaurants.
Along with an unintended tan from the Brisbane sun and a serious sense of awe at how large golden silk orb-weavers are, I came home from linux.conf.au (LCA) 2011 with a bunch of new ideas from the plethora of terrific talks at the conference. You can find videos of most of the talks on the conference wiki but I have to call out some of my favorites here.
First and foremost, Vint Cerf, Googler and co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols, gave a thoughtful and humorous keynote on where he thinks the internet is going, and what we need to do to get it there. Despite widely held concern around the rapidly decreasing number of available IP addresses, his deeply informed take on the situation was characteristically upbeat.
While Google has released more that 20 million lines of open source code through the years, we’re always trying to release more. My colleagues Dan Bentley and Daniel Nadasi gave an extremely useful talk about Make Open Easy (MOE), their program within Google to make the process for Googlers to open source code as fast and easy as possible, and how this methodology might be used by other businesses. They also talked about the challenges a project faces in trying to be useful to both the public and the internal teams that depend on it.
This LCA, completely relocated because of extensive flooding 10 days before opening, was one for the record books. As always, LCA was stimulating, exhausting, warm, and a wonderfully well-organized meeting of over 700 curious minds.
Barry Schwartz highlighted this new tool this morning that automatically alerts a user via email when the satellite imagery for a given area has been updated. The tool is super simple to use and provides you with a dashboard to unsubscribe from previous requests.
It is also a super simple way to ascertain lat/log to 14 levels of accuracy. This is useful if you are creating a KML file or an hCard code for you website to signal to Google your businesses’ physical location. The tool can be found at FollowYourWorld.appspot.com. Here is a screen shot of the tool:
Google Places search was released on October 27 with a great deal of fanfare and commentary. It has been available for over a month and the Places Dashboard analytics data can now provide some insight into the impact of the new display.
I have assembled an overview of the impressions and actions based of the Dashboard analytics for 45 listings for the 4 weeks prior to the rollout and the 4 weeks after the rollout.
I recognize that these numbers are, by design, superficial and are on occasion buggy (showing fewer impressions than actions). We also don’t know if the analytics kept up with the main search results page. However in aggregate, they do provide some general insights about the switch. The business listings represent a range of industries, locales and business size so the sample should represent a reasonable cross section of reality.
Change in Aggregate Actions
Change in Aggregate Impressions
Action Impression Ration
Action/Impression Ratio Before
Action/Impression Ratio After
Businesses with Increases
Number of Listings with Increased Actions
Average % increase in Actions for Businesses
Average % increase in Impressions for Businesses
Businesses with Decreases
Number of Listings with Decreased Actions
Average % decrease in Actions Business
Average % decrease in Impressions for Businesses
Number of Listing with No Change in Actions
The number of listings with increases is roughly equal to those with decreased actions although the average increase was significantly higher than the average loss. I have not done a granular enough analysis to fulling understand but it appears that strong (ie better ranking websites) got stronger and the weak lost visibility.
In one particular case, it is obvious that a business in the burbs that was doing well organically but not locally on the major city searches has been rewarded with a blended placement on the major geo phrase. The bears further study but gave me the distinct impression that the geo area that defines a given search has in some cases been expanded and that businesses that were previously outside of that range now have a shot at first page blended placement.
It is interesting that the actions increased while the impressions were down. The average of actions to impressions increased from 7.17% to 12.26%. This would imply that the UI changes with Places search significantly increases Places related actions (directions, website clicks, more info clicks) and is more efficient at leading to actions that Google wants. This makes sense in that previously some local search traffic was “lost” to organic results. These results obviously reflect the new blended reality.
One area that would be of use to explore would be to examine the relative changes in specific behaviors within the Actions and compare that to changes in website traffic overall. It would be interesting to know if Google or the business is capturing more of the activity.
As in many changes, there were winners and losers. But in the end if more people are finding what they want with fewer searches then those businesses that understand the rules, the users AND Google will all benefit.