Google has announced a 32% increase in profit for the second quarter of 2011, reaching revenues of US$9.03 billion with operating expenses increasing by 49% to US$2.97 billion.
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, said that ‘Google rocked in 2010’ telling investors that ‘core businesses [search and advertising] growing at a very healthy rate and new businesses growing even stronger [Android, Chrome and YouTube etc.]’ With the announcement of Google+, it is likely that social business increase through advertising.
Innovation is also increasingly becoming an important part of Google. Eric Schmidt saying ‘we are making improvements to search at a rate that is the faster we [have] ever’ adding that they crawled 8 times more than two years ago. He emphasized privacy when used search history to deliver search results saying it was only ‘with your permission.’
The increase in operating expenses came after the company increased staff with 2452 staff during this quarter and a further 1916 staff during the first quarter. When questioned during that 2011 Annual Stockholder’s Meeting, said Larry Page, Google CEO, that the company was still functional in size and said ‘we have moved the product areas of the company up and level’ adding that they didn’t talk a lot about internal structure.
Paul Allen from Ancestry.com has predicted that the number of users to enter Google+, Google’s much hyped social network, has reached 10 million users. He says that this amount could reach 20 million by the weekend, growing at an exponential rate. Tracking the amount of users has also become harder saying that ‘the userbase is growing so quickly that it is challenging for me to keep up, since the number of users of any given surname (even the rare ones I am tracking) seems to be climbing every day.’
Allen used a surname analysis based on the top 100-200 surnames (based on usage) from the US Census Bureau, then estimated how many US users they were then compared it to the worldwide usage. He selected a ratio of ‘1 US user for every 2.12 non-U.S. users.’ He believes that the model he is using to predict the data is sound and compared his methods to what could be used in a low-budget census.
A report is expected to come out next Monday with more information available from Allen’s Google+1 post. So far, Google has not released any actual numbers to act as a comparison.
Google has inadvertently spammed its users after running out of disk space required for the notification causing the system to send emails to users on a loop. Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president, posted an apology on his Google+1 profile saying:
Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon.
For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes.
We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have.
Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.
Google has also had to limit the amount of invitations sent out for Google+, temporarily stopping the usage of any sent invites saying ‘we’ve temporarily exceeded our capacity. Please try again soon.
YouTube is testing a new unified look with a new coat of black paint, greater interactivity and better tools for editing profiles. The new design can be tested out by going to the Cosmic Panda test ground. Suggested videos are given more prominence by switching from the comments view to suggested videos view as well as video size, which will change the container of the video without changing the resolution of the video.
One of the most impressive features is the new channel editor. The old channel designs are replaced with a cleaner look, with descriptions in a grey box on the side and videos taking a large component of the default profile view option (it can be changed to compact versions). Gone are the options to customize channel colors, though the channel editor as with all new design features are yet to be nailed down.
Noam Lovinsky and Alex Nicksay wrote on the YouTube blog that ‘we’re eager to hear your feedback as it’s a great chance for us to incorporate your ideas into future designs for YouTube,’ the feedback option is accessible from the blue bar on the side of videos.
The design coincides with a push from Google to re-brand services for Google+1. GMail, Search and Calendar are some of the most popular services which have already received a redesign. According to Mashable, Picasa will be renamed Google Photos and Blogger as Google Blogs.
What Do You Love? is a new service from Google which combines Google services on the one webpage. Upon visiting the website, a Google homepage style search-box with an icon of a heart appears.
It looks like the website is not quite ready for the prime-time, its coding still has comments for the DoubleClick code, which says that the creation of the website was June 24, though sources told TechCrunch that the website was available on June 28. Comments are usually removed from the HTML markup of a page before release and no official press release has been made. Here is a snapshot of the code:
Start of DoubleClick Floodlight Tag: Please do not remove
Activity name of this tag: Google Search - What Do You Love - Home
URL of the webpage where the tag is expected to be placed: http://www.wdyl.com/
This tag must be placed between theandtags, as close as possible to the opening tag.
Creation Date: 06/24/2011
The product seems like the perfect tool for finding everything about a person or product. Some of the defaults are quite weird depending on what you put in as the answer to what do you love? We put in Linear Fix and suggestions included putting a ‘Date with Linear Fix’ in Google Calendar, to organize a debate about Linear Fix with topics such as ‘Where is the best place to find Linear Fix?’ and ‘How do you feel about Linear Fix?’ and to email someone with the title of ‘I love Linear Fix’
Just May last year, more than 30,000 disgruntled users committed to end their Facebook account en-masse on Quit Facebook Day. ‘For us it comes down to two things: fair choices and best intentions. In our view, Facebook doesn’t do a good job in either department,’ the website owners told fans. Later they compared quitting Facebook similar to quitting cigarettes, humorously adding ‘having peer support helps, but the way to quit Facebook is not to start a group on Facebook about leaving Facebook.’
Though, Facebook allows users to download their account information, Facebook makes it hard to exit. Users must wait for two weeks in a ‘deactivation’ period, after these weeks the account is ‘permanently deleted from Facebook.’ Google already has a much easier system for users exiting services which have carried over to Google+. One of the projects undertaken at Google is The Data Liberation Front, which allows users to easily exit from Google services. In a video (see above), a staff member says ‘we believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we have to work just that much harder to make sure that you don’t want to.’
The very foundation that Google+ was built on is also very different from Facebook. Google+ makes uses of grouping friends (Circles), while most Facebook users don’t categorize friends using lists. By using Circles, the theory is that the information you want to share with your work friends , the people you meet at clubs and old school buddies are different.
Facebook still can make changes to better improve their friend list function to make it more visible but Google+ may just be the social network alternative that users are looking for.
Google has unveiled a new social network branded as the Google+ project and only available by invitation. The social network is based on ‘Circles,’ which by dividing friends into groups, users can control what they share with each person as well as a ‘Hangout,’ a video chat service. Like Facebook, the social network will allow users to share updates in a stream with invitations, notifications. Google+ will also include ‘Sparks,’ a network for users of similar interests and ‘Huddle,’ group instant messaging.
Google has posted videos for each feature on their blog and said that ‘today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools,’ adding that the way we share information online was broken as it was ‘awkward.’
Google is adamant that data will remain the control of the user saying ‘we’re giving you more ways to stay private or go public; more meaningful choices around your friends and your data; and more ways to let us know how we’re doing. All across Google.’
The release has come after rumors from March 2011 surfaced with Tim O’Reilly tweeting ‘I’ve seen google circles, and it looks awesome. Tip of the iceberg too,’ the tweet has since been deleted. Google’s other social attempts include Google Buzz, Orkut and Google Wave, though these are yet to gain much traction from users. However, Orkut is one of the most popular websites in Brazil and India and Google Wave was closed.
Google has started the roll-out of a new user interface will be used across Google products (we’ve spotted the interface in Google Maps Canada above). As part of the redesign, the Google homepage will also change to allow for a cleaner look, visible in a screenshot from the Google blog.
Google says the interface will have three components: focus, elasticity and effortlessness. The first, focus, relates to removing clutter to find better results. Elasticity relates to the webpage being re-sizable from large screen to small screen devices whilst effortlessness relates to the usage of HTML5 and WebGL to ‘combine power with simplicity.’
The redesign is expected to combine components from the new Google+ Project and newly redesigned icons.
Edit: Here is an image of the new interface when searching:
Google has updated their Transparency Report with data from July through December 2010 which will include information on percentage of compliance from Google for requests of information removal.
The Transparency Report includes data on content removal requests and user data requests. The United States included a case which through 6 court orders removed 1,110 from Google after ‘continuous defamation against a man and his family.’ Google has complied with 87% of removal requests out of the 1,421 items requested to be removed.
Matt Braithwaite, Transparency Engineering, told readers of the Google Blog that ‘our goal is to provide our users access to information and to protect the privacy of our users,’ by informing the user when possible and checking the accuracy of requests.
The report also includes observations. For example, South Korea had an abnormally high amount of removal requests (32,152) due to RRNs (identification numbers) released on the internet then removed after requests from Korean Information Security Agency.