India is the world’s largest market for motorbikes, with two-wheelers making up 70% of all vehicles registered by its 1.3 billion residents. It’s these motorbike drivers, more so than car owners, that Google needs to please as it competes for mindshare in this emerging market. So when user research showed that motorbikers in India didn’t find Maps useful, a team in Google’s Seattle office was tasked with figuring out how to change it.
A dive into the data revealed that motorbike drivers would only open the app for about 30 seconds and then close it. The team of product experts hypothesized that drivers needed more guidance on their route, so they spun up a prototype that would provide more in-ride prompts. But when they tested it with users in Jaipur, the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, the prototype flopped.
The trials and errors to make Maps work better in India were a wake-up call, says Lauren Celenza, lead designer on Google’s two-wheeler project. As Google aims to reach more users in emerging markets like India, South East Asia, Africa and Latin America, the company needed to better integrate user research with product design.
“Opening up of the process beyond the walls of our offices is a playbook that we’re looking to for future projects,” Celenza says.
After actually spending time in India talking to people, the product team realized that the exact opposite of their initial assumption was true: Motorbike drivers didn’t want to look at or listen to their phones at all as they navigated the crowded and often chaotic roads. Instead, they wanted clearer guidance before starting out.
That initial design process highlights the too common tech industry hubris wherein companies launch tools for people far away without proper preparation or understanding of regional wants, needs or cultural differences. At its most anodyne, this approach leads to unpopular products. But it can also fuel real-world crises, like fake news and hate-speech going viral in Myanmar because Facebook didn’t have enough Burmese-speaking moderators.
The Google Maps team on the project ended up building a “two-wheeler mode” with customized routes for motorbikes that simplifies the maps and highlights landmarks to make it easier for drivers to understand and memorize the way before starting out. Since that product launched about a year and a half ago, its usage has grown from one million daily users to 5 million, and Google has launched the feature in more than a dozen new markets.
Two-wheeler mode falls under the domain of what Google calls its “Next Billion Users” initiative to reach users in emerging markets, either by launching new products or adapting old ones. For example, Google launched data-light and offline versions of Search, YouTube and Maps, and created an India-specific payments service called Tez.
“We need to do a lot more work to make sure our technologies and our services actually work really well for these users, including designing the right products for their unique needs,” Caesar Sengupta, vice president of Google’s Next Billion Users group, tells Forbes. “The amount of work we have left to do is still huge.”
In the past year, Google has faced a handful of controversies about how it cooperates with foreign governments. In August, the Intercept reported that the company was working on a version of its search engine in China that would comply with the country’s strict censorship laws. U.S. politicians, human rights activists and Google employees criticized the project, describing it as a tool for oppression and a slap in the face of Internet freedom. Google eventually told Congress in December that it has “no plans” to launch a search engine in China.
“The world is evolving fast,” he said. “We need to be constantly looking at what we’re doing and what are the right ways to be doing something.”
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Ahead of the annual Google I/O developer festival opening its doors on Tuesday, Google has already made one major announcement: it will soon start deleting your data automatically.
Writing in the official Google safety and security blog, David Monsees and Marlo McGriff, the product managers for Google search and maps respectively, say that the company is responding to user feedback asking to make managing data privacy and security simpler. “You can already use your Google Account to access simple on/off controls for Location History and Web & App Activity,” they say, “and if you choose, to delete all or part of that data manually.” What’s new is the soon to be rolled out “auto-delete controls” that will enable users to set time limits on how long Google can save your data.
Said to be arriving within weeks, the new controls will apply to location history as well as web and app activity data to start with. Users will be able to choose a time limit of between three and 18 months after which the data concerned will automatically delete on a rolling basis. You can already delete this data manually if you want, but the ability to have it deleted automatically is long overdue in my never humble opinion. Especially given reports last year that suggested Google was storing location data even when users had turned off location history and considering the somewhat arduous manual deletion process.
Not that everyone will want to delete this data of course. As with most things online these days it comes down to a choice between privacy and function. Actually, make that a balance between the two as it’s rare for anyone to be totally binary when it comes to such matters truth be told. Google says that this data “can make Google products more useful for you, like recommending a restaurant that you might enjoy, or helping you pick up where you left off on a previous search.” If you are of the don’t store any of my location data thank you very much persuasion, then disabling location history altogether would seem like a better option given that some mobile apps can track location data when they aren’t running. For everyone else, the new auto-deletion controls will be a welcome weapon in the “taking back control of at least some of your data” arsenal.
Keep checking the Data & Personalization section of your Google account settings, specifically the “Manage your activity controls” option I would imagine, to see if the function has rolled out for you in the coming weeks.
http://bit.ly/2RqgIqZ January 31, 2019 PARIS (Reuters) – France’s competition regulator has ordered Google to take measures regarding some of its advertising methods, saying these had hit French firm Amadeus which runs a directory service in France. “Google will need to quickly clarify the rules for its Google Ads online advertising platform that apply to electronic […]
Malware researcher Lukas Stefanko has found four fake cryptocurrency wallets on the Google Play Store that were trying to steal users’ personal data, according to a blog post published Nov. 13. The apps were posing as cryptocurrency wallets for NEO, Tether and an extension for accessing Ethereum (ETH), MetaMask. They were purportedly designed to phish users’ mobile banking credentials and credit card information. Stefanko classified the wallets into two groups, wherein the fake MetaMask app was a “phishing wallet” and the other three apps were “fake wallets………
Rising oil prices are prompting forecasts of a return to $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014, creating both winners and losers in the world economy. Exporters of the fuel would enjoy bumper returns, giving a fillip to companies and government coffers. By contrast, consuming nations would bear the cost at the pump, potentially fanning inflation and hurting demand. The good news is that Bloomberg Economics found that oil at $100 would mean less for global growth in 2018 than it did after the 2011 spike. That’s partly because economies are less reliant on energy and because the shale revolution…..
Marwan Forzely has come a long way since his days at Western Union. The serial entrepreneur, who sold his previous company to Western Union to help the money-transfer giant directly connect to customer bank accounts, has raised $25 million to cut intermediary banks out of the payment process altogether.Instead of relying on a series of correspondents to move money between different jurisdictions around the world, Marwan’s latest venture, Veem, uses bitcoin to directly connect its clients’ bank accounts with suppliers and customers…….
In 2010, Google rocked the $60 billion broadband industry by announcing plans to deploy fiber-based home internet service, offering connections up to a gigabit per second — 100 times faster than average speeds at the time. Google Fiber, as the effort was named, entered the access market intending to prove the business case for ultra-high-speed internet. After deploying to six metro areas in six years, however, company management announced in late 2016 that it was “pausing” future deployments……
When you’re working in a word processor, every second you save matters. And while Google Docs may seem simple on the surface, it’s practically overflowing with out-of-sight options that can help you get more done with less effort.
The best part? They’re all already there and just waiting to be embraced. All you have to do is find them–and then remember to put them to use. Here’s a head start.
(Note that the items listed below are mostly specific to Docs’s version for desktop web browsers. Unless otherwise noted, they don’t apply to the mobile apps.)
Edit like a pro
1. The next time you need to move text within a document, skip the cutting and pasting and shift text the faster way: Just highlight the paragraph you want to reposition and then click and drag it with your mouse–or, in an even more efficient twist, place your cursor anywhere inside the paragraph, hold down Alt and Shift together, and then use your arrow keys to move it wherever you want.
2. Need your text to be a little larger or smaller? Docs has a pair of super-handy shortcuts that’ll change font size on the fly: Hold down Ctrl (or Cmd) and Shift and then press the period key to bump the font size up by one point or the comma key to bump it down.
3. With just a few quick clicks, Docs can copy the formatting from one area of text and apply it to another. The trick lies within that paint roller icon in the upper-left corner of the Docs toolbar (directly to the right of the print icon). Place your cursor on the text that has the formatting you want, click the paint roller, and then click the paragraph where you want the formatting to be applied. The font, size, style, and color should all show up instantly.
If you want to apply the formatting to more than one area of text, double-click the paint roller at the start of the process. That’ll force it to remain active through numerous applications.You can get to any Google Docs function in no time by using the program’s menu search command.
4. Save yourself the trouble of digging through Docs’s menus to find what you need and instead use the Alt-/ shortcut to search all available functions in no time. Say you want to convert some text into title case, for instance. Rather than digging around in the Format menu, you can simply highlight the text in question, hit Alt and then /, type “ti”–and then, when “Title Case” appears as the top option, hit Enter to apply it.
5. Docs can automatically organize your documents to make them easier to get around: Open up the View menu and select “Show document outline”–or just hit Ctrl-Alt-H (or Cmd-Alt-H)–and the app will create a complete outline in the left area of the screen, with every line of header text representing a section. You can then click on any of those sections to jump directly to that part of the document. (This one is also available in the Docs mobile apps; just look for the “Document outline” option in the apps’ main menu.)
6. Give your fingers a break and let Docs turn your spoken words into text: As long as your computer has a microphone, all you have to do is open the Tools menu and select “Voice typing”–or hit Ctrl-Shift-S (or Cmd-Shift-S)–and then speak away. Docs will use Google’s standard voice-to-text system to figure out what you’re saying (mostly, anyway) and put it on the page.
7. Docs’s voice-to-text function also lets you speak commands for common forms of punctuation and paragraph formatting. You can say things like “period,” “comma,” and “question mark” or give instructions like “new line” or “new paragraph.” If you want to take a break, say “stop listening” and then say “resume” when you’re ready to continue.
8. In addition to taking down text, Docs’s voice typing mode allows you to perform advanced edits via spoken command. The system supports a huge range of functions–selecting specific words, phrases, or paragraphs; applying different types of formatting to text; cutting, copying, and pasting; and even scrolling through a document or jumping to specific parts of the page. You can find a full list of available commands here.
9. Docs’s dictation feature is good for more than just regular writing and editing: Anytime you have some audio that needs to be turned into text–from a recorded interview, a podcast, or whatever the case may be–find a quiet room for your computer, fire up Docs’s voice typing mode, and let the audio play. Docs will provide a full transcription of your recorded audio, no specialty services or fees required. Docs’s Explore function brings a world of research right into your word processor.
10. Docs makes it possible to do all of your research without ever leaving your word processor–both on the desktop and from your mobile device. Open up Docs’s Explore tool by looking in the Explore menu (or pressing Ctrl-Alt-Shift-I or Cmd-Alt-Shift-I) on the desktop site or by finding the “Explore” option in the mobile apps’ main menu (while you’re actually editing a document). Docs will bring up a series of web results, images, and related documents from your own past work. You can perform new searches right within that window as well–and when you find something you’d like to include in your current document, you can add it and even attach a footnote citation with a single click or tap.
11. Attention, Google Photos users: Docs makes it easy as can be to add images from your Photos collection directly into your documents. Click the Insert menu and select “Image” to find the option. You can also add an image from your Google Drive storage, by URL, or by searching the web from that same area.
12. Docs has its own tool to let you crop or edit images: Just click on an image within your document, then click the Format menu and select “Image.” There, you’ll find the command for cropping as well as a broader “Image Options” selection that contains functions for recoloring and adjusting the image’s transparency, brightness, and contrast.
13. Not confident about a word’s meaning? Hit Ctrl-Shift-Y (or Cmd-Shift-Y) while your cursor’s on the word. Docs will dig up a definition for you and show it to you on the right side of the screen.
14. If you use Google Keep as a note-taker, you can access your notes while working on a document and even insert an entire note into your current page. Look for the “Keep notepad” option within the Tools menu to pull up the Keep sidebar. Once it’s there, you can view and edit your notes–and if you want to dump a note’s contents in your document, hover over the note and then click the three-dot menu icon that appears.
Collaborate and share
15. Don’t let a language barrier keep you from communicating. Docs has a native system that can translate entire documents into other languages: Click the Tools menu, then select “Translate document.” You’ll then be able to select the language you want and provide a new name for your translated file. Fácil, ¿no?
16. You’d never know it, but Google Docs allows you to tag other users to get their attention while collaborating. Just start writing a comment–by clicking the circular icon that appears when you hover over the right side of a document on the desktop or by tapping the plus icon and then selecting “Comment” in the mobile app–and then type @ or + followed by the first few letters of a person’s name. Docs will start offering options from your Google Contacts list. And if you want to add someone who isn’t in your contacts list, just use an email address instead of a name.
If the person you select already has access to the document, they’ll receive an email notifying them of the mention. If they don’t, Docs will prompt you to share the document with them before proceeding.
17. You can also email any message you want to collaborators, along with an attachment of a document, directly from Docs. Look for the “Email collaborators” option in the File menu to get started. (Your message will come from the primary email address associated with your Google account.)
18. Maybe you want to send a copy of your document to someone via email without adding them as a collaborator–to provide the file to a client, for instance, or share it with someone outside of your organization for review. Docs can do that: Just open up the File menu and select “Email as attachment.” You’ll be able to select from a variety of formats or even opt to include the text within the email body.
19. Docs can turn any document into a live, functioning web page that you can then share or embed as you wish. See the “Publish on the web” option within the File menu to explore the possibility.
20. If you want to point people to a specific section of your document, use Docs’s bookmarking feature to create a direct link to any area of the text. Place your cursor where you want the link to reside, then open the Insert menu and select “Bookmark.” A pop-up will appear with the link, though you’ll still need to be sure to share the document appropriately (either with the people you want to be able to view it or publicly, if you want everyone to be able to access it) before it’ll work for anyone other than you.
21. Want to send someone a link to a PDF version of your document? Copy the full URL in your browser’s address bar while you’re editing the document, then change the “/edit” at the very end to “/export?format=pdf” (without the quotation marks). As long as people to whom you’re sending have access to the document, they’ll get a PDF of your work as soon as they open the link.
22. You can use a similar trick to turn your document into a template for other people’s ongoing use: Once again, copy the full URL in your browser’s address bar while you’re editing the document—but this time, change the “/edit” at the end to “/copy” (again, without the quotation marks). Send that link to anyone with whom you’ve shared the file, and when they open it, they’ll be prompted to make a copy in their own Docs storage and then work on it from there.
Expand your word processing horizons
23. Google Docs can give you a helping hand with design by way of its built-in template gallery: Open up the gallery to browse through the available options–ranging from résumés to project proposals and even some advanced business and legal document formats–and then select any item to open it in Docs and use it as a starting point
24. Start a new document from anywhere within your browser by adding docs.google.com/create as a bookmark and then placing it in your bookmarks bar–or creating a custom keyboard shortcut that’ll pull the link up on demand.
25. Don’t limit yourself to Docs’s list of default fonts. You can add dozens of fonts into your word processing setup–and once they’re added, they’ll always be available in the regular font dropdown menu. All you have to do is open that dropdown menu and look for the “More fonts” option at the top. Click it and browse or search Google’s web font archive to find the style that meets your needs–then write away with the right look for every project you tackle.
The EU has taken up arms against Google’s mobile empire in the form of a record-breaking 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine. EU officials issued the fine on claims that Google illegally favored its own apps over those of competitors.
They claim that because Google requires smartphone manufacturers to pre-install and bundle Google Search and Chrome in order to use the Google Play Store, it is abusing its dominance and also stunting competition from rival companies. EU officials have stated that the steep fine was issued to protect European consumers.
“The fine reflects the fact that this has been going on for quite some time. This is a strategy that has been in effect since 2011 and two of the three illegal restrictions are still in effect. It is an ongoing abuse.”
Vestager also stated,
“The thing that Google has to do now is of course to stop,” and “They have products that we all like and like to use. The only thing we don’t like is when they get to misuse their success and put in place illegal restrictions.”
The EU has given Google 90 days to pay up on its antitrust penalties and stop the practice or face further charges of 5% of parent company Alphabet’s daily worldwide revenue. Vestager noted that once Google stops its antitrust infringement, the market will free up.
Google announced today that it is fighting back against the ruling by planning an appeal. In a blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai states,
“A healthy, thriving Android ecosystem is in everyone’s interest, and we’ve shown we’re willing to make changes. But we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favor of proprietary systems over open platforms.”
Pichai also pointed out that users have the freedom to delete preloaded apps in favor of “apps made by some of the 1.6 million Europeans who make a living as app developers.” He noted that the Commission’s decision ignores user’s freedom of choice and evidence of how people use their phones.
This ruling marks the third antitrust lawsuit laid on Google by the EU. In 2016, Google was accused of blocking rivals on Adsense. As of April, they were advancing on that Adsense case and as of today, it was confirmed that the case is still under investigation.
Last year, the tech giant was also slammed with a $2.7 billion penalty for favoring its shopping service over others.
What This Means for Marketing
This fine not only threatens Google’s dominant position in the mobile sphere, it also threatens their rapidly expanding mobile ad business. In turn, the thousands of marketers who promote ads on Google mobile devices may be negatively affected.
If you account for the shopping service fine issued last year, Google currently faces penalties of over $7 billion. These fines could dramatically increase if the EU decides to hammer down on Google’s Adsense and online ad contract practice.
In a nutshell, this potentially high Adsense penalty is the EU’s defiant way of getting Google to stop blocking search engine rivals on third party sites.
If Google fails to appeal to the EU, then they will lose a huge chunk of mobile ad space territory, a territory that has grown exceedingly large and competitive in recent years.
More and more people are using their smartphones for web browsing, streaming, gameplay, and other internet-based tasks so having acreage in mobile is crucial for Google to maintain their dominance. It’s also crucial for marketers to think seriously about promoting their content via ads on mobile.
It’s unlikely that this ruling will cause Google’s ad empire to topple but there’s a big chance the tech giant could lose their traction in Europe. It’s definitely worthwhile for European marketers to pay attention to these rulings and anticipate some Google ad changes.