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Google launches a lot of new features on a regular basis. Many of them are important and worth reporting on.
But in my opinion, few are as important to digital marketers as yesterday's announcement that Google has made publicly-available integration between AdSense and Analytics.
When it comes to competing with Google in the search and online advertising markets, Microsoft hasn't exactly had an easy go of it. Few companies have.
But that doesn't mean it's throwing in the towel. Yesterday, it continued its efforts by opening up a public beta of its pubCenter publisher network, which Microsoft hopes will be a viable AdSense competitor.
One of Google's biggest goals seems to have little to do with dollars and cents. It's a simple one: 'do no evil' and it has been widely promoted for the simple fact that few billion-dollar corporations set such a goal.
Obviously, aiming to do no evil and actually doing no evil are two different things and Google has been criticized over a number of issues.
Google continues to redouble its efforts on its core business - advertising - and on Wednesday launched a beta of what it is calling "interest-based advertising".
Interest-based ads add a new dimension to ads on Google. Unlike ads that are completely contextual, interest-based ads "associate categories of interest...with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view".
Lowly AdSense publisher Aaron Greenspan had his day in court with Google...and won. Goliath was slapped with a $721 judgement, plus an extra $40 in court fees.
Almost exactly a year ago, Mr. Greenspan added his site, Think Computer Corporation to the AdSense roster of publishers. Nine months later his account was cancelled and the $721 he was owed by Google was never paid.
Google never gave Greenspan a reason for the cancellation, and claimed it didn't have to. According to the AdSense T&Cs, as well as the Google paralegal who represented the search behemouth in Santa Clara county small claims curt in Pala Alto, "Google can terminate your account for any reason."
Tell it to the judge - well, actually, that's what Google did. His response: "But you couldn't terminate my account because of the color of my eyes, could you? I have brown eyes. You couldn't terminate my account because of that."
As the recession lingers on, Google has been forced to admit that it's not immune to the economy. That's a tough thing to do when your core business is still doing pretty well relatively speaking.
So what's Google to do? For starters, it's cutting back on projects that aren't producing. But what about its core business of online advertising? In what might possibly be seen as a way of combating the effects of recession, Google has introduced expandable ads on the AdSense content network.
The results are in: investments in AOL and a company called Clearwire contributed to a 68% drop in Q4 profit for Google but an 18% increase in sales helped the beat analyst expectations.
All told, Google achieved net income of $382m on total revenue of $5.7bn. Sales, excluding commissions paid to partners, was $4.22bn, beating the consensus estimate of $4.12bn.