Tuesday, 31 July 2012
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Introducing the Multi-Channel Funnels Reporting API

Author PhotoBy John Huang, Software Engineer

Cross-posted from the Google Analytics Blog

Measuring how marketing efforts influence conversions can be difficult, especially when your customers interact with multiple marketing channels over time before converting. Last fall, we launched Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, a new set of reports that help shed light on the full path users follow to conversion, rather than just the last click. One request we’ve had since the beginning was to make this data available via an API to allow developers to extend and automate use cases with the data. So today we’re releasing the new Google Analytics Multi-Channel Funnels Reporting API.

The API allows you to query for metrics like Assisted Conversions, First Interactions Conversions, and Last Interaction conversions, as well as Top Paths, Path Length and Time Lag, to incorporate conversion path data into your applications. Key use cases we’ve seen so far involve combining this conversion path data with other data sources, such as cost data, creating new visualizations, as well as using this data to automate processes such as bidding.

For example, Cardinal Path used the new Multi-Channel Funnels API, Analytics Canvas ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) and Tableau Software to help their client, C3 Presents, uncover how time and channels affected Lollapalooza ticket sales in an analysis dubbed “MCF DNA.” The outcome was a new visualization, similar to a DNA graph, that helped shed light on how channels appeared throughout the conversion funnel.

MCF DNA Visualization in Tableu Software

In another case, Mazeberry, an analytics company from France, helped their client 123Fleurs decrease customer acquisition costs by 20% by integrating data from the Multi-Channel Funnels API into a new reporting framework. Their application, Mazeberry Express, combines media cost and full conversion path data to provide new Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Return on Investment (ROI) metrics that provide a more complete understanding of how online channels are working together to influence conversions.

Mazeberry Express Screenshot - Focus on a Channel

Please note that this functionality only works with the new v3.0 API libraries, so you should upgrade now if you haven’t already (see our migration guide). We look forward to seeing how you make use of this new data source.

John Huang is a Software Engineer working on Google Analytics. John is interested in all things analytics, mobile, and photography.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Monday, 30 July 2012
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Measure and optimize with mod_pagespeed experiments

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By Jeff Kaufman, Software Engineer, PageSpeed Team

Making your site fast shouldn’t require lots of manual optimization. With mod_pagespeed, an open-source Apache module, you can automatically apply web performance optimization best practices like cache extension, image optimization, and css inlining to speed up your site without a lot of hassle. As of version, mod_pagespeed now supports A/B tests integrated with Google Analytics, allowing you to measure how much it speeds up your site on live traffic and experimentally determine the best settings.

When running an experiment, mod_pagespeed randomly assigns visitors to experimental configurations based on percentages you choose. You can run an experiment on 1% of your traffic, 100%, or anywhere in between without affecting other visitors. It also injects JavaScript to report experiment assignments back to your Google Analytics account in a custom variable. Within Analytics you can track the impact of experimental configurations on page load times, bounce rates, conversions, or any other Analytics metric.

We ran an example experiment, comparing mod_pagespeed running with default settings to mod_pagespeed in pass-through mode, on a small blog. This required adding the following lines to our pagespeed.conf:
ModPagespeedRunExperiment on
ModPagespeedAnalyticsID "UA-XXXXXXXX-Y"

# half the users get the pagespeed optimizations
ModPagespeedExperimentSpec id=3;percent=50;default

# half get an unoptimized site
ModPagespeedExperimentSpec id=4;percent=50
While this site was static and contained mostly text, it did use some JavaScript and images and had not been manually optimized. We ran the experiment for a month, over which Analytics observed 11K page views, and we saw a 20% improvement in average page load time:

experiment results

Average page load time is sensitive to outliers, however, so to better understand the effects it’s helpful to check a histogram:

detailed experiment results

The clearest change is that mod_pagespeed moved about 7% of page loads from taking 1-3 seconds down to 0-1 second, but there is also an improvement in the long tail.

We encourage you to follow the experiment framework guide and start measuring the effect mod_pagespeed has on your site.

Jeff Kaufman works on mod_pagespeed, an open-source Apache module that helps make the web faster, and is interested in experiment measurement. He also plays for contra dances, organizes other dances, and blogs about dancing, giving, and tech.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Friday, 27 July 2012
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Fridaygram: Science Fair winners, crowd-sourced comet, Olympic salute

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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

This year’s Google Science Fair launched in January and attracted young scientists from more than 100 countries, who created thousands of projects. The judges performed the difficult task of choosing the finalists, who were rewarded with a trip to Google’s office in scenic Mountain View, California. Following a final round of judging, three winning projects were chosen:

  • Jonah Kohn for “Good Vibrations: Improving the Music Experience for People with Hearing Loss Using Multi-Frequency Tactile Sound”.
  • Iván Hervías Rodríguez, Marcos Ochoa, and Sergio Pascual for “La Vida Oculta del Agua (The Secret Life of Water)”.
  • Brittany Wenger for “Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer”.
The Science Fair is especially impressive when you consider that all entrants are 18 years old or younger, and some of us have t-shirts older than that. Congratulations to all the winners and near-winners!

If you were thinking of using “crowd-sourced astronomy” as your future science fair project, take note: your idea is not original. A team of researchers at Princeton University recently reconstructed the 2007 orbit of Comet Holmes using images taken by amateur photographers and found by Yahoo image search. They then used a cool app called Astrometry.net to help figure out how to put the images together.

Finally, the Olympic Games opening ceremony in London is happening today, and we’d like to pay tribute here to Trevor Barron, an olympian who also participated in Google Summer of Code. Trevor's coding project involves working with Benetech to implement text-to-speech for mathematical expressions. Good luck in the games, Trevor!

Each week our Fridaygram presents cool things from Google and elsewhere that you might have missed during the week. Fridaygram items aren't necessarily related to developer topics; they're just interesting to us nerds. This week we say goodbye to Sally Ride, pioneering astronaut and hero to many Earthlings.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012
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Google I/O 2012: Ready to relive the craziness?


By Monica Tran and Merci Niebres, Google I/O Team

Thank you to the 5,500 developers who joined us in San Francisco, the 3.5 million who watched online, and the 350 I/O Extended viewing parties that came together at Google I/O this year. In case you missed it, we’ve condensed two keynotes, 130 sessions, 150 sandbox partners and three days into a short 3 1/2 minute video that captures the highlights from this year’s conference.

Want to learn more about Nexus 7, or get the behind-the-scenes scoop on the Project Glass demo? Or maybe you just want to catch up on all 130 technical sessions on your way to becoming the ultimate renaissance Google developer. The archives of the event are posted at developers.google.com/io, but check out the links below to get a 360 degree recap of Google I/O 2012.

We hope all this will tide you over for the next few months, but in case it doesn’t, connect with us year round via Google Developers Live, where you can ask questions, find inspiration and get your app reviewed by our developer advocates all around the world.

Until next year!

Monica Tran leads marketing for Google I/O and broader developer marketing programs at Google.

Merci Niebres is Google I/O's executive producer and leads marketing events focused on developer outreach and special executive programs.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Tuesday, 24 July 2012
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Helping developers build more applications on Google BigQuery

By Ju-kay Kwek and Amanda Bradford, Google BigQuery Team

In May we launched Google BigQuery, a fully managed cloud-based service that enables businesses to analyze enormous amounts of data in the cloud. While we're continually amazed by the range of business problems being solved, we recognize that writing one-off scripts to ingest data, or creating custom front-end integration, requires effort and takes away time from the fun stuff: getting results.

So today we're pleased to highlight a few new members of our Cloud Platform Partner Program that are here to help you be even more productive – by delivering tools integrated with BigQuery that make it much easier to automatically load data from a broad set of sources, as well as to analyze and visualize the data with spectacular dashboards.

BigQuery partner logos

Import data from multiple sources into BigQuery

We’ve partnered with Informatica, Pervasive Software, Talend and SQLstream to make it easier to bring data from a variety of sources into BigQuery. This means you can use their BigQuery connectors to move data very easily from on-premise or cloud IT systems to BigQuery. For example, TribusPoint, a consulting firm, leveraged the Informatica Cloud BigQuery connector to rapidly move large files from their on-premise data centers to BigQuery.

Build rich interactive dashboards on BigQuery

We’ve partnered with data visualization providers QlikTech, Jaspersoft, Bime Analytics and Metric Insights to help you build rich, interactive dashboards for a broad range of customers. You can use their tools to build dashboards and reports very easily. For example, Pixelfish leveraged Metric Insights BigQuery integration to create dashboards that delivered a 300% improvement in customer engagement.

Click the partner links above to see more specific customer examples of each. We have just scratched the surface on Google BigQuery. We can’t wait to see what other cool applications you can build on Google BigQuery using our APIs. Hack away!

Ju-kay Kwek is the Product Management Lead for Google's Cloud Big Data initiative. In this role, he focuses on creating services that enable businesses and developers to harness Google's unparalleled data processing infrastructure and algorithms to tackle Big Data needs.

Amanda Bradford works in Business Development at Google, driving strategic alliances and partnerships for Google and specializing in the Google Cloud Platform.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Friday, 20 July 2012
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Fridaygram: Web Lab, holey Mars, Earth opposite

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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

Since the 1970s, people have been hooking up various wacky things to the Internet. The newest and possibly coolest instance of this wonderful tradition launched this week. The Web Lab is physically located in the Science Museum in London, but thanks to the web, it’s virtually everywhere. Web Lab includes 5 experiments that can be controlled from your browser, including Universal Orchestra, which lets you play music with people around the world on instruments in the museum or online.

When you’re done remotely controlling the experiments in London, you can ponder the awesome mystery of the hole in Mars. This remarkable image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and shows an opening to a cavern. This discovery raises many fascinating questions. How long has it been there? Why is there a round crater around the hole? Where is the giant pencil that fits inside?

For those of us back here on Earth, take a moment this weekend to locate your opposite point on the globe, using the Earth sandwich find the opposite tool. And if you try to dig directly there, that would make a crazy cavern.

Each week we publish Fridaygram, featuring cool things from Google and elsewhere that you might have missed during the week. Fridaygram items aren't necessarily related to developer topics; they're just interesting to us nerds. This week we offer a Fridaygram tip of the cap to Mike Pegg for pointing out the Earth Opposite tool.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012
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Google Developers Expert: recognizing and rewarding top developers

Author PhotoBy Amir Shevat, Developer Relations Program Manager

Google Developers Expert (GDE) is a new program from our Developer Relations team that recognizes and rewards outstanding developers. Our inaugural group includes 26 honorees with deep technical expertise in specific areas who are major contributors to the developer community.

Google Developers Expert logo

The status of Google Developers Expert is awarded yearly to experts who contribute to the communities around Android, Cloud, HTML5, Chrome, and Google Maps. Members of the program develop close connections to the respective Google product team, gain early access to developer releases, and are invited to an annual summit at Google headquarters. In addition, members are authorized to use a domain-specific badge which links to their member directory listing for use in promoting their services.

sample GDE badges

All of the Experts listed in the member directory provide a link to their Google+ accounts so you can add them to your circles and follow their latest news. Service to the developer community is an important criterion for selection in this program, so you can find members answering questions on developer forums such as Stack Overflow or speaking at technical conferences.

How to become a member

Candidates are nominated by members of the Google Developer Relations team and a committee approves a small number each year. Criteria include a highly technical skill set in one of the program's product areas, a strong online presence within that product’s developer community, and experience presenting to technical audiences. If you're interested in becoming a Google Developers Expert, please send your name, email, country of residence, area of expertise, and how you contribute to the developer community to gde-nomination@google.com. You can learn more about the program at the official program page.

Amir Shevat works with developers and startups. He promotes Google technologies as well as open source software and open standards in the Israeli market and worldwide.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Monday, 9 July 2012
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Introducing new Fusion Tables API

By Warren Shen, Google Fusion Tables team

Amidst all the excitement of I/O followed by the July 4th holiday in the U.S., many developers missed the announcement of the new Fusion Tables API. The new API includes all of the functionality of the existing SQL API, plus the ability to read and modify table and column metadata as well as the definitions of styles and templates for data visualization. This API is also integrated with the Google APIs console which lets developers manage all their Google APIs in one place and take advantage of built-in reporting and authentication features.

With this launch, we are also announcing a six month deprecation period for the existing SQL API. Since the new API includes all of the functionality of the existing SQL API, developers can easily migrate their applications using our migration guide.

For a detailed description of the features in the new API, please refer to the API documentation.

Posted by Ashleigh Rentz, Editor Emerita