Archive for May, 2010

Google finally reveals AdSense revenue split

May 25th, 2010

Google has finally disclosed its revenue cut with publishers who use AdSense. In a blog post‘s VP of Product Management, Neal Mohan, writes:

In the spirit of greater transparency with AdSense publishers, we’re sharing the revenue shares for our two main AdSense products — AdSense for content and AdSense for search.

So what’s the split? For content publishers, it’s 68 percent rev share. That means Google pays 68 percent of the revenue it collects from advertisers to content publishers. For AdSense search, Google pays out 51 percent of ad revenue to search partners.

Google provides some detail on how they came to these numbers. For AdSense for content:

The remaining portion that we keep reflects Google’s costs for our continued investment in AdSense — including the development of new technologies, products and features that help maximize the earnings you generate from these ads. It also reflects the costs we incur in building products and features that enable our AdWords advertisers to serve ads on our AdSense partner sites. Since launching AdSense for content in 2003, this revenue share has never changed.

and for search:

As with AdSense for content, the proportion of revenue that we keep reflects our costs, including the significant expense, research and development involved in building and enhancing our core search and AdWords technologies. The AdSense for search revenue share has remained the same since 2005, when we increased it.

As media pundit Jeff Jarvis notes, Google is not revealing the rev split for YouTube, nor is it disclosing separate agreements it has with large publishers.

Google announces Google TV, a web and smartphone-enabled television

May 20th, 2010
Couch potatoes rejoice: Google is coming to a TV set near you. The company announced today it’s entering the crowded TV space in an effort to help you find content you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
At the Google I/O developer conference today, Google showcased its upcoming Google TV. The company hopes to organize the enormous amount of video content available today and make it easier for viewers to find content.

Partnering with Sony and Logitech, Google will launch an Internet and wi-fi enabled set-top box that can connect to a TV with an HDMI cable. Some TVs will also come with the software pre-installed.

When you turn on the TV, viewers will notice the set-top box comes with Google Chrome (the company’s web browser) installed. Viewers will use a keyboard and “pointing device” to flip through channels and find video. When you turn on the TV, you’ll see a search bar that allows you to search for video content from both television and the Web. The set-top box can also be used to create customized menus, watch TV or record it for later.

What makes this announcement particularly important from a competitive standpoint, however, is Google’s integration of content in addition to just video; Google TV allows users to browse through television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies.

“This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web,” said Google TV Product Manager, Salahuddin Choudhary, in a blog post. “Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more.”

Google says four billion people worldwide watch TV, and the average American spends five hours per day doing so. The company also notes how a lot of people are increasingly spending time consuming entertainment on their phones and computers. Google says Google TV will offer the best of both the Web and TV worlds in one place.

“Already know the channel or program you want to watch?” Choudhary asks. “Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.”

In addition to making the TV web-enabled, Google TV is also integrated with smartphones and the Android Market. That means Google TV can be controlled using smartphones and speech recognition. Furthermore, Google TV can run any Android app that doesn’t require phone-specific hardware. The result: Apps such as Twitter or Facebook will work on your television.

The company has also inked some important partnerships to ensure the service hits the ground running.

“We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes,” Choudhary said. “These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores [across the U.S.].”

In addition to hardware partnerships, Google has signed deals with organizations like Netflix and the NBA to provide optimized Web content allowing viewers to connect to online schedules, DVR programming and suggested programming lists.

Finally, the biggest part of this launch is arguably the announcement that Google will provide developers with a software development kit so they can build rich applications and distribute them to Google TV users via the Android Market.

This open market for television works similar to how Apple allows developers to build apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The end result: TV viewers will get a myriad of new features and content that can be updated comfort of one’s couch.

Facebook’s Privacy Policy: 50 settings, 170+ options, longer than U.S. Constitution

May 13th, 2010

I got a lot of feedback via email and comments on yesterday about my post on the Great Facebook Departure, highlighting high-profile bloggers and pundits who are ditching the social network.

In a related follow-up, I found this NYTimes piece on Facebook’s privacy policy to be particularly interesting.

A few quick facts for you:

  • To manage your privacy on Facebook, you will need to navigate through 50 settings with more than 170 options.
  • Facebook’s Privacy Policy is longer than the United States Constitution: Facebook’s Privacy Policy is 5,830 words long; the United States Constitution, without any of its amendments, is a concise 4,543 words.
  • Facebook’s “Help Center” is available to assist users, but the word count for the privacy-related FAQ adds up to more than 45,000 words.

For those of you interested in seeing Facebook’s privacy policy in visual form, check out this illustrative diagram. This overview shows you how your information is shared and what’s needed to manage it.

According to this diagram from the NY Times, Facebook’s Privacy Policy has grown from 1,004 words in 2005 to 5,830 words today. To compare it to other social networks:

  • MySpace: 2,290 words
  • Friendster: 1,977 words
  • Twitter: 1,203 words
  • Flickr: 384 words

With all of these settings and this boatload of verbiage, Facebook says its goal is to offer precise controls for sharing on the Internet. While the myriad of choices do in fact make it very clear what information is being shared, I’m curious how many people actually wade through the settings to tweak them? And if you’re not technically inclined, do you even know how to?

The Great Facebook Departure? High-profile bloggers ditch the world’s largest social network

May 12th, 2010

Today I stumbled upon a very interesting post about high-profile individuals leaving Facebook en masse. According to ReadWriteWeb, tech guru Leo Laporte announced he has closed his Facebook account. He’s also gone one step further and donated cash to Diaspora, an alternative social network to Facebook (more on Diaspora on RWW here).

Laporte’s departure from the world’s biggest social network comes on the heels of a public Facebook flogging from entrepreneur Jason Calacanis. Calacanis posted a blog entry that slammed Facebook, calling it a “monster.” He writes:

Over the past month, Mark Zuckerberg, the hottest new card player in town, has overplayed his hand. Facebook is officially “out,” as in uncool, amongst partners, parents and pundits all coming to the realization that Zuckerberg and his company are–simply put–not trustworthy.

Calacanis advocates for an open social network and encourages users to ditch Facebook, and publicly lashes out at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:

Zuckerberg represents the best and worst aspects of entrepreneurship. His drive, skill and fearlessness are only matched by his long record–recorded in lawsuit after lawsuit–of backstabbing, stealing and cheating.

Despite the long kill piece, RWW points out Calacanis himself has not yet canceled his own Facebook account.

There are more people also joining the ranks of The Great Facebook Departure; Peter Rojas, co-founder of Engadget and Gizmodo also said he was closing his Facebook account. Making the announcement on Twitter, Rojas said “The issue is that users should have real control over what is shared, that’s all. FB keeps taking that away.”

In addition to Rojas, a number of Google engineers left Facebook after the company’s f8 conference. As TechCrunch reports, the head of the webspam team at Google, Matt Cutts, has not technically left but deactivated his Facebook account.

Despite a few high-profile exits, Facebook continues to grow. The site says it has 400 million registered members and 50 percent of the active users log in to the site every day.

Finally, as RWW notes:

Deactivating or deleting your Facebook account is a fairly drastic step for a self-promoter to take, and it’s not clear where these people were when OpenID and the movement for distributed social networking had their biggest pushes over the last several years. But now the chorus of Facebook critics is getting very loud.

RWW also offers a look into what a Facebook alternative could look like (read it here).

What do you think? Have Facebook’s privacy issues caused you to close your account?

The Top 3 Most Engaging TED Talks

May 7th, 2010

I’m a huge fan of TED talks. I’ve written about the world-famous conference in the past, and will continue to share videos I find inspiring, thought-provoking and interesting.

For those of you not familiar with TED, it stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” three subject areas that are shaping the future. Every year, some of the world’s greatest thinkers gather at TED to share their ideas via a 20-minute talk. The talks are popular in person, and online they’ve been viewed more than 250 million times, the TED blog says.

As a stat geek myself, I found this Postrank article to be particularly interesting.

“One of the benefits of aggregating tens of millions of engagement events every day is that it gives us here at PostRank ranking data that is applicable to virtually any resource on the web,” writes Postrank’s Ilya Grigorik. “We decided to run a quick experiment to determine what the most engaging TED talk is. We also wanted to know if the talks are consistent, or if they vary among different social networks.”

All the data is available here in a Google Spreadsheet, but below are the top 3 most engaging TED talks. And for those curious about who likes what: “Reddit readers seem to have a science bias, whereas Digg users love to digg visual presentations.”

1) Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation

2) Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos augmented-reality maps

3) Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology