Why Google entered to the social network competition?

Wish all my friends a nice week :) I couldn't write anything in the last couple of days since I was on a trip with my office colleagues. I returned back to my home yesterday and tried to recall what I have been planning to write, but I have forgotten them all.

Anyway, I read through my blog posts once again and I remembered that I wanted to tell something about Google+ as well. So here I am posting another idea. Remember, as usual this is also going to be only an idea, this may not be the real reasons, and these are just what I am thinking and what I see.

Alright, Google+ (plus) is not a new thing for many of us now. And we know that it is the social network site launched by Google. Luckily I was an early bird to use it. At the beginning I was also there among the people who thought that this time will also be another failed attempt of Google. I had a reason to think so. In the earliest period where they introduced Google+, apparently there were no active users. And everybody felt the usual boredom of an empty site. After a few months what Google+ did was they automatically created many circles for me, and automatically added around thousand of active users to my circles. Then only I felt that this is good place to hang out. Actually what I noticed was that Google was not ready to easily put away all their efforts this time. Google+ is a great social community with some of the best features and it was clearly seen that they have put a very big effort in developing it. So it was worth for them to try everything possible to make it successful. And ultimately they did it.

Google+ was not the first attempt of Google to launch a social site. There were few tries before, but unfortunately they could not achieve a success like their last attempt, Google+.

Google is a giant in the internet. Undoubtedly it is the number 01 site (according to the Alexa rank). Their main product is Google search and besides that they offer dozens of other online services. Hence it is worth to speak about why Google needed to launch a social site? Do they want to compete with facebook? Or do they think that facebook is becoming a threat to them? Well, I do not know. But I see something behind everything. It is to not to compete with facebook or twitter, but to make their Google search more effective.
If you wonder what I am going to write today, it is this. We have been talking about blogger, Google search, and most the important thing, Google Adsense. Also we noticed the common link in between them. The personalized search results and advertisements. It is very clear that every other feature they introduced was to tweak the effectiveness of Google search results. That means they wanted to provide the exact search results which the user wanted to see.

Ex: Suppose you are a php web developer and you do a Google search for the term “new trends in Web development”. We know that there are many web development programming languages around, and probably Google will show results relevant for each and every of them like php, perl, Ruby, Python, Java, asp and so on. So you will find it is difficult to find the results relevant for PHP (Since you have not mentioned about PHP in your query).

Now consider the same incidence, but now Google knows that you are a PHP web developer (by any means. Let’s see how they get to know it later). And now when you do a Google search for the term “new trends in Web development”, Google will understand that you are interested only in PHP and hence they will give the priority to results that match with PHP and drop the results for other languages. See the difference. Now you will see a bunch of interesting search results at the top (all the PHP stuff will come on top). You do not need to dive through the search results list to find results match your query.  

I hope now you understood the importance of Google’s personalized search results.

Right, If Google doesn’t want to compete with other sites like Facebook and twitter, why they introduced Google+? The main reason as I see is, by having a social community like Google+, Google can collect personal data of its users more effectively. That means Google will have access to a lot more information about you than what they have collected from storing cookies on computer, or reading what you have searched earlier.

It is a usual thing that we all update our name, location, education, and the occupation in a social community website. These are very important things for Google. Say, by retrieving your previous queries, they cannot exactly predict who you are or what is your occupation or the location. In the meantime, advertisers find these data useful when it comes to the adsense. They will consider many factors when advertising a product. For example, there is no use in advertising a book about chemistry for a person who has a very low educational level. He / She will not care about the advertisement, and hence it is a waste of money and time.

How Google collect information about you from google+?
Answer is really simple. They collect and analyze everything you do in Google+.
Have you ever used Google communities? If so, you would have seen that Google+ suggests you communities, and they are all about the subjects you are interested in.

Here is my suggestions page.

How did they get to know about my subjects that I am interested in? Well, I studied science for my advanced level, and Google+ has suggested me a community about science (Probably they get to know this from my search history). Cool, I have an Android device and the second community is about android. This is great, I do search about android a lot using Google, and also I use Google Play store. Well, Then it is true that Google use all these collected data across all their Google products. All the other suggestions are similar.
Also Google stores about the posts you are plussing (Post you +1) and about the people you are adding to your circles. These things are really good hints about you to Google.

We know that even in our society, people measure you from the friends you have :). So be careful about people you are following :D

I hope I have discussed everything I wanted, and finally the conclusion is Google introduced Google+ to collect information about their users. That is why Google forces each and everyone who are using other Google products to use Google+. The best example is Blogger. They converted the Blogger profiles into Google+ profiles. These are clear things and I have discussed only about what I see and what I think. You are free to comment about my thought. And I look forward to hear your ideas…

Things Google Know about you

Today I have brought you another cool topic. So far we have been talking about Google and why they need to know about you and me. If you haven’t read that post yet here is the link,

What we were discussing there was about the Google’s endless desire to collect information about their visitors. We saw that Google is creating a general idea about you based upon these data for their advertising purposes (and also to provide a better experience for you).

So today we are going to see what Google knows about you. But before we start let’s consider some important things. 

Why you need to know about this?
Yes, if you do not have any idea about this, you might not understand the importance and the risk behind this. If you are using any website, it is very important to be aware about their policies. You should know whether they collect any of your personal details, whether they store Cookies in your computer. If they do so, definitely they will mention about that in their policies, and by using the website you eventually agree to their terms and conditions, which mean you allow collecting your personal details. That is the same scenario with Google as well.

Sometimes people use Google to search about very sensitive things. As an example let’s say a person is having a serious problem which bothers him / her so much, and he is not in a position to reveal it to anybody else. Now this person wants to know the opinion of others about that problem, and whether anybody else has had the same experience. So as the best option available he uses Google to search the internet (yes you are right, probably he will find something similar in Yahoo answers :D). The most important thing is, now this person has left very sensitive information about him online. Even though Google protects the privacy of its users, what will happen if anybody else gets this information? Yes, it will be a serious question. So you must think twice before acting online. The purpose of this article is to make you aware about this. Luckily now you know this, and also you have the ability to see what Google is storing about you.
My suggestion is, do not leave any personal data with Google. That will be healthy for you. In the meantime do not worry about other simple and common queries you search in your day to day life. Those queries will help you to get the search results that match with your preferences.

 What data Google has collected about me?
This will be the question you will have once you finish reading the above paragraph. Well, the main data will be your search queries. Besides them, they log your activity in internet including the sites you visit, emails in your Gmail inbox etc.

How to find the details Google stored about you?
You cannot view all the logged details. But as a summary you can view your activity in Google. This feature is known as “Google Web History”.

First you have to visit http://google.com/history/

You can see they have stated why they are storing these data with them; read the tagline, “Your history makes your Google experience better”. This is what I have been explaining to you.
·         More Relevant Results.
·         Smarter Predictions.
·         History on any device.

Then you will be asked to log in to your account.

Once you log in, you can see some detailed reports about your online activity in Google including the total number of Searches you have made through Google, Your daily, weekly & monthly activity,
Below those charts, you will see all your queries stored by Google, from there you can choose which queries to be kept and which queries to be deleted. As I mentioned earlier, if you find anything very sensitive, immediately delete that from the history.

Now, something from me :)

This is a snapshot of my dashboard taken few days back;

Hourly search activity
You can see that I am mostly searching Google in the middle of the day, Look at how the length of the bars have increased suddenly from 6 to 8, and gradually getting increased till 12. After that the length drops down till 6.  And exactly at 8 the bar goes up. Yes, I agree with this chart. I start my day at 6 am, and sometimes I search Google from the very moment I wake Up :D After that I go to work at 8 am and till 5 pm, I search many things (Hope my boss will not read this post :D). You also can check whether your graphs match with your daily routine. (Don’t forget to leave your idea here as a comment.)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and at least few of you guys added something to your life. Of course these stuffs are really cool to check out. Please let me know what you think.

Why Google want to know about you?

Alright, today I come up with another cool thing to discuss; this is a bit serious one and also this is a question which you must definitely worry about.

Have you ever wondered what sort of things Google knows about you? I guess most of your answers will be “NO”. It is maybe because you are not aware about such a thing, or that doesn't make any sense with you. Anyway, if you have really worried about this, and still you couldn't find an answer, here is the place. I will tell you what Google knows about you :) and still, if you never thought about that, here is a good opportunity. Get to know what Google knows about you. It will be useful.

Tip: Google is a company which engages in providing online services. Hence if you have ever used Google to search something, you will eventually become a customer of them. They treat you like a customer.  Every company would want to know something more about their customers. Similarly, there is no exception with Google. They also need to know about their customers.

There are many things to discuss, when it comes to Google’s user tracking attempts and how they do it. Those are really cool stuff; so I will talk about them in coming posts in details.

Why Google need to know about you?
As we discussed in our previous topic, the main stream of income for Google is through advertisements. By knowing about you, Google can decide which type of advertisements should be visible to you. So Google can bring you the ads which are relevant to your interesting areas. In the meantime, for the advertisers, Google is showing ads only for people who are interested in the advertiser’s product or the service. Hence there is a high possibility of converting the visitor into a customer (for the advertiser).

How Google get to know about you?
Google has several ways to track a visitor. And they keep finding new methods to track the users very accurately. The simplest method used by Google is storing a Cookie in your computer. 

A Cookie is a very small data file which can be stored in your computer by a website. This file can contain data about your last visit to a website, your usernames, email ids etc.

What Google do is they store a cookie in your computer which will be there for 180 days, so that Google can identify you every time you visit Google’s website. Then they store everything you search in a database. We will talk what they do with these data, in the latter part of this post.

Even though this seems like a good trick, it is not always accurate. Suppose a computer which is used by several people. Then Google will have the search queries of many people. But what they need to know is about each and every one. Not about all the people at once.
So what they did next is they introduced a new feature to search the web using Google, while the guests are logged into their Gmail accounts. This method obviously helped Google to track users in a unique way. Because every time you leave a public computer, you will always sign out of your Google account. So Google knows that every query after the logout is done by another user. If nobody is logged in, Google will use the Cookie method to track the computer.

Now let’s come back to the topic again. 

What Google do with those stored data / queries?

They analyze every search query performed by each user and generate a simple idea about you. This helps them to differentiate you from others and also to decide which category of advertisements matches best to you.

For example: if you are a web developer or a web designer, you might be searching Google about day to day errors you get, or you may be searching about website layout ideas or about tutorials on Php, html, javascript and so on.
Since google have all these queries, when they analyze you, they will understand that you are a person who is interested in Web Development, designing, web hosting etc. So they will show you ads relevant to that subject. Say if you were searching for a php script, and you see an advertisement saying “Get free php scripts!!” Won’t you click on it? Yes you will.

This is the idea behind these tracings. Actually Google does not want to collect your personal information. They only attempt to get an idea about you so that they can help you find what you want.

Google use these tracked information about you in each and every product of Google. Even in the Google search results, they filter results according to your preferences. Yes, they know what you like and what you dislike. They know in which links you are clicking and not.
This is known as Google personalized results. We will discuss more about this in coming posts.

Now my question to you…..Have you ever experienced the effect of Google’s personalized results? Share your experience with others. 

Why Blogger allows us to blog for free on their servers?

Alright, I know this is not a quite famous or a discussed topic among us. Mostly maybe it is because we already know the reason, or nobody wants to worry about that. But I thought I should make a post regarding this. This is not a technical post. What I am posting here is my view on the above topic.

We know that Blogger (or Blogspot) is one of many products or services provided by Google. Many of their common products are given for free including Gmail, Blogger, Webmaster tools, and analytics and so on. The best advantage is that all of these services can be accessed by using a single Google Account.

Let’s discuss about this a little further.

What is Blogger or Blogspot?
Blogger is another Google product which allows Google users to create their own blogs and publish contents online. This also allows users to publish advertisements on their blogs and earn money. Blogger is very user friendly, and any user with any knowledge level can easily create a blog and publish content within a few minutes.

TIP : If you are not familiar with blogger or still have not used it, you can check it using http://blogger.com url. Or visit http://google.com and on the top navigation bar of Google, you can see a link to blogger. (You will have to log in with your Google account to get started.) Read the terms and conditions of Blogger beforehand if you are planning to start blogging. It will help you get rid of any warnings from Google :)

What is Google Adsense?
Google Adsense is another Google product which provides a solution for advertisers to publish online advertisements with Google. The (annoying) advertisements you see on sidebars etc. on Google related products such as Gmail, Google Search are due to this :D These are known as Google ads, and you always have the ability to control what ads should appear in your dashboards etc.
(I am trying to explain about these as simple as possible. If you really need to have detailed explanations you can refer Wikipedia or the Google Support sites.)

Why we need to use Blogger?
If you need to start an online blog, blogger is a good option. It has an easy to use control panel for basic edits like changing the template, blog title etc. It comes with a WYSIWYG editor for easy blog posting. So you do not need to have knowledge in HTML to create a blog. And it allows you to embed Google Ads / your personal ads in your blog and earn money. Also you can find many free professional blogger templates online.

Now you have a clear idea about what is Blogger and Adsense. So let’s come back to the point. If Google is allowing us to create our blogs for free, how they are going to earn money? Google is a giant company with approximately thirty thousand employees. How do they pay their salaries? They have dozens of Data Centers around the world (worth few hundred million dollars). Where do they find money to maintain and build them? It is mainly from their advertisers. It is a known fact that the main income stream of Google is through their advertising network. So you may wonder how the advertising and blogger connects together.

We know that Google lets us create a blog for free, and encourages us to develop it further with new content daily. Also they allow us to merge their adsense advertisements on our blog and earn money. This is the point. They need places where people gather online in order to put their advertisements. It is true that Google is the largest search engine and almost all the people use it. So they do not need your blog specifically to show their ads. But still, what do they show in their search results? Yes, it is the content of other web pages. Maybe the content on your blog be useful to an advertiser. Here we do not discuss about Adsense. But just a note, Google Adsense shows advertisements which are relevant to the content of the page. So your content is definitely important to Google. That is why they provide us a free platform for blogging.

Advertisers pay Google to publish their advertisements. Then what Google does is, it classifies each of these ads into different categories and Show them to the visitors along with their search results etc (they try to display ads relevant to what you searched.) Also bloggers like us can create an Adsense account and publish these ads in our blogs. So that Google will have a huge audience with different needs and wants.

For example, suppose there is an advertiser who engages in selling books online. Now, if I am writing about books in my blog, Google will publish the advertisement of that book seller in my blog. That is because Google knows that the visitors on my blog are interested in Books and there is high possibility of getting that advertisement clicked. If any visitor clicked that advertisement on my blog, Google will charge the advertiser the amount they have agreed (depending on many factors like the country of the visitor and so many things.). Anyway, Google will pay a little amount for me as well because they could get that advertisement clicked only because of the content in my blog.

That is simply how Google and its advertisement network works.

The conclusion is, allowing us to blog for free is a way of income for Google as well as to the publisher.

A question for you,

What do you think about this post? Did you enjoy reading this? Or am I wrong anywhere? Please feel free to correct me if I have missed anything :)