Gutenblog: Google

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July 2015
July 2015
 
 
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You may have heard that Google recently updated it's ReCaptcha spam filtering plugin to be more user friendly.

Their ReCaptcha plugin is meant to be a "Turing Test" to determine if the entity filling out your forms is a real human or a computer "spambot". And in a stroke of genius, Google used that opportunity (all those human eyes and brains answering the question) to scan and interpret old books (or streetview addresses) with hard to read words and numbers that their "reading" software couldn't figure out.

Unfortunately (and amazingly) computers have advanced to a point where they were better at reading the obscure text than humans, solving the puzzles with 99.8% accuracy. Whereas humans can only solve the image problems about 70% of the time and the audio problems 31% of the time.

So Google improved their ReCaptcha system to be better at stopping robots and also easier for humans. For most people, now you just have to check a box! At worst, if Google can't tell who you are, ...


June 2015
June 2015
Google_Maps_Neighborhood_Outline
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Great news, Google Maps now provides border outlines of cities and neighborhoods. We've converted the maps on our community detail pages (where this is most relevant) to show the borders. We hope you like it!

For those of you interested in embedding maps on other pages, Google has a great tool for this.


June 2014
June 2014
Gutensite-Etch-a-Sketch
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Businesses need to make sure they have taken every step to be found online. This means having a beautiful, SEO optimized website, having a presence on the social media platforms where your customers frequent, and also being listed in appropriate business directories such as Google maps.

The problem is, as the online gatekeepers evolve, their recommendations for businesses change. All the time. Recently, I discovered Google had lovingly converted Gutensite's Google Places profile (the old business listing recommendation) into a lonely, empty, shell Google Plus profile, with no followers, not posts, etc. So we suddenly had two Google plus social pages for our business: our regular Gutensite page and another empty page that was the "verified" business listing, which is what shows up on Google Maps, and as the local business information in the right sidebar if someone searches for Gutensite.

This is confusing for visitors, and becomes redundant, splitting our followers across two ...


March 2012
March 2012
Store Ecommerce Tracking
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We are in the process of adding more features to integrate your site with Google Analytics' powerful tracking capabilities. We've just added some standard conversion tracking for account creation, store sales, and form submissions, as well as Split A/B testing. We'll blog about that more shortly.

But we realize that we have a lot of analytics functionality already available that most people don't know about. In particular, you should be aware that Gutensite has direct integration with Google Analytics' Ecommerce Tracking system.

View our FAQ to read the super easy setup instructions. Once you've got it setup, the data will start pouring into Google Analytics and you can create Custom Segments, Conversion Goals, and various filters and reporting to help you improve your marketing and reach your goals.

Happy analyzing!


February 2012
February 2012
 
 
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I recently discovered that the custom markers on a Google Map I created (http://www.parkcirca.com/Parking) were being hidden behind the the map tiles (this is fixed now). If you look at the first image in the slideshow, you can clearly see the edge of the grid where the markers are being cut off.

We are using Google's latest Google Maps API Version 3.8. We discovered that this is caused by the new Canvas tiles that are used to optimize how Google Maps display. If you inspect elements, you can see that the markers are actually tile layers. If I turn off 'optimized' (see code below) the markers display correctly!

var point = new google.maps.Marker({
'position': position,
'map': this.options.map.construct,
'icon': marker_data.custom_icon,
'title': marker_data.title,
'optimized': false
});

What is interesting is that if you use the default markers, the tiles do NOT hide the default markers (code below).

var point = new google.maps.Marker({
'position': position,
'map': ...


January 2011
January 2011
Chrome Logo
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Oh Joy, let the licensing wars begin.

You may be wondering how Google Chrome's recent decision to abandon MP4 affects us? No one knows.

Chrome is still a small percent of the browser market, but we would still like to support Chrome if we can. However, there is not a good alternative to MP4 that has universal support, so web developers' options are limited. Their WebM format will not play on mobile devices yet, so unless a site offers both MP4 and WebM formats, mobile browsers won't be able to play the videos! Unfortunately it is not cost effective for small content providers to double encodes every video for WebM and MP4.

It's a bad move on Google's part because the internet cannot upgrade all it's video to WebM in the amount of time Google has allowed, so Chrome users are going to start complaining that they can't watch videos and they may abandon that browser. Yes, Google should encourage a move toward open source codecs, but in an industry that has so few "standards" they ...