Mobile app developers using Google’s AdMob ad network will start seeing a new version that has been rebuilt “in a ground-up sort of way,” according to Jonathan Alferness, director of product management for mobile ads.
The update, which starts rolling out today, also brings AdMob more in line with Google’s other ad platforms. That’s something the company has been working on since it acquired AdMob in 2010, for example by integrating AdMob with AdWords, but Alferness said today is the “culmination” of all that work, and that the new AdMob can be more easily extended with new features, setting the stage for future improvements.
More concretely, Google says there are a number of new features in the current update, including a version of the AdWords Conversion Optimizer, which allows developers to identify the cost-per-acquisition that they’re aiming for. It then automatically runs the ad types that are best-suited to drive the most app installations on that budget. There are also new filters allowing developers to block specific topics or specific ads for showing up in their apps. There’s a new setup for AdMob Mediation for showing ads from multiple networks. And AdMob now supports payment in local currencies.
There’s a new interface, too — Google didn’t show it to me, but Alferness said it fits much better with Google’s other ad platforms. At the same time it will have “a lot of the same tools, a lot of the same functionality,” so developers used to the old system won’t feel like “a fish out of water.”
“We’re continuing to see changes in the actual app monetization industry,” Alferness added. “The platform enables us to grow and pivot and change. You can look at the platform and start to imagine missing pieces — one of the areas where we know that we have more work to do is tracking and analytics.”
However, as AdMob changes, Alferness says the central vision remains the same: “We’d love to be a one-stop place for app developers to come to deal with various Google technologies.” And if mobile apps move to new business models, he wants AdMob to move with them.
You can read more about the update here.
With Google ringing the death knell for its RSS Reader application, the July 1 curtain call has kicked a number of companies into action as they vie for the market left by Google Reader’s closure.
Earlier this week, another RSS service opened in public beta called Ping.it, offering an interesting feature called ‘Probes’ which lets users create very specific feeds based on keywords and popularity.
Ping.it launched initially in private beta back in December, before Google revealed it was pulling the plug on Reader. At its most basic level, Ping.it is an RSS reader. But it’s the new Probes feature that’s particularly interesting.
For example, if you only want to receive feeds on “YouTube videos on Reddit with more than 1,000 Likes”, you can create a Probe that taps both YouTube and Reddit to present this information directly in your feed.
Without creating a Ping.it account, all you can really do is subscribe to probes created by other users.
Click ‘Subscribe’ next to anything that takes your fancy, and you’ll be presented with a stream containing very specific news stories.
But the real value here lies in being able to create Probes yourself. For this, you’ll need to create an account, after which you can search for probes by keywords (and subscribe to them), or create your own.
To create a Probe, you can do so simply by keywords, Facebook Likes or YouTube Likes. Or all three.
You then have to include the RSS URL for each site you wish to monitor, separated by a comma. Then, stipulate what keywords you wish to track and how many Facebook Likes, for example, is your minimum requirement.
Then, it will appear in your main feed along with any other ones you’ve subscribed to. Here, you can see I created a Probe for posts from the TNW Shareables channel with more than 20 Facebook LIkes.
It’s worth noting here you can also copy existing Probes from other users and re-appropriate the parameters to suit your own requirements, changing the minimum number of ‘Likes’, for example.
Ping.it is selling itself as more of a social community than a simple RSS reader, with users able to connect with each other and share user-curated feeds. It’s a nice idea for sure, offering a neat way of filtering through the RSS rubble, though curiously it doesn’t offer any kind of Twitter filtering feature, which seems like a glaring omission. But it has just opened in public beta, so there is plenty of time to iterate and include further parameters.
Ping.it is headquartered in Norway, and is founded by Oslo-based hacker and entrepreneur Marius Lian. “We’ve all experienced the problem of having too much information online,” says Lian. “Reader tools are useful for managing information, but often lack the ability to tailor the content to the users’ specific requirements.”
Ping.it is in public beta now.
Read the original here: Ping.it: An RSS reader that lets you create tailored feeds by keywords and popularity
Pinterest is ramping up its international strategy by kicking off a localisation effort in the U.K. today, tweaking the site so that it deliberately foregrounds U.K. content to U.K. users and also adding a British English language setting to make Brits feel more at home. The U.K. is the first part in what appears to be a bigger strategy to target more usage, and more users, outside of the U.S., with France likely to be the next country to get the localizing treatment, according to a spokeswoman.
We’ve asked Pinterest if it is conducting parallel localisation efforts in other global markets and will update this story with any response. Update: “Pinterest does feel like it’s just getting started with its localisation efforts and with the UK being the first international effort the team is hoping to learn a lot from it, in order to inform how they reach out to communities in other countries. France is likely to be next but Pinterest is waiting to finalise these details until after they’ve learned more from the UK,” the spokeswoman said.
The company is not currently breaking out user numbers, but according to one estimate Pinterest had some 40 million users as of February this year.
Back in February Pinterest raised $200 million in Series D funding – with “international growth” pegged as one of the growth-oriented initiatives that the money would be used for. Last year it also picked up a $100 billion investment from Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten – a further sign of its international ambitions. While in March this year, Pinterest rolled out a design refresh, adding bigger pictures and more discovery features worldwide.
It also rolled out a web analytics product to make it easier for businesses to track referrals and measure what users are doing on the site. Today’s localisation efforts reinforce that effort by encouraging greater user engagement — and driving engagement is likely to be key to helping the social network generate revenues some day.
Here’s how the company explained the U.K.-specific site changes in an email sent to TechCrunch:
…more UK Pinners and pins will be suggested to UK users on the site. Also, when a new person in the UK joins Pinterest, they’ll now see other Pinners in the UK. In addition, search results will feature more UK content. Finally, Pinterest is making sure that people in the UK can access the service in British English. We’re hoping this will lead to more British pinners discovering things they love on Pinterest.
In addition to these U.K.-specific site customisations, the visual social network/content discovery site is also kicking off a dedicated community event — using the hashtag #PinitforwardUK – in a bid to raise its local profile.
The Pin It Forward UK initiative, which also kicks off today, will be used to spread the word about the new, U.K.-flavoured Pinterest. The company has recruited 30 bloggers to post Pinterest-related blogs over the next 30 days to “celebrate their passion” — or rather explain how to use Pinterest to post blogs and, through that, hopefully reel in more British eyeballs.
Each day 10 or so bloggers will post about their passion, describe how they express it on Pinterest, and introduce the set of bloggers for the next day. Long-time UK pinner, Will Taylor, from Bright.Bazaar today started things off with a guest post on the Pinterest Blog. Pinterest will be promoting Pin It Forward UK on its blog, social channels (using #PinItForwardUK) and will also be featuring the best boards as part of the Pinterest Weekly emails.
Pinterest said the U.K.-specific site customisations are a “first step” in its effort to improve the experience for U.K. users, and are the result of feedback it has received from U.K. users.
Bright.Bazaar’s Taylor’s introductory blog on the Pin It Forward UK campaign explains that the site never officially launched in the U.K. — rather it was switched on globally and allowed to grow organically — adding that the idea behind the campaign is therefore to “make Pinterest feel more natural, welcoming and interesting to local audiences”.
Handle, a new startup founded by Menlo Ventures‘ Managing Director Shawn Carolan, is now in private beta. The service calls itself the “world’s first priority engine” where it aims to identify and help users manage their priorities for the day.
Special invite codes for those readers interested in the service are at the bottom of this article.
Available as a layer that lives on top of your email inbox, similar to how AOL’s Alto service operates, Handle is a blend of task management and Gmail’s Priority Inbox all in one. The emergence of this startup is not that surprising though — after all, there have been many people who have tried to solve the email crisis that plagues mankind. Each day we’re flooded with email and trying to get to that mythical “Inbox Zero” can be trying and causes us to lose productivity.
The company says that its algorithms doesn’t depend on artificial intelligence. In fact, Carolan says that AI doesn’t “cut it for us”. The focal point is that a user’s brain is the critical decision-maker. The individual is the one who can look through their inbox and determine what is specifically urgent and what isn’t.
Handle currently integrates only with Gmail’s mail server, although it is planning on adding support for Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo in the future.
When set up, users can prioritize what they need to do based on three distinct options: things that you “must do”, those that you “should to”, and that which you “want to do”. Using either a Web browser application or the iOS version, users can take their email and tag it according to specific issues to address. For example, I might take emails relating to email pitches I receive and tag them by specific urgency or themes. Once I’ve done this, they will all be grouped together and then I can lump it into a specific category.
The service also leverages keyboard shortcuts in an attempt to help speed up the process.
Handle comes with a calendaring system, that hasn’t quite been tied-in with Google Calendar, but the idea is that users can assign specific timeslots in their day to accomplish the specific tasks.
Carolan says that the development of this startup was five years in the making — there wasn’t anything that really addressed the needs of helping to prioritize the inbox. He says that existing companies were simply “reinventing a broken wheel” and weren’t transforming the way this feature needed to be.
Right now, the service is free, but in the future, a fee will be implemented in order for users to access premium features.
To get started with Handle, users will need to sign up and be subject to the dreaded wait list. However, those who download the iOS app will jump to the front of the line starting today. In addition, the company has provided TNW readers with invite codes to check out the service, available to the first 250 people: TheNextWeb
Photo credit: Thinkstock
Adobe is announcing new predictive capabilities for Adobe Social — capabilities that should be particularly helpful to marketers wondering why some social media posts take off while others fall flat.
Bill Ingram, vice president for Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social, walked me through the new features earlier today in advance of the Adobe Summit in London. Adobe is using historical data — both in aggregate and at the customer-specific level — to predict the likely engagement level and sentiment around a specific Facebook post, and it can recommend keywords, content types and timing that might lead to a better response.
The predictions integrate directly into Adobe’s social publishing tools. Customers can open a widget showing the estimated range for the amount of Likes, comments, and shares a post will receive. They can also identify other metrics that matter to them, and Adobe will track and predict those as well. And before publishing, the service will notify them if there are things that could be improved — for example if it would be better to schedule a post for later, because the customer’s account posted similar content a few minutes prior.
To provide these kinds of recommendations, Ingram said that Adobe is analyzing the content of the posts, for example looking at keywords and content types (i.e. images vs. video). He also said that while there are other products that provide general content suggestions for social media updates, Adobe has access to unique user data, and that the product is “tuned to get smarter as data flows into the system.”
Adobe plans to release the predictive capabilities this summer and to add support for social networks beyond Facebook later this year.
In addition, the company is announcing a partnership with SapientNitro that integrates the marketing agency’s EngagedNow product with Adobe’s Marketing Platform.
And it’s releasing its latest Digital Index report. Most interestingly, the company says that globally, tablets are now driving more website traffic than smartphones (based on an analysis of 150 billion visits to more than 1,500 websites between January 2012 and February 2013).