Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why you can't ignore Google +

Just in case you're still hoping you can ignore G+ and it will go away.

It's kinda like that "If Facebook was a country" vid that did the rounds a while ago, but with less numbers and cuter cartoons.

Editing published posts in Blogger

This article describes how to edit a post that has already been published in Blogger, using the new interface.

Friday, January 27, 2012

An opportunity for blogger photographers

Bloggers who are also photographers may want to check out Google's Trusted Photographers programme.  The message announcing this to businesses says:
"It’s simple. Visit our new website and search for a Google Trusted Photographer in your area. ... schedule a time and agree on a price that you will pay the photographer for a photoshoot of your business. ... During the hour it should take for the shoot, you can collaborate ... about how best to display and capture your business. ... the photographer will upload the images to Google, and ..  you’ll see ... views of your business on [your local Google search site], Google Maps and on your Google Places listing. "
So for a photographer, it looks like the process is:

  • You get approved as a GTP (does being a long-standing photo blogger help with this?).
  • Google advertise that you're available
  • Businesses and organisations that want official photos in Google contact you, and negotiate times/prices.
  • You visit, take the photos, and do any post-processing
  • You load them to Google on behalf of your customer.

Google have provided a Service Agreement that you must use - as a commissioned job, the ownership of the copyright of the photos passes to the person or organisation who pays.  So you'll need their permission if you want to put the photos onto your blog.

Final thought:
I wonder if there's any way to embed a Google Places listing, including the official photos, in a blog - the same way we can embed a custom map.

How to become a Google Trusted Photographer
I didn't a quick search, but couldn't find definitive answers.    I did find some info about what sort of things they are expected to do:
Trusted Photographers are trained to take high quality photos of building interiors, accommodating for common challenges such as low lighting and tight spaces. The photographers are also certified to take pictures using fisheye lenses and rotating camera turrets (mounted on tripods)

And this link, where you can enquire about the program:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sources for official news about Google products.

Today, I found a listing  of Google's blogs about their products, and also about operations and policies etc in different countries and regions.

It's not complete (eg the Blogger developers blog isn't listed) - but it was interesting to see a list of the multi-language options for some of the bigger products, and also the various country-sepcific blogs.

I found a few interesting things to add to my RSS subscriptions, and suspect that a few of my readers might like to do the same.

Share and enjoy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blogger-HAT Lite: quick updates about Blogger and related tools

Introducing Blogger-HAT Lite - quick notes about changes in other products that are important for Blogger users to know about.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Page gadget: a menu bar for your blog, with links to just about anywhere

This article shows how you can use the Pages gadget as a general purpose menu bar for your blog.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Picnik is ending on 19 April 2012

The first list of Google application retirements for 2012 includs Picnik, a photo editing tool that was accessible via Picasa-web-albums (and perhaps from other places too) - it was an effective, though slow, way of adding a watermark to pictures.

I'm sure that PWA has a replacement tool for doing this ... don't have time to research what it is right now.

Google Search has a penalty if you don't have "enough" content above the fold

Google search have changed their search-formula:   sites with "not enough" content above the fold won't rank as high in search results as they did before - effective from the next time the blog is crawled.

So be careful about just what gadgets you put above your blog's header:  it may not be such a good idea if you rely on search for a lot of your blog visitors.

(Yes there is a certain irony that Blogger-HAT's Followers gadget is up there at the moment - but it's a short-term experiment to see how much difference it makes to my follower numbers.   So far, one week has seen a 10% increase!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Analytics "old" interface to live a little longer?

Back in Nov 2011, Google Analytics said that the "old" version would stop working in January.

However this week's announcement makes it sound like they're still workign on some key features, and so the deadline has been extended.

Also they're surveying for features that we use which aren't in the new version - even if you reported some before, it might be worth checking them now, and reporting them again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Letting other people write in your blog

This article describes the ways that you can allow other people to write and publish on your blog.  It looks at and the advantages and disadvantages of each approach.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Google CSE API documentation upgrade

Google's custom search engine API is now fully documented  (announced here).

It won't mean anything if you just use a regular Google Custom Search on your blog, but for those who have coded their own special engines - or who would like to, this could be very good news.

They've also made the Help Centre prettier (like most of the Google tools are doing), and added more languages to it.

Giving another Google account control over your blog

This article is about changing the ownership of your Blogger blog.   As well as looking at how to make the changes inside Blogger, it also looks at some other issues you may need to think about (eg comment moderation, items outside Blogger, advertising).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's annual performance review time - how did Blogger-HAT do in 2011?

This article is an review of Blogger Hint and Tips's performance in 2011, and includes a some statistics, and plans for 2012.