Google Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media Today

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Google Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media TodayGoogle Adds Quick Insights on Ad Performance and 'Keyword Themes' for Ad Targeting - Social Media TodayPosted: 17 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDTGoogle's looking to enhance its simplified Smart Campaigns offering by adding a new way to quickly check on your Google Ads performance, and a new listing of keywords to target, based on your products and services.First off is the new ad check - Google's made it easier to check your ad performance in the mobile app, with a simple search on Google itself. As you can see here, search for 'Google ads' or 'My Ads' and Google will provide you with a basic overview of how your campaigns are going, while you'll also be able to see how your ads look to others.As per Google:"If you want an efficient way of checking your ad status, this feature is for you. We've made our reporting features …

“Google collects a frightening amount of data about you. How to find and delete it now - CNET” plus 2 more

“Google collects a frightening amount of data about you. How to find and delete it now - CNET” plus 2 more


Google collects a frightening amount of data about you. How to find and delete it now - CNET

Posted: 27 Jun 2020 06:01 AM PDT

 google-logo-7

Google may have more data on you than you know, but you can limit how long the company holds onto that information by following these steps.

Angela Lang/CNET

Google collects a staggering amount of personal data about its users -- far more than you might even realize. The company records every search you perform and every YouTube video you watch. Whether you have an iPhone ($699 at Apple) or an Android, Google Maps logs everywhere you go, the route you use to get there and how long you stay -- even if you never open the app. When you look closer at everything Google knows about you, the results can be eye-opening, and maybe even a little unsettling. Thankfully, there's something you can do about it.

Starting in June, new Google accounts will automatically delete private data for you. But only after 18 months by default. And only if you're a brand-new Google user. That's great if you're just now deciding to create a Gmail address or you just got your first Android phone, but if you're among the 1.5 billion people on Gmail or the 2.5 billion people using Android already, your account is set to hold onto your private data forever unless you tell Google otherwise.

We're going to cut through all the clutter and show you how to access the private data Google has on you, as well as how to delete some or all of it. Then we're going to help you find the right balance between your privacy and the Google services you rely on by choosing settings that limit Google's access to your information without impairing your experience.

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1:48

Find out what private information Google considers 'public'

Chances are, Google knows your name, your face, your birthday, gender, other email addresses you use, your password and phone number. Some of this is listed as public information (not your password, of course). Here's how to see what Google shares with the world about you.

1. Open a browser window and navigate to your Google Account page.

2. Type your Google username (with or without "@gmail.com").

3. From the menu bar, choose Personal info and review the information. You can change or delete your photo, name, birthday, gender, password, other emails and phone number.

4. If you'd like to see what information of yours is available publicly, scroll to the bottom and select Go to About me.

5. On this page, each line is labeled with either a people icon (visible to anyone), office building icon (only visible to your organization) or lock icon (visible only to you). Select an item to choose whether to make it public, semi-public or private. There's currently no way to make your account totally private. 

Google has adapted its privacy-control dashboard easier for mobile devices.

Google has adapted its privacy-control dashboard for mobile devices as well as desktop browsers.

Google

Take a look at Google's record of your online activity

If you want to see the motherlode of data Google has on you, follow these steps to find it, review it, delete it or set it to automatically delete after a period of time. 

If your goal is to exert more control over your data but you still want Google services like search and maps to personalize your results, we recommend setting your data to auto-delete after three months. Otherwise, feel free to delete all your data and set Google to stop tracking you. For most of the day-to-day things you do with Google you won't even notice the difference.

1. Sign into your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.

2. To see a list of all your activity that Google has logged, scroll to Activity controls and select Web & App Activity. This is where all your Google searches, YouTube viewing history, Google Assistant commands and other interactions with Google apps and services get recorded.

3. To turn it completely off, move the toggle to the off position. But beware -- changing this setting will most likely make any Google Assistant devices you use, including Google Home and Google Nest smart speakers and displays, virtually unusable. 

4. If you want Google to stop tracking just your Chrome browser history and activity from sites you sign into with your Google account, uncheck the first box. If you don't want Google to keep audio recordings of your interactions with Google Assistant, uncheck the second box. Otherwise, move on to step 5.

5. To set Google to automatically delete this kind of data either never or every three or 18 months, select Auto-delete and pick the time frame you feel most comfortable with. Google will immediately delete any current data older than the time frame you specify. For example, if you choose three months, any information older than three months will be deleted right away.

6. Once you choose an Auto-delete setting, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm. Select Delete or Confirm.

7. Next, click Manage Activity. This page displays all the information Google has collected on you from the activities mentioned in the previous steps, arranged by date, all the way back to the day you created your account or the last time you purged this list. 

8. To delete specific days, select the trash can icon to the right of the day then choose Got it. To get more specific details or to delete individual items, select the three stacked dots icon beside the item then choose either Delete or Details.

9. If you'd rather delete part or all of your history manually, select the three stacked dots icon to the right of the search bar at the top of the page and choose Delete activity by then choose either Last hour, Last day, All time or Custom range.

10. To make sure your new settings took, head back to Manage Activity (step 4) and make sure whatever's there only goes back the three or 18 months you selected in step 5.

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1:55

Access Google's record of your location history

Perhaps even more off-putting than Google knowing what recipes you've been cooking, what vacation destination you're interested in or how often you check the Powerball numbers, the precision of Google's record of your whereabouts can be downright chilling, even if you never do anything you shouldn't. 

If you're signed into Google Maps on a mobile device, Google's eyes are watching your every move. It's about enough to make you want to leave your phone at home. Thankfully, that's unnecessary. Here's how to access, manage and delete your Google location data:

1. Sign into your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.

2. To see a list of all your location data that Google has logged, scroll to Activity controls and select Location History

3. If you want Google to stop tracking your location, turn off the toggle on this page.

4. To set Google to automatically delete this kind of data either never or every three or 18 months, select Auto-delete then pick the time frame you feel most comfortable with. Google will delete any current data older than the time frame you specify. For example, if you choose three months, any information older than three months will be deleted immediately.

5. Once you choose an Auto-delete setting, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm. Select Delete or Confirm.

6. Next, click Manage Activity. This page displays all the location information Google has collected on you as a timeline and a map, including places you've visited, the route you took there and back, as well as frequency and dates of visits.

7. To permanently delete all location history, click on the trash can icon in the lower right corner and choose Delete Location History when prompted. To delete individual trips, select a dot on the map or a bar on the timeline, then, on the next page, click the trash can icon beside the date of the trip you want to delete.

8. To make sure your location data really disappeared, start over with Activity Controls in step 2, then after Manage Activity in step 4, make sure the timeline in the upper left corner is empty and there are no dots on the map indicating your previous locations.

youtube-2

YouTube saves your search history as well as a list of every video you've ever watched while signed into your Google account.

Angela Lang/CNET

Manage your YouTube search and watch history

Of all the personal data that Google tracks, your YouTube search and watch history is probably the most innocuous. Not only that, allowing Google to track your YouTube history might have the most obvious benefit of all -- it helps YouTube figure out what kind of videos you like so it can dish out more of the type of content you'll enjoy. 

Here's how to get a look at your YouTube history and, if you want, how to delete it, either manually or at three- or 18-month intervals. Just like with Web & App Activity, we recommend setting YouTube to purge your data every three months. That's just long enough that YouTube's recommendations will stay fresh, but doesn't leave a years-long trail of personal data lingering behind.

1. Sign into your Google Account and choose Data & Personalization from the navigation bar.

2. To see a list of all your YouTube data that Google has logged, scroll to Activity controls and select YouTube History

3. If you want Google to stop tracking your YouTube search and viewing history entirely, turn off the toggle on this page. To stop Google from tracking either just the videos you watch or just your searches, uncheck the appropriate box.

4. To set Google to automatically delete your YouTube data either never or every three or 18 months, select Auto-delete and pick the time frame you feel most comfortable with. Google will delete any current data older than the time frame you specify. For example, if you choose three months, any information older than three months will be deleted immediately.

5. Once you choose an Auto-delete setting, a popup will appear and ask you to confirm. Select Delete or Confirm.

6. Next, click Manage Activity. This is where every search you make and every video you watch is listed.

7. To delete specific days, select the trash can icon to the right of the day then choose Got it. To get more specific details or to delete individual items, select the three stacked dots icon then choose either Delete or Details.

8. If you'd rather delete part or all of your history manually, select the three stacked dots icon to the right of the search bar at the top of the page and choose Delete activity by then choose either Last hourLast dayAll time or Custom range.

9. To make sure your YouTube data really disappeared, start over with Activity Controls in step 2, then after Manage Activity in step 4 make sure whatever's there (if you deleted it all there should be nothing) only goes back the three or 18 months you selected in step 5.

gmail

Google is adamant that no one at the company reads your Gmail unless you ask them to, but Google software continues to scan Gmail users' email for purchase information.

Derek Poore/CNET

One more important thing about your privacy

Be forewarned, just because you set Google not to track your online or offline activity doesn't necessarily mean you've closed off your data to Google completely. Google has admitted it can track your physical location even if you turn off location services using information gathered from Wi-Fi and other wireless signals near your phone. Also, just like Facebook has been guilty of doing for years, Google doesn't even need you to be signed in to track you. 

Not to mention, there are sometimes seeming contradictions between Google's statements on privacy issues. For example, Google has admitted to scanning your Gmail messages to compile a list of your purchases in spite of publicly declaring in a 2018 press release, "To be absolutely clear: no one at Google reads your Gmail, except in very specific cases where you ask us to and give consent, or where we need to for security purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse." Perhaps by "no one" Google meant "no human," but in an age of increasingly powerful AI, such a distinction is moot.

The point is, it's ultimately up to you to protect yourself from invasive data practices. These eight smartphone apps can help manage your passwords and obscure your browser data, as well as attend to some other privacy-related tasks. If you have any Google Home smart speakers in your house, here's how to manage your privacy with Google Assistant.

Google Trends: What searches tell us about our coronavirus thoughts and fears - Vox.com

Posted: 05 May 2020 08:20 AM PDT

Life during the coronavirus pandemic is full of questions.

And for many of those questions, people are turning to the internet and, by extension, to Google. Google is by far the world's dominant search engine, fielding about 90 percent of the world's online queries. So Google has more insight into our internet searches than any other company.

Fortunately for the data nerds among us, the company makes those search trends readily available with a website called Google Trends. This tool lets people compare how popular one search is over time or compared with another, offering insight into what people are curious about. That's particularly helpful with the coronavirus, which has consistently dominated search queries in the past few months — even beyond more quotidian standbys like weather, music, and video.

We spoke with Simon Rogers, data editor at Google, who has been putting out a fascinating daily newsletter and coronavirus page from Google Trends data about different trending searches and what they might mean.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Rani Molla

For those who aren't familiar, can you explain what Google Trends is?

Simon Rogers

Google Trends is basically a public tool that anybody can use. It takes a sample of all search — there are billions of searches every day, so it couldn't possibly measure every one — and basically all of those searches go through this process where we try and work out what they're really about, which topics they're about. And then what we do is try and make that data easier for people to access.

So around something like coronavirus, say, that'll be where we would look at the top questions that somebody will be asking about the virus. Google Trends is, I would say, the world's largest free-access, journalistic data set. And it's ever-changing, and every day it gives you a sense of what people really care about.

Rani Molla

What advantage does Google Trends have over other datasets?

Simon Rogers

There's ubiquity in search. It takes you beyond that echo chamber of social media. Because you're not presenting yourself in a certain way, you're being honest. You're never as honest as you are with your search engine. You get a sense of what people genuinely care about and genuinely want to know — and not just how they're presenting themselves to the rest of the world. And it's immediate. As soon as something happens, it shows up in search.

Rani Molla

I've been paying attention to Google Trends a lot more during coronavirus. That's because, as we're spending more time at home and computers mediate our lives with the outside world even more, it seems like we're getting a better window into what people's thoughts and questions and fears are during the pandemic. Do you think that's the case?

Simon Rogers

I think partly it's because suddenly you've got this giant shared experience, something we're all going through, and it's very easy in that environment to feel isolated. What's happened to you isn't happening to anybody else. But you can get a real sense of how that's reflected in the way that we search. Looking at the searches, right now, I think they almost split into two different categories.

On one side, there are people searching for the big issues around the virus: "Is there a vaccine yet?" or "Why does one drug work?" or "What are the symptoms?" — those kinds of big questions. And then the other side is the fallout from the virus, which are searches around things like loneliness and big emotional issues. And then there are also things like: "How do I cut my own hair?" or "How do I bake bread?" or "How do I keep the kids entertained?" — things we're all going through.

Rani Molla

Those latter trends have been some of the most interesting to me. I saw the bread, obviously, banana bread — I figure people are just buying way too many bananas and have to figure out how to deal with it — how to cut your own hair. One of the things that really blew me away was that all of a sudden everyone and their mother was Googling "how to make coffee" and must have never had to figure that out before. What do you make of that?

Simon Rogers

It's funny, isn't it? It's all those things that we do during the day, not at home often. I think it's partly because people want to expand their knowledge of something. So probably people know how to make instant coffee by now, right? But people will search for how to make Dalgona coffee, which is this kind of whipped thing with sugar in it that my daughter's been doing tons of in the last five weeks. It's things like that which are out of the ordinary, so they're not necessarily things you would do if you didn't have time at home and you weren't thinking of how to just change things up a little bit.

Rani Molla

What are some of the more surprising searches you've seen trending?

Simon Rogers

The fact that there were things I've been thinking of personally — to see them show up in search is always interesting. Like we have a 3D printer, and I was thinking, I wonder if other people search for how to 3D print face masks to donate to hospitals, which is a very specific thing. Searches for 3D printing are higher than ever before in history. And there's some things which are kind of reassuring, like searches for how to help, food donation, helping the community, how to volunteer — all of those things are higher than ever before.

It's good to think that we're thinking of others at this moment. But there's big spikes in searches around very specific DIY that goes across both search data and YouTube data. And there's a lot of big spikes in search for things that are homemade, weird stuff that I wouldn't even think about, like homemade eyebrow wax, that makes sense but also scares me a little bit.

Rani Molla

I could use some homemade eyebrow wax right about now.

Simon Rogers

Ha! Then, there's more the how-to thing, like how to make a face mask at home or how to ripen avocados, how to divide fractions. We saw searches for "shredded" were spiking and we thought, "Oh, this is people talking about weightlifting or bodybuilding," and actually it's people searching for shredded chicken.

Rani Molla

What about the weirdest search?

Simon Rogers

There's things that would have seemed weird like six weeks ago that don't seem weird now. "Drive-by birthday party" spiked 5,000 percent, and that's not something I or anybody had ever heard of before six weeks ago. And if you'd asked me this in March, I'd say well, this is a weird thing, but now it just feels normal.

Rani Molla

It's the new normal. What about concerning Google searches? For example, this morning I saw that one of the highest-trending US coronavirus questions was, "Who created coronavirus?" which is this conspiracy theory that keeps popping up and has no basis in fact.

Simon Rogers

There are things that are concerning for society like the spike in searches for "loneliness," people searching for "having trouble sleeping," "depression." All of those things are concerning to me, and I worry for people that don't have people with them or are feeling it. Then the other misinformation thing is really interesting, because normally around any political thing, you always see spikes and searches where people are trying to find out if a misinfo story is true.

But now, I do get the sense that the highest spikes are things around searches for reliable information, like people searching for cdc.gov or wherever are really high at the moment. So I wonder whether that's because we're looking for things we know are true. Occasionally, misinfo things do show up. But if you have politicians saying, "Coronavirus was created somewhere," then people are going to search for that. And that's just a side effect of where we are right now. I think the fact that people are looking for it is actually a good thing because it means we want to know if it's true or not. They're not necessarily just going to accept it.

Rani Molla

Is there any real-world stuff that you could do with Google Trends, especially as it relates to public health. Like, could you see where there are new coronavirus hot spots or something like that?

Simon Rogers

The country-level datasets, which we update every day, shows the top 100 places searching for coronavirus as well as the top related queries, which are what people type in when they search for the virus. Governments have noticed different stages for different things that are popping up in search and then change their official information to reflect that. I think we're really at the beginning of how useful this is.

One of the things we've been thinking about are these kind of patterns of search around the virus. What you see is when people don't really have many cases, lots of searches are very informational like, "What is coronavirus?" And then when cases start happening then there are things like, "What are the symptoms of coronavirus?" And then it gets to more sophisticated questions when you're living in lockdown.

Like in New York, for instance, you'll see questions around things like, "How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?" or "When's the lockdown going to end?" or "How do I get my stimulus check?" So you can really see how things change over time. I think you could probably build a really interesting model around that. This is a real-time reaction to the situation around people.

Rani Molla

Are there any regional or country-specific differences in coronavirus that have stuck out to you?

Simon Rogers

There are some differences. For instance, in France right now they have these zones of infection, so people search for the "red zone," and before that was people searching for a pass to leave Paris and things like that. You see these kinds of country differences, but really the way that the search evolves is common across countries.

So if you were to look at the searches in, say, Milan seven weeks ago, they are very similar to searches we're seeing in New York now. It's almost like the big questions are common across all of us. We're all trying to find the same things. It comes out of the uncertainty of knowing there isn't a cure, there isn't a vaccine right now. That uncertainty leads to a lot of similar questions in different places.

Rani Molla

What don't we see in Google Trends data?

Simon Rogers

We can't tell demographics. I don't know who somebody is. The data is anonymized so you don't get individual data. So, I can't tell you how different age groups search or anything like that. Also, unless you're extrapolating something from the data, what you can tell is what people care about, but you can't tell what their opinions are about it.

Rani Molla

What should people not be Googling?

Simon Rogers

I wouldn't tell anybody not to Google anything, because that's such a personal thing. I think people need to think about information with the same care they think about any aspect of their lives. If you're consuming information, you want it to be reliable. Just thinking of information as this valuable resource that matters is really important.

I think I'd rather have people Googling everything, searching for everything, rather than accepting something without searching for it. I'd much rather you looked up stuff yourself than just believe things on face value, wherever they're coming from.


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Google Just Released the Top Search Trends for 2019 and Reveals What We Care About Most - Inc.

Posted: 13 Dec 2019 03:06 PM PST

It's always interesting to look back at the topics that garnered the most Google searches over the course of the year. Sometimes they reflect important events that happened or major milestones. For example, last year's top results included the World Cup and the names of several well-known individuals who passed away. 

This year, however, the most searched term is 'Disney plus.' That's right, the newest entry in the streaming wars was the topic that most captured our attention. That is, online, at least. 

We'll get back to that in a minute, but it's worth mentioning that many of the other top searches this year included people who made the news for various reasons. Cameron Boyce, Nipsey Hussle, Antonio Brown, Luke Perry, and Jussie Smollett were all in the top 10. Also included was Hurricane Dorian, and a few of the things that entertained us, like Avengers: Endgame, Game of Thrones, and the iPhone 11.

Also, for what it's worth, both Baby Yoda and Baby Shark beat out the royal baby. 

Which I guess somehow brings us back to Disney+. One of the astonishing things is the fact that the brand-new streaming service has been around for barely more than a month, and yet it managed to dominate our curiosity more than anything else.

Which, considering it's Disney, isn't exactly a surprise. There's no company on earth better at finding its way into the mind of an audience than Disney. 

Of course, it didn't hurt that Disney+ was everywhere. In fact, the most common related searches were about its partnership with Verizon that gave unlimited data customers a free year of the streaming service and the bundle with Hulu. Those trends show that Disney's marketing created intense curiosity around the service and its launch. 

And people are inherently curious. In fact, in many ways, when taken as a whole, curiosity is the thread that runs through the most-searched topics from this year. Many of the top searches are related to events that happened in our communities or our world that affected people with whom we have a connection--often in tragic ways.

For example, three of those names listed in the top 10 were of people who passed away this year. The other two were associated with allegations of criminal behavior. Another top search trend was related to one of the most powerful hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The reality is that people are naturally curious about bad news.

At the same time, people are driven by curiosity toward the things for which they have affection. In the case of Disney+, people have a natural affection for the brand and the stories that have, for many people, defined their childhood. I wrote earlier this year about the fact that more than 40 percent of people said they would sign up for Disney+ just because it reminded them of their childhood

The lesson here is that cultivating curiosity is one of the most powerful marketing strategies. Creating brand awareness is one thing, but creating curiosity is far more powerful. Instead of hoping your brand is top of mind when your customer makes a purchasing decision, curiosity means they seek you out.

Given the fact that 10 million people reportedly signed up for Disney+ on launch day alone, that seems like a pretty good strategy.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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