Monday, February 27, 2012

New debugging dashboard for the Google Content API for Shopping

Today we're announcing the API dashboard in Google Merchant Center, which makes it easier for online merchants who use the Google Content API for Shopping to debug their API requests.

If you’re an API user, you can now view a comprehensive timeline and list of errors that occurred while making requests to the API, sorted by the number of times the errors occurred for faster prioritization. For each error, the dashboard also displays example request and response pairs, making it easier to locate and fix errors in your requests.

To access the new API dashboard, log into your Google Merchant Center account and click on the ‘API Dashboard’ tab.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Smartphones and Tablets Influence Consumer Purchasing Decisions on Mobile, Online and in Store

(Cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads and Google Retail Blogs)

Retailers are largely focused on how consumers are shopping across channels and devices. We know consumers love their mobile and tablet devices, but we are just beginning to develop a strong understanding of how they engage with these devices as they make their purchase decisions. To gain greater insight into this key behavior, we partnered with Ipsos during the 2011 holiday shopping season to study online shoppers. We uncovered a number of interesting consumer behaviors across desktop computers, smartphones and tablets. The powerful data we uncovered can drive best practices for advertisers at every holiday and year round.

The first key mobile insight every advertiser should know is that consumers use their smartphones at many different points in their purchase path. 41% of those who used their mobile phones to help with shopping said they made a purchase directly on their smartphone. 46% said they researched an item on their smartphone then went to a store to make their purchase. 37% said they researched an item on their smartphone then made their purchase online.

Another key mobile insight that emerged is that consumers used all three devices throughout the research process, but some activities were more popular on specific devices. Consumers who owned tablets read product reviews and looked for product information more from their tablet devices than from their desktop computer or smartphone. This is likely due to the combination of the large screen and portability of the device that enables consumers to use it more often and in more places. Consumers are carrying tablets with them to the couch, while in the kitchen, and even to bed.

Not surprisingly, more consumers used their smartphones to contact a retailer. With the natural calling ability of phones and many click-to-call phone numbers on websites and in ads, smartphones make it easy to contact retailers, whether to see if the store has the product in stock, get directions or find store hours.

While the 2011 holiday season is now firmly behind us, it’s clear that smartphones and tablets are only going to become a bigger part of the consumer shopping experience. Among consumers that used their devices to shop last year, 80% of smartphone shoppers and 70% of tablet users said they used their device more frequently this year.

To stay ahead of this shift in consumer behavior, advertisers need to make sure they have a mobile optimized site, make it easy for customers to reach them with click-to-call and deliver a seamless experience between online and offline in-store. It’s the advertisers who engage with their customers across all three devices that will have a distinct advantage in 2012.

To learn more about consumer shopping behavior across the desktop computer, smartphone and tablet and view a full report on Post Holiday Learnings for 2012.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Protecting your payments with Google Wallet

Over the last few days we've received questions and concerns about issues related to the security of Google Wallet. People are asking if Google Wallet is safe enough for mobile phone payments. The simple answer to this question is yes. In fact, Google Wallet offers advantages over the plastic cards and folded wallets in use today.

First, Google Wallet is protected by a PIN — as well as the phone’s lock screen, if a user sets that option. But sometimes users choose to disable important security mechanisms in order to gain system-level “root” access to their phone; we strongly discourage doing so if you plan to use Google Wallet because the product is not supported on rooted phones. That’s why in most cases, rooting your phone will cause your Google Wallet data to be automatically wiped from the device.

Second, we also take concrete actions to help protect our users. For example, to address an issue that could have allowed unauthorized use of an existing prepaid card balance if someone recovered a lost phone without a screen lock, tonight we temporarily disabled provisioning of prepaid cards. We took this step as a precaution until we issue a permanent fix soon.

And just like with any other credit card, you can get support when you need it. We provide toll-free assistance in case you lose your phone or someone manages to make an unauthorized transaction.

Mobile payments are going to become more common in the coming years, and we will learn much more as we continue to develop Google Wallet. In the meantime, you can be confident that the digital wallet you carry provides defenses that plastic and leather simply don’t.

Update [February 14, 2012 / 8:30 pm PST]:

Yesterday afternoon, we restored the ability to issue new prepaid cards to the Wallet. In addition, we issued a fix that prevents an existing prepaid card from being re-provisioned to another user. While we’re not aware of any abuse of prepaid cards or the Wallet PIN resulting from these recent reports, we took this step as a precaution to ensure the security of our Wallet customers. If you are unable to access your previous prepaid card balance for any reason, please contact our toll-free support for assistance.

Posted by Osama Bedier, Vice President, Google Wallet and Payments

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And that makes 40! Google Offers launches in Oklahoma City and Omaha

Today, Google Offers is rolling out in two new locations, Oklahoma City and Omaha. Not only are we excited to bring high-quality, personalized deals to these awesome cities, but today’s announcement also marks a special milestone for us: In just 251 days, Google Offers has gone from one to 40 cities across the U.S.!

In the eight months since our launch in Portland, we’ve worked with locally loved businesses and popular national brands to bring you the very best deals out there. And we’re continuing this M.O. with two great offers for our newest cities. Here’s the scoop:

Oklahoma City: $10 for $20 of American fare at Louie’s Grill and Bar
Besides your own living room, few places are comfortable enough to kick back with a plate of queso-smothered nachos while watching the big game. Enter Louie’s Grill and Bar, where the service is friendly, the food sticks to your ribs and nothing on the menu is over $10. With today’s inaugural Google Offer in OKC, enjoy $10 for $20 of American-fare at one of Louie’s Grill and Bar’s twelve locations in the Oklahoma City area.

Dig in to a 100% Angus burger ($8) at Louie’s Grill and Bar

Omaha: $8 for one ticket to an upcoming Nebraska Huskers Men’s Basketball game
Sure, shouting at the TV seems satisfying, but there’s nothing like lending your lungs to a crowd thousands deep. Join thousands of fans to watch the Nebraska Huskers take on their rivals in the Big Ten: $8 gets you one ticket to see the Huskers take on the Illinois Fighting Illini ($20 value) on February 18th OR the Iowa Hawkeyes on February 29th ($15 value). Don’t miss out: these are the big games before the Big Ten Tournament!

Cheer on Big Red in the new Devaney Center!

Check out to learn more and subscribe to Google Offers! Also be sure to check out our Google Offers mobile app for Android so you can get access to great deals on the go.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine’s Day deals you’ll love, for the one you love, from Google Offers

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the thoughts of some turn to romance and celebrating that special someone in your life. The thoughts of others turn to the sometimes arduous and often expensive task of buying a gift that truly conveys what that someone means to you. Relax, Google Offers is here to help with three national deals that form the triumvirate of Valentine’s Day - flowers, jewelry, and chocolate.

Flowers from 1-800-Flowers
In 1976, Jim McCann opened his first 1-800-Flowers store (then called “Flora Plenty”) and in the 35 years since launch, 1-800-Flowers has been delivering smiles ever since. And boy, do they have an offer for you today: you can send two dozen fresh roses delivered to the door of your choice -- perfect for Valentine’s Day, or just because. 1-800-Flowers will even include a beautiful, crystal clear vase and free standard shipping. All this for only for $44.99. That’s 43% off! What a bunch of hopeless romantics...

Jewelry from
From its customer service, to its selection, to its focus on personalization, Gemvara is changing the way its customers shop for jewelry online. And to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, the company is taking some of the intimidation out of buying jewelry by offering $50 for $150 toward custom jewelry at a whopping 66% off. Starting tomorrow (2/2), at 5 a.m. PST, customize necklaces, earrings and rings online, mix ’n’ match gemstones & precious metals and have it shipped - at no extra cost. Be sure to place your order at by February 5 (this Sunday!) in order to have it delivered by February 14th.

Chocolate from Chuao Chocolatier
Starting Friday (2/3), at 5 a.m. PST, Chuao Chocolatier (pronounced chew-WOW) will finalize the triple threat of Valentine’s Day deals with one not to be trifled (or is it truffled?) with. The first Venezuelan Chocolatier based in the United States, which specializes in all-natural “fusion chocolate,” will offer an online deal for $12 for $24 of artisan chocolate. And this isn’t your grandma’s chocolate box - Chuao offers unusual flavor combinations such as Spiced Napa Valley Cabernet, a combination of California raisin fondue, Napa Valley cabernet, caramel and spices in rich dark chocolate; and Rosemary Salt Caramel, a salt butter caramel infused with rosemary in creamy milk chocolate. Yum!

Visit to learn more and subscribe to Google Offers so you don't miss out on these great deals. Also, you can always find deals from Google Offers on-the-go with the Google Offers app on Android.