|To: Lizzie Tudor who wrote (327)||6/12/2007 12:04:23 AM|
|From: Lizzie Tudor|
|Google Apps Premier Edition a Mixed Bag|
By Cameron Sturdevant
June 11, 2007
Review: Google Apps Premier Edition is a hosted collaboration and productivity application platform that combines a customizable start page with chat, e-mail, calendaring, word processing, a spreadsheet and a simple Web page builder into a package that Google sells for $50 per user per year.
While the components worked well for us overall in our tests, we found that Google has yet to iron out all the wrinkles in its suite. For example, we had problems creating an event on the calendar from information contained in a Google Mail message.
Small and midsize companies that lack IT staff but need collaborative tools that allow shared calendaring, documents and spreadsheets, along with e-mail and chat, should put Google Apps on their evaluation shortlist.
Aside from the compelling price compared to other on-demand collaborative suites, Google Apps Mail component comes with 10GB of storage and is equipped with Google's ubiquitous search capabilities. Even these features, however, must be examined with a critical eye by business managers who want to use the suite for online collaboration.
For example, search is currently confined to individual modules and does not go across all the information that is accessible to the user. During our tests, this meant that we had to conduct separate searches in the suite's Mail and Docs and Sheets (word processor and spreadsheet) modules, rather than find what we sought in a single search. Google officials said there are no announced plans to unify search.
In order to take advantage of the optional partner-provided add-ons that are available for use with Google Apps, businesses will need some dedicated IT staff or consultant help. For instance, there's a SSO (Single Sign-On) component offered by Sxip Identity, which allowed us to integrate our Google Apps user authentication data with Microsoft's Active Directory.
eWEEK.com Special Report: Google's Global Reach
Other add-ons that enable Google Apps to integrate with existing infrastructure include CompanionLink for Google Calendar, which allows users to synchronize appointments with PDAs and smart phones running Palm, Windows Mobile, PocketPC and BlackBerry operating systems. These add-on products generally cost about $30 per user per year each and can quickly boost the cost of Google Apps beyond what Google charges for the base product.
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|To: Lizzie Tudor who wrote (328)||6/12/2007 12:15:37 AM|
|From: Lizzie Tudor|
|youtube DRM in test now, apparently (ahead of schedule)|
The so-called video fingerprinting tools, which identify unique attributes in the video clips, will be available for testing in about a month, a YouTube executive said.
"The technology was built with the Disney's and Time Warner's in mind," Chris Maxcy, YouTube partner development director, said, adding that, since early this year, Google has been testing audio-fingerprinting tools with record labels.
These tools will be used to identify copyrighted material, after which media companies can decide if they would like to remove the material or keep it up, as part of a revenue-sharing deal with YouTube, which can sell advertising alongside it.
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|To: Lizzie Tudor who wrote (329)||6/12/2007 4:03:24 PM|
|From: Lizzie Tudor|
|interesting effort to improve adsense for advertisers:|
Google Does Site Specific Performance, One Step Closer...
This may not strike the world as big news, but in the ad world, it's important: Google today announced "Content Placement Reports". Sounds boring, but stay with me here. (No links available for this yet, will update...)
What is it? From the announcement: In an ongoing effort to provide more transparency to advertisers, Google announced today the availability of a new AdWords report, called a Placement Performance report, which enables advertisers to see the exact sites on the Google content network where their ads appear. Placement Performance reports also provide site-by-site performance metrics – including domain, URL, impression, click, conversion and cost data – as well as aggregated metrics for traffic generated from AdSense for domain sites. With these reports, advertisers have much more visibility into their contextually targeted advertising spend and are able to leverage the information to more effectively optimize their campaigns and meet their objectives. Designed in response to advertisers' requests, Placement Performance reports offer advertisers both increased transparency and greater control over their contextual advertising, which ultimately leads to more relevant ads for users.
In short, Google is dealing with what is known as the "blind network problem" - advertisers pour money into AdSense, and they get a sense of how the campaign performed in aggregate, but they have no idea which sites did great, and which sites did poorly, or often, even which sites they ended up on (unless they specified via the relatively new site specific buys on AdSense.)
This new set of reporting addresses this issue, allowing advertisers to determine where their campaigns are doing best, and then they can optimize accordingly. It's a major step for Google, and it solidifies the company as the player to beat in third party ad networks. Does this have anything to do with the Doubleclick acquisition? Come on, is the Pope Catholic?
When AdSense launched, it was as a blind network that occupied the bottom of the value pyramid - it didn't care where ads were placed, as it was driven purely by direct response (ie, did someone click on the ad or not?). An entire industry was born of this idea: Pour money in, get money back. Who cares where the ads show up, as long as they payoff?
Now Google will become far more driven by specific publishing sites - "we'll help you find the sites where your ads do best, and help you target those sites specifically." This in turn will help advertisers find the sites where response is greatest. However, direct response is not always the best measure of effectiveness. It works great for demand satisfaction, but it has nothing to do with awareness or demand creation. Those two key pieces of the marketing puzzle still require things that cannot be driven by algorithms - at least for now. Will Google get into the business of helping marketers craft campaigns for particular sites based on understanding the audiences at those sites? Until now, the company was not even close to that business. But with this business, it's getting closer, and closer, to becoming what most of the world calls a content publisher. Interesting.
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|To: Lizzie Tudor who wrote (332)||7/19/2007 4:02:03 PM|
|From: Lizzie Tudor|
|GOOG Google Earnings Preview (549.33 -0.08) -Update-|
Google (GOOG) is set to report earnings after the close with expectations extremely higher for the co to blow out numbers for the sixth straight quarter. Co has been beating bottom line expectations by ~$0.27 on average over the last five quarters. Revenue growth has been falling steadily but not enough to alarm investors sliding to just below 65% in Q1. Shares have responded to the positive earnings report and now the stock is trading close to all time highs. Of course when one set the bar so high it can be difficult to keep up with expectations so it will certainly be interesting to see if GOOG is able to deliver to a crowd just waiting for the first slip up from this Wall Street darling. Stock was selling off earlier today on chatter that earnings may disappoint expectations and that an important executive would be leaving the team but we believe that was just speculation and did not have a basis behind the rumors. Items of interest on the call include: 1) Acquisitions: Co has been extremely busy with acquisitions, making eight alone this quarter. Their DoubleClick acquisition has been of particular interest to people and yesterday co was actually called in by the DoJ to discuss the acquisition. There are some analysts who are expecting some of these acquisitions to be dilutive so this could weigh in on EPS; 2) International Growth: Co's International growth has been trending slightly below domestic growth. We have been hearing that one of the places the co could surprise is based on stronger than expected European revenue which, given the FX tailwinds some other companies have seen, should provide a nice boost to results. On the flip side costs to ramp up international business could potentially hurt the bottom line; 3) Lost ad selling days at eBay: Co lost 10 ad selling days at eBay which could slow down results. We would note not a lot but when co's expectations are so high every little piece counts; 4) Guidance: Or lack thereof, recall co does not provide guidance to the delight of analysts everywhere; 5) Market Share: comScore data has shown that co did lose slight market share to MSFT last quarter. Any commentary regarding this will be of interest to investors; 6) YouTube: Everyone will be paying attention to how this acquisition is proceeding and the effect it is having on the co and the strategy going forward; 7) CapEx Spend: As noted in international trading a heavy spend hear could provide some headwind to the bottom line; 8) Reuters vs First Call rev Consensus: First Call excludes TAC while Reuters includes TAC. We would be very careful when comparing to consensus as this could cause a knee jerk reaction that opens up a golden opportunity... GOOG Consensus: Q2 Reuters EPS $3.59, revs $3.87 bln, FC revs $2.68; Q3 Reuters EPS $3.75, revs $4.10 bln, FC $2.87 bln; Y08 EPS $15.23, revs $16.29 bln, FC revs $11.39 bln... GOOG Guidance: CO DOES NOT PROVIDE GUIDANCE... Levels of Interest: GOOG Chart for levels of Interest
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|From: y2kate||7/19/2007 6:39:48 PM|
|Google is human, earnings miss|
World's top search engine reports better than expected sales but lower than anticipated earnings for second quarter; stock tumbles.
By Paul R. La Monica, CNNMoney.com editor at large
July 19 2007: 6:04 PM EDT
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Internet search leader Google reported a strong increase in revenue and earnings for the second quarter Thursday thanks to explosive demand for online advertising. But profits fell slightly short of expectations, disappointing investors that have grown accustomed to Google easily surpassing consensus estimates.
Shares of Google plunged more than 7 percent after hours following a slight drop in regular trading on the Nasdaq.
Google (Charts, Fortune 500), based in Mountain View, Calif., posted sales of $3.87 billion, up 58 percent from a year ago. Excluding advertising revenue shared with partners, a figure known as traffic acquisition costs or TAC, sales came in at $2.72 billion, ahead of the $2.68 billion in sales analysts were expecting on this basis.
The company reported a net profit of $925 million, or $2.93 per share, an increase of 28 percent from last year. So-called pro forma earnings, which don't include stock-based compensation, tax benefits and other items, were $3.56 per share, missing analysts' forecasts of $3.59 per share.
Shares of Google have surged nearly 20 percent so far this year and are currently less than 2 percent below their all-time high.
Investors have been bullish on Google since it continues to enjoy a wide market share lead in search over Yahoo (Charts, Fortune 500), which reported sluggish sales growth and a decline in profits for the second quarter Tuesday, Microsoft's (Charts, Fortune 500) MSN andIAC (Charts, Fortune 500)-owned Ask.com.
Web measurement war heats up
Wall Street is also optimistic that Google's recent merger spree will pay dividends as the company seeks to expand in areas beyond keyword search. The company bought online video kingpin YouTube last year and is in the process of buying Internet ad placement firm DoubleClick and security software service Postini.
But the earnings miss, only the second since Google went public in August 2004, may be spooking some investors, who had believed that the company would once again blow away Wall Street forecasts.
One analyst said investors may be overreacting since Google is still, far and away, the dominant player in Internet advertising.
"These numbers are really strong. Whatever weakness you are seeing today in the stock is temporary. The fundamentals are phenomenal," said Steve Weinstein, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.
But Jordan Rohan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said investors should not be surprised that Google's earnings missed estimates and that sales did not come in substantially higher than projections.
For one, the second quarter is typically not as strong for Internet advertising as the first quarter and fourth quarter since it corresponds with the end of spring and beginning of summer, a time when online traffic tends to dip in the United States.
During a conference call with analysts, Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt said that seasonality was not a problem during the quarter though, with traffic at Google's site being higher than the company had expected.
He also said Google did not see an impact from a temporary boycott of ads from eBay (Charts, Fortune 500) in the quarter. The online auction giant, Google's biggest customer, allegedly pulled some business from Google to protest a party Google was planning to hold to promote its Google Checkout product, which competes with eBay's PayPal.
Still, sales weren't the reason investors were upset. Google has been spending aggressively in order to boost future growth prospects. This may be a wise move strategically but it does hurt short-term profits, helping to explain why earnings were only up 28 percent despite a nearly 60 percent increase in revenue.
Schmidt said that the company did expect to see meaningful growth in the future from newer businesses that it has invested in such as video advertising on YouTube as well as so-called display advertising, which includes various forms of graphical ads. But he declined to give any specifics about what percentage of revenue was currently coming from businesses beyond search.
Cerfing the Web
Research and development expenses increased nearly 90 percent in the quarter while sales and marketing costs surged more than 80 percent. Schmidt said bonuses to employees also contributed to increased costs in the quarter.
"Google did exactly what they told us they would, they spent as much as they possibly could to fund future growth. This earnings miss wasn't that hard to figure out," Rohan said, adding that Google might want to rein in some of its spending.
Schmidt conceded during the call that Google will keep a closer eye on its rapidly expanding headcount in the future. Google finished the quarter with 13,786 employees worldwide, up from 12,238 employees at the end of the first quarter in March.
Another analyst suggested that profit estimates may have been too high for Google, which does not give sales or earnings guidance and is pretty tight-lipped about other financial measures, since analysts were caught off guard by the increase in bonus payments. Absent this increase however, Google did not appear to be spending out of control.
"The quarter was so much better on the top line than we expected thanks to the strength of international expansion but expenses were much higher than we thought they should be because of the bonuses," said Marianne Wolk, an analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group.
"There wasn't one unusual item that made a big difference. Google could have handily beat forecasts if not for the adjustments in bonus accruals. When investors examine that, they'll feel comfort and it won't appear as if investments are running amok," she added.
And chief financial officer George Reyes said Google will continue to invest heavily in the future, particularly in more rapidly growing international markets. Google's international sales surged 78 percent in the quarter from a year ago and accounted for 48 percent of Google's total revenue.
Schmidt said Google has invested heavily in China in particular in order to compete against top Chinese Internet companies like Baidu (Charts) and Sina (Charts).
But Reyes added that Google will be more discerning with its cash in the future.
"We are taking a careful look at investments and how we allocate resources around the world," Reyes said during the call. Google finished the quarter with more than $12.5 billion in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet.
Analysts quoted in this story do not own shares of Google and their firms have no investment banking ties to the company.
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