Sunday, March 11, 2012

The new mobile platform wars: It’s time to look beyond iOS vs. Android

It is shaping up to be a critical year for mobile tech.

If you’re tired of the endless iOS versus Android market share reports, take heart: There are new issues, and new challengers, making 2012′s mobile landscape more complex and more important than ever before.

Windows 8 is emerging as a viable threat to the iPad, while Android tablets continue to struggle. Google and Facebook are continuing to square off for domination of social interactions on your phone. And several mobile payments services, including Google Wallet, Isis, and PayPal’s offerings, are hoping to replace your credit card. More than ever, platforms are fighting to get and maintain a share of what you carry with you every day.

Meanwhile, the years-long iPhone versus Android battle has reached a bit of a standstill. Android continues to dominate in terms of overall smartphones sold (though Apple had a particularly great fiscal first quarter), and Apple remains triumphant in terms of actually making money from its devices.

We’re going to be discussing all of the above, and more, at our second Mobile Summit next month in Sausalito, California. If you haven’t yet scored one of the 180 invitations to this exclusive event, here’s a glimpse of what we’re expecting for the next year in mobile platform wars.

Tablet wars: Episode 3

We’re now three years into the post-iPad tablet generation, and it seems like the competition is finally beginning to get interesting. After suffering through mostly lackluster Android tablets over the last few years, Microsoft has emerged as a surprisingly refreshing tablet competitor with Windows 8. (Check out our in-depth preview with an early Windows 8 tablet.)

As I’ve written before, Microsoft is taking its approach to tablets a step beyond Apple with Windows 8, something that the company made abundantly clear during its unveiling for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview in Barcelona. Unlike Android or iOS, Windows 8 is a full-fledged desktop operating system, not just a souped-up mobile OS on a bigger screen. Microsoft is positioning Windows 8 as its OS approach for all computers in the next decade, not just tablets.

Indeed, Microsoft can show Android tablets a thing or two. Google has said that it’s going to be focusing even more on tablets this year, but I think the bigger problem for the search giant is its fundamental misunderstanding of tablets. They’re not just bigger mobile devices, as Android tablets initially were. Instead, tablets are more akin to PCs, thanks to their bigger screens and support for peripherals like keyboards.

The confusingly named new iPad will likely continue to dominate the tablet market (and the now-cheaper iPad 2 won’t do Android tablets any favors either). But Microsoft has a good shot at snagging the second-place spot this year — if it can keep Windows 8 tablets cheap and keep computer makers from ruining its shiny new OS with bloatware.

Facebook and Google battle for your smartphone

One of the biggest reveals from Facebook’s S-1 filing (its first step towards an IPO) was the huge risk that mobile represented for the social networking giant. Facebook said it had an impressive 425 million users accessing through mobile, but at the time it didn’t have a way to monetize them. To address that problem, Facebook recently revealed its mobile ad plan, and it looks a lot like Twitter’s: sponsored posts within your friend stream (see the screenshot to the left).

Google, meanwhile, is still trying to coax consumers into Google+, but it will likely have less trouble making a buck from them. I expect to see sponsored posts from Google+ as well, but knowing Google’s ad mastery, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had some surprises up its sleeves.

There’s no doubt that mobile is the next big goal for social networking dominance. You can look to the rise of other mobile-only social networks, like Instagram and Foursquare, as one major indicator. And unless you’re Google, you’d be crazy to take on Facebook head-on when it comes to launching a mainstream social network (LinkedIn and Twitter have been successful by focusing on things completely different from Facebook).

Last year, Facebook launched its innovative Timeline feature, and Google officially launched Google+. With the initial ground laying already done on the desktop side, expect both social networks to spend more time and energy perfecting their mobile experience.

Battle for your mobile wallet

After years of hype, we’ll finally begin to see mobile payments become a reality in 2012. PayPal is expanding its payments program to all Home Depot stores, and it’s gearing up to show off its long-awaited mobile wallet app at South-by-Southwest in a few days. Google Wallet will make its way to even more Android phones, and the carrier-backed Isis will continue to piece together its mobile payments platform.

2012 will also mark the first time most consumers get their hands on mobile payments offerings. Many have dabbled in mobile payments with Starbucks’ uber popular mobile app, but that’s a relatively simple solution. It’ll be interested to see if complete mobile wallets — which will not only handle payments, but also keep track of your purchases, loyalty cards, and wrangle special offers — actually take off with mainstream consumers.

More so than the other platform battles, there’s a ton of money at stake in mobile payments. Juniper, for example, predicts mobile payments to hit a whopping $670 billion by 2015 (with about $74 billion of that being NFC payments).

Since we’re at such a nascent stage, any mobile payment success helps to legitimize the field, according to Isis CEO Michael Abbott. In an interview with VentureBeat at the Mobile World Congress, Abbott said he didn’t think the mobile wallet war actually existed, since all mobile payments solutions are fighting against payment options consumers are already used to.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (Wi-Fi)

Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 is a 10-inch Android tablet which includes the pressure-sensitive Wacom stylus technology from the Galaxy Note 5-inch "phablet," ($299.99, 3 stars) but with a large-enough display to actually use it well.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a plastic-backed, 10-inch tablet that's thin at 8.9mm, but isn't on the cutting edge. The way the Note 10.1 stands out from other Android tablets is by being built specifically to draw or write on.

The pressure-sensitive "S Pen" is one of the best things about the Galaxy Note, but it's knocked out by a lack of supporting apps and by the Note's generally odd shape. On the Note 10.1, the new S Pen—a little thicker, more solid, and able to detect harder pressure on the screen—compels. The Galaxy Note also lacked software that showed off the S Pen. The 10.1, on the other hand, will come with special pen-friendly versions of Adobe Photoshop Touch and Adobe Ideas (which is like Illustrator) and will ship with available drawing apps: Zen Brush and Omni Sketch for adults, and Hello Crayon for kids.

The tablet has good pressure sensitivity, and it's responsive. There's none of the lag that so frustrated me when I was trying to test styli on Android tablets recently. The Galaxy Note 10.1 will also probably work with any other Wacom-compatible stylus, Samsung says. That makes it a potential killer tablets for artists who are already in the Wacom ecosystem.

Another new trick: the Note 10.1 has a split-screen option so you can run two apps side by side, in limited cases.

As we saw before on the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus ($399, 3.5 stars), Samsung's U.S. Apps store will highlight apps in the Android Market designed for the tablet, helping to work around the lack of a good list of tablet apps in Google's store.

Spec-wise the Galaxy Note 10.1 keeps pace. It will come in Wi-Fi-only and AT&T-compatible HSPA+ models (although the company didn't confirm any U.S. carriers). It has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, a 3-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. There's an IR emitter so it can work as a TV remote. It runs Android 4.0 and will come in 16, 32, and 64GB models, all with an extra memory card slot. The 7,000-mAh battery will likely run the tablet for long periods.

Interestingly, the 1280-by-800 screen is the same resolution as the much smaller Galaxy Note's screen, but it's a lot more usable. Square inches matter. The built-in S Note program spawns a window to the right of your Web browser, so you can take notes while still surfing, for instance.

The Galaxy Note 10.1 will appear in the second quarter of this year, Samsung says. It'll cost more than the standard Galaxy Tab 10.1 ($499, 3.5 stars), so I'm expecting around $600 for the Wi-Fi-only model.

At hacking contest, Google Chrome falls to third zero-day attack (Updated)

Google's Chrome browser on Friday fell to a zero-day attack that pierced its vaunted security sandbox, the third such attack in as many days at a contest designed to test its resistance to real-world threats.

A teenage hacker who identified himself only as PinkiePie said he spent the past week and half working on the attack. It combined three previously unknown vulnerabilities to gain full system access to a Dell Inspiron laptop that ran a fully patched version of Chrome on top of the most up-to-date version of Windows 7. He spent the past three days holed up in hotel rooms and conference areas refining the attack so it would break out of the sandbox, which was designed to prevent code-execution attacks like his, even when security bugs are identified.

"These kinds of things are finicky" PinkiePie told reporters as he finished a blueberry yogurt just minutes after making his booby-trapped website display a picture of a pink pony wielding a medieval axe. He said he "got lucky" because he found a way to break out of Google's sandbox relatively early and then spent the rest of the time identifying vulnerabilities that allowed him to remotely funnel code through the system.

PinkiePie said all three of the vulnerabilities resided in code that's native to Chrome. That meant it qualified for a $60,000 prize, the top reward for the Pwnium contest Google sponsored at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver. Members of the Chrome security team started analyzing the exploit and vulnerability details within minutes of the hack. Less than 24 hours later, Google put a fix into its distribution pipeline.

"Congratulations to PinkiePie (aka PwniePie) for a beautiful piece of work to close out the Pwnium competition!" an advisory accompanying the update for Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Chrome stated. Referring to an exploit unleashed on Wednesday, it continued: "We also believe that both submissions are works of art and deserve wider sharing and recognition."

Additional details will be published once other WebKit packages that might also be vulnerable are patched.

Google is offering prizes of $60,000, $40,000 and $20,000 under the competition in an attempt to learn new strategies for fortifying Chrome against attacks that expose sensitive user data or take control of user machines. PinkiePie is only the second contestant to enter the contest. Both have demonstrated attacks that allowed them to take control of Chrome users' machines when they do nothing more than browse to an attack site.

On Wednesday, a Russian researcher named Sergey Glaznov bundled two vulnerabilities into his own remote code-execution attack. Less than 24 hours later, Google shipped an update fixing the holes. At the separate Pwn2Own contest a few feet away, a team of researchers successfully exploited Chrome on Wednesday.It's now almost certain that attack relied on Adobe Flash to break out of the safety perimeter.

The five vulnerabilities exposed during the third and final day of the contest are miniscule compared to the overall number of bugs Chrome's security team fixes each year. A member of the team said the value of Pwnium isn't in the number of bugs that come to light, but rather in the insights that come from watching how a reliable exploit is able to slip through carefully crafted defenses.

Updated to add official comment about $60,000 prize and the release of a patch.

Google Remains King in Searches, Hearts and Minds

The bad press Google received about changes in its privacy policy hasn't hurt the search giant's popularity among Net ferrets, according to reports released Friday by comScore and the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

During February, when the hysteria level about the privacy changes were at their height, Google still garnered 66.4 percent of all searches made on the Web, a slight increase over the previous month's 66.2 percent share, according to comScore.

In a distant second place was Microsoft's Bing, with 15.3 percent, compared to 15.2 percent in the previous month.

Yahoo, which uses Bing's search engine, slipped during the period, to 13.8 percent from 14.1 percent.

The Yahoo-Microsoft combined share also dropped during the month, to 29.1 percent from 29.3 percent in January.

Bringing up the rear of the standings were Ask, with a share that remained unchanged during the period at three percent, and AOL which fell to 1.5 percent from 1.6 percent.
Don't Search Me, Users Say

Pew's survey on search engines explains why Google remains the top dog in the market. It found that 83 percent of the more than 2200 people it surveyed used Google for their search needs.

Finishing behind Google in the poll was Yahoo, with 6 percent of the respondents. That's a far cry, Pew noted, from 2004 when 26 percent of those surveyed said they used Yahoo, compared to 47 percent for Google. Yahoo ditched its search engine for Bing in 2009.

Pew's survey uncovered strong negative feelings by searchers about engines collecting data about them. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the survey sample frowned on engines using data collected from them to rank future search results.

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the respondents did not want engines tracking their searches to personalize them in the future and 68 percent opposed targeted advertising because they did not want their online behavior scrutinized by a search engine.

As opposed as those surveyed were to those behaviors by search engines, however, only 38 percent of them had a clue on how to limit the data collected about them on the Net.

On the plus side for search engines, confidence in search results remain relatively high. For example, 91 percent of the respondents said they found or mostly found what they were looking for with the search engine that they used.

In addition, nearly three quarters (73 percent) believed search results were accurate and trustworthy, almost two-thirds (66 percent) thought results were fair and unbiased, and more than half believed that over time the quality of search results had improved (55 percent) and that they had improved in relevance and usefulness (52 percent), too.

While the reports from comScore and Pew suggest that Google's privacy changes and the heated discussion over search engine tracking that surrounded it haven't tarnished the image of search engines among their users, the Pew survey does indicate that searchers don't want their activity on the Internet tracked nor do they want their search results tampered with based on past behaviors.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Twitter is selling your data

witter users are about to become major marketing fodder, as two research companies get set to release information to clients who will pay for the privilege of mining the data.

Boulder, Colorado-based Gnip Inc and DataSift Inc, based in the U.K. and San Francisco, are licensed by Twitter to analyze archived tweets and basic information about users, like geographic location. DataSift announced this week that it will release Twitter data in packages that will encompass the last two years of activity for its customers to mine, while Gnip can go back only 30 days.

"Harvesting what someone said a year or more ago is game-changing," said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego. As details emerge on the kind of information being mined, he and other privacy rights experts are concerned about the implications of user information being released to businesses waiting to pore through it with a fine-tooth comb.

"As we see Twitter grow and social media evolve, this will become a bigger and bigger issue," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for British-based Internet security company Sophos Ltd. "Online companies know which websites we click on, which adverts catch our eye, and what we buy ... increasingly, they're also learning what we're thinking. And that's quite a spooky thought."

Twitter opted not to comment on the sale and deferred questions to DataSift. In 2010, Twitter agreed to share all of its tweets with the U.S. Library of Congress. Details of how that information will be shared publicly are still in development, but there are some stated restrictions, including a six-month delay and a prohibition against using the information for commercial purposes.

That's where DataSift comes in. More than 700 companies are on a waiting list to try out its offering, DataSift CEO Rob Bailey said in an interview with Reuters. Those who buy the data will be able to see tweets on specific topics and even isolate those views based on geography. Bailey, who is based in San Francisco, said the effect is something like holding a huge number of sporadic focus groups on brands or products.

For instance, Coca-Cola Co could look at what people in Massachusetts are saying about its Coke Zero, or Starbucks Corp could find out what people in Florida are saying about caramel lattes. Companies can also look at how they have responded to consumer complaints.

Gnip, which offers the short-term data package, said the information collected -- which involves real-time viewing -- can also be used during natural disasters to help rescuers, to monitor illnesses such as a flu outbreak and to analyze stock market sentiment.

No private conversations or deleted tweets can be accessed, Bailey said. Companies want aggregated data, not to try to figure out who said what to whom. "The only information that we make available is what's public," Bailey added. "We do not sell data for targeted advertising. I don't even know how that would work."

A digital analytics expert said the biggest impact will be for marketers. "The only privacy risk is marketers being able to do more with the data, faster," said Thomas Bosilevac, director of analytics for the digital marketing company Digitaria.

That doesn't mean everyone has to be happy about this. "It's frustrating, and telling, that now marketers have greater access to my old tweets than I do," said Rebecca Jeschke, digital rights analyst and spokeswoman for the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation. "However, this is perfectly legal, if creepy. If you publish your tweets publicly, that allows all sorts of folks to do all sorts of things with them."

For people concerned that something they said will come back to haunt them, it's not too late to go back and delete old tweets. DataSift is required to regularly update its files to remove comments that have since been deleted. Unlike when you're looking for someone else's tweets, users can always see their own simply by clicking on the word "tweets."

Windows 8 could leapfrog Android to be the true iPad competitor

Samsung executive Hankii Yoon said at Mobile World Congress, "The best thing to survive in the market is to kill your products."

He was referring to new Samsung Android tablets cannibalizing older ones, but let's take that comment even further. The first tablet demonstrating Windows 8 at Mobile World Congress was a Samsung one. Sure, Samsung is playing the field, and it's made Windows tablets before. However, it only goes to show that if you're not the one vertically integrating software and hardware, it's a free-for-all as far as where tablet hardware might evolve next.

The iPad isn't going anywhere: it has huge popularity, a massive app catalog, and dominating market share going for it. However, that spot at No. 2 seems wide open. Android tablets have been far from compelling thus far, leaving the doorway open for Windows 8 tablets to stake a claim that no other Windows tablets have previously been able to capture. However, for Windows 8 to succeed as a true iPad competitor and bury Android tablets, the battle will have to be fought on several fronts:

Apps. Android has a boatload of apps, but a less-than-ideal centralized storefront and way of monetizing them. Microsoft's currently middling collection of Windows 8 apps can't compete yet, but in time, with enough development effort, Microsoft could showcase those apps and sell them in a more polished way than Android does.

Enterprise and corporate. iPads are candy to the corporate landscape for two reasons: they're sexy, and they're secure and stable. They're not perfectly geared to productivity, but they're close enough. Android tablets have come in so many varieties and so many operating system variants that it numbs any corporate adoption. If Microsoft can settle on a few tablet designs from OEMs and a unified, stable OS (promising security features to boot), it could be seriously attractive to business.

Backward compatibility. The ability to run older Windows applications (for x86 tablets, not ARM) is huge. I remember sitting through tons of meetings with vendors who explained why their ugly Windows tablet of old was used by businesses that ran older software and enjoyed the cross-compatibility. Running Microsoft Office, in its real-deal form, is bigger than most people realize. OnLive Desktop is a cloud-based service on the iPad and Android that runs Windows 7 remotely...chiefly for its Microsoft Office applications, and its retention of features like red-line edits. A Windows 8 tablet could do that.

True keyboard/mouse compatibility. The iPad can't use a mouse. Android tablets can, but to a limited degree. Stand up a Windows 8 tablet and pair a keyboard and mouse, and a true mobile computer could be set up. We've seen that before on Windows 7 tablets, so what's the big deal now? Well, back then, those Windows 7 tablets excelled at keyboard/mouse connectivity but were lousy with UI, battery life, and touch-based apps. Windows 8 aims to address those problems this time around, though it remains to be seen how Intel's tablet processors will perform.

For all these reasons--especially the business market--I can't help but imagine Windows tablets rising up to finally overtake Android, and creating a Microsoft-Apple battleground for the next decade. On the consumer side, I expect Android tablets to get squeezed by cheaper and more brand-friendly "super e-readers" like the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. Google's Andy Rubin may plan to double down on tablets, but Microsoft seems ready to do the same. Android phones may own half of the smartphone landscape, but there have been only 12 million Android tablets sold, compared with more than 48 million iPads in 2011 alone. Opportunity is there for the taking to be No. 2. And, if Microsoft swoops in and takes that market away from Android, Google will have no one but itself to blame.

Remember Netbooks? Those used to all run Linux.

Facebook Launches New Ad Platform

The world’s largest social network platform, Facebook Inc., launched a new strategy of advertising on Feb. 29, engaging leading brand names such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Starbucks Corp.

Messages from businesses will feed into users’ Facebook page when they hit the “Like” button, and news feeds will be activated and offers and notices will be available direct to consumers.

This new product is called “Premium,” and marks the first possibility for ads to appear on mobile phones as well as on the log-out screen, and changes will be visible from April onward.

There are more than 400 million users who utilize their mobile devices to access the social networking site, according to Facebook estimates.

The timing of this advertising initiative is strategic, as it is prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO) of stock, which is predicted to occur in the next quarter. Reports have indicated that the IPO could value the company at around $100 billion, and likely to raise at least $5 billion. As such, this strategy could allow potential investors to see Facebook’s advertising potential.

One of the key distinguishing features of Facebook’s new advertising methodology is an emphasis on integration into the conversation of the user’s network. There are still permanent advertisements placed on pages that have their own role in promoting products and services, and this format will remain.

According to Facebook’s vice president of product, Chris Cox, “The definition of the word ‘advertise’ is to draw attention to. … The definition of a story is narration, which you’d think is what people prefer.”

Facebook’s latest advertising technique also can be considered more measurable and is designed to provide more insight into consumer behavior and generate results when it comes to action-orientated or response-driven campaigns. Premium is said to enhance user engagement by five to ten times more than traditional ad space on the website.

The majority of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook’s income is sourced from advertising sales, which contributed to around 85 percent of its total revenues of $37 billion in fiscal year 2011.

Chinese users occupy President Obama's Google+ page

Summary: Chinese users have taken to flooding President Barack Obama’s Google+ page with requests for aid, thoughts on current events, and flattery.

Apparently taking advantage of loosening security in the country’s comprehensive Great Firewall of censorship, Chinese citizens have flocked to President Barack Obama’s Google+ page to leave a veritable flood of comments, most flattering.

It’s not exactly clear why or when the Chinese government opened Google+ to citizens, or why these new users have chosen President Obama’s official reelection campaign page as their rallying point. But the comments come in waves, and most posts to the page quickly hit the maximum limit of 500 comments. And as you may expect, most of these comments have been left under what appear to be pseudonyms.

English-language website ChinaSMACK translated several of the comments, but due to high traffic, the site’s availability has been sporadic. Fortunately, the Washington Post rounded up several of the most representative comments left by Chinese users:

“Dear President Obama, when will you send troops to liberate China?”
“Mr. President, we long for America’s freedom.”
“Hello Mr. President, I am Chinese. I hope that when you are dealing with the Chinese government that you won’t only focus on economic interests. The people here also need freedom and democracy. We need a free internet and a safeguarded life that is not too hard. Hope you can do your best to help us, thank you.”
“Obama, you do not contribute to world peace, but earlier get the Nobel peace prize, do not you feel ridiculous?”

As you can see, the comments range from fawning to mischievous to thoughtful. More than a few ask for a Green Card or American citizenship. And, of course, there are a few Americans who resent these Chinese users posting in their native language as opposed to English - or who simply use it as an opportunity for sarcasm.
The Chinese news media has been tracking these Google+ occupiers, and it doesn’t appear that the flood is going to level off any time soon. Facebook may have more of the social networking market than Google+, but apparently China sees a lot of value in the platform as a means of communication with the world outside the Great Firewall.

Mozilla Introduces Browser Add-on To Fight Google's New Spying Policy

Most people don't like reading long privacy policy descriptions online. Understandable. But if you were one of the few individuals who actually clicked that annoying little pop-up link that Google has been throwing in everyone's face for the last few weeks, then you got a glimpse at the future of corporate espionage.

Clearly the folks at Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox web browser, clicked that link.

Here's what we know: Google brings in about $28 billion in advertising revenue. The new changes to its privacy policy are designed to push that figure even higher by providing corporate advertisers with increased access to your web browsing habits. The bold move comes amidst widespread concern that corporate data harvesting has gotten way out of hand and may even be illegal in some countries.

In response to Google's latest spying (some would say "tracking") efforts, Mozilla has unveiled a new add-on that provides web surfers the ability to see which companies are recording their browsing history.

The new add-on is called Collusion and allows users to fight back, in a sense. Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs says the software is designed to "pull back the curtain" on advertising firms and companies that track the public's online activity.

While Collusion won't stop the spying, it will at least give users a view of who is watching their clicks across the Internet.

"Collusion is an experimental add-on for Firefox and allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movements across the Web," said Mozilla in an official press release. "It will show, in real time, how that data creates a spider-web of interaction between companies and other trackers."

Mozilla has stated that its long-term goal is to construct a database of the worst spying offenders. That database would then be available to the public and could be used to shape buying habits and mount potential boycotts.

Collusion's debut was well-timed to coincide with increased international pushback against Google's plans to stream consumer data from web browsers and smart phones straight to corporate Adsense clients. A coalition of consumer groups from across Europe and the U.S. sent a letter to the web giant this week asking that it rethink the controversial new policy that the coalition described as "unfair and unwise."

Google responded to the criticism in a blog post saying, "Our privacy policies have always allowed us to combine information from different products with your account - effectively using your data to provide you with better service. However, we've been restricted in our ability to combine your YouTube and Search histories with other information in your account."

However the clash of the internet titans ultimately plays out, it seems clear now that Google may be in danger of violating their self-imposed first commandment to "Never be evil." If public perception turns on them, Mozilla is well positioned to don the mantle of consumer advocate and become the premiere defender of web privacy.

Update AdSense Ad Unit Code Or Miss Out

Update your AdSense ad unit code if you don’t want to miss out on some key features. That’s the message Google is trying to get across with a new video it uploaded to its Inside AdSense Channel.

If you’re not using the updated code, there are certain tools you won’t be able to use, Google explains.

“Click into the ‘My Ads’ tab,” Google says in the video. “If you don’t see any data listed for one or more of your sites in the ‘Ad Unit’ section, you’re using the old ad code. This means you’re missing out on some key features in the ‘Performance Reports’ tab, such as ad units, which shows performance for your individual customized units and ad sizes reports, which show which ad sizes perform best on your site.”

“Additionally, anytime you want to change the style of your ad, you also need to change the code on your page,” Google says. “With the new code, the settings of your ad units are saved within your AdSense account by name and unique ad ID, so you can apply the same code to multiple pages across your site, and make changes just once.”

To update your code, click the “import old ad code” link under the “My Ads” tab, paste your old ad code into the box, give it a descriptive name, and click import to create a new unit with the same settings, then replace the code on your new pages, and save.

Both Mormon church, anti-Mormon group buy Google ads targeting Romney

Both the Mormon Church and an anti-Mormon group have purchased advertisements on Google targeting Internet users searching for information about Mitt Romney.

A search for videos on Google using the search term "Romney" brings up keyword-targeted ads promoting, the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.

Another ad sends users to, a website controlled by Witnesses for Jesus, Inc. That group deems neither Mormons nor Jehovah's Witnesses to be Christians and works to expose what it calls deception by those religious groups.

"We offer our research into the history and doctrines of Mormonism as a loving attempt to alert unsuspecting Mormons and potential converts to this deception so they can be liberated from the seduction of evil spirits," reads the group's website.

Google’s AdSense service allows advertisers to place ads alongside the results of specific search terms. The ads are purchased through an auction, which determines the price to target any given keyword.

The church's decision to advertise alongside Romney-related search terms is striking because of its previous attempts to steer clear of political issues, especially as they pertain to Romney, who has avoided emphasizing his Mormon faith out of concern it could alienate some voters.

Romney's faith has come up time and again on the campaign trail, usually when controversial comments by those supporting Romney's rivals have attracted widespread attention. A prominent pastor called Mormonism a cult while endorsing Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who dropped out of the race in January. And Newt Gingrich's Iowa political director had to step aside after making pejorative comments about Romney and Mormonism.

Flash News

Flash News