Tech giant Google is continuing to woo developers and businesses with new features, after launching new ad formats to help developers monetise Google Maps, and new business-specific features on Google+.
According to Jorrit Herder, a Google Maps API software engineer, developers often ask about opportunities for monetising sites that use the Google Maps API.
Google has already provided a way for developers to add AdSense to their maps via the Maps Ad Unit, but has now added two new extensions to that feature.
“The first extension adds six new ad formats that request a link unit rather than direct ads. Link units display a list of topics that are relevant to the content of your page,” Herder wrote in a blog.
“When a user clicks a topic, Google will show a page of related ads. Since link units can take up less screen space than direct ads, they’re a great option… when you have limited space.”
“The second new extension allows you to customise the design of the Maps Ad Unit. We now support custom colors for the ad unit’s background, border, link, text and URL.”
“This enables you to set a colour scheme that complements the design of your site.”
Google has also launched new business-specific Google+ features, including private sharing within an organisation, and video meetings integrated with Gmail, Calendar and Docs.
The features are currently only available in preview mode for Google Apps customers. Organisations will be able to use the features for free until the end of 2013.
Clay Bavor, product management director of Google Apps, outlined each new feature in a blog:
1. Private sharing for your organisation
Google Apps users now have more control over the content they post to Google+. When you create a post, you can mark it as restricted.
When you create a post, you also have the flexibility to share it with specific partners or colleagues outside the organisation.
2. Video meetings integrated with Gmail, Calendar and Docs
When you’re on Google Apps, holding a face-to-face meeting with colleagues or clients around the world won’t require coordinated travel schedules or video conferencing technology.
All you need is a device with a camera and an internet connection. Google Hangouts lets up to 10 people join a video meeting from their laptop, phone or tablet.
In addition to integrations with Gmail and Google Docs, users can now add a hangout to a Calendar event, allowing attendees to join the meeting directly from the invite or Calendar entry.
3. Administrative controls
To help ensure users are sharing only with the people they intend, administrators can now set company-wide defaults for post restrictions.
They can also enable restricted Hangouts to facilitate private meetings within the company.
In addition, Google has flagged a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users, and more administrative controls.
The news comes after Twitter announced the launch of the Twitter Certified Products Program, designed to help businesses find innovative products and services in order to “thrive” on Twitter.
“Brands, publishers, non-profits, governments and others have products that help them engage with and understand their audience so they can flourish on Twitter,” Twitter spokesperson Seth Bindernagel wrote in a blog.
“With this program, we’ve identified areas where we see huge demand for innovation on Twitter’s platform.”
The program is launching with three verticals:
- Engagement products, which help brands keep in touch with their customers.
- Analytics products, which help businesses learn from their customers on Twitter.
- Data reseller products, which serve as platforms for innovation on top of large numbers of tweets.