Friday, January 7, 2011

Don’t Get Caught With Google Adsense Click Fraud

Don’t Get Caught With Google Adsense Click Fraud

Many web site owners are getting their Google Adsense account terminated when they have done nothing wrong to deserve the punishment. Considering the money that they are getting from Adsense, they would certainly want to get back into it.

Considering the money to be made with Adsense, it is no wonder that they would want to get back into it.

It is that same consideration why the Google Adsense click fraud is thought of and why many people are getting into it.

Click fraud is the act of clicking on ads for the purpose of costing the advertiser money. It is simply the same as paying out cash for false leads. Many people website owners are aware of this fraud and are sharing the same sentiment that this is the one big problem that Adsense is facing.

How do you prevent being involved in this fraud?

Majority of web hosts are offering access logs. Once this is offered to you, it is necessary that you hand it over to Google as well. This allows them to look for any suspicious activity on your site. Problems like this are very serious and giving it to them is saying that you would want to help them in any way you can in solving the problem.

It can also help if you have a click monitoring software. If you do not have one yet, you should try and get one. There is absolutely no major factor preventing you from having one because most of this software is free.

As usual, all the information you have received should be turned over to Google. This is showing Google that you too are fighting against click frauds and is in no way a part of it.

Study your server logs and watch for any activity that seems suspicious. Report anything that you may find odd, may it big or small thing.

You may want to consider disabling ads for your own IP address and local geographic area. This will certainly prevent accidents and will not make Google mistake another user as you. You can do through a htaccess file. This will avoid Google mistaking as clicking on your own ads and be kicked out because of it.

Keep your Adsense off on pop ups and pop unders. Your ads should not be displayed on content sites that promote illegal activity or tampering of the legal rights of other people or business. Included in this are the content that is considered adult and gambling ones. If you think that you may be breaking this rule, immediately remove your content or Adsense from the web page.

Be truthful and confess up to Google about times when you might have clicked on your own as, whether accidentally or intentionally. Or the times when you have done something that is against the Terms of Service that they are implementing. Be honest about anything that you may have done that is wrong. Confessing is way better than Google learning about it eventually. It would mean eventual termination and no getting back what you have worked so hard for.

Do not tell your family or friends about Adsense on your website. Chances are they may start clicking on them to help you make money without you knowing it. They may be doing more harm to you than help by trying it in the first place.

If ever someone you know chanced upon your Adsense, make sure they understand that they cannot click on your ads under any circumstances. It would be wise to brief them on important things about Adsense and what not to do with them.

Most pay per click networks have different measures in hand to protect website owners against click frauds. Other search engines can track more than 50 data points, IP address, browser’s information, user’s session info and pattern recognition. They also have “systems” available that detects fraud. Not to mention the specialized teams monitoring how things are going and helping advertisers stop click frauds.

Google offers suggestion on how to avoid click fraud. Using “negative keywords” can be used to keep your Adsense showing on products and services that are in no way related to yours. Adding tracking URLs to your links so you can track the traffic coming from Google.

Do not be caught in the Google click fraud. Be aware and be wary.
source:http://www.indoocean.com/caught-with-google-adsense-click-fraud/

Google Adsense is one of the most popular free ways for anyone to make money

Article by Michelle Thomas

Google Adsense is one of the most popular free ways for anyone to make money from the internet. You can make text ads, images, video, text links and search boxes plus sales of their products listed by reference. It is to combine a free service and an easy way to make money online by revenue from advertising displays, web searches and online sales of products and services make. Read more about a Google Adsense Publisher.
Google has many different products online that will benefit the interested Internet users and to buy. Put products for entertainment, travel, leisure, business, advertising and marketing, photography and video, and more. Google Adsense as a publisher you can join for free and earn money by showing ads on your websites and blogs. You can share text, image and video ads on your pages. You can also search boxes and other Google products referrals. Google automatically scans your website content and place relevant ads and reference products. If someone clicks through the site after reading an ad, you get a commission. Likewise, if someone is an Internet search and visit the websites in the search results you also commissions. advertised and if someone buys one of these products or sign up for their free services to either a flat fee or a percentage of total sales. Also the way your ads look on your pages so that they fit into the color and theme of your websites and blogs. Plus you can keep track set up channels, how much revenue you from every ad unit earn

There are many free websites online you join, where a part of the Adsense to earn revenue or your publisher ID can be added to ads to switch and get 100% of the commissions. This is also very good for the Internet novice, not much about making websites and for the blogger who does not know how familiar with basic HTML code.
But you ads on your pages is easy. Everything you need to do is copy and paste your code where you want the ads, and Google does the rest. Google has a number of measures and guidelines for the programs you have to stick to it and it is better to follow them or you can lock your account and lose your earnings. However, some Internet marketers and webmasters thousands every month automatically just by adding text ads, video and picture units, search boxes, and reference products on their websites and blogs, and they have managed to do everything for free ! To learn more about using Google Adsense and how to apply for an account, see my blog Mailbox Money under the label money with Google Adsense

To get the ball on the inside to make money to get to Adsense , read this eBook by top internet marketing guru David Zohar Adsense Money Machine.
About the Author

I have several blogs online in categories such as entertainment, performing arts, lifestyle, shopping, include travel and recipes, movie trailers, free video training to get free dance performances and choreography, products for sale online, coupon savings, articles, short stories and much more. I’m trying to make money part time online by selling digital products, blogging and advertising.

source:http://webhostingblog.us/2011/01/income-from-blogs-and-websites-with-google-adsense/

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Google Dashboard Enhances Privacy Control

In conjunction with the 31st International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, which occurred this week in Madrid, Spain, bothGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG) and Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) took steps to express their respective commitment to privacy.

Microsoft's announcement took the form of a policy paper that said the company's established privacy principles would apply to cloud computing and called for regulatory harmony around the globe.
Google introduced Google Dashboard, a Web page that provides a summary of the information Google users have stored online and a set of links for modifying data storage settings.

"In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over [your] own data, we've built the Google Dashboard," a Google blog post explains. "Designed to be simple and useful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings."

The Dashboard provides data details for over 20 Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Orkut, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude, Profiles, and Voice, among others.

Nineteen Google services are not yet available on the Dashboard. These include Analytics, Checkout, AdSense, AdWords, Wave, App Engine, and Mobile, to name a few.

For a company that last year resisted adding a privacy link to its home page to prevent even the slightest page load time delay, the Dashboard demonstrates that privacy has become more of a priority.

Privacy advocates are calling the Dashboard a step in the right direction, though some are more critical than others.

For instance, John M. Simpson, consumer advocate with Consumer Watchdog, suggested the Dashboard was mere window dressing. "If Google really wanted to give users control over their privacy it would give consumers the ability to be anonymous from the company and its advertisers in crucial areas such as search data and online behavior," he said in a statement.

It might also be said that if consumers really wanted privacy they'd stay off the Internet and off the grid, paying only in cash.

Google To Reach $100 Billion In Revenue; Increased 31% Last Year

In 1990 the world's first web-page was created, and by 1992 there were all of 26. Today there are about 150 websites for everyone on the earth-- population (6.7 billion) and Google daily users number in the hundreds of millions. Google's chairman believes that Google (now $22 billion revenue firm) will someday reach $100 billion in revenues; revenues increased 31% last year. Googled: The End of the World As We Know It (Penguin Press/ Nov 2009) by Ken Auletta, is another in a line of books covering the history of Google's spectacular rise while also trying to explain it and project the future. The very good part of Auletta's work is that it makes readers think about Google's approach and potential in the future; the not so good parts are that many areas recently 'invaded' by Google are not well covered (fortunately, Wikipedia and Google itself can help fill in the gaps), and too many pages are filled with useless anecdotes and detail.

Google's search service underlies the company's success. It is based on a secret (to limit spammers' efforts to artificially boost ratings) algorithm (PageRank) developed by Google's founders, based primarily on the 'importance' of the pages (recursively determined by the other pages linking to them), and constantly under change (359 in 2008). About 200 factors are utilized in determining PageRank. Auletta contends that Google also uses cookies to refine search responses over time.

Google's advertising revenues account for more than 40% of all ad dollars spent online. Google also pumps additional ad dollars into tens of thousands of Web sites through its AdSense program in which Google serves as matchmaker, uniting advertisers with Web destinations. In effect, AdSense allowed Google to turn everyone's content into a potential place for Google ads. Google charges a fee of about 33%, and the Web destinations pocket about $5 billion/year as a result of visitors clicking on the ads. AdSense for search also allows website owners to place Google search boxes on their websites - Google shares any advertising revenue it makes from those searches with the website owner. 'Google AdSense' has been criticized by some as a large source of "invalid clicks," in which one company clicks on a rival's search engine advertisements to drive up the other's costs; auditing programs are available to help detect and correct for this.

Google AdWords, however, is the company's main source of revenue. AdWords allows potential advertisers to bid to place small text ads (95 character limit - less intrusive and bothersome than typical banner ads) next to the results for key search words. All auctions for ads are run online and automated. The highest bidder gets to place a small text ad to the right of the search results; up to ten lower bidders also win ad space below it. The order is set by a combination of comparative bid levels and the "quality score" of all ads shown. (The quality score is calculated by historical click-through rates, relevance of an advertiser's ad text and keywords, an advertiser's account history, and other determined by Google.)

Minimum bids per keyword are set by Google, also using the quality score - a commonly searched word or phrase like JetBlue might cost only a penny or two, while more esoteric phrases like helicopter parts might go for $50/click. Advertisers can choose to pay either according to the number of viewers or clicks. Google Analytics allows advertisers to track day by day, hour by hour, the number of clicks and sales, the traffic produced by the keywords used, the conversion rate from clicks to sales, where viewers came from (referrers, as well as physical location), etc. It helps advertisers target by age, sex, income, zip-code, personal preferences for leisure time activities, product preferences, news preferences. etc.

Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006, the idea being to use it's free content as another platform for selling Google ads. YouTube, however, is losing money ($100 million expectation in 2009) so far. In 2008 Google also bought DoubleClick, a service that tracks users and records what commercial advertisements they view. It's main service is to automate the administration effort in the ad buying cycle for advertisers and the management of ad inventory for publishers to increase the purchasing efficiency of advertisers and to minimize unsold inventory for publishers - eg. allowing last-minute substitutions of higher-paying advertisers and filling unused ad space. Auletta reports DoubleClick as posting 17 billion display ads/day.

Ads constitute over 95% of Google's revenue, yet its tentacles are exploring numerous other areas. These include Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Scholar, Google Finance, Google Product Search, Google Calendar, Google Desktop (Docs, Spreadsheets, collaborative forms), Google Chrome (Google's browser), Google Sites (free and assisted way to create websites), Google Android (new mobile phone operating system, with over 1,000 released applications in 2008), Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Voice (provides people with a single phone number that can be used to reach them on their work, home, or cell phones, has 1.419 million users), as well as Google's efforts to digitize all books and to provide cloud computing (no installation). Part of this reflects Google's efforts to return more than just web sites in response to inquiries (eg. videos, books, photos, maps), and to respond to inquiries from more than PCs (about one-third of 2008 Google queries in Japan originated from mobile phones). Google's potential business model for all these is not clear - on the other hand, Google began without a business model, so it doesn't allow that to be an initial hindrance. (Google engineers are all allowed one-day/week to work on a project of their own choice, again without regard for profits; some of its non-engineers are also afforded that privilege.)

The cloud in Google's future - possible antitrust regulation, and lawsuits over copyright infringement (eg. Google Books). On the other hand, Fortune recently noted that Google and the Obama administration have generally good relations, with top company executives participating in a number of government projects.

Bottom Line: Readers need to read Googled slowly and carefully, thinking how this behemoth might affect their businesses. Newspapers, TV and cable stations are already undergoing dramatic changes as a result of Google. They also need to carefully read Wikipedia and Google sites for additional related information to fill in the holes Auletta left.

Ken Auletta is the author of ten books, including four national bestsellers. These include Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way, Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman, and World War 3.0: Microsoft and Its Enemies. You'll find the author online at www.kenauletta.com

http://www.basilandspice.com/financial-well-being/google-to-reach-100-billion-in-revenue-increased-31-last-yea.html

Friday, July 17, 2009

Google On Mobile Search; Bing; YouTube Pre-Rolls, Monetization; Power Seach Users

We updated this post live, listening in on the Google Q2-09 Conference Call. Questions in italics.

Advertising

– Advertisers are not as uncertain anymore. Smaller advertisers have stayed consistent because of the benefits of return on investment on search. Bigger adverThe big advertisers stayed away for a bit but are back now.
– In Adsense for content, We saw solid results. Smaller partners performed well.
– We are seeing different means of monetization coming through: we’re beginning to see more branded advertising on YouTube and our display properties.
– The way to look at display for us is to look at multiple strangs. We’ve mand progress with the doubleclick ad exchange, having integrated that with Adsense. We’re going to see tremendous growth in the display space.
– On Google.com, Shopping and Computer Electronics verticals did well, but Finance was weak.
– Most of our advertisers are not maxing out their daily budget. We’ve spent time convincing them that search is an ROI medium, and we can’t create inventory - users create the inventory.
– CPCs have been impacted by increase in queries from low CPC countries like Brazil and China. International mix has an impact on our CPC - Germany vs India, then there are the currency issues. CPC was down year on year, and there was seasonality on top of it.
– There is a mix of display and performance side in advertising, and people are focusing on the performance side right now. Some advertisers are finding that display is a great complement to search. I think there’s a positive dynamic between the two. Advertisers who use search and haven’t utilized their budget entirely tend to spend on display.
– Google properties ahve driven most of the growth. AdSense properties have grown, but slower.

Focus On Power Users On Search

– Got more focused on active power users, who are typing longer queries and their expectations are greater than before. To serve power users, we launched options to allow users to slice and dice search results. We have a basic user principle that fast is better than slow. we’re looking to reduce latency, and launched improvements for Picasa
– We’ve had some success with local information, by determining where the user is. The search result innovations have been outpacing the innovations on the ad side. We’re going to push ahead with products that are good for the user on the search side.

YouTube

YouTube is now on a trajectory we’re very pleased with. Monetization views have triples in the last year. We’re monetizing billions of views now. We’re promoting feature partner videos. (Nikesh) YouTube homepage is of relevance and has established itself in the eyes of advertisers. Next move is towards long form video and pre-rolls. By bringing premium content to the home page, we drive views to premium content that increases inventory. Users are beginning to accept pre-rolls on premium content, and we dont see significant drop-off rates.

– It’s not our focus to monetize non-professional content. The non-professional content has relatively lower views. You can tell a professional quality video from a non-professional one. We don’t just mean large studios, but also smaller professional studios producing monetizable content.

– Pre-roll the key monetization method for YouTube? There are four main user activities on the site. They come to the home page, search for videos, watch videos and then interact with other users. Each activity will have a different monetization, form of advertising. The big inventory is in the watch pages. We’re trying to figure out if overlays will work. We’re still testing these things. We’ve been testing pre-rolls for quite a while.

Mobile, Mobile Search And HTML 5

– Users on high end phones are engaged. so display advertising there.
– We’re bullish on HTML 5. It’s especially important in mobile. This quarter we launched mobile versions of gmail and maps. One of the key things we’ve done is show desktop ads on mobile browsers of high quality. All of a sudden, we started seeing high searches and clickthrough rates. It makes sense over time, that search will perform better on mobile than PC, because we know more about the person. Mobile search tends to complement desktop volume, since people search from mobile when they’re away.
– 18-20 android phones will be out by the end of the year.
– Mobile search in the US has improved significantly, because of availability of phones with good browsers. Mobile search was pretty high in Indonesia and the Middle East, but we’re seeing it grow overall.
– The adoption of high end devices - the gphones, the iphone, they have a living on the web experience. there’s a fundamental trend that is happening there. there’s a whole ecosystem that is building right now.

Bing

How worried are you about search competitors (read: Bing)?
We haven’t seen any shift in search today.
Your take on bing? You think you should blend vertical search with search?
There’s an opportunity to do a much better job with finance search, and other verticals like shopping.
Gmail

“We are pushing out one new feature a week, like automatic message translation. Try that, it’s a big deal. We took quite a few of our products out of beta last week. All of them are relatively stable.”

Chrome OS

The Chrome OS will be available to the PC community at the end of next year. Other aspects of our strategy still have to be worked oout. The primary focus will be speed, speed of computation and use, and focus on the web. It’s open source, so it’s possible for people to just take it and do whatever they want with it. There may be other ways of making money from it, but we don’t plan to charge for it.

Google Wave

We want to make the web better - what is good for the web, is good for Google. we asked the question -what if email was invented today, and the answer is wave. The product was conceived in Australia.

War of Attrition? Collapsing The Industry?

Business Model for App Engine? Isn’t the competition with Microsoft is competition? looks like a war of attrition, where you’re just giving up for free. Instead of growing the industry, you’re collapsing the industry. Our data points say that Android hasn’t been successful.

With the App Engine, there are opportunities for licensing models, but we’re confident that with the functionality, where they are running search both on internal and external information, and the more people spend time on the web, the more they search. We’re confident that in the long run it is positive for us. We’re trying to make connectivity pervasive. The adroid has is successful, and we’re optimistic that it’s going to make for an exciting and richer web.

Other Comments

– Disciplined about costs, but looking to invest in our big long term opportunities including display and mobile.
– Android, Wave, Chrome and Chrome OS are all open source. the more power tools we put in developrs hands, the more development we will see on the web, which grows the pie for everyone.
– Paid storage is not a significant portion of our revenues

Google Q2 2009 Earnings Call Transcript

Google (GOOG)

Q2 2009 Earnings Call

July 16, 2009 4:30 pm ET

Executives

Maria Shim - Investor Relations

Patrick Pichette - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President

Eric E. Schmidt Ph.D. - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan J. Rosenberg - Senior Vice President - Product Management

Nikesh Arora - President - Global Sales Operations and Business Development

Analysts

Imran Khan - J.P. Morgan

Mark Mahaney - Citigroup

Justin Post - BOA Merrill Lynch

Christa Quarles - Thomas Weisel Partners

Benjamin Schachter - Broadpoint Amtech

James Mitchell - Goldman Sachs

Sandeep Aggarwal - Collins Stewart

Youssef Squali - Jefferies & Company

Doug Anmuth - Barclays Capital

Spencer Wang - Credit Suisse

Jeffrey Lindsay - Sanford Bernstein

Jeetil Patel - Deutsche Bank

Heath Terry - FBR Capital

Steve Weinstein - Pacific Crest

Jim Friedland - Cowen & Company

Presentation

Operator

Good day and welcome, everyone, to the Google Inc. conference call. This call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Ms. Maria Shim. Please go ahead, Madam.

Maria Shim

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to today’s second quarter 2009 earnings conference call. With us are Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer; Patrick Pichette, Chief Financial Officer; Jonathan Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Product Management; and joining us for the first time, Nikesh Arora, President of Global Sales Operations and Business Development. Eric, Patrick, and Jonathan will provide us with their thoughts on the quarter and then Nikesh will join us for Q&A.

This call is being webcast from our investor relations website located at investor.google.com. Please refer to our website for important information, including our earnings press release, issued a few minutes ago, along with slides that accompany today’s prepared remarks.

A replay of this call will also be available on our website in a few hours.

Please note that we routinely post important information on our investor relations website, located at investor.google.com, and we encourage you to make use of that resource.

As a reminder, we are holding two calls today. On this call we will discuss our strategic overview and Q&A with the usual format, followed by a second call which is effectively an extended Q&A session with Jonathan and Patrick, giving the opportunity for participants to ask more detailed financial and product questions in an efficient and reg FD compliant manner.

The second call will begin at 3:00 P.M. Pacific Time and will also be webcast from our investor relations website.

Now let me quickly cover the Safe Harbor -- some of the statements we make today may be considered forward-looking, including statements regarding investments in our core business and innovation, expected performance of our business, and our expected level of capital expenditures.

These statements involved a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Please note that these forward-looking statements reflect our opinions only as of the date of this presentation and we undertake no obligation to revise or publicly release the results of any revision to these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

Please refer to our SEC filings, including our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, as well as our earnings press release for a more detailed discussion of the risk factors that may affect our results. Copies may be obtained from the SEC or by visiting the investor relations section of our website.

Also, please note that certain financial measures we use on the call, such as operating profit and operating margin, are expressed on a non-GAAP basis and have been adjusted to exclude charges relating to stock-based compensation.

We have also adjusted our net cash provided by operating activities to remove capital expenditures, which we refer to as free cash flow.

Our GAAP results and GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliation can be found in our earnings press release.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Patrick.

Patrick Pichette

Thank you, Maria. Good afternoon or good evening, everybody. What we will do is we will have our regular schedule, so Eric will give us his comments first. I’ll cover the financial portion and then Jonathan will give us a product update. As Maria mentioned, we also have Nikesh with us and then we will turn it to Q&A. So without further ado, I’ll let Eric introduce.

Eric E. Schmidt Ph.D.

Thank you very much, Patrick. So Google, we’ve had a good quarter, one that demonstrates our resilience in what continues to be a very difficult environment, 3% year over year growth, as you have seen from the press release.

Google as a business appears to have stabilized despite the still weak economic environment. Advertisers and customers are obviously seeing the benefit of the performance-based advertising that we offer and consumers are clearly using search more and ever to find the best deals.

We’ve also implemented careful cost controls to help our performance. Making our business more efficient has been our goal for the last few quarters and it should put us in a good position to benefit from the eventual recovery whenever that occurs. And we are going to continue to invest in innovation. History shows that companies which invest in innovation during downturns emerge stronger than the cost-cutting competitors and it’s easy for big companies, Google is now a large company, to become conservative to take small steps when they need to take really big ones, so we are determined not to make that mistake.

And as an example, you don’t change the world incrementally. You do it through big innovation and the ability to execute on your ideas. So for example, we just announced Chrome OS for netbooks, our effort to rethink what an operating system should be, based on our lightning fast browser technology, Chrome, which people are already using. We need a faster operating system for the same reason we need faster browsers -- people are now doing everything on the web and this will be an operating system built around ubiquity and the power of the Internet.


http://seekingalpha.com/article/149349-google-q2-2009-earnings-call-transcript

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Google vs. Microsoft: What You Need to Know

In less than a week, Google announced an operating system to compete with Windows, while Microsoft announced that Office 10 will include free, online versions of its four most popular software programs — a shot at Google’s suite of web-based office applications.

And not more than a month and a half ago, Microsoft unveiled its new search engine Bing which it hopes will steal market share from Google and finally make it real money online.

From the news of it, it’s a full-blown tech battle, complete with behind-the-scenes machinations to sic government regulators on each other.

It is, however, not a death match — it’s more of an fight to see who will be the King of Technology, since both companies pull in their billions through completely different siphons and are unlikely to severely wound one another any time soon.

Google pulled in $22 billion in revenue in 2008, 97 percent of which came tiny text ads bought by the keyword and placed next to search results or on pages around the web. Google makes a negligible amount of money bundling its online apps for businesses, charging $50 a head annually — but mostly it just gives its online text editor, email and spreadsheet programs away.

By contrast, Microsoft sold $14.3 billion worth of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and other business applications over the last nine months, making a profit of $9.3 billion. It made a further $16 billion in revenue in 2008 through sales of its operating systems, which range from XP installations on netbooks, to Vista, to Windows Mobile to its server software.

Google now plans its own range of operating systems, starting with Android, an open-source OS for small devices like smartphones, and Chrome OS, a browser-focused, open-source OS that will run on notebooks and desktops.

Clearly top executives at each company look over at the others’ pots of gold and dream of ways to steal them, or at least make it harder for the other guy to make money.

In fact, they even dislike each other enough to spend money to make the other one lose revenue — take for example, Microsoft’s behind-the-scenes campaign to scuttle last year’s proposed Google-Yahoo advertising deal or its ongoing attempts to derail the Google Book Search settlement.

But in reality, the competition is really about creating universes or ecosystems that it hopes consumers will want to live their technology lives inside. And it’s about ego — a fight to be recognized as the world’s most important technology company.

Microsoft would love for everyone in the world to be using its Internet Explorer browser to search through Bing to find a story from its MSN portal to email via Hotmail or Outlook to a friend. Add in a smartphone running Windows Mobile and an Xbox in the living room for the kids, and you have a Microsoft family. And though it is much joked about, Microsoft is the dominant platform for software developers of all types, whether they are making small business software, massive online role-playing games or photo-editing utilities.

Google’s ecosystem looks different. It starts with a Google Chrome browser (oddly running only on Windows) with a default homepage set to Google News or a customized Google homepage. From there you might go to Gmail and then click on a Word document sent to you as an attachment which Google will quickly — and safely — open for you in its online word processor.

But most importantly, Google wants you to search and travel around the web, hitting web pages that run Google-served ads and Google tracking cookies. You might think that Google is a really cool company to give away all this free technology, while never thinking about the persistent and silent data collection Google is undertaking to profile you in order to deliver you to advertisers for a premium.

So How Do The Two Stack Up in Four Key Areas of Competition?

Browser market share as of May, 2009. Source: Net ApplicationsBrowsers:
Internet Explorer in all its variations still retains close to 70 percent of the market (depending on who is counting and how). That dominance remains, even though Microsoft’s latest offering IE8 lags behind all the other major browsers in features and advanced web capabilities.

Firefox, Opera, and Apple’s Safari have all driven browser innovation over the last five years, but most people have not been convinced to leave IE behind, despite other alternatives being safer and more advanced. Why does it matter? Well, IE installations come with a default home page, don’t they?

Google’s Chrome browser, on the other hand, is a handsome, whiz-kid of a browser. It’s sleek and nimble, and it revolutionizes how tabs are handled. The address bar is the search box (Google as default, naturally). Each website opened runs as its own browser instance and has very low permissions to read and write to files. The sandboxing of tabs means that if a single website hangs or crashes, the rest are unaffected. Meanwhile, lower permissions make it harder for a hacker to bust into your computer through your browser.

Chrome also has less than 2 percent of the browser market share.

Online Search: Google’s name now means search to most users. Google’s search engine means money to Google. In June, it delivered 78.5 percent of search results pages delivered to U.S. web users. In the first three months of 2009, Google pulled in $5.2 billion in revenue, a majority of which came from AdWords, an auction-based service that triggers ads based on the keywords in a search query.

Microsoft recently debuted Bing, a new search engine it hoped would fare well in comparison to Google. It’s got some fine innovations, and shows the company is thinking very hard about better ways to present information to users by finding ways to synthesize data, rather than just retrieving links. Still, despite these improvements, a $100 million ad campaign, and generous press coverage that treats Bing like an underdog, Bing gained only a point in June to get Microsoft 8.2 percent of all searches.

Operating Systems: Microsoft has been making operating systems since 1979 and has spent 28 years perfecting MS-DOS and Windows NT, the frameworks that Windows have been built around. Microsoft is estimated to run on about 90 percent of all laptops and desktops in the world. By copying its competitors’ best features, leveraging questionable licensing arrangements and using its base of accustomed users to buy it time against innovators, Microsoft has held on to its lead in the OS market for almost 30 years. That’s despite challenges from Digital Research, Apple and IBM.

Microsoft’s newest version, Windows 7, will be available in the fall. Early reviews say the OS boots quickly and sleeps fast, and avoids much of the confusing interface decisions that have made many dislike Vista, the successor to Windows XP. Microsoft also dominates in the business world, where nearly every medium to large company standardizes around Microsoft Office. Microsoft is also at work on version 6 of its operating system for handheld devices, which it first launched in 2000.

Its OS advantages are immense. It has millions of users who know nothing else and who like Windows. There are millions who are attached to games or the thousands of desktop apps that are only available on Windows. Thousands of devices just plug in and work on its hardware. And familiarity with Microsoft software is a requirement for a huge number of office jobs.

By contrast, Google first stepped into the OS game in 2007 when it announced its Android operating system for small devices. Google estimates that some 18 phone models will be running its system by the end of the year. Last week, Google announced, but did not show off, a new OS to compete with Windows, dubbing it Chrome OS.

That name signifies that Google’s OS will be for the web and browser-based. It hopes to convince developers to write software that runs inside a browser, instead of on top of the OS as developers for Windows and Apples’ OS X do. It will also let web developers extend the power of their websites by expanding the capabilities of the browser, allowing websites to lean on the browser for storage and processing help.

Advertising: Google is largely powered by its innovative auction-based text ads on its own site, but then expanded into serving ads on other people’s sites with the Adsense program. It bought the ad-serving and behavioral-profiling giant Doubleclick in 2007 for more than $3 billion, and has ventured into mobile, print, radio and television ads.

Microsoft has struggled to replicate Google’s online advertising success. Despite owning MSN.com — a portal that is second only to Yahoo as a destination — Microsoft has not made money on the internet. To turbocharge its ad delivery technology, it paid more than $6 billion in cash in 2007 for aQuantive, a full-service online advertising concern.

Instead, Microsoft’s online ad business lost $1.2 billion in 2008, double what it lost in 2007. The company expects 2009 revenues to be higher than the $3.2 billion it took in last year, but has not said it would make a profit.

Contrary to what some might have you believe, the benefits of the Google-Microsoft competition are immense.

Microsoft had largely grown complacent until Google came along to shake up categories. Gmail’s massive online storage capability and fancy programming made Microsoft hustle to upgrade its popular, though not user-friendly, web e-mail service. Google Maps led to Microsoft’s Live Maps, which now bests Google’s efforts in some ways.

Google has been winning the fight for the last few years, showing that it is still nimbler than the software giant from the Northwest. But the pendulum may be slowing, or even poised to swing the other way. With the innovations in Bing and the promise that Microsoft’s online Office offerings will be free and more fully featured than the Google equivalent, Microsoft is taking on Google where it matters for users: on the field of innovation.

And that will make for an interesting race, no matter which horse you prefer to ride.

Infographic: Wired.com/Dennis Crothers — Browser market share as of May 2009. Source: Net Applications

Update: This story was updated to correct the statement that recent Microsoft OSes were built around MS-DOS, when most versions of Windows have relied on Windows NT as their core.

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/07/google-vs-microsoft-what-you-need-to-know/