iCloud Email Address: One Productivity Tip You Probably Didn’t Know (Plus 3 Things About Gmail, Outlook.com, & Yahoo Mail)

Apple Cloud

I never blogged much about iCloud Mail or Yahoo Mail as I never find it useful or interesting — except the disposable addresses in Yahoo Mail.

A disposable address lets you create up to 500 temporary email address within Yahoo Mail. You can create a disposable address any time and delete it after use. It’s a good thing if you don’t want to reveal your “real” email address to anyone.

It’s a feature that is really missing in Gmail or Outlook.com but both Gmail and Outlook.com support sub-addressing though it’s not as useful as disposable addresses. Anyway, I didn’t want to switch to Yahoo Mail only to get that feature.

But a few days back I realized that an iCloud email address (@icloud.com) is also useful — and interesting — as it supports both sub-addressing and disposable addresses (sort of). [Read more…]

Microsoft iPhone. Microsoft iPad. Microsoft Android.

Microsoft iOS Apps

No, no, no. Microsoft is not going to launch a mobile device powered by iOS or Android. You bet! Over the past few months/years Microsoft has released a bunch of apps for the iOS platform (and Android too). And they’re not stopping there as they continue launching new apps.

Microsoft’s commitment to the iOS platform is very much evident from their recent acquisitions. Last December they acquired one of the most popular email app for iOS —  Acompli. And in less than two months they rebranded it as Outlook for iOS.

Read: Over 25 Email Apps (Free & Premium) For Your iPhone And iPad

It was just a beginning. Later they acquired my favorite productivity app for iOS — the Sunrise Calendar (Hey, it’s not just a calendar but much more than that.). And then a few weeks back they acquired Wunderlist — again one of the most popular to-do list app.

It’s clearly visible that Microsoft want to become the best mobile productivity apps maker. I have recently noticed that a good percentage of apps I personally use on my phone is now made by Microsoft.

Microsoft Inside

So here’s a list of Microsoft apps on the iOS platform — and Android too — for (almost) anyone and everyone. I haven’t included each and every app made by Microsoft. For instance, they have made a lot of business apps and games but I haven’t listed any of them as I wanted to focus on apps that are for everyone (and many of them are my personal favorites too).

Also, most of the apps that I’ve mentioned here are also available on the Android platform as well. So I’ve linked to it wherever it’s applicable. [Read more…]

Over 71 Gmail Tips & Tricks To Make You A “Gmail Ninja”

Gmail

Gmail is perhaps the web’s favorite email service with over 500 million users. And I started using Gmail ever since they launched the service, back in 2004 and became very much obsessed with it.

So today, I’m sharing over 71 Gmail tips and tricks (including some less known features, secrets, and settings) to enhance your Google Mail experience. I’m sure it might take a while for you to read through and get to the end. But once you do, there will be no looking back. You will change the way you used Gmail. All for the better. Guaranteed!

Gmail Tips & Tricks — Click To Scroll

When Gmail was launched the key features that distinguished it from its rivals were — Search (with an advanced function), 1 GB Free Storage (it was huge at that time because Hotmail was offering only 2 MB and Yahoo 4 MB), Conversation View, Labels, Archive feature, Auto-refresh, Auto-address Completion, Powerful Mail & Spam Filters, and a great user interface (thanks to AJAX) with no banner ads. [Read more…]

Over 40 Google AdSense Alternatives To Make Money Blogging

Google AdSense Alternatives

First Published: July 22, 2012; Last Updated: Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Google AdSense is undoubtedly the best advertising network out there that follows a pay-per-click advertising model. When Google AdSense was first launched they were accepting almost all websites with over 100 content rich pages and that comply with their basic program policies. So almost anyone was able to get an AdSense account (even with scraped content) in less than a week or two.

But today, your website must not only comply with Google AdSense Program Policies but must also comply with Google Webmaster Guidelines. It means that you they can deny your AdSense application if your website is selling text links or is hosting copyrighted content, etc. Even if your website complies with these program policies and guidelines they may still reject the application based on the content quality.

[Read more…]

Over 151 Google Products & Services You Probably Don’t Know

101 Google Products & Services
First Published: 2009; Last Updated: Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Google may be a synonym for search, but it’s not restricted to that feature alone. If you are not a tech-savvy person then chances are that you are unaware about majority of Google’s products and services. Anyway, how many Google products and services do you use? The common answers will be Gmail, Google+, Drive, Docs, or an Image Search. But Google is well beyond that.

Over 1 billion users per week. Over 100 billion searches per month. Over 1 billion Android activations. Over 1 billion YouTube users per month. That’s the stats of Google.

[Read more…]

How Does Google Make Money?

Google

If there are three companies that are dominating the technology space, they are — Apple, Microsoft, and Google. And you know how Apple and Microsoft makes money. But, do you know how Google makes money?

Sixty billion dollars ($60 bn). Guess what? That was the annual revenue (and it was $37 billion when I first published this blog post back in 2012) of the world’s largest search engine, Google, in 2014.

But how is that really possible when they hardly have any tangible products or when they don’t charge a penny for most of their products and services?

Don’t Miss: Over 151 Google Products & Services You Probably Don’t Know

Well, it’s advertising, and again advertising. Google’s majority revenue comes from two advertising platforms — Google AdWords and Google AdSense. In fact, 96% of Google’s revenue is from advertising.

Recently, I came across this interesting thread on Quora.com where Oliver Emberton answered the question “If I want to become an entrepreneur, where do I start?“.

Oliver answers:

Think of a company as a machine you design and build. Your ‘machine’ always has certain parts. It sells something to someone, and re-invests some of that to help make more sales in future. What’s left over is profit for the owners.

And then he cited Google as a money machine and summarizes everything as an infographic:

Google_Money_Machine

So, How Does Google Make Money?

In Google’s own words…

Today, the majority of our revenue comes from advertising.

Advertisers are increasingly turning to the Internet to market their products and services. Google AdWords, our auction-based advertising program, enables advertisers to deliver relevant ads targeted to search queries or web content to potential customers across Google sites and through the Google Network, which consists of content owners and websites.

Our proprietary technology automatically matches ads to the content of the page on which they appear, and advertisers pay us either when a user clicks on one of its ads or based on the number of times their ads appear on the Google Network.

We distribute our advertisers’ AdWords ads for display on the Google Network through our AdSense program. We share most of the revenue generated from ads shown on a site of a Google Network member with that member.

Source: Google Investor Relations

But Wait, We Don’t See Any Ads On Google

Google’s homepage is clean with no content or ads or popup (here’s why). And what’s interesting is that, almost all Google products and services that we use are absolutely free — whether it’s Search, Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Docs, Picasa, Maps, Earth, News, Analytics, Blogger.com or their Mobile Apps.

Then how do they make big bucks? It’s all about advertising.

Google has a very popular auction based advertising program called — Google AdWords. With Google AdWords, you can advertise your business on Google’s search result pages. That’s where most of the revenue comes from.

Google Ads

If you have noticed Google’s search results when you perform any of your web searches then you can see “Ads” across search result pages.

These ads are obviously sponsored by advertisers on Google AdWords who pays Google every time you click any of those ads. So, if you search for “loans” or say “insurance” on Google then you’ll  find ads relevant to “loans” or “insurance” itself.

For instance, you can search a commercial keyword like “buy insurance” on Google.com to see ads related to “insurance“.

Google’s Search Results Page — "Buy Insurance"

That’s not all! Google also has a publisher program called Google AdSense and it allows over a million publishers like me (and probably you) to make money by displaying relevant ads on our websites or blogs.

When it comes to website monetization, Google AdSense is every webmaster’s choice. Thanks to their huge ad inventory.

Read: Bing Ads vs. Google AdWords

And It’s Really A Win-Win-Win Advertising Model

Google’s advertising model is revolutionary and its essence lies in Google’s innovation. Google makes money from their advertisers and the advertiser pays only for performance (that is, only when someone clicks on their ad).

This is contrary to traditional banner advertising where advertisers are required to pay whenever their ad is displayed on a banner network.

And the consumer who is searching for something on Google sees only ads related to what he is searching. So, it is this advertising  model that creates a win-win-win situation for Google, Advertisers, and the Consumers.

Now, How Much Are Advertisers Paying Per Click

The price an advertiser pays for a click (known as Cost Per Click or simply CPC) usually depends on a lot of factors. Google is using a kind of bidding system. You select the keywords for which you want to show ads so that when someone searches for those keywords on Google, your ads will be shown.

Let’s say you own an insurance company and want to find customers. What you do is bid on keywords related to “Insurance” like “buy insurance”, “life insurance” etc. So, whenever a user searches for “buy insurance” or “life insurance” on Google.com (or their partner network like AOL.com) your ads will be shown.

The price you need to pay Google depends on the competition for that particular keyword(s). Now, if there are several other advertisers bidding for the same keyword then most probably you will have to outbid them to show your ad on top.

The Cost Per Click (CPC) varies from $0.01 to $100 (or maybe even more). For example, advertisers are willing to pay as high as $54 per click for insurance, mortgages, and loans related keywords.

Wait, Google has even more money making machines!

Google’s Mobile Strategy

We all have seen how the smartphone market exploded over the past few years. And the result? The mobile search market is also growing and soon mobile devices will be the primary way of accessing the web.

That’s why most of the Google products are designed for mobile users as well (Google’s 2013 mobile revenues were around $8 bn).

WordStream created an infographic that shows some real insights about Google’s mobile strategy. And it focuses four key areas: Mobile Advertising, Mobile Apps, Mobile Content, and Mobile Devices.

Mobile Advertising

Google’s mobile advertising is powered by AdWords itself and it makes Google money when people click ads on Google from their mobile devices. That’s not all! Google also has a mobile advertising platform, called AdMob, which is designed for mobile apps.

You see a lot of ads within several apps when you use different mobile apps, right? If so, then there is a good chance that it’s powered by Google’s AdMob.

Mobile Apps

Whether it’s Android or iOS or Windows Phone, some of the most popular mobile apps belongs to Google. They’re all free but it further accelerates Google’s mobile advertising revenue.

Mobile Content

Google’s mobile content is powered by YouTube (world’s largest video sharing website) and Google Play (a marketplace for apps, ebooks, music, etc. for mobile devices). Google makes money from YouTube by selling text, image, video ads, and also from subscriptions.

Google Play is a digital distribution platform where they charge developers and publishers for hosting and marketing their products.

Mobile Devices

With the acquisition of Android and Motorola, Google entered the devices space and now they are selling a wide range of mobile devices and gadgets like phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc.

Read: Gmail vs. Outlook.com vs. Yahoo! Mail: An Ultimate Comparison

What About Apple & Microsoft?

When it comes to Apple or Microsoft we all know how they make money. Apple makes most of its money selling iPhones and iPads. In fact, iPhone and iPad sales accounts for over 70% of Apple’s revenue.

Apple Revenue Breakdown

And Microsoft’s revenue primarily comes from their two flagship products — Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office. As you can see from the following chart, Windows & Office sales (marked as Commercial & Consumer Licensing) accounts for over 60% of Microsoft’s revenue.

Microsoft Revenue Breakdown

Chart Illustration: ZDNet

Read: OneDrive vs. Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon Cloud Drive vs. iCloud

BONUS: How Google Search Works

Now that you know how Google make so much money when they are offering most of their services for free. But have you ever wondered how Google search works?

A few years back Google released an interactive infographic that shows “How Search Works” (Tip: You can also hover your cursor (or can click on it) over certain image elements to learn more about it.).

It explains “Google Search” in a graphical way and also explores the major search features and algorithms (for example, how they fight spam).

The infographic is divided into three parts and it starts by saying how Google creates “The Index”. That is, Google navigates the web (made up of 60 trillion web pages and counting) by crawling from one web page to another by following links.

And it keeps a copy of each unique web page that it finds to make it searchable and it’s collectively called “The Google Index” (It’s over 100 million gigabytes in size).

The next part is about how Google uses its search algorithms (that is, computer programs and formulas) to find the web pages that you are looking for — in order to deliver the best results possible.

And the last part is about how Google fights spam. Google says the majority of spam removal is automatic (that is, it uses algorithms to filter out spam from its search result pages) but they also take manual actions against questionable websites.

They also give you a chance to take a look at the web pages that were removed from the Google Index few hours back as live spam screenshots.

Conclusion

Even after so many acquisitions and business diversification, over 90% of Google’s revenue still comes from advertising.

Again, 70% of this ad revenue is from Google AdWords (that is, Google owned web properties like Google.com, YouTube.com, etc.) and 30% from Google AdSense (partner networks and websites).

Now you know that the biggest search engine is also the biggest advertising company in the world. :)

First Published: March 25, 2012; Last Updated: Monday, December 1, 2014

Google AdSense Program Policies: Everything You Need To Know

Google AdSense

Google changes their AdSense policies every once in a while. They say that it’s done in an attempt to protect the interests of their advertisers. The last update was on October 20, 2014 but they don’t highlight the changes unless it’s a critical update.

But you can always subscribe to the official Google AdSense blog or follow AdSense on Google+ to get updates whenever it happens.

This blog post was first published in August 2012 and around that time I received an email from the AdSense team that ad serving has been disabled to one of my website.

What’s interesting was that it was an obsolete website that I stopped caring about. But the problem was… I haven’t disabled AdSense on that website even though it was not in use.

And the result?

[Read more…]

Top 50 Google Chrome Productivity Extensions For Bloggers

Google Chrome

I was trying to identify some of the best Google Chrome extensions for Bloggers, Content Marketers, and SEOs. While it’s almost impossible to list all of them I’ve shortlisted some of the best extensions for Bloggers and SEOs.

In this blog post I’ll feature 50 best extensions for bloggers and in the upcoming blog post I’ll focus only on SEO and will feature the best Chrome extension for SEOs, Link Builders and Marketers.

Read: Top 25 Google Chrome Extensions I Can’t Live Without

50 Best Google Chrome Extensions

I have tried my best to avoid duplicate extensions to make sure that no two extensions serve the same purpose. Instead of listing duplicate extensions as separate entries I added them as alternatives so that you can consider them.

[Read more…]