Casting call for our support team

Friday, July 28, 2006 at 7:26 PM

By Alison Bjerke, Google Base Operations

If you've ever needed help with a bulk upload, you may have corresponded with one of our dedicated Google Base Coordinators. Even if you haven't, you might not be surprised to know that there's a team working behind the scenes to address your concerns, answer your questions and provide extra support -- when you need it. We thought you might like to know a little bit more about us. Read on for a few quirky tidbits:

We asked some of our Coordinators what movies they would pick to represent their life. Janna, who started with us this summer, admitted an affinity for "Legally Blonde." See what some reviewers on Google Base have to say about that.

Jane, one of our bulk upload reviewers, picked "Stand By Me." If you're feeling nostalgic for this classic, it's available from several providers. And "Transformers" also got an honorable mention from Chad. Maybe Chad saw the Transformers breakdancing on Google Video.

And have you seen this test to determine which John Cusack character you are? Well, Philip chose John Cusack as his doppelganger in "Say Anything." And finally, Jose imagined John Malkovich in "The Definitely Bearable Heaviness of Being." Take that, Kundera.

We'll be adding more about our team in the future, so watch this space to see what we're up to.

Preventing common errors in Google Maps bulk uploads

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 at 9:47 AM

By Jen Peng, Google Base Operations

Among the many item types that you can submit to Google Base, we often see the same errors occur for bulk uploading of Google Maps business locations. Here are some of the most common errors, and ways to prevent them:

Upload 10 or more locations
To use the Google Maps business locations bulk upload feature, you must submit a minimum of 10 unique locations. If you have less than 10, please submit your information as individual items through the Google Local Business Center.

Submit in tab-delimited text format
Even though Google Base supports other formats for other item types, business location bulk uploads must be in tab-delimited text (.txt) to be recognized. Please refer to Step 4 of our tab-delimited bulk upload instructions for details on how to convert an Excel file to the proper format.

Select the correct item type
When specifying your bulk upload filename in your account, be sure to choose "Business locations" in the item type drop down. Creating a custom item type will prevent your locations from appearing in Google Maps.

Include all required attributes

To ensure that your business information appears properly, you need to include the following set of the attributes in your file: store_code, name, address_line_1, city, state, postal_code, country_code, main_phone. Please visit our formatting instructions for more details on each attribute.

And be sure to check out the Help Center for more formatting tips.

New rich text editing feature

Friday, July 21, 2006 at 12:22 PM

By Deepak Lachwani, Google Base Engineering

To help you better describe your items, we're introducing a new rich text editor to our posting form. When you're posting an item, you can now format your description by using formatting buttons or by using HTML. The rich text editor provides you with a toolbar containing the most frequently used formatting options, and supports all standard HTML tags.

You can copy text from your browser and paste it into the editor, and the formatting will be retained. Thus you can easily reuse any HTML descriptions you already have on your site. You can also view and edit the HTML source directly, with an instant preview of your new description while editing.

Here's what the description box with the new toolbar looks like:

It's important to note, however, that at this time, we're not enabling any scripting, data input controls, or frames. Also, HTML descriptions are only available for single item posts.

Optimizing Base items to get more eyeballs

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 at 6:27 PM

By Bindu Reddy, Product Manager

A lot of you are asking about how to optimize Google Base items and bulk uploads and increase traffic to your items. Here are some quick tips on how to get maximum exposure.

- Submit items with as many pre-defined attributes as possible. We only show items with these attributes on and Froogle. Learn more

- For your items to be displayed in all location-based searches, specify precise locations with a street address and Zip code.

- Refresh your bulk uploads to keep your data up to date. Our algorithm will demote items that are not refreshed regularly.

- Use Google Checkout as a payment option if you're posting a product item that you want Google to host. Product items that don't have "buy" buttons are far less likely to be sold than those which do.

- Want more traffic? Create ads for your items and set a maximum bid. We'll run your ad on Google search when people search for queries relevant to your Google Base items.

Still want more help? Please drop us a line and we'll be happy to help.

Discrepancy in bulk uploads and dashboard

Friday, July 14, 2006 at 4:18 PM

By Steven De La O, Google Base Operations

Discrepancies in dashboard totals have left quite a few of you wondering about the status of your items in Google Base. This confusion is caused by the different totals displayed on the Active items and Bulk upload files pages of your account dashboard. The item details on the Bulk upload files page include the total number of items in your bulk upload file and how many of them were successfully processed. In some cases, this number will differ from the total displayed on the Active items page.

Example 1: Bulk upload file details
Example 2: Active items total for the same file
The Active items page lets you view and edit a snapshot of random items from your bulk upload file. We recently increased the item limit for this snapshot from 3,000 to 10,000 items to make it more useful to those of you submitting large amounts of items. An issue is that the Active items page may not show a complete list of items according to this limit. This happens when deleted or inactive items are included in our snapshot. Improvements to the functionality of the Active items page are in the works, so we’ll be addressing this issue in a future release.

So where can you get an accurate picture of how many of your items are in Google Base? We suggest using search results. To view all your items in the search results, in your account click on Item URL next to one of your items, then click on the link that reads All items by… at the top of the item page. On the next page you'll be able to see the total number of items displaying for your account in the top-right corner.

Setting custom expiry dates

Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 2:34 PM

By Denise Gamboa, Associate Product Marketing Manager

We just rolled out a new feature that helps to ensure the content on Google Base is as fresh as possible. From now on, when you upload an item (either via a bulk upload or through the web form), we will set an appropriate expiry date for it. If you set your own date that isn't later than ours (for example, you set 1 week for a housing item, compared with our date 2 weeks out), we will honor your setting. However, anything later than our default settings will automatically revert to these custom dates below. There's more here on how to change expiry dates. And be sure to make note of these so that you can easily create upload schedules!

Jobs - 7 days
Travel Packages - 7 days
Events - 14 days
Housing - 14 days
Wanted ads - 15 days
People profiles - 30 days
Products - 30 days
Services - 30 days
Vehicles - 30 days
News and articles - don't expire
Podcasts - don't expire
Recipes - don't expire
Reference articles - don't expire
Reviews - don't expire

New for bulk uploaders: Google Checkout

Monday, July 10, 2006 at 12:13 PM

By Alison Bjerke, Google Base Operations

Last week, we launched Google Checkout, a new process that enables customers to buy from sellers like you quickly and securely using a single username and password. When it's easy for customers to buy from you, you sell more. And when customers buy from you with Checkout, it's easy for you to charge your customers' credit cards, process orders, and deposit funds to your bank. Checkout also gives you the confidence to sell by identifying and filtering fraudulent transactions, fighting chargebacks, and reimbursing you for transactions covered by our Payment Guarantee policy.

If you already have a website containing information about the items you sell, you can integrate Google Checkout with your website to process transactions online. A few sellers are already using it. To learn more about integrating with Google Checkout, go here.

Wondering if you can still take advantage of Google Checkout even if you don't have a website? Well, through Google Base, you can sell items in two ways:

1) If you only have a few items to sell, you can submit a single item to Google Base and follow these steps to enable customers to buy from you using Google Checkout. Monster Magazine is a good example of a seller who has done this.

2) To sell multiple items without a website, specify Google Checkout as an accepted form of payment in your bulk upload, and we'll show a "Buy" button next to each of your items. They'll be displayed on pages like the single-item posts, but you don't have to create each post individually. Details about this option are here.