Unencrypted content: a threat to Google’s business model

Google’s recent announcement to give a (currently still small) ranking boost to websites using HTTPS is undoubtedly going to make the web safer for everyone.

Missing from the discussion is the fact that unencrypted content and unscrupulous ISPs present a small, but growing threat to Google’s business model. Google depends on ad revenue, and insecure connections allow third parties to tamper with data while in transit. ISPs can use this to their advantage by injecting their own ads. This is already happening: see here or here and this topic on reddit. It was also briefly mentioned in one of the comments under the original “ranking boost” announcement:

HTTPS ads comment google

HTTPS ensures data integrity and would make ad injection not only technically far more difficult, but also most certainly illegal. This also explains why Google says that even simple “content sites” should use HTTPS: they might not collect any user data, but they can still serve ads.

Being a good citizen of the web” and making the web safer for everyone sounds nice and is certainly something many people working at Google have in mind. However, it would be naive to assume that Google isn’t also looking out for it’s own commercial interests.

How to connect your YouTube channel with your Google+ page

The problem

You have an existing YouTube Channel for your business with a number of videos (in my case, it was called “SmartluxBalances“).

You also have a Google+ page for this business or activity (“+BalancesLu“). The channel and G+ page are not connected, so when someone clicks on the “Videos” tab on your G+ page, no videos show up:
No G+ videos

Instead of uploading your videos again, you want the existing videos from your YouTube channel to appear there.

Assumptions

You’re using your personal G+ profile as the current manager (and owner) of your G+ page.

Your YouTube channel is not currently connected to a G+ profile (otherwise you’ll first have to disconnect it).

The solution

1. Go to your G+ page’s settings and add a new manager. Indicate the exact email you’re using to log in to your YouTube channel. Sign out.

2. You’ll receive an email to become a manager of the G+ page. Click on the link (or better, copy it to an incognito window). This is where things become confusing because you’ll have to set up another personal G+ profile. Just do it (you’ll delete it again in the next step). I recommend using your company’s logo as profile picture. Your former YouTube account is now a manager of your G+ page, too.

3. Still using your former YouTube account, go to your G+ settings and delete the useless profile that you’ve just set up in step 2. You’ll still be a manager even after the profile is gone.

4. Go to your YouTube account settings and click on the option to connect your channel to a G+ page. As a (new) manager of your business’s G+ page, you should now be able to select your G+ page as the new name for your YouTube channel:
Select new name for your YouTube channel

5. After a few minutes, check out the “Videos” tab on your G+ page. It should now be called “YouTube” and all the videos from your YouTube channel should be displayed:
YouTube videos on your G+ page

If things didn’t work, head over to YouTube Google+ Integration for help.

Where to get a UPC or EAN for Amazon?

When listing a new product on Amazon, you’ll be required to enter a product name, manufacturer and a UPC or EAN. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers assign these codes to their products. So where can you get them?

The official place is the GS1 (Global Standards 1) organization in your country (use country selector here or simply enter “GS1″ and the name of your country in your favourite search engine). However, nothing prevents you from registering in another country if this is cheaper or easier. For us, going to GS1 UK was singificantly cheaper and faster than registering with GS1 Belgium & Luxembourg.

If even the cheapest package from GS1 is too expensive for you, you might feel tempted to buy from a reseller. I strongly advise against this. What’s to prevent the reseller from selling the same GTIN multiple times or from selling a number that’s completely made up? Going through a reseller also means that your company would not show up in the GEPIR (Global Electronic Party Information Registry) when an end user or business partner checks “your” GTIN.

Further information:

g+ cover photos just got bigger

I know, this blog is turning from “things I learned” to “things I want to complain about”, but just look at this:

Don't like it? Move out!

Cover photos on google+ just got bigger. Great! What for? I don’t know yet. What looks really bad though is the new round shape of the profile photo (or in this case, the logo) and there’s no option to say “not now” there.

Sudden changes like these are a good reminder that you’re not really in control of your g+ or facebook pages, YouTube channels, Amazon listings, etc. You’re just a guest and if the owner suddenly thinks that your face appear in a circle, well, you better get used to it.

Edit: The new size seems to be 925 x 522 pixels.

Update March 16, 2013: Here’s a great example of what to do with the new giant header (don’t click if you’re on a slow or expensive connection).

Update November 15, 2013: Big cover photos are soooo March 2013! Now they’re smaller again:
G+ cover photos version 2 to version 3

Not too bad. However, if you never made your cover photo bigger in the first place it looks rather stupid now:

G+ cover photos version 1 to version 3

For a while, I thought g+ could be a viable alternative for small business owners who can’t afford their own website (which according to recent and now deleted Craigslist rant, should cost at least US$1500, no matter how simple it is). However, with so many seemingly unnecessary design changes I’m not sure this is still something I’d recommend.