Google AdSense Responsive Ads

I was pretty excited when I realized that Google AdSense was offering responsive sized ads. Kinda surprised it took me so long to notice it, but I’m not exactly raking in insane amounts of AdSense dollars at the moment.

Their Smart Sizing option is very convenient in that it will automatically detect the container elements width and then serve up an appropriate add based on that. While this is really slick and convenient I was getting much too tall ads due to the layout of my blog.

Luckily they do offer an Advanced mode, where you can modify some CSS Media Queries to request specific sized ads based on browser width. This was perfect.

In my case I wanted 3 sizes.

  • mobile devices (320px x 50px ad)
  • browsers with widths over 1400px (300px x 250px ad)
  • browsers with width under 1400px (120px x 240px ad)

So, I just adjusted the CSS Media Queries as such, and all seems to be working pretty well.

.my-ad { width: 320px; height: 50px; }
@media(min-width: 500px) { .my-ad { width: 320px; height: 50px; } }
@media(min-width: 800px) { .my-ad { width: 120px; height: 240px; } }
@media(min-width: 1400px) { .my-ad { width: 320px; height: 250px; } }

Planet Google

Planet GoogleI decided to give non-fiction a chance with my last read. Planet Google turned out to be really interesting. It detailed the history of Google, which as a web developer is something I follow closely to begin with.

The early years were really interesting to me. With the emphasis on the algorithm throughout very cool. The chapter on the YouTube acquisition and the failure of Google Video was cool. I’d almost completely forgotten about their early video efforts. WIth all their amazing success, it’s easy to forgot some of their flops (such as social media, Wave, etc.).

Some of the early chapters were massive and the book did get off to a slow start, but I stuck with it and it did pick up and am glad that it did. Heads up, this was published in 2008 so much of their hottest properties such as Android and Chrome aren’t yet mentioned.


Google Visualization Pie Chart

Haven’t played around with the Google Visualization API in a little bit, so I was quite pleasantly surprised to learn of some very nice new features and improved documentation since my last encounter. Mind you, it was very impressive to me 18 or so months ago, but now has gotten better in so many ways.

First off,  the getting started examples are great and can get anyone with basic web skills making static or interactive charts in no time. The Code Playground is also very useful to play around with, making changes and seeing the result on the fly is very convenient.

The new pie chart is great. It’s improved appearance and tool tips are very welcomed. It has a much more polished look to them.

Here’s an example I threw together in just a few minutes.


Google Font API & Font Directory

I’m very excited that Google announced some high quality open source web fonts. The lack of safe web fonts has always been a pain at times, and the CSS3 font-face is still tricky when dealing with copyrights.

Currently it appears that they’re offering 18 fonts for use. While not a ton of fonts, it is a welcome addition.

Using the Google Font API couldn’t be easier! They offer a great getting started page. Hopefully more fonts will be added soon, and site won’t go too overboard incorporating the new fonts either.


Google Webmaster Tools

I’ve always been a fan of the Webmaster Tools that Google offers. If you have a website, you really should make use of some of the really nice features that they offer. The crawling and indexing information found there is great.

In early December they added some new features, with the Site Performance feature being one of the more useful upgrades I’ve found in a while. It can be found under the Labs section and shares very useful info about your site’s speed as well as how well or not so well you rank in terms of load times compared with other sites.

As a guy who continually tries to squeeze each and every millisecond out of load times, this is great information to know! They also offer suggestions as to how you can improve the speed of certain pages on your site as well.

While many of these features can also be found in YSlow as well (which is another must for any developer), it also does warrant a look.


Project Hosting on Google Code

I finally got around to hosting a project on Google Code. I’ve used countless projects that have been hosted on the service over the past few years, but strangely, never went through the process to host one of my own.

Setup was a breeze, just navigate to Project Hosting on Google Code, then login with your Google account. If you’re one of the 5 people online without a Google account, sign up is free and takes a few seconds to do.

I’ve found it to be a great spot to host an open source project. It’s simple and free. I downloaded ZigVersion to manage my Subversion on OS X. After a few minutes I had that all setup and synced with my hosting.

I’d also like to play around with GitHub more as well, to compare the 2 services.