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Weekly Update - May 27, 2017: Photos, Family, Advertising

The dust has settled from Google I/O and we’re starting to get the announced new features - at least for Google Photos. Here are my top updates this week:
Google Photos now lets you Archive images from your Photos screen, and you can personalize Google Photos by labeling your own face.Google Family Groups let you easily share with your family & household: Google Photos, Calendar, Keep, in addition to YouTube TV and Google PlayWe got a peek at some improvements Google+ is working on over the coming monthsThis week was the Google Marketing Next conference, where they announced updates to “Ads, Analytics and Doubleclick”. The focus was on machine learning and mobile - the same themes (not surprisingly) of Google I/O two weeks ago - applied to marketing. Watch the keynote and read an overview of the announcements.Hangouts no longer supports SMS - except for Project Fi and Google Voice. Plus there are updates and tips for AdSense Publishers, YouTubers, live streamers, webmasters, Andr…

Weekly Update - May 20, 2017: Google I/O, Assistant, Android, AI

This week was Google’s big developer conference - Google I/O 2017. This year’s theme: the shift from “mobile first” to an “AI first” world.

What does that mean in practical terms? Machine learning and artificial intelligence are integrated throughout Google’s products. Google Assistant will be available on more devices (including iPhones), Google Home is getting smarter, “Google Lens” will help your phone understand what it “sees”, there are now smart replies in Gmail and Google Photos will make suggestions for sharing.

And Google wants to bring the benefits of AI to everyone. Machine learning is used to predict the properties of new molecules and design drugs, improve healthcare, and even help you find a job. They also introduced the Tensor Flow Research Cloud, offering computing power free to allow researchers to explore machine learning projects.

Beyond AI, Google may also be making your life more entertaining: they announced a new standalone VR headset (no phone, no cables!), s…

Weekly Update - May 13, 2017: Google+ Community Invites, Hangouts Toolbox Returns, Allo Selfies

This week didn't have too may big Google updates (I'm expecting there to be a bunch next week from Google I/O), there are a bunch of tips and news articles to keep you busy.
My top updates:
Google+ introduced the option to invite people to a Community via a linkThe Hangout Toolbox app is now available again for Hangouts on Air , at least for as long as the remaining Hangouts video call apps are available.Google Allo uses neural networks to create cartoon selfie stickersYou will be able to create your own Google Street View imagery with new 360 camerasMicrosoft Build 2017 was this week, so there’s a look at what is ahead for Windows and Microsoft Are you ready for Google I/O (May 17-19)? Learn how you can tune in remotely. Plus news, updates and tips for YouTubers, live streamers, Google+ers, webmasters, bloggers, AdSense publishers, map users, chatters, web surfers and more. Beyond the Googleverse there’s news for Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and Instagram.
Moms OnlineUse Google…

Create a Google+ Community Badge for your blog or website

Google+ Communities let you create a space to interact with other people with shared interests. On Google+ itself, Communities are promoted on the Recommended Communities page and in Topics. However, you might also want to encourage people who aren't already on Google+ to join your public Community.

You can do that by embedding a Google+ Community Badge on a web page, blog post or sidebar.

It can have different looks:

If the Community's cover image is changed, the badge should update automatically.

Note that the button on the badge just opens the Community, where the viewer then needs to click the Join or Ask to Join button to actually join. If they do not yet have a Google+ Profile, they will be prompted to create one.
How to create a Google+ Community Badge 1. Get the Google+ Community URL
2. Open the Google+ Badge creation page (
3. In the badge creation tool, set the "Google+ User" to "Other then paste in the Commun…

Weekly Update - May 6, 2017: Mother's Day Movies, YouTube, Phishing

It was a relatively quiet week this week in the Googleverse - other than the big Google Docs phishing attack, that is. Keep your account safe!

My top updates this week:
Get a sneak peek at YouTube's new design, including a dark themeUpdate to AdSense policy: more mobile web optionsHow Google protects your account from phishing (and how this week's attack worked)Make a nice present for a mother in your life! 
Use Google Photos to automatically create a Mother's Day movie Plus there are tips and updates for YouTube, Live Streamers Google+, Webmasters, Maps users and more!

Do you know what happened last month? Check out my overview of April Creator Updates!

I take a look at: Google+ Topics, updates to the YouTube Partner Program, AdSense content policy, Custom URLs, and more.

Image: Detail from Mother Galanda by Mikuláš Galanda (Public Domain)

Monetize your Blogger blog with AdSense

You can easily earn a little money from your Blogger blog by linking an AdSense account, assuming your blog meets the eligibility requirements. Just bear in mind that unless your blog has a custom domain, you must start on your blog's Earnings tab to associate an AdSense account.
How to connect your Blogger blog to AdSense If your blog is eligible for AdSense, you can easily connect your existing AdSense account or apply for a new Hosted AdSense account.

1. Sign in to your Blogger account and open the Earnings settings for your blog.
2. Click the Sign up for AdSense button
3. Sign in to the Google account you are using for AdSense
4. Complete the AdSense association or application process
5. Customize ad preferences

New applications for AdSense may take up to a week to review, and sometimes longer than that.

Read on for detailed instructions.

Weekly Update - April 29, 2017 - Google+ Topics, AdSense Policy, Maps and Translate

This week Google helps you expand your horizons with updates to Google+, Maps, Translate and more. My top updates:
Google+ launches Topics. There are currently at least 162 topics for you to browse and discover people, Collections, and Communities that share your interests, in English, Spanish and Portuguese.AdSense expands policy prohibiting placing ads on pages with dangerous or derogatory contentGetting around is getting easier. Google Maps now lets you save your parking location, get local business reviews in your own language, and has a new home screen for users in India. Plus Google Trips, the travel planning app, now lets you better manage reservations.Making the internet more inclusive in India: Google introduced improved translation of nine Indian languages in Google Translate and Chrome, 22 Indic languages were added to GBoard for Android, and (along with Oxford University Press) is bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online. Now anyone  can create a class using…