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Showing posts from December, 2016

2016 in Review: Hangouts (yes, still Hangouts)

Hangouts got some decent updates in 2016, despite being upstaged by Google's sexy new 1:1 chat and video messaging apps Allo and Duo.

When Allo and Duo were announced at Google I/O in May, there was much speculation that Hangouts was on the chopping block. But Google quickly clarified that "We're continuing to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a standalone product,", but with a different user base in mind.  Allo and Duo are for personal one-to-one interaction on mobile devices, while Hangouts is focusing on business and collaborative uses. 
Nick Fox, Google's VP of communication products, told Nathan Ingraham at Engadget:
"Because Hangouts is built on a Google account, because it's deeply integrated with Google apps, the Apps suite [things like Drive, Docs, etc.], Gmail, Calendar and so on, it's seen much more success in the enterprise," Fox told me. "It will increasingly focus on that kind of group collaboration enterprise productivi…

Year in Review 2016: Google+ - Creators, Collections and Communities

In June 2016, Google+ turned 5 years old. It was a relatively quiet birthday celebration, with special wallpapers and shared memories. But after all that time, 2016 seems to me to be the year Google+ is finally starting to come into its own.

Rewind back to July 2015, when Google+ announced a shift in focus from being the social layer across all Google products to a simpler and more focused interest-based social network. To that end, a brand new Google+ was launched in November 2015. And this year, the focus was on building up that new Google+, both transferring features from classic Google+ and adding entirely new features.

When the new Google+ web experience became the default in September, it looked like Google+ had indeed been reincarnated.

Collections - which turned one year old in May - are the centerpiece, and new search and discovery features promote Collections before people or individual posts. As Eli Fennel opined "Complaining that your G+ engagement has gone down because…

2016 in review: AdSense - Updated Account Interface, Better Communication, New Ad Types

AdSense had some solid updates in 2016. The AdSense account interface got a makeover and there were new ad formats. And there was much better communication, with the goal of "becoming more transparent and accessible to the online marketing community."

My top AdSense updates for 2016:
 Weekly #AskAdSense office hoursAdSense account interface gets a material design updateIntroducing Page Level AdsEarn money with Matched ContentAdSense Labs: test experimental features from your AdSense account
Fake News supported by AdSense

One of the big stories of 2016 was the proliferation of fake news sites. These are sites that exist only for the ad revenue - the "news" they publish is made up and optimized for clicks. They got a boost when credulous people  - including politicians - shared the articles as if they were real.  It was great for the enterprising Macedonian teenagers (and others) who created the sites, not so great for political discourse.

In response, AdSense policy …

2016 in Review: Blogger updated dashboard, with more good things to come

Blogger got some nice updates in 2016, and there is a promise of more changes to come in 2017. Blogger dashboard was redesigned and the account interface was simplifiedHTTPS was enabled for all blogspot domain blogsPicasa Web Albums was retired - Blogger blog albums can now be found in your Album ArchiveLambda expressions for more custom template flexibility And some things were taken away: Google Friend Connect now requires a Google account login, the Slide Show widget stopped working, and there no longer is the option to edit or otherwise manage images now that Picasa Web Albums has been retired.  Why do I expect more good things to come? November's dashboard redesign was introduced as follows:  ". . . we’ve heard that there’s more we can do to make the platform a better place to have your unique voice be heard. So we’ll be making some adjustments over time to bring you a faster, easier to use and more beautiful Blogger.
To kick things off, we’ve taken a crack at simplifying…

Weekly update - December 24, 2016: YouTube, Spaces, Motions Stills

Happy holidays everyone! It’s pretty quiet this this week, but there are a few nice updates:
There is now a YouTube Comment history feed where you can find all your own commentsGoogle Spaces has new invite controls and allows text with (almost) no limitsThe iOS Motion Stills app now has Motion Text for very cool titling, and better details and loops Plus there are tips, updates and news for YouTube, Google+, Webmasters, Google Photos, Google Sheets and more!

Image: by me, all rights reserved.
Holiday cheer: Sharing the Project Fi love: Get $20 when you join!Project Fi subscribers: if you are flying through San Jose, CA stop by the #FlyWithFi Travel TrollyProject Fi has holiday treats for subscribers! A World of Thanks (Google blog)Bing offers holiday treats and celebrates the spirit of giving (Bing blog)Santa's Village is now open! (Google Blog) More 2016 in reviewYouTube 2016 ad leaderboard (Think with Google)What’s Trending, Tubular Labs Pick Out The Top YouTube Videos Of 2016 (t…

Weekly Update - December 17, 2016: Google+, YouTube, Project Fi Fun

Weekly Update - December 10, 2016: YouTube, Google+, Best of 2016

This week there are some great updates and tips for YouTubers around the world, webmasters, Google+ers, Project Fi subscribers and much more.
YouTube Red is now available in Korea, YouTube is showing morelocal language content in India, and they are working with Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft to curb the spread of terrorist content onlineThe Google+ Android app loads web pages faster, plus there are learning resources for the new Google+ and CollectionsAndroid 7.1.1 is rolling out to more devices2016 isn’t quite over, this year’s “Best” lists are out
Image: Bloemen en vogels door Seitei, Watanabe Seitei, 1916 (Rijksmuseum via Wikimedia Commons)
Holiday cheer: Project Fi has holiday treats for subscribers! A World of Thanks (Google blog)Bing offers holiday treats and celebrates the spirit of giving (Bing blog)Get your own personal Facebook Year in Review videoSanta's Village is now open! (Google Blog) 2016: the best and most popular#YouTubeRewind: Celebrating what you watched, s…

Free Webinar: Getting Started with the New Google+

On December 7th, I joined +Michael Daniels in his Top Contributor Hangouts series to talk about how to get started with the new Google+.  I talked about how to set up your profile, find interesting content, and  post your own content.

Whether you are new to Google+ or a long time Plusser getting used to the new interface, you should learn something new.  And if you are still using the Classic Google+ interface, now is the time to give the new web experience a try!

Here's the general outline of what we discussed.

1. Setting up your Google+ Profile
2. Populating your Home stream        * Finding and following Collections        * Following People and Pages        * Organizing people into Circles        * Communities
3. Engaging with posts: Plus, Comment, Share
4. Posting          * Create your own Collections          * New posts, Text and Plus Mentions          * Share photos and images          * Share links          * Create a poll          * Post settings
5. Notifications
You c…

Weekly Update - December 3, 2016: Google+ Photos, YouTube Live, Search Console

My top news this week:
New Google Mac Screensaver and Android Wallpapers feature photos from Google+YouTube now supports 4k live streaming for standard and 360-degree videosGoogle removed Content Keywords and feature phone tools from Search Console, and retired the feature phone GooglebotEarth across space and time: Google Timelapse lets you see how the Earth changed over the past 32 years in detail There’s news about new leadership, updates and troubles at Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, reports about Android malware and hackers, and advances using AI to fight disease, flag inappropriate content, and improve search..
Plus there are updates and tips for video creators, live streamers, bloggers, webmasters, business owners and much much more.
Plus it’s beginning to look a lot like … Santa's Village is now open! (Google Blog)
Image: Detail from The Sawmill, December sun by Ester Almqvisit (1914) (public domain)