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Weekly Update - May 19, 2018: YouTube Music, Google One, Blogger Spring Clearning

This week some of the new product features announced at Google I/O are starting to roll out. But not to be outdone, there were big updates from YouTube, Google Drive and Blogger. Read on for details.
YouTube announced two new subscription services that replace YouTube Red: a new improved YouTube Music (which was originally launched in 2015) and the new YouTube Premium. Currently a YouTube Red subscription gets you both Google Play Music, plus ad-free, background and offline video watching and YouTube Originals. Under the new plans a Google Play Music or YouTube Music Premium subscription will get you organized and personalized music, plus the revamped YouTube Music app and website. A YouTube Premium subscription will cost $2 more per month, and will additionally include access to the ad free and offline videos and YouTube Originalis. Availability will expand from the five countries where YouTube Red is currently available to 19 countries.

Note that if you are a current Google Play Mus…

Weekly Update - May 12, 2018: Google I/O, Google Photos, Google Maps

This week was the Google I/O annual developer conference, where Google announces new products and major updates. There were two big themes: artificial intelligence (and Google Assistant) and machine learning everywhere, plus a new focus on “wellbeing”, with new tools to help users make sure that technology is not “detracting from life”. There are links to all the news and updates below, but for a general overview see the list of “100 things Google announced at I/O ‘18”.
The Google Assistant is speaking “more naturally” , with six new voices (including John Legend), the ability to mimic the subtleties of human speech, and “Continue Conversations”, so you don’t need to say “Hey Google” every time. The culmination is Google Duplex, which will be tested starting this summer. Duplex allows the Google Assistant to make phone calls on your behalf to businesses to set appoints or check open hours. The announcement has created a fair amount of controversy, with people uncomfortable with the i…

Weekly Update - May 5, 2018: Facebook F8, Google Assistant, AdSense Metrics

This week was Facebook’s F8 developer conference, with a whole bunch ofnew features announced for the Facebook Platform, Instagram, and WhatsApp. There weren’t many updates in the Googleverse, but stay tuned for announcements from Google I/O in the coming week.
YouTube wooed advertisers at its Brandcast NewFronts event, announcing four new YouTube Originals shows and touting last year’s successes. There are also new advertising opportunities, with more music and originals in “Google Preferred” and TV advertising options. AdSense has changed the way it counts impressions - instead of “served impressions”, counted when the ad is requested on the server, it’s now counting “downloaded impressions”, counted when the ad downloads for the viewer. Publishers may see reported impressions decrease, and click through rate increase. There were several Google Assistant updates this week, presumably setting the stage for more announcements at next week’s Google I/O developer conference. Google As…

Weekly Update - April 28, 2018: Gmail Redesign, Hangouts Meet, YouTube Flags

Is it anticipation for Google I/O? Preparation for the GDPR? Whatever the reason, there were some big changes for Google products this week.
Gmail on desktop has gotten a big makeover this week with “smart” replies, quick actions from the inbox, better integration with Calendar, Keep and the new Tasks, and more. To give it a try, sign in to Gmail, click Settings at top right, and select “Try the new Gmail’. Hovercards - the card that pops up when you move your cursor over a profile photo - also got a makeover. The new design is is visible to everyone in Gmail and Google Calendar, and G Suite users signed into Google+. It includes basic information about the person and buttons to send an email, start a Hangout conversation, or set up a Google Calendar event. Note that if you have a regular “consumer” Google account, you will still see the old hovercards on Google+.Older versions of the Google+ app for Android (7.5 or earlier) and iOS (5.0 or earlier) will stop working May 20th. The fi…

Weekly Update - April 21, 2018: YouTube, Chat, Slides

Happy Earth Day weekend! Hopefully you will be able to spend some time outside, enjoying nature and contemplating how you can generate less plastic waste. This week we got a status update from YouTube, we learned Google is focusing on developing RCS Chat, rather than Allo, Google Slides rolled out some neat new features and more.
At the beginning of February, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki posted a letter outlining her top five priorities for Creators in 2018. Better communication was one of those priorities, and in that spirit, this week she provided a status report. Progress has been slow, but one highlight is improved detection of non-advertiser friendly content, meaning fewer videos flagged incorrectly. And YouTube’s official Twitter handles (@TeamYouTube, @YouTube, @YTCreators) have increased 600% this year. But in my opinion, there is still a lot of work for YouTube to do to meet their goals.YouTube has again pushed back the date by which they hope the backlog of Partner Program ap…

Weekly Update - April 14, 2018: Google Photos, YouTube, Facebook

It’s been another long week, without many updates. What we need is some music!
Coachella music festival is live this weekend on YouTube, with bonus features from Google Assistant and Google Home. Watch here: https://coachella.withyoutube.com/The new YouTube metrics - Impressions, Unique Viewers, and Click Through Rate - are rolling out to more YouTube Creators. You can see if those numbers are available for your channel in YouTube Studio Beta (studio.youtube.com) on the Analytics Discovery tab.Google Lens in Google Photos on Android devices can now recognize (some) dog and cat breeds. Google Photos desktop backup tool will be shut down May 12th (as will the legacy Google Drive desktop sync client). The replacement is the Google Backup & Sync tool for Mac and Windows, which lets you backup both your photos to Google Photos and other files to Google Drive.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the US Congress this week. Meanwhile Facebook is continuing to implement changes, i…

Weekly Update - April 7, 2018: #YouTubeStrong, Hangouts Meet, Google+ vs GMB

This has been a tough week, without many product updates.
My heart goes out to the YouTube employees affected by this week’s shooting at YouTube headquarters in San Bruno, California. It looks like they are staying #YouTubeStrong.There is a fair amount known about the shooter, at least her online activity, but I don’t think she should be given additional attention.Hangouts Meet, the video conferencing platform for G Suite, just added the ability to call US and Canadian phone numbers for free to bring audio-only participants into a video call.If you are a business owner confused by the separation of Google My Business from Google+, be sure to check out the new official FAQ for more information. Facebook is scrambling to recover from new revelations of privacy issues this week. It turns out up to 87 million users - nearly twice the number originally thought - may have have their data improperly obtained and used by Cambridge Analytica. But that’s a drop in the bucket. It turns out that…
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