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Weekly Update - January 13, 2018: Google Assistant, YouTube vetting, tools for Webmasters

This week’s updates include new gadgets, more YouTube struggles with controversial content, new tools for webmasters, information for Chromebook owners and more.
This week was CES - the big Consumer Electronics Show - in Las Vegas. Google hasn’t had an official presence there in several years, but this year they went in big, with a huge “playground” booth and Google Assistant everywhere. They announced Google Assistant-powered “Smart Displays”, plus a new Daydream stand-alone VR headset and VR180 cameras. And there were lots more TVs, computers, and gadgets from leading manufacturers. Not to mention the latest in self-driving pizza delivery vehicles.In the wake of last week’s Logan Paul “incident”, in which the popular YouTuber shared a video showing someone who had committed suicide, YouTube posted an open letter acknowledging for their lack of communication. They stated that “there will be consequences”, which there have been. But beyond that, YouTube promised they will be taking st…

Weekly Update - January 6, 2017: Meltdown & Spectre, Google My Business and more

In this first week of 2018, there aren’t many updates, as Google and the other big tech companies recover from the holidays. Heck, I'm still recovering from the holidays.

The big news was that there are bugs in modern computer processors - dubbed Meltdown & Spectre - that allow programs to steal passwords and other sensitive data. Almost every computer produced in the past 20 years is affected. Chip manufacturers, OS makers, Cloud computing sellers and web browser developers - Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, ARM, Mozilla, RedHat and others - have released security patches, or at least discussed how their hardware, software or services might be affected. This issue is still developing, and I’m sure there will be more updates in the coming weeks.

There were some smaller updates as well:
Google My Business Listings can add video.All existing paid YouTube channels and videos have been made private. Individual purchased videos will be available through January 1, 20…

2017 Year in Review: Creator Updates and My Year

In this last Weekly Review for 2017, here’s a roundup of updates for Creators across the Googleverse over the past year. If you want a quick overview, watch my video.

Click the links below to get all the details about 2017 updates.

Year in Review 2017: YouTube Creators, Partners and Live Streamers
New eligibility requirements for the YouTube Partner ProgramThe “Adpocalypse”New Community Guidelines and stricter policy enforcementRetirement of the Annotations editor, YouTube video editor and Slide Show creatorMobile live streaming for (almost) everyoneSuper Chat and Sponsorship: two new monetization methods for live streamersOn the horizon: new YouTube interface, new Creator Studio, Communities, Reels, YouTube Gaming LoungeYear in Review 2017: Google+ Comes Into Its Own
Retirement of Classic Google+Topics and Discover for finding interesting contentThe new Profile “About” cardAdvanced Google+ search operatorsDelete, and report comments, and block the commenter with just a few clicks.Commu…

Year in Review 2017: Bloggers, AdSense Publishers, Webmasters

For Bloggers, webmasters and AdSense publishers, 2017 brought new themes, new ad formats and new ways to help your site appear in Google search.
Blogger UpdatesAdSense UpdatesWebmaster Updates Blogger Updates Blogger surprised a lot of people this year by launching brand new modern and responsive themes. I used the new Notable theme to give this blog a new look. If you want to give one of them a try, it’s easy to switch.
While Blogger hasn’t made any announcements about what 2018 has in store, I’m hoping more modernization is in the works.
2017 Blogger Updates
March:: Express your unique #bloggerstyle with new Blogger templates themes!June Update to Blogger Modern Themes: customize sidebar and post widths Top Blogger Tips Google Sites Updates In November 2016 Google launched a totally rebuilt Google Sites website builder. In 2017 there have been steady improvements.

You can find all the Google Sites updates on the G Suite Updates blog.

Google will begin the deprecation of classic Google …

Year in Review 2017: Google Hangouts gets down to business

This year Google has been focusing on Allo, Duo and Android Messages for consumer messaging. But if you use Hangouts, don’t despair, Google has assured users that Hangouts isn’t going to disappear for consumers, even as the focus shifts to productivity and business applications

This year Hangouts has been focused on updating the new Hangouts Meet video meetings, and Hangouts Chat - Google’s answer to Slack - which is not yet publicly available.

There wasn’t much in the way of new features for regular Hangouts, and some older features have been retired. The Hangouts mobile app no longer supports SMS messaging, except for Project Fi and Google Voice. And in April, In April non-business and live stream related video call apps were retired, along with the Google+ Hangouts API.

But Hangouts on Air is still part of YouTube Live, despite the rapidly aging interface. I suspect that live streamers who don’t need the discussion panel format have moved to using their mobile phone or more sophi…

Year in Review 2017: Google and Your Photos

Google has been innovating with new software and hardware tricks and features for photos, and - especially - using machine learning to improve image recognition, enhancement and sharing.

In 2017 Google Photos launched a number of updates that make it more fun for casual photo sharers, like the ability to recognize your cat or dog's face, easier sharing, and photo books.

And Google Camera is getting smarter. On Pixel Phones you can access the new Google Lens option, which can tell you more about the business or landmark you’re looking at, or even take actions, like add a phone number in an image to your contacts.
While Google Photos is designed for sharing with family and friends, Google also provides cool tools and updates for Creators, the folks who go beyond simple snapshots, and who share their photos and videos publicly.

Here are my top 2017 updates:
At Google I/O in May new sharing features were launched: 500 million people using Google Photos, and three new ways to shareA ne…

Year in Review 2017: Google+ Comes Into Its Own

In 2017 Google+ both turned 6, and was born anew. “Classic” Google+ was finally retired and the new Google+ finally started to spread its wings.

In July 2015 Google announced that Google+ would no longer be the social layer across Google products, but rather would be focused on “shared interests”. In November of that year a new stripped down and responsive web interface was launched.  Throughout 2016 there were regular improvements for Google+ on the web. And finally, in January of 2017, Google+ was ready to retire the Classic version of the interface.

Without the need to support two separate interfaces, Google+ could start to introduce new features. And so while some of this year’s updates may have seemed like they were simply restoring features that were available in Classic, Google+ also introduced Discover, which is designed to help you find new people, posts, Collections and Communities based on your interests. And there are a number of new Community moderation tools and ot…