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I will also be on Google+ ( until consumer Google+ shuts down April 2, 2019.

Last updated: January 2019 with new logos
Recent posts

Happy 20th Birthday Blogger!

Twenty years ago today, folks were Livin' la Vida Loca and Blogger was born at Pyra Labs*.
Blogger Home Page October 1999
"Weblogs" were a fairly new idea, and Blogger was not only one of the first weblog platforms, but also helped popularize the terms "blog" and "blogging", which is not quite as much of a mouthful.
Pyra Labs' Meg Hourihan on the origin of the word "Blogger"
Blog*Spot free hosting service for Blogger-powered blogs, April 2011
After struggles with funding, Blogger was sold to Google in February 2003. This may have rescued the platform, as Guardian reported at the time:
The sale is a dramatic turnaround for San Francisco-based Blogger, which rode the high and subsequent low of the dotcom boom. The company was founded in 1999, and Mr Williams had to lay off the company's entire staff in late 2000. He continued to maintain the service by himself from his home until last year, when he increased revenues by starting a premiu…

AdSense improving invalid activity detection; adding action notifications to your Policy Center

AdSense is improving their systems that detects potentially invalid ad traffic. That allows AdSense to limit ad serving to protect the Google Ads advertisers. Up until now, actions around invalid activity have been opaque to users, and AdSense is working to change that too.

To make enforcement more transparent, AdSense and AdMob Publishers will soon be able to see notification of ad traffic restrictions in their account's Policy Center. The goal:
This will allow [Publishers] to understand why they may be experiencing reduced ad serving, and what steps they can take to resolve any issues and continue partnering with us. Note that AdSense unlikely to provide any details about the detected sources of invalid activity. It's your responsibility to monitor your AdSense account for unusual activity and make sure you are not encouraging clicks or generating low quality traffic.

Read on to learn how to check your AdSense Policy Center for violations, and what to do if your account is …

YouTube now removing "mature" content targeting children

YouTube is now removing videos with "mature" content that target younger children and families (based on title, description and tags), including videos with sexual themes, obscene content, and violence. Previously these videos were just age-restricted.

Videos labeled "for children", "for kids" or "family fun" will fall under this policy.
Examples of content that will now be removed
Such content that is not targeted to children may be age restricted, but not removed.
Any content that was uploaded prior to this update may be removed, but should not result a strike.
Learn more about YouTube's Child Safety policiesand recent changes to YouTube policy to protect kids.

Read on to learn how to protect your channel from video removals, or appeal a strike or age restriction.

G Suite migration from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat postponed until June 2020

Google has announced that the migration from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat for G Suite users (work and school accounts) is postponed from October 2019 to June 2020.  Migration of consumer users -- personal accounts, usually using an address -- will be after the migration of G Suite users.
"Phase 4" of the migration process for G Suite users will be in "late 2020". At that time all remaining classic Hangouts G Suite users will be moved to Hangouts Chat and G Suite users won't be able to use classic Hangouts. But "no changes will be made to the consumer version of classic Hangouts. [Hangouts is] continuing to support consumers."

You can see the updated transition timeline here.

In the meantime, Google will be working to improve the transition process, and adding new features to Hangouts Chat like Read receipts.

If you are a G Suite administrator and your organization would like to migrate to Hangouts Chat before that sooner than next June…

YouTube DMs are going away: Save a copy of your messages!

YouTube announced that the private Direct Messaging feature will be going away on September 18th, 2019. Some features, like sending a video by DM, may be disabled before that date. You can download an archive of your YouTube private messages using Google Takeout.

YouTube's current direct messaging feature was announced in April 2017 as a way to share videos and chat with friends and family. YouTube's original private-messaging Inbox was replaced by Google+-based Messages in 2014, which was in turn shut down in July 2018.
Goodbye YouTube Friends :( YouTube says they will be focusing on improving public communication:
Two years ago, we launched a feature to enable you to share videos via direct messages on YouTube. Since then, we've also focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts, and stories. We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature while we focus on improving public conversati…

Weekly Updates - August 17, 2019: Tumblr, YouTube, Back to School

This week students started heading back to school, with Chromebooks, laptops and all their other electronic devices in hand. There are plenty of updates to help them along. Plus news for YouTubers, bloggers, webmasters and much more.
Social blogging platform Tumblr is finding a new home with Automattic, the owner of WordPress. Yahoo originally bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion (with a b). Verizon purchased Yahoo in 2017, acquiring Tumblr and other assets like Flickr. Verizon didn’t seem to know what to do with Tumblr, beyond implementing a controversial and not-particularly-successful ban on porn and adult content. The sale price was reportedly for less than $3 million, a tiny fraction of Tumblr’s original (likely inflated) value.
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg told The Verge he appreciates Tumblr’s unique and devoted community, and sees it as an opportunity to bring back some of the feel of old-school blogging, with a solid mobile app and social features. “The people who love Tumb…

Copyright holders can no longer monetize manually claimed videos with unintentional use of music

YouTube announced an update to to make the copyright claiming system a bit fairer: YouTube's new policy forbids copyright owners from "using the Manual Claiming tool to monetize creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music."

Note that this does NOT mean you can use copyrighted music without permission:
This change only applies to manual claiming, not YouTube's automated Content ID system.Copyright holders can still prevent the creator from monetizingCopyright holders can still block the video from being viewedAn exception to this policy is "a compilation of short clips primarily containing audio content" such as "Top 10" lists of music or audio content or "Compilations of short clips from music-focused social media apps" The policy change goes into effect in mid-September. And YouTube says there will be penalties for violating the Manual Claiming policy:
Once we start enforcement, copyright owners who repeatedly fail to …