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Weekly Update - November 18, 2017: Google+ Profiles, Google Maps Icons, YouTube Kids content

This week there are updates for Plussers, YouTubers and much more:
  • Google+ has a new Profile “About” card on desktop, which nicely formats your personal details, and provides buttons to contact the profile owner directly. Check yours today to see if your profile needs tweaking.
  • Google Maps updated its look to make it easier to identify businesses, services and landmarks. There are new color-coded icons and the icons you see are more context dependent - if you’re using driving navigation, you will see gas stations, while if you are using public transit, you’ll see train stations.
  • YouTube announced that in-video notifications of a featured video or playlist will be discontinued December 14 . It turns out, very few people follow those links, and those who do sometimes are taken to a non-existent live stream. YouTube is encouraging using Cards and End Screens to promote your videos and playlists instead.
  • YouTube also came under fire this week as media outlets noticed that there were “startling” and “bizarre” videos available in the YouTube Kids app. The videos often have characters from kids’ cartoons, movies or books in sexual or violent situations. While some of these videos may be churned out algorithmically, there are human-created videos as well. YouTube quickly promised to age-restrict such content, which would prevent it from appearing in the YouTube Kids app. In the past few days there appear to have been related video removals and the suspension of the controversial Toy Freaks channel, which had 8.5 million subscribers. This is still a developing situation, and I think it’s likely there will be more terminations. 
  • Facebook continues to court video creators and live streamers. This week they launched a new Creator portal and app, which includes new tools for video creation and connecting with collaborators and fans.
  • Twitter finally realized that people believe the Verified checkmark represents an endorsement from the platform. They revised their policies to include a number of behaviors that could cause loss of verification. As most of these behaviors violate existing Twitter policy, it’s not clear why the Twitter accounts wouldn’t be suspended, rather than just losing the check mark. But in any case, Twitter has indeed started removing the checkmark, most notably from several far right and white supremacist personalities.
  • You can now broadcast your voice from your Google Home device using Google Assistant, wherever you are.  Plus Home has improved music controls.
Image: Chrysanthemum Closeup (by me)


YouTube and Video Creation

Go Live


Other social media

Google Photos and Mobile Photography

Google for businesses

Bloggers and Webmasters

AdSense and advertising

Hangouts and Messaging

  • Chrome 62.0.3202.94 fixes WebRTC audio input issue on Mac OS X (Chrome Developers)
  • How to block someone in Google's communication apps: Hangouts, Allo, Duo, Voice, Messages

Made by Google, Android, Project Fi


Privacy and Security

  • Google shares results of study of how accounts are hijacked (Google Security Blog)
  • A year's worth of Chrome security improvements (Google Blog)
  • The Pixel 2 includes hardware protections for your lock screen (Google Security Blog)

Fighting Fake News

More around the web

Updated March 2019 to remove Google+ links