Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2018

Weekly Update - August 18, 2018: Photos, Voice, One

Now in the heat of the dog days of summer, there aren’t many significant updates. Now is probably a good time to learn some new tricks, like how to use Google Data Studio or complete more YouTube Creator Studio courses. Or maybe take a trip to the beach?
Here’s what’s new this week:
Google Photos photo books are now available in Germany. And you can now add captions to your photo books (assuming you are in a country where they are available).A redesigned Google Voice app is available for iOS devices, with Google Calendar and Contacts-linked “Do Not Disturb” for G Suite users. This appears to be the related to the enterprise version of Google Voice for G Suite announced at Google Cloud Next.The new Gmail “confidential mode” is now available on mobile devices. This lets you set an expiration date and passcode for the messages you send. In the YouTube Android app you will be able to mention someone when you reply to their comment. This should “improve readability” and the person you me…

Weekly Update - August 11, 2018: Android Pie, Digital Wellbeing, Policy Enforcement

Lemon, cherry, apple, pumpkin, pecan - so many delicious flavors of pie!
This week Google officially introduced Android 9 Pie. There are improvements in navigation and notifications, and AI-powered features including Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, Smart Text Selection and App Actions. So far I’ve found it delicious.One of the themes at Google I/O this year was digital wellbeing - features integrated across Google products to help balance their time online with their time offline. Now if you have a Pixel phone with Android 9, you can preview the beta version of these features. It includes a dashboard to give you an overview of the time you spend on your device, app times to limit your use, and a “wind down” option that gets you ready for bedtime by putting your phone in do not disturb mode and fading the screen to grayscale. (Facebook and Instagram also offer tools to help you manage your time on those platforms).Controversial radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones…

Weekly Update - August 4, 2018: Google+, GMB, Brand Accounts

This week there are updates and tips for Plussers, Business owners and managers, VR video watchers, along with tips for YouTubers, AdSense Publishers and more.
You can now embed a Google+ Stream from a Profile, Community, Community Category, Collection or search result on a Google Sites web page. I’m hoping this option will be available to other types of websites as well.If you own or manage a Brand Account for a YouTube channel or Google+ Page, you can now see the email addresses of other owners and managers.Google My Business launched Post Insights, which lets you see views, clicks and the percentage change for individual posts and all posts over the past week or month.Google announced several updates for the DayDream VR viewer, including the ability to watch YouTube videos with other people.Google Maps no longer shows the Earth as flat in 3D Globe mode.Google is reportedly working on a censored version of its search engine for China, and employees are in an uproar. And there are to…

Weekly Update - July 28, 2018: Chrome & HTTPS, Google Cloud Next and more

This week Google announced a number of new AI-powered updates for G Suite, which will hopefully eventually trickle down to us consumer users. Plus Chrome started marking “Not Secure” sites, YouTube is testing a new “Explore” feature and tech companies released their second quarter earnings reports (good for Alphabet, not good for Facebook & Twitter).
This week was Google Cloud Next ‘18 (https://cloudnext.withgoogle.com/), the annual Google conference focused on Google Cloud and G Suite offerings for enterprise customers. Announcements (coming soon!) include AI-powered features like smart reply in Hangouts Chat, smart compose in Gmail, grammar suggestions in Google Docs, and voice commands in Hangouts Meet hardware. Google is also bringing an enterprise version of Google Voice to G Suite, with its own AI features to “facilitate voicemail transcription and spam filtering”. See the links below for details about all the announcements for G Suite, Google Cloud Platform and more.Chrom…

Weekly Update - July 21, 2018: YouTube Creators, Learning, Emoji

This week YouTube focused on Creators, the blobs are back and both Google and Facebook had a bad week.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki posted a mid-year update (and video!) on how YouTube is progressing on the five priorities for creators announced at the beginning of the year. Those priorities are better transparency and communication, better support creator success (i.e. make money), more options for viewer engagement, tightening and enforcing policies, and investing more in learning and education. If you’ve been following my YouTube updates, there wasn’t much new, except the announcement of a brand new initiative called “YouTube Learning” that will provide grants and promotion in support of educational content. No details as yet, but that sounds promising. Sometimes YouTube makes nice changes with no fanfare For example, now #hashtags from the video description are now visible above the video title. Before you go hashtag crazy, keep in mind that YouTube does have a number of policies ab…

Weekly Update - July 14, 2018: YouTube Copyright, News Initiatives, Google Ads

Man, it's a hot one. Like seven inches from the midday sun. Hope you’re staying cool! This week there’s copyright tools for creators, YouTube and Facebook initiatives to fight the spread of misinformation, announcements from Google Marketing Live 2018 and more.
YouTube is trying to help creators protect their content. The new Copyright Match tool allows creators to find their videos that have been uploaded to other channels, and then contact the uploader or ask YouTube to take down the video. This isn’t quite the same as Content ID - it only finds full matches, not clips or audio alone, and there is no option to monetize the detected video. It’s currently rolling out to channels with at least 100,000 subscribers, and YouTube hopes to eventually provide this tool to all channels in the YouTube Partner Program.YouTube also now has a special troubleshooter for help with copyright issues. It’s definitely makes it easier to find the information you need rather than navigating through…

Weekly Update - July 7, 2018: YouTube Removals, EU Copyright, Account Security

The themes this week were privacy and policy. With the US Independence Day holiday in the middle of the week, it’s not too surprising that there weren’t many updates from Google and other US companies. But what we do have are some news and discussions of content removal stats, potential privacy issues, and an update on the EU copyright policy reform proposal.  Google’s Transparency Report for the first quarter of 2018, with stats for videos removed for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Most videos were removed by automated systems. And it turns out the vast majority of human-flagged content was actually not removed, and individual Trusted Flaggers were responsible for most of the successful removals.YouTube also made it easier to moderate comments on your videos and channel. Instead of having to choose between holding all comments for review, or allowing all comments, you can now have YouTube hold potentially inappropriate comments for review. YouTube says that the system shou…

Weekly Update - June 30, 2018: Google Ads, Duplex Assistant, YouTube Monetization

The year is half overl, can you believe it? This week there are name changes, Easter eggs, happy (and unhappy) YouTubers and more this week.
Google rebranded its services for advertisers and publishers. AdWords is now simply Google Ads, Doubleclick for Advertisers is combined with Google Analytics 360 Suite as the Google Marketing Platform, and Doubleclick for Publishers and Doubleclick Ad Exchange are now Google Ad Manager. AdSense, at least, is still just AdSense.It’s not just a name change. They also introduced Google Ads “Smart campaigns” to help small businesses to set up ad campaigns in minutes. The new-ish Google contact hovercards are now in Hangouts on desktop at hangouts.google.com (thanks to Robert Wallis for spotting that!). These cards also appear in Gmail, Calendar, and Google+ for G Suite when you move your mouse over someone’s profile photo or name - pretty much everywhere except Google+ for consumers.The desktop version of Android Messages launched last week. It too…

Weekly Update - June 23, 2018: Android Messages, YouTube Monetization, Video Updates

This week is (mostly) about new video features: YouTube announced new monetization and sharing options, Instagram launched IGTV for longform vertical video, and Facebook added new Live features for quizzes, game shows and polls. And there are more nice updates for podcasters, music lovers, webmasters and more.  Big news for messaging this week - Android Messages is now available on the web. You can send and receive SMS and MMS messages on your desktop computer at messages.android.com by linking your phone. There are also a few other new features: Smart Reply, easily search for GIFs, link previews, and copy one time passwords with a single tap.VidCon - the big online video convention - is happening right now. There are separate tracks for creators, industry folks, and fans, panel discussions and presentations. And YouTube’s keynote address is usually a platform for new feature announcements. This year the focus was monetization and community. New YouTube features include “Channel Membe…

Weekly Update - June 16, 2018: YouTube, VR180, #pride2018

Well there's so many things taking place That it's hard to keep up with it all Keep your eye on the ball And to make the right call When we're longing for fall On this evening in June ~ Evening in June, Van Morrison  Have you ever seen an ad that made you wonder, why the !@#$ am I seeing that? Google wants to help you more easily understand and control how ads are personalized for you. The revamped Google Account Ads Settings (https://adssettings.google.com). There you can turn off targeted ads or adjust your interests. As an aside, Google’s ad targeting is much better than Twitter’s, where I sometimes see ads targeted at locations thousands of miles from my actual location (I see truly local ads too, so Twitter “knows” where I am). YouTube is rolling out automatic captions on live streams to channels with at least 10,000 subscribers. This is really a cool feature for your fans who might be hard of hearing, watch with the sound off, or who otherwise could use assistance u…

Weekly Update - June 9, 2018: Hangouts, Project Fi, Google AI

There’s news inside and outside the Googleverse this week:updates to Hangouts Chat and Meet, Googlelaid out their principles for developing Artificial Intelligence, new Facebook Live features for gamers and lip syncers, and a look at the highlights of Apple’s announcements at WWDC 2018. And much more!
Hangouts Meet video calling will be compatible with existing meeting room hardware, including Polycom and Cisco. Plus Microsoft Skype for Business users will be able to join a Meet video call directly from the Skype app. And if Hangouts Meet isn’t your thing, third parties will be able to create add-ons for Google Calendar to let join video calls for services like Webex, GoToMeeting, Vidyo and more, right from a Calendar Event.Hangouts Chat will (finally) be able to include people from outside of your G Suite organization in Chat. That will be available in the “coming months”.YouTube will be removing private Messages (www.youtube.com/messages) on July 9. They suggest two alternatives: ad…

Weekly Update - June 2, 2018: Project Fi, Hangouts Meet & More

There aren’t many updates this week. After the excitement of Google I/O and the mad rush to comply with the GDPR, June looks like it may be a quiet month.
All G Suite domains are being migrated from Hangouts Video Calls to Hangouts Meet for new Google Calendar events. Hangouts Meet has an updated user interface, and some additional features for Education and Enterprise accounts, including video recording and up to 50 people in a meeting. The down side of the change for some folks is that it requires an updated Chrome browser or Firefox version 60 or higher on desktop. Older computers won’t be able to use Meet.Project Fi announced that it supports three new phones, the budget moto g6, and the high end LG G7 ThinQ and V35 ThinQ. That’s in addition to the moto x4, and Google’s phones: Pixel, Pixel2 and the older Nexus 5X, 6P, and 6.Google Photos turned three this week. No cake, just stored memories.If you need to get away, or have the urge to explore, AR tours are now available to anyone…

Weekly Update - May 26, 2018: Google Photos, GMB, GDPR

Monday is Memorial Day in the US, a day for remembering the people who died while serving in the US armed forces, and barbecuing. Start your holiday weekend with some nice updates and be glad the flood of GDPR-related privacy updates should be down to a trickle.
You can now “give some love” by ❤️ing photos shared with you in Google Photos, and ⭐ your favorite photos to add them to a special “Favorites” album. Google Lens got a bit smarter, with real-time search and smart text selection.This week YouTube mentioned they had been testing algorithmic sorting of the subscription feed, and they got an earful of (mostly negative) feedback. Business owners are regularly targeted by companies claim to represent Google, promising high search result rankings or charging money for Google’s free services. This week Google took legal action against some of the scammers, and rolled out new tools for businesses, including a way to report scammy practices and policy violations, and a new Google My Bus…

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…

Weekly Update - March 31, 2018: Google+, Tablets for Education, Picasa

March is done, and April is upon us. Happy Easter weekend to you who celebrate!  This week we said hello to new features in Google+ and YouTube, and goodbye to Picasa, plus much more.
Google+ introduced a new features that lets you subscribe to highlights from Communities and Collections. Instead of getting notified of all new posts, you will get a daily digest of the “top” new content. Google+ is also continuing to work towards making the same features available across all platforms. Both Android and iOS Google+ apps now let Community moderators remove, report, ban and optionally remove recent content with just a few clicks. YouTube will be launching an ads policy compliance confirmation checkbox for monetizing videos - no more accidentally (or “accidentally”) monetizing non-advertiser friendly content. This puts the burden on Creators to make sure that their videos follow the Partner Program policies, rather than counting on YouTube to not display ads on videos that shouldn’t have t…
Advertisements