Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2018

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: 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 ( 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…

Weekly Update - March 24, 2018: Live Streaming, Policy Changes, Facebook Privacy

Spring has sprung! Live streaming is easier, content policies are tighter, and more.
YouTube launched a new easy way to start live streaming on your desktop computer with just your webcam. You don’t need encoder software or special hardware. It’s great for Chromebook users, or anyone else who wants to live stream with just a few clicks. However, it is very basic - no event scheduling, screen sharing, lower third overlays, extensions or apps. If you want more features, you’ll still have to use the Stream Now option with encoder software, or a Hangout on Air.Up until now you could maintain two sets of channel subscriptions - one on “regular” YouTube, the other on YouTube Gaming. This week regular YouTube and YouTube Gaming subscriptions are being combined. If you notice new channels suddenly appearing in your subscription list, that could be the cause.YouTube also announced new policy around content featuring firearms and firearm accessories. Starting in mid-April, YouTube will no long…

Creating with a Chromebook: Live stream on YouTube using your webcam

You don't need any special hardware or software beyond a web browser and webcam to live stream on YouTube. A Chromebook and an internet connection is all the gear you need.

YouTube has two live streaming options you can use on a Chromebook or almost any desktop computer:  the new quick and easy "Webcam" option and the older Hangout on Air live streaming events. Which option you choose depends on the features you need.

FeatureWebcam StreamingHangout on AirSupported browsersChromeChrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox (may require plugin)Schedule EventNoYesSet custom thumbnailYesNoMultiple participantsNoYesManage live chatInside live stream window (or pop-out chat boxOn video watch page (or pop-out chat box)Screen sharingNoYesOverlays and appsNoYes, if the host has an associated Google+ profile (Hangouts Toolbox, Control Room, Camera Man)Share to social mediaYes, inside live stream windowYes, from video watch pageArchive of video recordingYes, up to 8 hoursYes, up to 8 …

Weekly Update - March 17, 2018: YouTube, Google+, AdSense

Happy St. Patrick’s day! I hope your beer is cold, your hearth is warm, and your music is lively.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was interviewed by WIRED Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Thompson at the SXSW Interactive Festival last week. She talked about fighting “fake news” and a new initiative that will link to Wikipedia on videos about popular conspiracy theories. Also touched on are the 10,000-strong human team that Google is building to review content, improving comments, and finding and promoting quality educational and news videos.You can listen to the presentation “Navigating the Video Revolution in the Digital Age” on the SXSW website or watch the video on YouTube.The Google+ iOS and Android mobile apps were updated to bring closer parity between the platforms. There aren’t any totally new features, but Android now has a white navigation bar, prioritized plus mention suggestions and the ability to “delete, report, and block” spammers or otherwise bad commenters.Google posted their revi…

Create a Custom "Page Not Found" for your Blogger Blog

If you have ever followed a bad link or typed in a URL incorrectly you have landed on a 404 "Page Not Found" Error page. For your Blogger blog, the default is a generic message:
Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist. The format depends on your Blogger blog's Theme, but the message is the same.

But it's more common that sites use a custom error message, with a friendly greeting, navigation links or a search box, and funny, cute or interesting images.

How create a custom "Page Not Found" message for your own Blogger blog. Create your error page as a Draft Blogger Blog postCopy the post HTML Open your blog's Settings > Search PreferencesUnder "Errors and Redirections" click the option to "Edit" Custom Page Not Found Paste in the HTML of your Custom Error Page and click "Save Changes" Note that the HTML must be less than 10,000 characters.
You can test how your error page looks by trying to open a p…

Weekly Update - March 10, 2018: YouTube Studio, Android P, AMP Everywhere

This week there are updates for YouTube Creators, Webmasters, Android Developers and more.
YouTube announced new metrics (impressions and unique viewers) and personalized recommendations for Creators in the new Dashboard in YouTube Studio. These should be available to all channels within a few weeks. Eventually they will also be available on the Classic Creator Studio Dashboard.This week YouTube Creator Insider talked to a manager of policy for the advertiser-friendly guidelines, and discussed how those policies are implemented. It’s a must-watch for YouTube Partners. And in related news, a judge ruled YouTube is not obligated to display any advertisements alongside your videos.” in response to a lawsuit brought by a couple of filmmakers unhappy with changes in YouTube ad policy.Google Duo - the 1:1 mobile video calling app - now lets you leave a video or audio message if the person you’re contacting isn’t available when you call. Make a good impression if you want them to pick up y…

Google for your business, organization or brand: Manage YouTube and Google+ Brand Accounts

If you have a business, organization, band or brand you can use Google's products to post content and interact with your customers, colleagues, members and fans. Currently you can use a Brand Account identity on Google+, YouTube and Google Photos. What is a Brand Account? You create a Google Account with your personal identity. Your name and profile photo are used across Google services, including Gmail, Hangouts, YouTube and Google+.

But you may need or want other online Google identities:
BusinessGamer tagWriter's pseudonymBandClubYouTube showBlogging persona You could create a new Google Account for each of those identities. But if you mostly want to use your identity on YouTube and Google+, it's easier to manage them all with a single Google account. You can do that by creating a Brand Account for each identity.

Here's why you want to use a Brand Account, rather than separate Google Accounts for your Google+ and YouTube identities:
One Google Account, multiple ident…

Weekly Update - March 3, 2018: YouTube Live, Hangouts Chat, Google Clips Camera

March has come in like a lion, with a torrent of updates for YouTube, Hangouts and more.
You can now watch a replay of the YouTube Live chat along with the live stream archive. The one limitation: you lose the chat replay if the video archive is trimmed.Super Chat purchases during YouTube Live streams can trigger real world events. Perfect if you want your fans to flash your lights.You can now location tag your YouTube videos when you live stream or upload a video on your mobile device. Discover videos by filtering search results by location or by clicking a location tag. Location tagging and search are currently only available on mobile devices.YouTube Creator Studio, Analytics and Dashboard are getting a major redesign. YouTube Studio Beta is available to all creators and is now the default experience for some users. You can still switch back to Creator Studio Classic, but if you do, be sure to send feedback to let YouTube know what’s missing. YouTube Stories (formerly Reels) are n…

Weekly Update - February 24, 2018: AdSense Auto Ads, Google Lens, YouTube Monetization

This week there were updates for YouTubers, AdSense Partners, Androiders (is that a word?) and more.
February 20th was D-Day - YouTube channels in the Partner Program that don’t meet the new eligibility requirements were demonetized. While 99% of affected channels were earning less than $100 per year, there are a not-insignificant number of channels with higher earnings that no longer can monetize their videos. If your channel is no longer monetized, and you have less than $100 in finalized earnings, you’ll either have to wait until you can monetize again or permanently cancel your AdSense account to get a final payment.For those channels still monetizing, there’s some good news: YouTube has improved their monetization classifier - the automated system that decides whether a video is “advertiser friendly” or not. There should be less flipping back and forth between the yellow and green monetization icon. YouTube has pointed out that when you submit an appeal when you get the yellow i…

How to get paid by AdSense, even if you no longer monetize

If you are a YouTube Partner, your payments are managed through AdSense. Once a month your estimated YouTube earnings are finalized, and transferred to your AdSense account. If your finalized earnings in your AdSense account have reached the payment threshold ($100, €70, £60 or equivalent), and there are no holds on your account, you should be paid in the next payment cycle.

On February 20th, many channels lost their monetization because they did not meet the new Partner Program requirements - 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time over the past 12 months. That leaves a lot of former YouTube Partners with finalized earnings in their AdSense account.

What happens if your finalized earnings are lower than the payment threshold, and you are no longer monetizing a YouTube channel or website? 

If your earnings are below the payment threshold, you have two options:

* Continue creating content and don't do anything with your AdSense account

If you believe your channel will soon …

Weekly Update - February 17, 2018: Ad Blocking, YouTube Music, International Project Fi

This week ❤ was in the air, and there were updates for bad ad haters, video creators and more.
There are hundreds of new free music tracks in the YouTube Audio Library. The songs can be used for any project, including monetized videos. The only limitation is that some tracks require attribution. The latest version of the Chrome browser no long displays ads on websites that have advertising that doesn’t comply with the Better Ads Standards. If you’re a webmaster, be sure to check your site’s Ad Experience Report in the Google Search Console. Visitors will be able to override Chrome to show the ads, but I wouldn't count on anyone doing that.Some sites are finding creative ways to replace advertising. Membership fees or sponsorships are a common way to let your fans show their support. But Salon has a new idea: instead of displaying ads, allow them use your web browser to mine cryptocurrency. It's unclear whether this will earn them much real money or overheat visitors' compu…

Weekly Update - February 10, 2018: YouTube, Google Photos, Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics are underway in PyeongChang, YouTube is making good on promised changes, there are new fun photo options, and more.
YouTube has outlined new “repercussions” for egregious actions that harm the YouTube Community. The policy appears to be aimed at Creators who make a big negative splash, like Logan Paul. YouTube has emphasized that this is rare and the Creator’s videos and actions will be reviewed “in context”. Penalties include losing monetization and/or not having your videos recommended across the platform. This isn’t about free speech, it’s about not ruining the platform for the rest of us - most advertisers (and viewers) wouldn’t want to be associated with the site if it’s known for harassment or hateful behavior.Don’t have a Valentine’s day present for your sweetheart yet? Make them a Valentine’s Day movie in Google Photos. Google’s face recognition technology assembles a sweet movie of you and your boo, or if you aren’t in a romantic mood, your baby, cat, do…

Add or change a Google+ Custom URL

When you set up a Google+ Profile or Page, the link to the profile uses an impossible to remember 21-digit user ID.  A Custom URL lets you use a link that's easy to remember when you are promoting your Google+ activity.

If your Google+ Profile or Page is eligible for a Custom URL, you will see a banner on your Profile or Page's profile.  You will then have the option to claim the offered Custom URL.

The offered Custom URL is usually based on the name of the Google+ Profile or Page. You will not have the option to request a specific Custom URL.

Also note that Google+ and YouTube now have separate Custom URL systems. Adding a Google+ Custom URL does not create a YouTube channel Custom URL, which has different eligibility requirements.

Read on for detailed instructions:
Eligibility requirements for a Google+ Custom URLHow to claim a Custom URL on Google+What if my Google+ Profile or Page isn't offered the Custom URL I want?How to change your Google+ Custom URL

Weekly Update - February 3, 2018: YouTube, Google+, Blogger

This week we got a glimpse of YouTube’s direction for 2018, Blogger added ads.txt files to blog’s using AdSense, the Google+ iOS app got and update and more.
 2017 was a rough year for YouTube. It seemed like there was controversy after controversy, with the result that YouTube tightened up its policies, and it got harder for creators to monetize their content. That’s just one of the issues that Susan Wojcicki says YouTube is working on in her “Five Priorities for Creators in 2018”. Also on her radar: greater transparency and better communication, building more ways to let creators and fans have “meaningful interactions”, tighter policy enforcement, and investing in more educational content. 2018 should be an interesting year.Starting this week, video viewers in the US will see notices on videos by news broadcasters that receive government or public funding. So far I haven’t run into any surprises: BBC News, Russia Today, PBS News Hour, Radio Free Europe all have the notice. But I sup…

Weekly Update - January 27, 2018: YouTube, AdSense, Bulletin

This week there’s news for YouTube creators, AdSense publishers, and folks interested in recording local stories:
YouTube announced Official Artist Channels as a single stop for fans of music artists. If an artist has multiple official channels - for example a personal channel and a channel created by their record label - the content will be combined on the Artist Channel, and subscribers to the individual channel will be subscribed to that combined channel instead. YouTube also announced that the official Creator Community will be closing. The Community becomes read-only on January 30 and will shut down completely on February 28. They didn’t announce any direct replacement, but suggested people join the YouTube Product Forum, and follow YouTube Creators and Team YouTube on Twitter, and YouTube Creator Academy, YouTube Help, and Creator Insider on YouTube.Facebook is taking on Twitch and YouTube Gaming with the launch of a Gaming Creator pilot program. Facebook says it’s working wit…

Does your channel meet the new YouTube Partner Program Watchtime Requirements?

Last week YouTube announced new eligibility requirements for the Partner Program. Instead of 10,000 total views, your channel must now have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hoursof watchtime over the past 12 months.

And not only does your channel need to meet those requirements to be accepted into the program, it needs to meet those requirements on an ongoing basis to remain in the program.

This is definitely hard for a lot of channels. YouTube has explained that the reason why they made the changes was to prevent "bad actors" from harming the program overall.  And they have pointed out that  90% of affected channels earned less than $2.50 last month, and 99% earn less than $8 per month (or less in a year than the $100 required to be issued a payment). There is no reason to doubt that's true

But that leaves 1% of affected channels that are actually regularly earning much more than that, and they will lose out. What kinds of channels? There are appliance repair tutor…

Weekly Update - January 20, 2018: YouTube Partners, Mobile Website Speed, Project Fi Bill Protection

This week the focus is on changes for YouTube Creators, but there are also updates for webmasters, small businesses, Project Fi customers and more: The big story for creators this week was major changes to the eligibility requirements for the YouTube Partner Program. Instead of 10,000 lifetime views, your channel must now have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watchtime. Channels that are currently in the YouTube Partner Program will be removed if they don’t meet those requirements by February 20th. But even if your channel is no longer eligible for monetization you will not lose any Creator features that your channel has right now - custom thumbnails, scheduled uploads, live streaming, external links will not be removed if your channel isn’t eligible to show ads. Still have questions? Head over to the YouTube Help Forum where there is an official FAQ being regularly updated with the answers to new questions.As a friendly reminder: Sub4sub violates YouTube policy. If you …