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Showing posts from 2018

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 ( 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 ( 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: 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…