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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 applications will be reviewed - it was the end of April, but now it’s the end of June. They are reviewing channels with the most views first. They have also expanded the review team, so hopefully the date won’t be pushed forward again.
  • Ad blockers are a problem if you rely on ads to monetize your content. Google’s response is “Funding Choices”, which lets your site visitors using an ad blocker choose to either allow ads or buy a pass. It’s expanding to 31 new countries, but it still only available to large websites (definitely not mine!)
  • Google is “pausing” development of Allo, the chat app launched a year and a half ago. Instead they will be focusing on “Chat”, Google’s name for RCS (Rich Communication Services), in Android Messages. This is NOT a new messaging app, and it’s not even a new feature in Messages - in November 2016 Sprint partnered with Google to support RCS, and since the a number of other carriers around the world have gotten on board. But that’s the catch: RCS must be supported by mobile carriers to work. The good news, though, is that if RCS isn’t available to the person you message, it falls back to SMS, so your friends and family don’t need to install a new app to communicate with you. And if your mobile carrier supports it, all you need to do is use Android Messages for SMS on your phone.
  • Google Slides got several new features, including the ability to embed individual Slides in a Google Doc, guides and rulers to make it easier to create precise designs, and the ability to comment on text in individual objects.
Plus there are tips and updates for video creators, live streamers, photographers, Google+ Community managers, business owners and much more.

Image: Satellite View of the Americas on Earth Day, April 22, 2014 (NASA). Earth Day 2018 is Sunday, April 22. Even if you aren’t participating in a local clean up event or festival, use the Plastic Pollution Calculator to estimate how much plastic pollution you generate and make a plan to reduce it.


YouTube and Video Creation

Go Live


  • Google+ #CommunityExperts recap: learn how to use Ask to Join and Hold for Review settings with Margaret Tompkins (Google+ Moderators Community)

Other social media

Google Photos and Cloud Photography

  • SmugMug acquires Flickr from Oath (formerly Yahoo) (Flickr)

Google for businesses

Bloggers and Webmasters

AdSense and advertising

Hangouts and Messaging

  • Sprint integration with Google Voice will no longer be supported after June 1st (Google Voice)
  • Google pausing development of Allo, focusing on RCS Chat in Android Messages (The Verge)
  • Hangouts Meet Hardware Update (Chrome Releases blog)


Privacy and Security

More around the web

Updated March 2019 to remove Google+ links