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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 took a few days, but users discovered that many of the kaomoji shortcuts that work in Hangouts also work in Messages for web. The one I find the most useful these days? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (/shruggie)
  • Google held a special event for reports to demonstrate “Duplex”, the automated Google Assistant that can make restaurant reservations and salon appointments. Reporters were impressed by the technology. When it was announced at Google I/O, some people found its verbal tics (ummms) to be a bit too lifelike. Google has made clear that Duplex introduces itself as an automated assistant, and lets people know the call is being recorded. And they point out that the automated systems are pretty limited, as _all_ they can do is ask about business hours, make a restaurant reservation and book appointments at a salon. Google will be testing Duplex later this summer.
  • A new, more personalized version of Google Maps is rolling out worldwide. “Explore” and “For You” let you easily find new restaurants, bars, and events that Google thinks you’ll like. If they integrate this with Duplex and you can just say “Google find me someplace to eat” and you won’t have to worry about making a reservation.
  • I know some of you out there have been waiting months for your YouTube Partner Program application to be reviewed. Good news! All channels that were eligible and applied for monetization before June 1st should be reviewed by early next week. Check for an email from YouTube, and if your application is disapproved check your Monetization Settings tab for more information.
  • YouTube frequently runs experiments to try new features and improve existing ones. Sometimes that backfires. YouTube is currently running a test where 0.3% of users (that’s a fraction of a percent) see automatic thumbnails, rather than the Creator’s custom thumbs. Despite assurances from YouTube that this shouldn’t affect their views, Creators aren’t happy. And with 1.9 Billion active users - that’s 5.7 Million users in the test - people were bound to notice change, which seems like it might make any results unreliable.
Read on for links and more tips and updates for video creators, Plussers webmasters, business owners and more.

Image: /sunglasses

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Updated March 2019 to remove Google+ links

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