Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2019

Weekly Update - November 16, 2019: YouTube, RCS, Maps

This past week I was in Boulder, Colorado at the 2019 Google Product Expert Meetup. It was great to see my fellow PEs from the US and Canada, and learn about and provide feedback on Google products. Now that I’m home again, I'm only just getting caught up, so hopefully I didn't miss any big news. I can tell you that this week there were major updates for YouTube creators, Android users, business owners, webmasters and much more.
This week YouTube announced that creators need to indicate whether their videos or channel is “made for kids” (YouTube will also automatically review content to help ensure compliance). This is the outcome of a settlement with the US FTC to ensure YouTube complies with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). That requires getting permission from parents before any personal data is collected from young children. When changes are rolled out in January, channels “made for kids” will be missing many of YouTube’s features, including the …

How to indicate your YouTube channel or videos are made for kids

Starting today, all YouTube creators need to indicate whether their content is "made for kids" in order to comply with the US FTC's Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). This is the case whether you  make content aimed at kids or not, and whether you are in the US or not.
In September, YouTube announced they would treat all "children's content" as if children were watching in order to comply with COPPA.  COPPA limits the personal information that can be collected from children online without parental consent.

To comply, Creators must declare whether their Audience is kids or not. You can set the audience at the channel level or on individual videos.

YouTube also uses machine learning to identify content that appears to be aimed at a young audience. If you believe YouTube has gotten that automated automated designation wrong, you can send feedback (see below for details).

Content made for kids will have fewer features, some of which will af…

Weekly Update - November 9, 2019: YouTube Monetization & Home, Adobe MAX

Pour yourself a big cup of coffee, because there are a ton of updates this week. From YouTube there is a redesigned home page and new ways to make money. Adobe announced a slew of new features, apps and tools. Plus there are updates for webmasters, businesses and much more.
Coming up this week is the Chrome Developer Summit, where you can learn the “latest techniques for building for the modern Web”. You can watch live on the Chrome Developers YouTube channel.YouTube has rolled out a new home page design on desktop and tablets. The most noticeable change is that the thumbnails are larger. That allows display of the channel icon and full title, plus higher resolution video previews. There are fewer special content shelves, but you may see sections for breaking news, community posts, music mixes and more. You can help fine-tune what you see by clicking the 3 dot menu icon by any video and selecting “don’t recommend channel.” And “soon” you will be able to customize your home feed by se…

Updated YouTube Partner Program setup page

The new YouTube Partner Program setup page in YouTube Studio has new features and an updated application process to make it easier to see when your channel is eligible for monetization.

Now only public watch time is shown, you can opt-in to get an email notification when your channel reaches the eligibility requirements, and you don't link an AdSense account to your channel until after it reaches the minimum 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours public watch time.

Read on for details.
How to check your channel's YouTube Partner Program status 1. Sign in to YouTube, and switch to your channel if need be
2. Open YouTube Studio (
3. Click the $ Monetization icon on the left menu (

If your channel is eligible for monetization, you will see the Grow with YouTube page. That shows your channel's subscriber count and public watch hours.
If your channel is not eligible for monetization, you will see a notice.
Only Publ…

Weekly Update - November 2, 2019: Internet is 50, Site Kit, Twitter Ad Policy

The internet was born 50 years ago this week, and everyone is reminiscing. You can learn how it all started, read Vint Cerf’s top moments in internet history and argue about the 50 most important websites of all time. T he question is how long it will take until we have a truly “invisible internet”?

This week, on our still “visible” internet there are tips and updates for webmasters, YouTubers, podcasters, and much more.
Site Kit, Google’s official WordPress plugin, is now available.Install the plugin and you can see metrics and insights on your WordPress dashboard from Search Console, Google Analytics, AdSense and more.The end is nigh for Flash. Google Search will start ignoring Flash later this year. It’s already disabled by default in Chrome 76, Firefox 69 and Microsoft Edge browsers and Adobe will officially end support in December 2020. Flash has been dying for a long time, and as the announcement says “most users and websites won't see any impact from this change.”Google has…

Weekly Update - October 26, 2019: Halloween, Meet, Search

This week there are some new tricks and sweet treats for Android users, web searchers, meeters, photographers, mappers and more.
Reminder: If you have a G Suite for Education account with a suspended Brand Account and you are NOT a student, your admin has until November 1st to request an extension. Suspended Brand Accounts will be deleted November 15th.“OK Google, get spooky.” Your Google Home, Nest and Assistant are ready for Halloween.Google has reported on how they are using machine learning to improve how they understand search queries, with a new advancement they describe as “one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search”. Their natural language processing technique “BERT” (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), tries to understand words in the context of a sentence. That means Google can give better search results, especially for longer, more conversational queries.If you just want to get down to basics, Google has posted a brief video about how G…

G Suite accounts no longer able to set separate Gmail profile picture

If you have a work or school Google account, the option to set a different profile photo for Gmail is being removed. You can choose to use your Gmail profile photo, current Google profile photo, or upload a new profile photo in your account's "About Me" settings.

By default, Gmail uses your Google account profile photo. G Suite accounts for work or school also had the option to use a different profile photo for Gmail than the rest of their Google account.
These Gmail "My Picture" settings are going away.
Note that if you have a consumer Google account with a email address, Gmail is already using your Google account picture.
Select a Profile Photo for your G Suite Google Account You can set a profile photo in your Google account's About Me settings. Note that this profile photo is used across Google services including your Gmail picture, YouTube channel icon, and profile image for Hangouts, Chat and Meet.

1. Sign in to Google and open About Me (ab…

Weekly Update - October 19, 2019: Pixel 4, Blogger app, Recorder

This week Google announced the new Pixel, Pixelbook, and Nest devices, with an updated Assistant and smart features for audio transcription, photography and more. Plus there are updates for Google Books readers, Bloggers, YouTubers and we learned more about Google’s shifted focus from VR to AR, the demise of Yahoo Groups and Mark Zuckerberg’s thoughts on free expression.
With the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake, I reflected on what the experience was like trying to find information from thousands of miles away, and how it might be different today. I also tried out the MyShake app, which is tied to the California Earthquake Early Warning system, and designed to give a quake warning as much as “tens of seconds” before it hits. Unfortunately, as it runs in the background it used a lot of battery power. I’m hoping there will be updates to improve that.This week was Google’s annual fall hardware “Made by Google” event. They announced the Pixel 4 phone, new Pixel Buds, a “m…

Remembering the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

Thirty years ago today, I was living in Boston. Working into the evening, the radio was tuned to Game 3 of the so-called "Bay Bridge World Series", between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants.

I grew up in the Bay Area, and have always been an A's fan, but I wasn't paying attention to the pre-game chatter. So when one of my colleagues exclaimed that there was an earthquake, my first thought was that he was joking. There had been some joking about that possibility during the series, and I thought maybe he was just giving me some grief.

But it was real. At 5:04 PM Pacific time, on October 17, 1989, the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake struck. The double-decker Cypress Freeway in west Oakland collapsed, killing dozens of commuters in their cars; the landfill under San Francisco's Marina district liquified, causing fires and houses to crumble; the Bay Bridge was severely damaged; and buildings collapsed throughout the region.

In those first hours, trying …

The Blogger Android app gets a much-needed update

Google is rolling out an updated version of the Blogger Android app, with a fresh new look. The app is still pretty simple, but it runs smoothly without crashing.
That may seem like a low bar for excitement, but the last version was released in early 2016, which is a long time in mobile app years. That old version would crash repeatedly on my phone running Android 10.  So besides the shiny interface changes, it's been updated under the hood.  "What's New" in the Google Play Store listing just says "minor bug fixes", which doesn't really convey the update.
The app is still very basic, designed to let you post, edit, save, and view blog posts. Blogger is also testing out a new mobile-friendly design for, but that is not yet available for the post editor, so the mobile app will make it much easier to post from your phone.

The app works on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. You must have an existing blog created at befor…

Weekly Update - October 12, 2019: Maps, Feedburner, Search Console

It was relatively quiet this week, with a few announcements for Google Maps, YouTube, Webmaster Search Console, Feedburner, small business owners, and more. For Google, it’s the calm before their annual hardware showcase event next Tuesday. 
As some of you may know, I live in Northern California, which this week had widespread planned power outages to prevent sparking wildfires in the windy dry weather. Fortunately, my lights didn’t go out (even though my neighbors’ did), but even so I spent a fair amount of time preparing for what could have been several days without electricity. It was sobering to realize how poorly prepared we, local governments, and PG&E - all of us - were. The next time (and there’s sure to be a next time) will hopefully be less disruptive.
For World Mental Health Day, Facebook introduced new Stories filter and Messenger sticker packs. Pinterest is offering emotional well-being activities, pins with resources for suicide prevention and parent resources, and …