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Weekly Update - March 23, 2019: Stadia, Photos, Podcasters

Spring has sprung, and while new Google products are budding, we’re down to the final week for Google+ and Inbox. Consumer Google+ will be shutting down in 9 days. Here is where you can find me after the shutdown of Google: You can subscribe to my blog updates by email or just the Weekly Updates by email, or if you use Feedly or another feed reader, subscribe to the feed. I regularly post on Twitter, and irregularly post tutorials to YouTube. I have accounts on MeWe and Pluspora, but I haven't really used either yet. .
Google’s big announcement at this week’s Game Developer Conference is Stadia, a new cloud gaming platform integrated with YouTube. The games run on Google’s servers, with low enough latency that people using different platforms - phones, tablets, desktop computers - can play against each other, and you may see a “play now” button on YouTube that lets you jump into a game with your favorite gamer. There is a dedicated game controller, with buttons for Google Assis…

Google+ Events and Google+ Birthdays removed from Google Calendar

Google Calendar, like many Google products, was integrated with Google+. Before consumer Google+ shuts down on April 2, 2019, the Google+ features in Google Calendar will be removed.  Google Calendar will no longer show Google+ EventsGoogle Calendar will no longer show birthdays of people in your Google+ CirclesWatch my overview: Read on for more detailed information.

Weekly Update - March 16, 2019: Google+, YouTube, Google Ads

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (almost)! This week there are updates for Plussers, YouTube Music fans, webmasters, ad publishers and more.
This week there is a new reminder from Google+ to start the download of your content in Google Takeout by March 31 to be sure it’s archived before April 2nd. Do it!You can now download a copy of the posts from public Google+ Communities you own or moderate. Select which Google+ Communities you want to archive in Google Takeout. And if you do that, be mindful that your community members may not want their content posted anywhere outside of Google+, so ask them permission before you repost anywhere.Google+ custom URLs now redirect to a link with the user’s 21-digit user ID. After consumer Google+ shuts down, the vanity URL will no longer work, including in links to Album Archive. Note that your YouTube custom URL will not be affected.MeWe now has a Google+ data importer. I have some questions about how it works, and I’ll share when I get answers.Also, the…

Weekly Update - March 9, 2019: Google+, YouTube, Flickr

There is less than a month until consumer Google+ shuts down, and it is clear the end is nigh. All Google+ buttons and follower badges have disappeared from websites, the Google-wide notification bell has disappeared and more and more users are making their final farewells. But it’s not all bad, there are some nice updates from YouTube, Flickr, Google My Business and more.
This week the Google API shut down, and Google+ buttons, follower badges, embedded posts and comments disappeared from blogs and websites. If you have Google+ plugin code on your website, now is the time to remove it. This week the Google desktop notifications bell also disappeared. You can still get Google+ notifications at plus.google.com/notifications or by enabling browser notifications in your Google+ settings. Whether you are a die hard (like me) or a G Suite user, the latest version of the Android Google+ app is required. It should be version 10.26.0.233822663 or later, which was released in mid February. If …

How to Use the New YouTube Live Control Room

YouTube has launched a new live stream control room in YouTube Studio (beta) that you can access from anywhere on YouTube. If your YouTube channel is enabled for live streaming (check your Status and Features page), the new control room should be available in your YouTube account.

The new desktop Live Control Room (www.youtube.com/livestreaming/) has three options:
Stream Beta for live streaming using an encoderWebcam for live streaming using your computer's camera, no encoder requiredManage to manage your current and scheduled live streams You can also manage your live streams and live stream archives from the Live tab on your Studio Beta (studio.youtube.com) Videos page.

YouTube wants you to try it out and send them your feedback!

Note that Live Stream Events and Stream Now are still only available in Creator Studio Classic. There is a Classic Live Streaming button to return to Classic on the bottom right of the live stream control room.

Read on for more details.

Back up your Google+ photos and videos before the April 2nd shutdown

When consumer Google+ shuts down on April 2, your Google+ "Photos from Posts" and "Photos of You" albums in your Album Archive will be deleted. Google Photos is a separate product, and will NOT be shutdown. Any of your photos that are in Google Photos will NOT be deleted.

Photo upload, editing and management were a major draw to Google+ from its launch in 2011. Google+ offered "Instant Uploads" to back up the photos on your phone to the cloud, Creative Kit, which let you easily edit your photos, and later "Auto Awesome" enhancements. (See the timeline at the end of the post for the highlights.)

Then in 2015 Google announced that Google Photos would be a standalone product, split away from Google+. That was a harbinger of doom: just two months later Google announced that Google+ would no longer be a social layer across Google+. The new Google+ no longer included any special photo features, and had a new design where Profiles no longer even had a…

Weekly Update - March 2, 2019: YouTube Policy, Duo for Web, Search Console

March has arrived along with tons of updates for YouTube, messaging, webmasters and businesses. it’s also time to start saying goodbye: Allo and Inbox will be shut down this month. And while consumer Google+ won’t be shut down until April 2nd, the legacy Google+ API will shut down March 7th, which will affect Google+ widgets and features on 3rd party sites. Plus the Google-wide notification bell will also disappear. It's not going to be a happy week.
If you are a developer who hasn’t yet removed all Google+ API features from your app or site, be sure to read the latest update which may “help mitigate the impact of the shutdown”.Casey Newton at the Verge took a look at one of the US companies that provides contractors to moderate Facebook content, and it’s not pretty. The low-paid employees routinely view traumatic images and videos, and are allowed little leeway for errors. There is high turnover, and even after someone quits (or is fired) the lingering effects of what they have s…

Export your Allo messages, photos and other media before March

Google Allo was launched to great fanfare at Google I/O in May 2016.  Less than 3 years later, it's scheduled for a shutdown, and will only work through March 12, 2019. Until it's shut down you can download your Allo chats and shared images and files.


Notably, because you don't sign in to Allo with your Google account, you cannot download your Allo data using Google Takeout. You must download the data from inside the Allo app.

To download your content:

Open Allo on your Android phone (it needs to be the latest version)Tap the 3 line menu icon at top left and select "Settings"Tap "Chat"

Select which data you want to export:Export messages from chats: This only includes message text, not photos or videos. Export stored media from chats: This includes photos, videos, and other files. Choose where you want to send the exported file  You can select Dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud storage app on your phone Your messages will be in a CSV (comma separated v…

YouTube increases enforcement of "fake engagement" links policy

YouTube prohibits using or promoting services that artificially inflate subscriber count, views or other engagement metrics. They may enforce that policy by removing links from video descriptions, removing videos and issuing Community Guidelines strikes. This week a number of creators received warnings that they had violated the policy and links were being removed.
What is "fake engagement"? It's the opposite of "legitimate engagement": We consider engagement to be legitimate when a human user’s primary intent is to interact with content free of coercion or deception. And YouTube's "Spam, Deceptive Practices, and Scams" policy prohibits "Incentivization Spam":
Content that sells engagement metrics such as views, likes, comments, or any other metric on YouTube. This also includes content where the only purpose is to boost subscribers, views, or other metrics (e.g., “sub4sub” content). It also has always been the case that you aren't a…

Weekly Update: February 23, 2019: YouTube Policy & Enforcement, Merchant Tools

This week YouTube made major updates in how they enforce policy, there are new tools for merchants to get their products seen on Google, and more. In personal news, my YouTube channel is finally back in the YouTube Partner Program. It lost monetization just over a year ago, because my channel didn’t meet the new watch time requirements. Thank you all for watching!
YouTube announced a total revision of how Community Guidelines strikes are enforced, with an initial one-time warning. After that, the first strike results in a 7-day freeze in posting content, the second strike within 90 days a 14 day freeze, and a third strike within 90 days, channel termination. Under the current system, a single strike causes live streaming to be restricted for 90 days. Under the new system live streaming will be restricted for the shorter period. The new system goes into effect on February 25. In response to reports that pedophiles were networking in the comments of videos featuring children, YouTube h…

YouTube disables comments on millions of videos featuring kids; recommends holding comments for moderation

This week YouTube Partners expressed fears of a new "adpocalypse", with advertisers were pausing their spending on reports of a "softcore pedophilia ring" organized through comments on videos featuring children posing, doing gymnastics and yoga and just playing. 
YouTube has quickly responded by disabling comments and limiting monetization of potentially affected videos. YouTube has temporarily disabled comments on "tens of millions of videos that may include minors". Also monetization may be limited. Videos that include minors and might be at risk for predatory comments may not be considered advertiser-friendly and show the yellow $ icon   indicating that it will receive limited or no ads. If this affects one or more of your videos, it does not mean you have done anything wrong.  This is what YouTube recommends: If your video features minors, consider keeping comments turned off. If you do re-enable comments, you should not allow them to automatically appe…

YouTube revises Community Guidelines strike system - no more 90 day live streaming bans!

YouTube has introduced a simpler Community Guidelines strike system with more consistent penalties and more informative notifications.

Under the old system, a single Community Guidelines strike could cause your channel to lose live streaming privileges for 90 days, but it would take two strikes to lose the ability to upload videos, and then for only two weeks. That is confusing and always felt a bit unfair.

Starting February 25th, here's how the new system will work:
The first time your channel violates the Community Guidelines, the content will be removed, and you will get a warning. This is a one time thing - it's one warning ever.After that, the first strike will result in a 7-day freeze on uploading any content to YouTube, including live streaming. Strikes expire after 90 days.The second strike in a 90-day period will result in a 14-day freeze on uploading content to YouTube.The third strike in a 90-day period will result in your channel being terminated. You can check your…

Weekly Update: February 16, 2019: Hangouts, Contacts, Assistant

I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s/Galentine’s/Palentine’s day! This week we lost some old features in Hangouts and Contacts, got more clarifications about the Google+ shutdown, and some new features for Gmail and Google Assistant.
Mr. Jingles Valentine posted February 14, 2014 on Google+ (link to post). The old Google Contacts interface was retired. This was announced for G Suite accounts last November, but there wasn’t any obvious announcement for consumer accounts. For us Plussers it makes a difference because the new Google Contacts interface doesn’t let you view your Google+ Circles. It’s still not clear how best to save that information. Conversation notification settings in the classic Hangouts Android app are being simplified. On Android O or higher devices, customized ring tones and chat messaging tones per conversation or contact will be removed and default to the general app notification tone settings. Small update on YouTube for Creators: based on user feedback, they …

Weekly Update: February 9, 2019 - YouTube, Google+, Security

Mid-February feels like the heart of winter. It’s been wet and cold even here in sunny California. And online, the sunset of consumer Google+ is finally in full swing. It’s not all gloom though, read on for updates to YouTube, Android and more.
The shutdown of consumer Google+ took its first big steps this week:The ability to create a new Google+ Profile or Google+ Page was disabledGoogle+ Comments, badges and buttons were removed from Blogger blogsAlso at some point in February, YouTube will remove its few remaining Google+ features.The Google desktop navigation bar notification bell widget will disappear on March 7th. This is currently only used for Google+, Google Photos and Hangouts Chat (for G Suite) notifications. The alternative is to use browser notifications instead.Rarely used Google Groups settings will be removed in May 2019 and other settings will be updated. If you are using Google Groups, be sure to check the details about what’s changing.Facebook announced new features…

The Google navigation bar notification bell will disappear March 7th: switch to browser notifications

The notification bell on the desktop Google navigation bar will disappear on March 7th. You can switch to browser notifications for Google Photos, Hangouts Chat, and Google+ for G Suite.  You will see a message with a Learn More link when you click the notification bell starting today.



The notification bell on the Google navigation bar first appeared in 2011, allowing you to access your Google+ notifications anywhere you are signed in to Google. As Google+ was integrated with other Google products, you could get your notifications for Google+ comments on Blogger and YouTube and for activity on your Photos. Peak Google+ integration was in 2013.

In 2015, as Google+ split away from other Google products, the notification bell was updated so that Google+, Google Photos and YouTube notifications could be managed separately.

And in 2017, shortly after the shutdown of Classic Google+, the notifications under the bell got a redesign, and Mr. Jingles - the Google+ notifications mascot - was r…

Weekly Update: February 2, 2019: Google+, Blogger, Sites

We now have a timeline for the shutdown of consumer Google+ and it’s happening fast. Be sure to see all the links under the Google+ heading below for the latest information, tips and tutorials. And, of course, that’s not all. Read on!
This week Google finally provided a timeline for the shutdown of consumer Google+ there will be changes as early as next week. Full shutdown will be on April 2nd, with the deletion of all consumer Google+ Profiles, all Google+ Pages, and their posts and Google+ photos. Photos in Google Photos will NOT be deleted and other Google products like Gmail and YouTube will not be affected. Blogger announced they will be switching blogs with Google+ comments to Blogger comments (which removes the Google+ comments), and removing Google+ widgets and buttons from blog Layouts on Monday, February 4th. In March, all accounts using a Google+ Profile will be switched to a Blogger profile. YouTube removed the option to automatically share videos, likes and playlist adds…

Removing the last Google+ Features from YouTube: Private shares with G+ Circles, G+ links, Mobile app

With the shutdown of Google+ on the near horizon, YouTube has announced the last few Google+-related features will be removed in February 2019.  While YouTube's breakup from Google+ was mostly complete by 2016, there were a few remaining Google+-dependent features.
Google+ Circles will be removed from private video sharesThe option to update your channel icon and cover art in the YouTube Mobile app will be removedLinks to Google+ profiles and pages on your channel's About tab and header will be removedPre-September 2016 versions of the YouTube mobile app will no longer be able to read or post commentsWhat will NOT change:


Your YouTube channel, your videos, comments and playlists will NOT be deletedYour YouTube channel's Brand Account will NOT be deletedYour verification badge from Google+ will NOT be removedSee the FAQ in the official YouTube Help Forum for details.
Watch the video for a quick overview.

 Related posts about the Google+ Shutdown:
Create a backup of your Google+…

Blogger minus Google+: Google+ Comments and Profiles removed beginning February 4th

Today Google announced a timeline for the shutdown of consumer Google+ and the removal of Google+ features from Blogger. While Google+ itself won't be entirely shut down for consumer users until April 2nd, Google+ features on Blogger will be removed beginning February 4th, less than a week from now. This includes Google+ Comments, badges and widgets and Google+ Profiles.

Note that these changes only affect Google+ features. If you are using a Blogger profile and Blogger comments, and you don't have any Google+ badges and widgets in your blog's layout, you probably won't notice any difference.


Watch the video for an overview, or read on for more details.

Update 5 February 2019: All Google+ settings have been removed, and you should see a notification inside your Blogger account:

Related posts about the Google+ Shutdown:
Create a backup of your Google+ PageTurn your Google+ followers into YouTube subscribersRemoving the last Google+ features from YouTubeBlogger minus Goo…

Download a backup of your YouTube Brand Account channel and Google+ Page data

If you are using a Brand Account identity for your YouTube Channel or Google+ Page, you can - and should - use Google Takeout to download an archive of your content.  Google+ Page content needs to be downloaded before consumer Google+ shuts down on April 2, 2019.

A Brand Account lets you have a brand, business, organization identity on Google that is different than your personal Google Account identity. Brand Accounts can have multiple Owners and Managers, who sign in to their own Google Account to manage the Brand Account and any Google services on that Brand Account. Currently the only Google products that officially support a Brand Account identity are YouTube, Google+ and Google Photos.

Google Takeout lets you create an archive of your content stored by Google. If your data is important to you, it's a good idea to create an archive periodically:
Consumer Google+ will shut down by April 2, 2019 and all Google+ Page content will be deleted (NOTE: your Brand Account and associated…

Weekly Update - January 26, 2019: Hangouts, YouTube, Webmasters and more

January is coming to a close, and this week we got a information about what will be happening in the coming months for YouTube, Hangouts in G Suite, Search Console and more. No, there hasn’t been an update from Google+ about the April shutdown for consumer users. There also has not been any update from Blogger about what will be happening to Google+ features.
Beginning of the end? Buffer ended Google+ support on January 25th and Hootsuite will end Google+ support on January 28th. Other social media management platforms that offer integration with Google+ will also be affected as there may be “intermittent failures” of the Google+ API starting the 28th. While this won’t affect posting to Google+ directly, businesses, organizations, and Pages that use third party tools to access Google+ may stop posting altogether. New Google+ migration alternative: LifeCloud has a Google+ Data Importer for re-creating Google+ Communities. Todd Hawk is answering questions in the “G+” Community Owners …
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