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Weekly Update - July 20, 2019: YouTube, Chrome, Emoji

This week NASA - and the world - celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first “small step for man” on the moon. It was a momentous achievement! It was a fairly quiet week otherwise, with just a few updates for YouTubers, web browsers and businesses.

(If you are interested in the logistics of space travel, and aren’t too squeamish, check out author Mary Robinette Kowel’s discussion of peeing (and other bodily functions) in space. It definitely takes away some of the glamor.)
  • The official G Suite channel has been posting some tutorials on how to use Gmail, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Calendar and Forms. Plus there is a newly revamped G Suite Learning Center, with training and tips for all G Suite core products - which includes useful information for us consumer users as well.
  • YouTube is working on new features that should help creators manage their comments. In particular they are developing filters that can let you view (and respond to) subsets of comments, for example from subscribers, from channels with some minimum number of subscribers or demographics.
  • YouTube Music is slowly, but surely, getting new features. YouTube Premium and Music Premium subscribers can now switch “seamlessly” between audio tracks and music videos. You can also switch off music videos entirely, if all you want to do is listen.
  • If you are a Fortnite player, you can get free in-game swag by linking your YouTube channel to your Epic Games account and watch live streams from the Fortnite World Cup Finals.
  • Google Stadia Director of Product Andrey Doronichev fielded questions in a Reddit AMA. He emphasized that Stadia will not be a "Netflix for Games", but rather will be more like Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus. Pro subscribers will get one free game per month, and higher quality video and audio. He also reassured folk that Google was invested in Stadia for the long haul. Ars Technica has a nice write up of all the tidbits he provided.
  • Chrome 76 will close a loophole that let websites detect when someone is browsing in Incognito mode. That means sites that use this method to prevent Incognito visitors from accessing content (I’m looking at you LA Times) will no longer be able to use that method. Google’s suggestions: reduce the number of free articles someone can view before logging in, require free registration to view any content, or harden your paywalls. Chrome 76 release is scheduled for July 30.
  • Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan has an article on what all those things are on the Google Search results page. If you have trouble distinguishing Featured Snippets from a Knowledge Panel, or you want to better understand the organic search results and Google’s “predictive” features, definitely give it a read.
  • 65 new emoji will be released with Android Q later this year, including a cute sloth, tasty waffles, a diya lamp to celebrate Diwali, couples with different skin tones and more gender inclusive designs. If you are using the Android Q beta you can access them all today.
  • Google Fi device protection now offers same day cracked screen repair for eligible devices.
  • The new Director of Public Q&A at Stack Overflow Sara Chipps is working to make the site more diverse and welcome. She wrote from her personal experiences how even polite feedback can feel hurtful: "No matter how nicely they say it, when a large group of people you really respect publicly challenge something you’ve done it can feel like a personal attack.” She’s using those insights to help design a more welcoming experience for newbies.
  • The New York Times interactive article about how Notre Dame was almost lost is notable for its effective use of graphics to tell a complex story, it’s reporting on the heroic work of firefighters, but also because it’s a cautionary tale of how safety systems can fail if they generate confusing reports that need to be quickly understood and acted upon by fatigued and undertrained staff.
  • Reminder: I’ve created a playlist of the videos I suggest in my weekly roundup link list. You can click the save playlist linkto save the playlist to your own YouTube account. I plan to add the latest videos each week. If you like it, let me know!
Read on for more updates and tips for video creators, business owners, webmasters and more.
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Image: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Photo from NASA, taken July 20, 1969. This is a close-up view of an astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 lunar surface extravehicular activity.  Check out NASA’s Apollo 50th site for events, posters, photos and more.


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  1. The switching from audio tracks to music videos probably only works with official music videos but I'll try to find out.

  2. I was able to turn off the video on my music videos and just listen to the music.

    1. Do you have Premium? That's the way it should work :) I really don't care about the videos when I'm listening.


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