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Showing posts from August, 2019

Week in Review - August 24, 2019: Blogger, YouTube, Hangouts

This was a busy week in the Googleverse, with updates for YouTube, Photos, AdSense, Duo and much more. I looked back on Blogger’s 20 years and forward the rescheduled migration from Hangouts in late 2020.
Twenty years ago this week Blogger was born. I took a look back and talk about why Blogger is my chosen blogging platform.Starting this month Google Photos is rolling out the ability to search your photos by the text in them. You can use built-in Google Lens to copy the text once you find it.Engadget reports that Google Photos face grouping is finally rolling out across Europe. It’s not clear where exactly this feature is available. Check your account to see if the option to enable face grouping is available.YouTube has updated their policy to start removing “mature” content that targets younger children and families, including videos with sexual themes, obscene content, and violence. Previously such videos were age-restricted. Similar content that does not explicitly target younger…

Happy 20th Birthday Blogger!

Twenty years ago today, folks were Livin' la Vida Loca and Blogger was born at Pyra Labs*.
Blogger Home Page October 1999
"Weblogs" were a fairly new idea, and Blogger was not only one of the first weblog platforms, but also helped popularize the terms "blog" and "blogging", which is not quite as much of a mouthful.
Pyra Labs' Meg Hourihan on the origin of the word "Blogger"
Blog*Spot free hosting service for Blogger-powered blogs, April 2011
After struggles with funding, Blogger was sold to Google in February 2003. This may have rescued the platform, as Guardian reported at the time:
The sale is a dramatic turnaround for San Francisco-based Blogger, which rode the high and subsequent low of the dotcom boom. The company was founded in 1999, and Mr Williams had to lay off the company's entire staff in late 2000. He continued to maintain the service by himself from his home until last year, when he increased revenues by starting a premiu…

AdSense improving invalid activity detection; adding action notifications to your Policy Center

AdSense is improving their systems that detects potentially invalid ad traffic. That allows AdSense to limit ad serving to protect the Google Ads advertisers. Up until now, actions around invalid activity have been opaque to users, and AdSense is working to change that too.

To make enforcement more transparent, AdSense and AdMob Publishers will soon be able to see notification of ad traffic restrictions in their account's Policy Center. The goal:
This will allow [Publishers] to understand why they may be experiencing reduced ad serving, and what steps they can take to resolve any issues and continue partnering with us. Note that AdSense unlikely to provide any details about the detected sources of invalid activity. It's your responsibility to monitor your AdSense account for unusual activity and make sure you are not encouraging clicks or generating low quality traffic.

Read on to learn how to check your AdSense Policy Center for violations, and what to do if your account is …

YouTube now removing "mature" content targeting children

YouTube is now removing videos with "mature" content that target younger children and families (based on title, description and tags), including videos with sexual themes, obscene content, and violence. Previously these videos were just age-restricted.

Videos labeled "for children", "for kids" or "family fun" will fall under this policy.
Examples of content that will now be removed
Such content that is not targeted to children may be age restricted, but not removed.
Any content that was uploaded prior to this update may be removed, but should not result a strike.
Learn more about YouTube's Child Safety policiesand recent changes to YouTube policy to protect kids.

Read on to learn how to protect your channel from video removals, or appeal a strike or age restriction.

G Suite migration from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat postponed until June 2020

Google has announced that the migration from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat for G Suite users (work and school accounts) is postponed from October 2019 to June 2020.  Migration of consumer users -- personal accounts, usually using an address -- will be after the migration of G Suite users.
"Phase 4" of the migration process for G Suite users will be in "late 2020". At that time all remaining classic Hangouts G Suite users will be moved to Hangouts Chat and G Suite users won't be able to use classic Hangouts. But "no changes will be made to the consumer version of classic Hangouts. [Hangouts is] continuing to support consumers."

You can see the updated transition timeline here.

In the meantime, Google will be working to improve the transition process, and adding new features to Hangouts Chat like Read receipts.

If you are a G Suite administrator and your organization would like to migrate to Hangouts Chat before that sooner than next June…

YouTube DMs are going away: Save a copy of your messages!

YouTube announced that the private Direct Messaging feature will be going away on September 18th, 2019. Some features, like sending a video by DM, may be disabled before that date. You can download an archive of your YouTube private messages using Google Takeout.

YouTube's current direct messaging feature was announced in April 2017 as a way to share videos and chat with friends and family. YouTube's original private-messaging Inbox was replaced by Google+-based Messages in 2014, which was in turn shut down in July 2018.
Goodbye YouTube Friends :( YouTube says they will be focusing on improving public communication:
Two years ago, we launched a feature to enable you to share videos via direct messages on YouTube. Since then, we've also focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts, and stories. We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature while we focus on improving public conversati…

Weekly Updates - August 17, 2019: Tumblr, YouTube, Back to School

This week students started heading back to school, with Chromebooks, laptops and all their other electronic devices in hand. There are plenty of updates to help them along. Plus news for YouTubers, bloggers, webmasters and much more.
Social blogging platform Tumblr is finding a new home with Automattic, the owner of WordPress. Yahoo originally bought Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion (with a b). Verizon purchased Yahoo in 2017, acquiring Tumblr and other assets like Flickr. Verizon didn’t seem to know what to do with Tumblr, beyond implementing a controversial and not-particularly-successful ban on porn and adult content. The sale price was reportedly for less than $3 million, a tiny fraction of Tumblr’s original (likely inflated) value.
Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg told The Verge he appreciates Tumblr’s unique and devoted community, and sees it as an opportunity to bring back some of the feel of old-school blogging, with a solid mobile app and social features. “The people who love Tumb…

Copyright holders can no longer monetize manually claimed videos with unintentional use of music

YouTube announced an update to to make the copyright claiming system a bit fairer: YouTube's new policy forbids copyright owners from "using the Manual Claiming tool to monetize creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music."

Note that this does NOT mean you can use copyrighted music without permission:
This change only applies to manual claiming, not YouTube's automated Content ID system.Copyright holders can still prevent the creator from monetizingCopyright holders can still block the video from being viewedAn exception to this policy is "a compilation of short clips primarily containing audio content" such as "Top 10" lists of music or audio content or "Compilations of short clips from music-focused social media apps" The policy change goes into effect in mid-September. And YouTube says there will be penalties for violating the Manual Claiming policy:
Once we start enforcement, copyright owners who repeatedly fail to …

Weekly Update - August 10, 2019: YouTube Studio, Webmaster Tools, Podcasts

This week Google is rolling out new tools to help you plan your next vacation. There are also cool updates for bloggers, webmasters, podcasters, YouTubers and much more.
YouTube Studio Beta is now the default, and direct links to the classic video manager, analytics or dashboard will redirect there. But not to worry, if you are missing features from “classic” Creator Studio, you can switch back - for now.Twitch is making it easier to “go live”. Twitch Studio (now in beta), has guided setup of your live stream, customizable templates, built in chat and more. If you’re interested, sign up for the beta.If you are a blogger, video creator or journalist in India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, check out Google’s Question Hub to find questions that people want answers for. You can browse by keyword or category, review unanswered questions, and expand on them when creating content. Once you create an article or video, you can submit it to Question Hub where you can review performance metrics. Learn…

YouTube Studio Beta is now the default - but you can (for now) switch back to Classic

Starting this month, YouTube Studio Beta ( is now the permanent default for your channel. That means if you use a link to the Classic Video Manager, Analytics, or Dashboard you will be redirected to Studio Beta.

As Studio Beta is still a work in progress, not all Classic features are available yet. That means - for now - you can switch back to the Classic version of Creator Studio.
Find Classic features missing in Studio BetaTemporarily switch back to Creator Studio Classic But before you do that, give Studio Beta a serious try. The Classic version will be going away later this year, and YouTube really wants your feedback. You should see a banner at the top of your dashboard with a survey link. As it says, don't hold back!
Note that if you are having trouble getting Studio to load, the problem may be that your web browser is out of date. You should see a message if that's the case. You can use current versions of Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera and Safari. For …

Weekly Update - August 3, 2019: YouTube Studio, Hangouts Classic, Webmasters

This week Hangouts on Air were discontinued (boo), but classic Hangouts was updated so that you can report spammers and harassers when you block them (yay). There were also some small updates to YouTube, info for webmasters and more.
Goodbye this week: Hangouts On Air were discontinued and Feedburner users can no longer add new domains to the MyBrand serviceClassic Hangouts actually got an update this week. Now, on desktop, you can report people to Google when you block them in Hangouts conversations. Google reviews the last 10 posts that person made. So yes, this means Google can read what you’ve posted in Hangouts.New YouTube features for Creators: YouTube Studio Beta is now the default, and links to Classic now redirect there. You can still switch back to Classic if you need to. YouTube Studio dashboard now has a card showing stats for your latest postThe YouTube Studio mobile app is getting new snapshot report.YouTube Analytics will have a new Monthly Revenue Insights reportIn th…

Now Report users when you block them in classic Hangouts

Now when you block someone in classic Hangouts on desktop you can choose to also report them to Google. When you choose to report someone, When you report someone for abuse, a copy of the last 10 messages of your conversation is sent to Google for review.

There are two ways to report someone in Hangouts:
Block and report someone when they send you an unwanted Hangouts invitationBlock and report someone in a 1:1 Hangouts conversation There are a few limitations:
Reporting is only available on the web at and in GmailYou can block, but not report, someone in the Android and iOS Hangouts appYou can only block someone in a group conversation using the Android or iOS Hangouts appBlocking someone means you can't chat in a 1:1 conversation, but you will be able to participate in the same group chat. Learn what happens when you block someone in Hangouts. Note that eventually Google will migrate users from classic Hangouts to the new Hangouts Chat, which is currently only…