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Weekly Update - September 21, 2019: YouTube, AdSense, Search

Autumn is approaching, the end of Q3 draws near, and the week has been lively with updates. There are new features for Google Fi customers, YouTubers, AdSense publishers and much more.
  • Google Fi announced a new Unlimited plan, including calls, texts and 22GB of high-speed internet for $45-$70/month (depending on the number of people on your plan). It includes free calls from the US to more than 50 countries, free data and texts while travelling internationally, and Google One membership. It’s a great deal for families or folks who use a lot of data. The alternative is the original Flexible plan, which costs $16-$20 for texts and calls, and $10/GB data (you only pay for what you use, and the maximum total cost is $80/month). You can switch between Unlimited and Flexible plans each billing cycle, at no added cost. If you are in the US and want to give Google Fi a try, click here to use my referral code, and we both get a $20 credit after you have used Fi 30 days.
  • The past couple days have been a bit of a roller coaster for YouTube. Yesterday YouTube announced substantial changes to verification eligibility requirements. Many creators received an email telling them their channel was no longer eligible. Only the most prominent channels would keep their verified badge, and there would no longer be any automatic verification. But after significant outcry, YouTube walked back those changes today. Currently verified channels will remain verified. Once channels reach 100,000 subscribers they will be able to apply for verification, with a new review process, where YouTube may ask for documentation of identity, and changes to the look of the badge - which were to switch from a checkmark to a highlighted title - are postponed until next year.
  • YouTube is working on getting more advertisers to place ads on videos with the “not suitable for all brands” yellow $.
  • Large “Masthead” ads are coming to YouTube on TV screens: great for advertisers, maybe not so great for viewers.
  • YouTube’s Leanback web TV interface will be shut down October 2. This will mainly be a loss for folks who manage streaming from their PC to their TV with their moblie phone.
  • Google started showing video “Key Moments” in the Search results. If you add time stamps in your YouTube video descriptions, they can appear in the search results automatically.
  • Facebook announced a bunch of new features for live streamers. You can stream a “rehearsal” to only Page administrators and editors, trim the beginning and end of your live video, stream for 8 hours (up from 4 hours), and use apps that broadcast to multiple streaming services simultaneously.
  • Facebook also announced new features for video creators. Watch Parties got several new features including scheduled Watch Parties and replays, live commenting (for Pages), the ability to tag business partners, and new metrics in Creator Studio. There are also 13 new languages for automatic captions and you can publish and schedule content for Instagram Feed and IGTV from Facebook Creator Studio. All Page managers should have Creator Studio access.
  • If you have responsive AdSense ad units on your website, check the ad code. Recent changes to the way responsive ads work mean they cannot be in a fixed height container. If you aren’t sure if that applies to you, check your site to see if the ads seem taller on some devices or browsers - if that’s the case, you’ll need to fix the code.
  • Make titles on your docs and slides look more polished: you can now set custom line spacing to be less than one in Google Docs and Slides.
  • Now you can get live captions in English during a video call in Hangouts Meet on your Android phone. They are working on expanding this feature to iOS. And this feature has been available on desktop for some time. Live captions are useful if you are hearing impaired, have trouble understanding spoken English, or there is a lot of background noise. Meet is currently available to G Suite customers and their guests.
  • Google is working with UK publisher Archant on “Project Neon” to build new all-digital news platforms for local communities. Google is providing technical expertise and funding via the Google News Initiative, and Archant will have full editorial control.
  • If you open a lot of browser tabs, the new tab management features in Chrome 77 are for you.
  • Google announced several new initiatives in India, aimed at making the internet more accessible: they are partnering with BSNL to bring high-speed public WiFi to villages in Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra; the new free Vodafone-Idea Phone Line service that offers Google Assistant driven weather, traffic, and other information; more Indian languages added to the Lens, Discover, and Bolo apps; and a new platform called Spot, that lets businesses engage customers in the Google Pay app.
Read on for more news, updates and tips for YouTubers, business owners, webmasters and more.
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Image: Autumn Leaves by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay (free for commercial use)

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