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Weekly Update - June 27, 2020: Google Photos, Meet, Mixer

As we roll into summer, your bored kids can find entertainment (and education) at Camp YouTube. Google Photos has a new logo, redesigned app, and a new interactive map. You can Duo or Meet group video call on smart screens with Google Assistant, and Meet announced a bevy of new features they are working on. And Microsoft’s live streaming platform Mixer is shutting down, with creators encouraged to move to Facebook Gaming. Plus more for business, security, live streaming and more.
YouTube and Live StreamingAs you may (or may not) know, I am a YouTube Contributor, which overlaps with the Google Product Expert Program. YouTube Contributors answer questions in the YouTube help community, create tutorials and otherwise help other users. You can meet some of the other YouTube Contributors from around the world in this nice video the Creator Insider channel.YouTube Brandcast is an annual event aimed at advertisers. Most years there is an in-person event, featuring YouTube stars. This year i…

Weekly Update - June 20, 2020: Meet, Duo, Keen

In this week’s updates, you can use Duo for group video calls on the web, use Meet in the mobile Gmail app, share your passions in Keen, and get tips and updates for YouTubers, map makers and more.
YouTube and VideoYouTube will now age-restrict content promoting nicotine and THC, including smoking and vaping. If you post related content check out my overview of YouTube Community Guidelines relating to tobacco, marijuana, and related paraphernalia. YouTube has transformed influencer marketing platform FameBit - acquired in 2017 - into YouTube Brand Connect. The platform will act as a matchmaker between creators and brands, and make it easier to “create branded content that is both authentic and effective.” (basically ads). Eligible creators with at least 25,000 subscribers will be able to sign up for Brand Connect in Creator Studio. Plus there is a free course on creating branded content in YouTube Creator Academy. Note that all FameBit accounts will be closed July 31, and need to cla…

Google Photos Ends Monthly Photo Print Trial

This week Google Photos told participants in its monthly photo print trial that it would not continue after June 30th. They are considering feedback from participants and it may "evolve" into 
Back in February, Google Photos offered me the chance to participate in a free trial of a monthly photo print subscription. The idea was simple: Google Photos would choose 10 of your best photos uploaded during the previous month. You then had 3 days to edit the photos or swap them for different images. 
Google Photos would then make 4x6 prints and mail them to you. The cost was set to $7.99 per month, but was free during the trial period. As there was no obligation to continue the subscription after the trial, I jumped at the chance.  I did enjoy receiving photos every month. It is fun to have prints, and to be able to share with family and friends.
In general the print quality was good. The colors weren't as vibrant as they could be, but I think that is to be expected with matte, rat…

YouTube Policy Update: Age restriction of nicotine and THC content

YouTube will now age-restrict content promoting nicotine and THC. That includes smoking, vaping and other ways of delivering the active ingredients in tobacco and marijuana.
There is an exception for educational, documentary, scientific or artistic content.
Note that content policies apply to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams and everywhere else on YouTube. Policy: Harmful or dangerous content YouTube doesn’t allow content that encourages dangerous or illegal activities that risk serious physical harm or death. This policy includes content showing drug use, which is generally prohibited on YouTube. In addition to content showing hard drug use, YouTube also prohibits: Minors using alcohol or drugs: Showing minors drinking alcohol, using vaporizers, e-cigarettes, tobacco or marijuana. Selling hard or soft drugs: Featuring drugs with the goal of selling them.  Content that violates this policy may be removed and result in a Community Guidelines strike.  If you believe YouT…

Weekly Update - June 13, 2020: Android 11, YouTube, Meet

As protests continue around the US, more companies are announcing new features, policies and fundraisers to promote Black voices and racial justice. And technology moves on, with the launch of Android 11 beta, new features in YouTube, AdSense, Google Meet, Docs and more.
Android 11 beta was released. It has new messaging notifications, privacy features, built in screen recording, improved voice access and other features. For more information, check out the Android Central and Android Police overviews, and the Android Developers presentations on YouTube. If you have a Pixel 2, 3, 3a, or 4 you can install the beta today (at your own risk).Creator UpdatesThis week I joined Michael Daniels and Heather Kraafter on Tinkering with Tech to talk about the new Blogger. Check it out if you are new to Blogger or are an old hand still using legacy Blogger. New Blogger will become the default by the end of June, so now is the time to try it. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki posted her mid-year update …

Learn about the new Blogger with me on Tinkering with Tech

On Wednesday, June 10 (today!), I'll be on Tinkering with Tech to talk about the new Blogger. The live stream begins at 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern, 9pm UTC. 
Click here to set a reminder or watch (and live chat) on YouTube. 

Learn more about the new Blogger interface Posts (and Pages)Post Editor: now with the option to insert tables, plus a new image and video upload experience.LayoutThemeReading ListCommentsStatsSettings: now all on a single pageMore Announcement: A better Blogger experience on the webBlogger Update: mobile-friendly Post, Layout, and Theme pagesTry out the new more mobile friendly Blogger!

Weekly Update: June 6, 2020 - Chat, Personal Safety, Black Lives Matter

This has been an eventful week in the US, with protests against police brutality and racial injustice in all 50 states. With that as a backdrop, there have been few product updates. Most tech companies have made  statements of support, and some, including Google, have pledged to make platform changes and donate money or resources in support of the Black community. And yes, Black lives matter.
YouTube has updated the information provided to Partners for monetization self-certification, providing detailed examples of what types of content can and cannot show ads.Google Chat - the successor to chat in classic Hangouts - is expanding to more G Suite customers. By switching to “Chat Preferred”, Chat replaces Hangouts in Gmail, and the Hangouts app and extension stop working. Hangouts can still be used at hangouts.google.com. Chat and Hangouts are interoperable for 1:1 discussions, and the classic Hangouts bot provides Hangouts notifications inside Chat. Chat isn’t available for personal Goo…

Migrating from classic Hangouts: Google Chat preferred available to G Suite customers

Starting today, G Suite administrators can migrate their users from classic Hangouts to "Chat preferred". Previously this option was only available to a small group of G Suite customers in the Chat Accelerated Transition Program.
Google Chat (chat.google.com) features include:  Direct 1:1 messaging that is interoperable with classic HangoutsDirect group messaging Rooms for "ongoing long-term chats"Edit text in a conversation after it was sentGoogle Drive file sharing, in addition to photo and video sharingBots to help you (or have some fun) There is a handy Hangouts vs. Chat comparison page with more details.

In August 2019 Google announced that the transition from classic Hangouts to Google Chat for all G Suite users would begin in "late 2020", and that is the phase we are entering now.   This appears to be slightly ahead of schedule, as Phase 3 was originally in the "first half of 2020", and here we are still in the first half (even though 2020 has…

Weekly Update: May 30, 2020 - YouTube, COVID-19, Groups

To all the 2020 grads out there: congratulations! This is a rough time to be launching the next stage of your life, but hopefully things will get better.
The big news this week is that venerable Google Groups is rolling out a new interface. Plus there are a number of small updates this week for video creators, webmasters, business owners and more.
Video and Live StreamingYouTube Poll Cards are being discontinued as of June 10. You have until July 10 to download your poll card data. Why the change? Poll cards were “rarely used”. 
Video Chapters are rolling out to all channels. Add timestamps in the video description (starting with 0:00) and markers will appear at the bottom of the video player. This makes it easier for viewers to jump to specific sections of your video.If you watch YouTube videos on your Android phone, you will now see optional topics in your subscription feed, including “Today”, “Continue Watching”, “Unwatched”, “Live” and “Posts”. The YouTube app for iOS devices have h…

Weekly Update - May 23, 2020: Blogger, AdSense, Google Photos

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day in the US, to honor military personnel who died serving in the US armed forces. In normal years many folks treat it as the first weekend of summer, with barbecues and trips to the beach. This year, with many of us still mostly confined at home, it will be a quieter holiday, with perhaps a bit more reflection than partying.

There are new features this week for Blogger bloggers, AdSense publishers, YouTubers, along with updates to video calling tools and more.
Google Cloud Next is Google’s annual conference focused on cloud technology. Originally scheduled for the first week of April, it’s been transformed into Cloud Next OnAir, a free 9 week online event. Starting July 14th, it will include presentations, interactive demos, breakout sessions, and 1:1 meetings with Google experts. Every week will focus on a new topic, from industry insights, tools for productivity and collaboration (the sessions I'm most interested in), infrastructure, securi…

Try the new AdSense Earnings Checklist to optimize your earnings

If your AdSense earnings have dropped, the new AdSense Earnings Checklist can help you review your reports to understand why your earnings decreased, and offers best practices to optimize your earnings.  Note that the troubleshooter is for AdSense publishers monetizing a website or blog. If your YouTube earnings have dropped, check out the YouTube Creator Academy courses on using YouTube Analytics to understand your earnings. Use the Revenue tab in YouTube Analytics to understand where your revenue comes from and review your channel's ad revenue metrics.
An earnings drop can be caused by a decrease in the amount you earn per ad click (CPC), a decrease in the number of clicks on your site's ads (CTR), a decrease in the number of ad impressions, or a combination of those factors. 
Understanding all the factors that affect your earnings and updating your site will take some time. I recommend setting aside the time to go through all the troubleshooting steps thoroughly.  How to use th…

New Blogger is coming soon - try it now!

Blogger announced that the new account interface will be the default for many users by late June. Currently new Blogger users are defaulted to the new interface. And by late July you will no longer be able to revert back to classic Blogger.
The new Blogger interface has a mobile-friendly responsive layout, new look, and has features that make it easier to manage your blog's content, comments, stats and settings. The first bits and pieces of the new interface were launched last September.
For now you can still switch between new Blogger and classic Blogger. 
Click the big orange Try the new Blogger button at the bottom of the left menu to try the new interface.
If you want to switch back to the old interface, click the Return to Classic Blogger link.  And let the Blogger team know what you think! Click the ? icon at the top of the page and select the Send Feedback option. A screenshot will be included with your feedback.  What's newTake a quick tour of the new Blogger. Posts (and Page…

Weekly Update - May 16, 2020: YouTube monetization, Google Play Music, Google Meet

Are you tired of video meetings yet? This week you can start or join a Google Meet meeting in Gmail, easily find Zooms new security features, or video chat with friends in your favorite Discord Server or Facebook Room.

Plus you can finally move your music and playlists from Google Play Music to YouTube Music, YouTube shows when your video is being “checked” for ad suitability, plus updates for live streamers, businesses owners and more. YouTube Updates  You can now transfer your playlists, purchases, uploaded music and likes from Google Play Music to YouTube Music. You can also transfer your podcasts to Google Podcasts. YouTube Music originally launched in 2015 as a music-centered app, then relaunched as a music streaming service in 2018. Google Play Music will eventually be retired, but YouTube says “we’ll provide plenty of notice ahead of users no longer having access to Google Play Music later this year.”YouTube will now display a “checking” icon when your monetized video is being…
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