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Weekly Update - April 4, 2020: YouTube Monetization, Creator Resources, Video Calling

As we head into April, most of the world is staying at home. Tech companies wisely decided to forgo April Fool’s jokes this year, as there isn’t much to laugh about. 
What is new this week are more product updates due to the coronavirus pandemic, video conferencing platform updates, and resources for educators and struggling creators.
Today is 404 Day, and the Internet Archive wants to celebrate by helping you (and me, and everyone) archive current web pages.Creator UpdatesYouTube Partners can now monetize COVID-19-related content, as long as it complies with the Community Guidelines and Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines.YouTube is piloting a new program called “Unlisted Video Review”, where creators can get a human feedback for uploaded unlisted video that have limited ads. Watch the linked video for more details and let YouTube know what you think of the idea in the video’s comments.If you are looking for a live streaming platform, Lightstream Studio has expanded available featu…

All YouTube Partners can now monetize COVID-19 content

Yesterday YouTube announced that all creators in the YouTube Partner Program will be able to monetize COVID-19-related content, as long as it complies with the YouTube Community Guidelines and Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines. What this means for Creators:  Once you receive a notification in YouTube Studio that this applies to your channel, you can monetize COVID-19-related content that complies with the guidelines. YouTube encourages you to fact check your content. Refer to the latest information from authoritative organizations and agencies.If your channel is in YouTube’s self-certification program, you no longer need to rate COVID-19-related content as a "Sensitive Event". YouTube has put together a help center article that lists specific examples of what kind of coronavirus content is not monetizable, and what kind of content is encouraged.
The following types content will show limited or no ads:  Distressing footage that shows people "people visibly suffering due to COVID…

Transform photos into works of art with the Google Arts & Culture app

The Google Arts & Culture app has a new Art Transfer tool that lets you add the style of famous works of art to your photos. And the app lets you explore art from around the world up close on your phone. 
You can select from recent images on your phone, or from other apps like Google Drive, Google Photos, or Dropbox to create a new "masterpiece". You can then download or share the results to social media.  
It's not as "smart" as apps like Prisma, and the images are low resolution, but it's fun to play with. 
The Arts & Culture app offers other toys as well that lets you explore art from around the world at home: Art Selfie lets you find portraits that look like youColor Palette helps you find art using the colors of your photoArt Projector uses augmented reality to display art masterpieces full sized in your roomPocket Gallery uses AR to let you walk through galleries and view art up closeTours in Google Street View to "walk around" Artwork i…

Weekly Update - March 28, 2020: Google GDC, Podcasts, Business Updates

Following last week’s big roundup of coronavirus-related updates, I was hoping for more new news to share. But we’re still a long way from normal. Google, Facebook, Twitter and other online services are working hard to keep their services running under a heavy traffic load, prevent the spread of misinformation and keep advertisers advertising. And if you run a business, you need to be sure that its online presence has up-to-date information.

On the upside, new options for content sharing and discovery have been quickly pushed out by Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and a number of other sites. That's a bit of brightness in these hard times.
General UpdatesWhile the annual Game Developers Conference has been postponed until August, the online-only Google for Games Developer Summit was held last Monday. There were a number of announcements, including new tools for developing Android games, managed Game Servers, and tips for growing your games business with AdMob and Analytics.…

Weekly Update - March 21, 2020: COVID-19 news and updates

On this first weekend of Spring, I feel like we should be celebrating new growth and renewal. But instead I - and I imagine many of you - am hunkered down at home, practicing social distancing, and doing my best to not get infected. Of course it’s affecting tech companies as well. Most have sent their workforce home, putting a crimp in both product development and support. 
But there are a few bright spots. Many companies are offering their paid services for free, at least for the next few months. And many artists and performers are continuing to work to keep us entertained.
I’ve rounded up the latest information below. One thing that is abundantly clear: tech companies need people to keep them running smoothly. And we need each other.  Event UpdatesIf you are a Local Guide, applications for the Connect Live 2020 event are still open through March 30. They are encouraging that local groups host virtual meet-ups for the time being.The Google Games Developers Summit Livestream is stil…

Accentuate the positive on YouTube: Learn@Home and Stay Home #WithMe

The rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has many of us limited to our homes for at least the next few weeks. YouTube has launched new with content to keep us all learning and entertained. 
Learn@Home and YouTube Learning offer educational content for kids, families and adults. And the #StayHome #WithMe initiative asks creators to make fun and informative videos for folks stuck at home, who might want someone to cook with, jam with, craft with, work out with or just hang out with. 
Plus there are special new emoji you can use in livestream and Premiere live chats. 
Learn@Home and YouTube Learning The new Learn@Home site (learnathome.withyoutube.com) features educational channels in the arts, science, math, history and more. They are organized by age group, with channels aimed at preschoolers, kids 5 and up and teens. 
The site also offers additional educational resources, with learning schedules and topical playlists. 
Curious teens and adults should also check out the YouTube Learning …

YouTube temporarily increasing automated content review

YouTube announced today that because of reductions in in-office staffing, they are temporarily increasing reliance on automated systems to flag content.
Our Community Guidelines enforcement today is based on a combination of people and technology: Machine learning helps detect potentially harmful content and then sends it to human reviewers for assessment. As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers. This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review, so we can continue to act quickly to remove violative content and protect our ecosystem, while we have workplace protections in place. This means that there may be more incorrect content removals for Community Guidelines violations. YouTube says that they will not issue strikes "except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative."
Learn more in this FAQ: Update for Creat…

Weekly Update: March 14, 2020 - Work, learn, play at home

These are interesting times. Many folks here in California have been encouraged - or required - to start working from home, including employees at Google, Facebook and Twitter. Events have been cancelled, many schools have gone online, and cultural attractions are closed, but even so, we don’t have it bad here compared to many other places around the world. And life goes on. Not surprisingly, coronavirus-related updates and tips dominated this week.
YouTube mobile apps have a new Explore tab, replacing the Trending tab. There are buttons to find music, news, gaming, beauty, learning, and movie content; a more prominent Creator on the Rise section; and, of course, trending videos.Gmail will let you create and use multiple email signatures.Google Sheets now lets you sort and filter cells by text or fill color and set custom table ranges for charts.You can now fix an image to a specific place in your Google Docs document. Plus there is a new sidebar with image formatting options. Googl…

Weekly Update - March 7, 2020: Coronavirus-related Policies, Hangouts Meet Premium, Pixel Feature Drop

This week felt like it was all about coronavirus: there were more cancelled conferences (including Google I/O) and policy updates from Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to try to help prevent the spread of misinformation. Google is offering premium Hangouts Meet features to all G Suite customers. And there are a bunch of neat new features for Pixel phones.
If you are in Nashville, uBreakiFix and Asurian are offering free screen repairs for Google, Apple and Samsung phones through March. Coronavirus-related updates
The in-person portion of Google Cloud Next ‘20 has been cancelled, and the conference has been transformed into Google Cloud Next ‘20: Digital Connect. It will still take place April 6-8, and will be a “free, global, digital-first, multi-day event connecting our attendees to Next ’20 content and each other through streamed keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive learning and digital “ask an expert” sessions with Google teams.” There are sessions ranging from using AI …

YouTube in the time of coronavirus: limiting misinformation and promoting authoritative sources

Amidst increasing concern about the global spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), there are unfortunately people who share bad information, either out of ignorance or for personal gain. And, as is well known,YouTube is an excellent platform for spreading information, both good and bad. With that in mind, Google is taking steps to help increase the availability of authoritative information, and reduce the spread of misinformation about COVID-19 on YouTube and in its advertising ecosystem.

To stay up to date with the current news subscribe to get an email when YouTube announces a new COVID-19-related change. I am also updating this article as changes occur.

Update March 11, 2020: The YouTube Help Center now has a dedicated page with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) updates. A limited number of channels will also be able to monetize COVID-19-related content. 

Update March 16, 2020: YouTube announced they are temporarily increasing automated content reviews. If your video is rem…
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