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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.

Creator Updates

  • This 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 for creators. It highlights steps YouTube is taking to support the Black community, to connect people to reliable health information about the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help students learn remotely. And it celebrates the recent burst of creativity from home. Interesting numbers:
    • YouTube has removed over 200,000 videos for violating the policy prohibiting content with harmful medical misinformation.
    • Last quarter YouTube removed over 100,000 videos and 100 million comments for hate and harassment.
    • The average daily views of videos with homeschooling in the title have more than tripled in the last three months.
    • There has been a 45 percent increase in views of meditation videos. And viewership of “wellness” videos is up.
    • At the height of stay-at-home measures, live watchtime on TV screens was up over 250 percent compared the same time period last year.
    • The YouTube Giving donate button is now available to more than 40,000 channels. Eligible channels must have at least 100,000 subscribers, and be based in the US, UK or Canada.
    • As ad revenue has declined, creators are diversifying their income. The number earning the majority of their YouTube revenue from memberships and paid digital goods up 40 percent since January.
  • YouTube launched Creator Mix playlists. This is an algorithmically generated playlist of a channel’s content. It’s tailored for the viewer, suggesting videos the viewer has not already watched.
  • YouTube Creator Academy has new free Learning Toolkits ”designed to help you optimize your channels and businesses in a changing environment.” Learn the basics for live streaming, monetization and production, engage your community or pivot your content to something new. There are also free perks from, Headspace, and Adobe, so check it out.
  • If you want to raise money for a cause, be sure you don’t violate policy. Some YouTube Partners have pledged to donate their earnings to Black Lives Matter and other organizations.. Unfortunately a few have suggested people watch their videos over and over, or click the ads, in order to increase the earnings to be donated. The problem is that is invalid activity on the ads, which ultimately is returned to the advertisers. Such videos may be removed, and the associated AdSense account may be disabled. YouTube now has a guide to fundraising that won’t get your channel into trouble. YouTube isn’t heartless though. Beauty vlogger Zoe Amira had raised roughly $42,000 before her video was removed, and YouTube has pledged to donate double that to the charity of her choosing. (But if your channel isn’t as popular, you may not be given that option).
  • A number Twitch streamers were hit with multiple music copyright notices this week. Twitch streams are only archived up to 60 days, but highlight clips (VODs) are permanent. VODs recorded between 2017 and 2019 were affected. It isn’t clear what changed, but Twitch’s solution is to improve their copyright detection and video management tools to help users delete clips with copyrighted music. That is without penalty, at least for now. And that’s a bummer for creators who must now delete hundreds of clips from their channels. Twitch does offer an Amazon Music Extension, but it requires both the streamer and the viewers to subscribe to Amazon Prime or Amazon Music Unlimited. The lesson is that you should always only play licensed music, even if it’s just in the background.
  • SmugMug and Flickr are providing Pro accounts to “photographers who are creating and documenting recent activity around fighting racial injustice”. They are also creating a SmugMug site for photographers portraying the Black experience in America, with proceeds going to organizations fighting racial injustice. There is an application form if you or anyone you know should be considered.
  • The Lightstream live streaming platform now lets you swap their watermark for a Black Lives Matter banner.

Communication Updates

Webmaster and Advertising Updates

Productivity Updates

Also in tech news


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Image: Cherry season is almost over here in California, which means the start of summer is around the corner. Pile of cherry fruit by Clem Onojeghuo on Pexels.