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Weekly Update - May 8, 2021: YouTube Shorts, Google Passwords, Identity

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all you moms! I hope you are able to celebrate with your kids, even if only online.
This week there are tips and tutorials for YouTubers, bloggers and other web creators and social media mavens.


Use a different identity for your YouTube channel than you use for other Google services - no Brand Account required (although you may still want to use one).

Top Updates

Google celebrated World Password Day by explaining how they go beyond passwords to keep your account safe. Notably, Google will soon be automatically enrolling accounts in two-step verification if they are “appropriately configured”. There will be an option to opt out. Google’s free Password Manager also now lets you import up to 1000 passwords at a time.
The YouTube Shorts camera is now available to all channels in the US. New features include a “Shorts” section on your Channel home, viewers can watch Shorts in their subscription feed, and they are testing a more prominent Shorts button in the mobile app. But the big new feature (currently only available to a small group of creators) is the option to use15-second audio clips from any video on YouTube in your Short. If you don’t want audio from your videos to be available, you can opt out any individual non-Short video. Bulk channel opt-out should be available soon.


  • Concert: On May 8 at 5 PM Pacific/8 PM Eastern (May 9 at 1 AM GMT), will stream Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE. The goal? “Inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, everywhere.” The host is Selina Gomez, and there will be music, celebrities, and more. Learn more. Watch it on YouTube or broadcast television.
  • Reminder: The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is hosting “Reimagine the Internet”, a free virtual conference May 10-14. Register now for access.
  • Coming soon: register for this year’s virtual Google I/O (May 18-20), which is free and online.


Web Publishers

Social Media

  • Twitter is displaying larger in-feed images in the iOS and Android app. Images with 2:1 and 3:4 aspect ratios will not be cropped.
  • Twitter is testing a “tip jar” on some profiles, and a couple of issues have emerged with the PayPal option. First, if you use PayPal to pay for “goods and services” (rather than to “friends and family”), PayPal includes your physical address with the payment. That is the default if you have a business account. The other issue is that people can apparently use the tip jar to request a payment, rather than make a payment, and already that is being abused.
  • Instagram has added automatic captioning to Stories. The new Captions sticker is currently only available in English, and is rolling out in predominantly English-speaking countries.
  • Facebook is going after Nextdoor with the new Neighborhoods. This is rolling out in Canada, and will soon be available in the US. To join your local Neighborhood you will have to confirm that is, indeed, your neighborhood (although it’s not clear how they will do that).
  • Josephine Wolf at Slate takes a look at “The very weird fight between Facebook and the encryption app Signal”. Signal says they tried to run Instagram ads that expose the data Facebook has on users, but had their ad account disabled. Facebook says no they didn’t. What’s the truth? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Photo of pink roses by Isabelle Taylor from Pexels (free to use)