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Weekly Update - February 12, 2022: YouTube Plans for 2022, Safer Internet Day, Currents moving to Spaces


There are a lot of updates this week!

There are two popular unofficial American celebrations in the coming days - the Superbowl and Valentine’s Day - and social sites have both covered.

Also this week: Safer Internet Day, with safety tips galore; the last bit of Google+ will disappear in early 2023 when Currents is shut down and the content is moved to Google Chat’s Spaces; YouTube shared their plans for 2022, which include new Shorts tools, Live Streaming features, better comments, and maybe the metaverse and NFTs (everyone’s doing it!), and more.

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Superbowl Sunday

Superbowl LVI is Sunday in Los Angeles. It is forecast to be an unseasonably warm 85°F (30°C), which is more like beach weather than football weather. My local weather will be a lovely 75°F, so I may spend it outside, rather than in front of the TV.

YouTube’s “AdBlitz” is back where you can watch all the ads without having to sit through the Big Game. Google will show an ad featuring “Real Tone”, which helps make sure the Pixel camera accurately captures all skin tones.

Google Assistant will answer your Big Game questions.

If you are a Rams or Bengals fan, you can outfit your Facebook, Messenger or Instagram avatar in team gear.

When you Tweet the game, be sure to include a “hashflag” #SBLVI or your team. Twitter is also running their annual Brand Bowl, which highlights the ads most talked about on the platform.

Spotify rounds up some of their top sports podcasts and live greenrooms, and highlights their sports “community” landing page, The Roster.

Valentine’s Day

Monday is Valentine’s Day ❤. If you haven’t gotten a gift for your special someone, consider making a special video with Google Photos. Here’s a quick tutorial. Or watch the video:
    

If you are chatting with your sweetie in Google Duo or Meet, you can use the heart AR effect to show your love.

Google has more suggestions, including creating pixel art in Sheets, creating an ecard in Slides, sharing your Photos and reminiscing about a romantic trip in Maps, or using Forms to send a fun questionnaire. And Waze has a special “Cupid Experience”.

If you are promoting your business or brand, Twitter has some posting tips and shares the most popular Valentines-related hashtags. And Snapchat shares what snapchatters from around the world share on Valentine’s day.

Messenger Kids has new AR effects to send digital valentines to approved contacts.

Or if you have money to spend, Instagram has a live shopping Valentine’s Day event, with celebrities, reality stars and influencers sharing beauty and dating tips.

And TikTok wants everyone to #BeCyberSmart and beware of romance scams.

Safer Internet Day

Tuesday was Safer Internet Day, an annual event that started as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project.

All the major platforms have tips for keeping your account secure and managing your activity. It’s worth reading them all and double checking to make sure your account is as secure and safe as it can be.

Google highlighted account safety checkup tools, the new Campaign Security Project to keep candidates and campaign worker accounts secure, account level enhanced safe browsing, Meet security features for education, and other features. They are partnering with Khan Academy to create free online safety lessons. And they really want you to turn on 2-step verification to secure your account. Do it!

Google Account and Gmail Product Expert Somnath also has a useful article that shows how to check your Google account for unauthorized access or unusual account activit

YouTube shared its safety features for parents, your data management controls, and security settings.

Facebook/Meta Messenger has tips for setting boundaries and taking control of your inbox.

Instagram reviewed tips on keeping your account safe, and announced that a new “Your Activity” manager is rolling out to everyone. They are also testing a way to allow friends to help you confirm your identity if you lose access to your account.

TikTok updated their Community Guidelines to more strictly prohibit dangerous acts and challenges, will remove videos promoting disordered eating, prohibits deadnaming, misgendering, or misogyny, and has new policies to prohibit unauthorized access or using TikTok for criminal activity.

Twitter is making it easier to report “unhealthy and unwanted” content and is testing a new “Safety Mode” to block spammy replies.

Twitch updated their username policy to prohibit references to hard drugs and sexual acts.

Top Updates

YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, shared YouTube’s plans for 2022. There’s a lot on the roadmap, some of which is already being tested, and other that seems to still be in the “thinking about it” stage:
  • New Shorts effects and editing tools
  • Reply to individual comments with a Short
  • New monetization options for Shorts, such as Super Chat-like fan funding, branded content and shopping
  • Collaborative live streaming (which sounds very cool)
  • Gifted Memberships
  • Creator-added channel guidelines for commenters
  • Sort comments timed to the moment in the video you are watching
  • “Web3”, “blockchain”, “NFTs” to “allow creators to build deeper relationships with their fans”. It sounds like no specific plans as yet, but there is “potential” there.
  • The “metaverse” and immersive viewing, probably coming first to gaming content.
  • More live shopping and shoppable videos.
  • Use your phone while watching YouTube on TV to read or leave comments, share videos with a friend, and more.
Currents, the successor to Google+ for G Suite, will be shut down in early 2023, and content and communities will be migrated to Google Chat Spaces. I wrote up an overview of what’s changing and what that may mean for users. Notably Spaces is available to anyone with a Google account, so new community-like features in development will hopefully also be widely available.

More Creator Tips and Updates

YouTube and Video

The YouTube Creators channel has a recap of the past month’s creator updates.

There is a new Korean YouTube Help community (YouTube ๋„์›€๋ง ์ปค๋ฎค๋‹ˆํ‹ฐ์— ).

Matt Koval, YouTube’s Creator Liaison, has left the company and YouTube is looking for a replacement. Koval is joining community platform Mighty Networks, as SVP of creators.

Facebook is has tips for optimizing your Facebook video in Creator Studio using Smart Crop, Smart Preview, Story highlight clipping, “Post Testing” and auto-captioning.

Blogging

If you are blogging at Tumblr, there’s a new Tip Jar feature that lets people pay you a small tip. It can be done anonymously or publicly.

Medium has a new design that they say makes it easier to discover and follow specific writers. It includes a sidebar that promotes related articles by other writers, which has many Medium writers upset. And the new design removed the ability to resize or position images, which apparently can break photo blogs and otherwise heavily formatted blogs. Tags, which replaced topic pages last September, have also apparently gone missing. It appears the goal is to increase the time visitors spend on the platform, which might be great for Medium, but not necessarily good for individual writers.

Productivity

Chrome is offering more Actions from the address bar, like “Manage settings” or “Share this tab”. And if you are doing research, you can return to a prior search by typing a related search term and then selecting “Resume your research”. Or you can revisit your search topics on the new Chrome History Journeys page.

Paolo Amoroso has some useful tips for reading PDF ebooks in Google Play Books.

You can now see and manage any overdue tasks in Google Calendar.

More

Google is bringing News Showcase panels from local news outlets into the “Your Local News” section of Google News. 

If you have a free G Suite legacy account (soon to be discontinued), Microsoft is offering a specially discounted Microsoft 365 Business plan if you switch.

If you are an Android developer or very early adopter, the first preview of Android 13 is now available.

Reddit is adding new features to Reddit Talk, its Clubhouse-like live audio conversation feature, including recordings, comments, a live bar highlighting live conversations in the mobile app, plus more features are available on the web.

Anthropologist Genevieve Bell explains how “the metaverse is a new word for an old idea” for MIT Technology Review.

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.

Image: Hearts background from Canva. Free to use.

Comments

  1. 1.) Hi, I am sorry to trouble you here about this, but I have noticed an issue in the new images uploaded to Blogger (the ones with the new URL structure). The newly uploaded images in Blogger (the ones with new URL structure) load much slowly in comparison to the older ones. (details and link to post in community below)

    In case you're wondering,
    For example,
    Before : 2.bp.blogspot.com/hsjs.../s123/sme-image.jpg
    Now: blogger.googleusecontent.com/hwhdsk....iwd?=s123

    I have sent feedback through Blogger and also put a post on the Community as well
    Link : https://support.google.com/blogger/thread/150765349?hl=en

    But given the fact that none of the issues I reported thus before were rarely dealt with without it being escalated to them directly by a product expert, I'm bringing it to your notice here. I hope you do not mind. Thank you.


    2. ) Also, if you don't mind, here's a link to another unresolved issue for over 2 years at least, which was locked without any replies at all. I have reported it via feedback option in Blogger multiple times but nothing happens. I doubt nay human ever reads those.

    Link : https://support.google.com/blogger/thread/83991093?hl=en

    This one is about Image Lightbox not working on mobile version of site despite enabled in settings (in case of v2 templates, older version templates).

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thnaks for the report about the new image URLs and for submitting feedback to Blogger directly.

      Regarding the second issue, I've unlocked the old thread. Can you post to it to confirm this is still an issue, and include example blog post URLs?

      Delete
    2. Hi, thanks for the quick response and also for unlocking the old thread. I have now posted example post links as a reply to the old thread at https://support.google.com/blogger/thread/83991093?hl=en

      This bug I have noticed on other blogger blogs which uses an older version template too (that is this bug is seen for templates that existed before newer ones like Soho, Contempo, etc).

      Delete

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