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Weekly Update - February 19, 2022: YouTube Live, AdSense for Search

This week there are creator updates and tips from all around the web, from YouTube to Twitter to Pinterest. There are updates to the metaverse and a new way to turn your old PC into a Chromebook.

Read on for details. If you want the Weekly Update in your email inbox, sign up for my newsletter.

To Watch

In “The 6 Year Overnight Success” comedian Julie Nolke talks about the years of hard work, rejection and failure that led to her “overnight” success on YouTube in 2020 (see “Explaining the pandemic to my past self”). I’m thinking about being brave enough to speak my goals and dreams out loud.

Try It

YouTube launched a #LoveNotes campaign on (naturally) Valentine’s Day. Use their downloadable green screen background to create a Short for your fans. The YouTube Shorts editor only supports green screen backgrounds on iOS and Pixel devices, but you can also use it in your favorite video editor. (I’ll note that I have a Pixel phone, and I don’t have the green screen feature in the Shorts editor. It may be rolling out.)

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022 is “Very Peri” (Pantone 17-3938) a purply periwinkle blue hue that "is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment" and looks to "trends in gaming, the expanding popularity of the metaverse and rising artistic community in the digital space."  Use it in your graphics? Or is it overused already? 

Top Updates

AdSense now offers related search ad units for content pages. This is an AdSense for Search feature that will show search terms related to the content of your pages. This is for sites that run their own search engine. If you don’t have your own site search engine, you can add an AdSense Search Engine instead, but Related Search ad units are not available in that case.

YouTube is rolling out “live rings” in the mobile app. This is a red ring that will appear around your channel avatar when you are live broadcasting. Clicking the avatar will bring people to your live stream.

If you use Google Docs for writing, there are two new “smart canvas” features: add a brief automatic (but editable) summary to your document, and create pageless documents that are not confined to paper page dimensions.

Google announced Chrome OS Flex, a new version of ChromeOS that can be installed on PCs and Macs. It replaces the device’s operating system, and can extend the useful life of hardware that is otherwise outdated. You can try an early version for free. Get more technical details here.  This is an update to Neverware’s CloudReady software, which was acquired by Google in December 2020.

More Updates

Video and Audio Creators

This week YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan wrote about how YouTube is trying to tackle the spread of misinformation. The focus is on the difficulties: catching misinformation before it starts spreading, even when there isn’t good information to point viewers to; videos that are spread on external websites, where YouTube can’t provide context; “hyperlocal” and “regional nuances entwined with misinformation” for a worldwide audience. There aren’t any easy answers, but they are exploring more types of labels or disclaimers, linking to reliable news reports, interstitial screens with warnings, and updated policies.

English language YouTube videos in the Education category can now add additional categories to (eventually) make your videos easier to find, including the type of video (such as Edutainment, Problem Walkthrough, Activity), which country’s academic system it’s relevant for, and the education level. (Creator Insider)

The YouTube “Shorts Shelf” is now shown on channels on desktop, in addition to mobile. (Creator Insider)

YouTube will now show user-specified gender in viewer demographics in YouTube Analytics, since users can now select that option (Creator Insider)

Meta has tips for creating Instagram Reels of live events. These are useful for YouTube Shorts, TikTok or any short video platform.

Spotify for Artists is now available in 26 languages.

Web Publishers

Google shared a brief overview of how to evaluate Web Stories performance in Google Analytics and Google Data Studio.

If you are an AdSense Publisher, sign up to watch the June 2021 Publisher on Air Webinar with the AdSense Trust and Safety Team to learn more about AdSense Policy. Note that an AdSense Publisher ID is required to sign up.

Social Media

Snapchat is introducing mid-roll ads in Snap Star Stories. Snap Stars (public figures and top creators) will receive a portion of the ad revenue.

Facebook is limiting the creation of profile frames to approved authoritative organizations. Why? At least in part because the custom frames were used to promote anti-vaccination statements, after such content was otherwise limited. It’s a loss to those who were putting the feature to positive creative use. Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today has the story.

Facebook’s News Feed is now just Feed, which I think more accurately reflects the actual content.

You can now privately “like” Stories on Instagram without also sending a DM.

Twitter now lets you pin up to 6 conversations in your DMs. I’m already finding this useful, as I get a lot of question DMs which tend to make my ongoing conversations harder to find.

Twitter is labeling automated developer-created accounts so that you can identify the #GoodBots. I am guessing the BadBots aren't linked to a developer account.

Tumblr is 15 years old this month, and they are celebrating the platform’s top reblogs.

Pinterest has several ideas for creating story-like Idea Pins.

Into the metaverse

Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR platform now has a monthly user base of 300,000 people, which is a 10-fold increase since the public launch in the US and Canada in December. It has 10,000 “worlds” you can explore with an Oculus Quest VR headset.

Microsoft’s AltspaceVR event platform is improving safety by getting less social. It is removing hosted social hubs, turning on its “Safety Bubble” feature by default, and all attendees will have to sign in with a Microsoft account.


There is an improved search experience for Google Chat on the web, including “intelligent suggestions” for people, spaces and group messages as you start typing in the search bar.

If you use Android’s Messages app for text messaging, you will soon be able to preview shared YouTube videos without leaving the app.


Google Drive now has “Search Chips” that let you easily filter and refine search results with a single click. This is available to all Google Workspace and personal Google accounts.

Online Privacy

Google Search Central has a new video showing how to request Google Search content removals under the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten”.

Google is building a Privacy Sandbox on Android to allow effective digital advertising with improved privacy. This is a multi-year project, and Google says they are working with developers, the advertising industry and government regulators to try to develop a system that works for everyone. It will be interesting to see if theta re actually able to do that.


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: The image is a transparent “Dew and a Flower” (public domain) over a background of Hex Code #6667AB (roughly Pantone Very Peri).


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