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Weekly Update - February 26, 2022: Hangouts moving to Chat, YouTube & AdSense payments, war in Ukraine

My social media has been dominated by news of the invasion of Ukraine, with good takes, bad information, and discussion of the role of social media (and Google Maps). It’s a terrible time.

This week there’s a reminder of two major changes being implemented starting in March: Google Workspace accounts will be moved from Hangouts to Google Chat and YouTube Partners will see a new YouTube-only payments profile in AdSense. Read on for details.

Plus there are updates for video creators, webmasters and more.

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The latest on Google messaging

All Google Workspace accounts will be moved from classic Hangouts to Google Chat on March 22. Hangouts will no longer be available in Gmail or the Hangouts mobile app. But this is not the complete shutdown of Hangouts, as on the web will still be available. Get the full details of this update.

Google has not announced a timeline for the migration of personal Google accounts.

In a nice update, Google Chat has an  improved emoji experience, with the latest emoji set and skin tone and gender preferences saved per emoji. Emoji are searchable and show their shortcodes if you prefer typing. Click the emoji icon on the right side of the text entry box for options. The screenshot is for :facepalm: .

Reminder for YouTube Partners

A big change is coming: soon AdSense and YouTube will have separate payments accounts that will each have to meet the $100 (or equivalent) payment threshold for a payment to be issued. If you usually need the combined earnings from your website and YouTube channel to meet the payment threshold each month, that probably means payments will be issued to you less frequently. 

Both payments accounts will be available in your AdSense account. This change will start rolling out in March. Learn more.

What I’m Watching

Karen Eber talks about “Why storytelling is more trustworthy than presenting data” at TEDxPurdueU. Stories are compelling, but I am not convinced that storytelling is “more trustworthy” than sharing data. “Data doesn’t change behavior, emotions do” suggests why people cling to misinformation, despite the facts.

If you are interested in storytelling, join this week’s #OnEBoardChat on Sunday at 11am PDT/6PM UTC, hosted by Bob Danley.

YouTube and Video

YouTube’s video editor has a fresh look, and now has all editing tools in one place. That includes trim, blur, audio, end screens, info cards, and ad breaks. Learn how to edit your videos on YouTube.

YouTube recapped the updates to YouTube Analytics in 2021 and shared what features they are thinking about updating in 2022. Some of their ideas: breaking out stats by format (live stream, short, regular video), more analytics around revenue and monetization, and helping creators find new topics and content ideas. Watch the video for details. (Creator Insider video)

Twitch is launching an Ads Incentive Program (AIP), offering some creators a personalized flat payout for streaming a set number of hours with ads enabled. It should take away some of the uncertainty of ad revenue. Once the hours are completed, creators can continue to earn from ad revenue at their usual rate.

Reels on Facebook has launched globally. If you are an Instagram creator, that means you can share your Reel - short vertical videos - to Facebook. Insta CEO Adam Mosari says “this is just one more step on a longer path” in their investment in short form video.

And Facebook is bringing overlay ads to Facebook Reels. If you are eligible to monetize, you can add the overlays to start earning some money. Current availability is for creators in the US, Canada and Mexico, and it will be expanding to more countries in March.

Social Media

If you Tweet potentially sensitive or disturbing photos or videos, Twitter now lets you add a one-time sensitive content warning.

Casey Newton has “the hard truth” about Truth Social, Donald Trump’s new social network, based on the Twitter-like open source Mastodon platform. “It still looks to be structured for mostly one-way communication, broadcast primarily to an audience of Trumpist dead-enders.”

Reddit has a new Discover Tab to help you find new content and communities. The suggestions are personalized. And there is a huge limitation: text-based communities and posts are not included. That seems like an odd choice, as some of the best content on Reddit (IMO) is text only (like AskScience and AskHistorians) will be excluded.

Maxine Williams, Meta’s Chief Diversity Officer, explains how they are working towards diversity and inclusion in the metaverse. Steps include recruiting diverse talent to work on the project, working on automated translation tools, making sure creators from around the world can access their Spark AR and VR platforms, and offering a wide range of avatar options to let people depict themselves as they are (or not).

Audio platform Clubhouse introduced in-room text chat that is available to all users in a live room. They are touting it as a way to get real-time feedback or running polls. Fortunately, creators can also appoint moderators to delete messages and remove people as needed.

Web Creators

Google Search Central answers the question “How does the geographic location of a web server affect SEO? And how can you geo-target your content? (Google Search Central #AskGooglebot video)

Google’s Roboto font is simple and easy to read. And now there is Roboto Serif, a chunky retro-styled serif, that is free to use and open source. The Verge has the story. You can get the font at Google Fonts or if you are using Blogger to post, use the font picker.

Tumblr now offers ad-free browsing with its newly-launched subscription. It seems a bit pricey at $4.99 per month, but maybe worth it if you spend a lot of time on the platform.

On war in Ukraine

YouTube Creators on Twitter is reminding Ukrainian creators “Увімкніть двоетапну аутентифікацію вашого каналу за допомогою облікового запису Google. “ Now is a good time for everyone to make sure your Google account (including your YouTube, Gmail, Photos, Drive, Chat and so forth) is secure. Run a security checkup and set up two-step verification (with backup codes) if you have not done so already.

On Google Maps, tracking the invasion of Ukraine (Washington Post)

A War in Europe Is Being Documented One Social Media Post at a Time (Samantha Cole for Motherboard)

MIT Technology Review has tips on how to avoid sharing bad information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and how to make sure you aren’t spreading misinformation in general).


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: Daffodils - March’s flower - by LoggaWiggler on Pixabay. Pixabay License. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.