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Weekly Update - April 16, 2022: YouTube Research, Subtitle Editors, Meet in Docs

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all who celebrate! Have a joyous week!

This week there are a number of updates for YouTube Creators, including the ability to grant someone access to your YouTube Studio to edit subtitles, Search Insights for content planning, sampling other videos in Shorts and the possibility of winning a lifetime VIP pass to Coachella.

There are also a number of productivity updates, including the option to bring your Google Meet meeting into Google Docs, Slides and Sheets. This is your personal meeting view, so the document you are working in is not automatically shared, allowing both collaboration and multitasking.

Plus WhatsApp is getting Communities. And we learned Elon Musk doesn’t understand the complexities of content moderation (not too surprising, that).

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Read on for details. 


The Coachella Valley Music Festival is this weekend and next weekend. Watch the music performances live on YouTube through Monday, April 18 on the Coachella YouTube channel. Next weekend (April 22-24) is a “curated livestream experience.”

YouTube is also sponsoring Shorts creators at the festival, exclusive “pre parties” for YouTube Premium subscribers, performer merch you can get through YouTube Shopping and interactive live chats. Learn about all of the Coachella events.

If you are in the United States and at least 14 years old, you can win a lifetime VIP pass by creating a YouTube Short about “Who would your dream +1 be if you won Coachella passes for life?” with the hashtag #YouTubeCoachellaSweepstakes. The VIP pass is in the form of a NFT (?!), so you also need a NFT wallet to win. Yes, you can enter without creating a Short. The terms have pages worth of disclaimers about NFTs. How long will the winner retain access to their pass? I’m guessing less than an actual lifetime.


Register for virtual conferences Google I/O (May 11-12) and Google Marketing Live (May 24).

This Week's Top Updates

YouTube launched several cool new features for creators:
  • Shorts Creators will be able to use a 1-5 second segment of any video with the Shorts sampling option enabled. Previously only audio clips could be sampled. This will first be available on iOS devices, and on Android devices “later this year”.
  • The Shorts video player is now available on desktop and mobile browsers and on tablets.
  • Channel Permissions now has a Subtitle Editor role, that lets you give access to your channel for assistance in adding subtitles without giving access to any other settings or information.
  • Search Insights (Research Tab) is a new feature for content planning that helps you explore what people are searching for on YouTube. It should be available to all creators by the end of April.
  • Channel Guidelines - your rules for behavior on your channel - is being made available to more channels.
You can now view your Google Meet call from inside Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. This lets you more easily collaborate (or multi-task) while in a video meeting. Note that this does not automatically allow others in the meeting to see the document you are viewing. The document can be presented using Meet screen sharing, or you can share a link to the document for other participants to view. This update is rolling out through May.

Meta launched WhatsApp Communities. The Communities are a collection of related groups (think an organization’s different teams, parent groups for different grades at a school, different groups in an apartment building). Updates can be sent to everyone within a Community, and Communities are private with end-to-end encryption. Phone numbers of members will only be visible to Community admins and members of the individual groups they belong to. Groups are also getting a number of updates: reactions, the ability of admins to delete messages, increased file sharing storage, and voice calling for up to 32 people.

Everything in moderation

Elon Musk, not satisfied with being Twitter’s biggest shareholder, made a takeover bid. He has talked a lot about bringing more “free speech” to the platform, while folks who have actual experience with moderation have explained how clueless Musk seems about the way social media platforms actually work. See especially Mike Masnick’s article at Techdirt.
“The simple fact is that dealing with human nature and human communication is much, much, much more complex than teaching a car how to drive by itself. And there is no perfect solution. There is no “congrats, we got there” moment in content moderation. Because humans are complex and ever-changing. And content moderation on a platform like Twitter is about recognizing that complexity and figuring out ways to deal with it.”
Yishan Wong, former CEO of Reddit, also weighed in. He says Musk is out of touch with the current state of the internet. He notes that the “old culture of the internet” (which “older tech leaders” grew up with) was strong on free speech, with the main concern being censorship by religious conservatives. But that is longer the biggest issue. The entire world is on the internet, fighting culture wars from all sides, and platforms apparently just want people to stop squabbling.

(As a side note, I just realized I’m older than Elon, which makes me ancient on the internet, and probably totally out of touch.)

YouTube and Video

Matt Navarra reports that TikTok has a new mobile gaming live streaming feature.

TikTok’s Effect House platform is now open to all creators. The platform lets creators create AR effects to share with everyone on the platform.

Twitch has banned several accounts live streaming pro-Russian propaganda.

Web Publishers

Last week quietly announced changes to their plans and pricing that caused some outcry. Instead of multiple different types of plans, there are now only two: Free and Pro. The Pro plan is $15 per month, billed yearly. In response to feedback, some of the changes have been modified. Originally free plans had a cap on views and only 500mb of storage. 

Now the free plan has no cap on views and 1GB of storage (which is still a significant cut from the original 3GB). They have also acknowledged that $15 per month is a huge price jump for hobby bloggers who previously paid $4 per month for additional features on the personal plan. On the other hand, this change looks pretty sweet for business users, who previously were paying $25 per month or more. And legacy users can keep their old plans for the time being. (hat tip to Thiago Santos de Moraes for pointing me to this story)

I’ll note that Blogger is free to use, no ads (other than the ones you place yourself), and does not charge to add a custom domain.

Google is rolling out a migration tool that lets you import goals from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4.

Twitter rolled back changes to the way embedded Tweets appear when the Tweets are deleted.

Social Media

Meta (previously Facebook) is ready to monetize their metaverse-like platform Horizon Worlds, and it’s not a great deal for creators. For items sold inside Horizon Worlds, the Oculus Store (for Meta’s VR hardware) takes a 30% cut and Meta takes another 25% cut. That means sellers will take home less than half the sale price. That doesn’t seem to be much of an incentive to participate on the platform.

Meta also announced a Horizon Worlds Creator Bonus program. Participants are paid each month for progress towards a goal.

Audio social platform Clubhouse now offers dark mode. In a more serious development, they also launched a protected profile setting, so that your profile is only fully visible to people you approve as followers.

Reddit now lets you search the over 5 billion comments posted in the past two years.

Snapchat launched Dynamic Stories. This allows news organizations to automatically create Stories from content the publisher is already posting on the web. The Stories update in real time, which is useful for breaking news.


Smart Reply is now available in Google Slides to save time when you respond to comments.

Google Sheets now offers suggestions to fix formulas. If Sheets thinks your formula might be missing cells in a range input or otherwise might be making a mistake, you will see a suggested correction that you can accept or reject.


Ukrainian officials claim they are using Clearview AI facial recognition software to identify dead Russian soldiers, find their social media accounts, then contact their families. I’m both fascinated and horrified. Story in the Washington Post.

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: Easter Eggs by Goku4501 on Canva. Free to use commercially.