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Weekly Update - May 28, 2022: YouTube comments, Twitter Creators, WordPress Starter


Monday is Memorial Day in the US, a time to remember US military who died in the service of their country. It’s also the unofficial start of summer. So it is a discordant mix of backyard barbeques and newly-reopened community swimming areas, heavily promoted department store sales, waving flags and somber cemetery visits. But this year there is so much sorrow, with mass shootings, and war, and the never ending pandemic, I may just stay in bed.

This past week there were a number of smaller updates, including YouTube layout changes, a new paid “Starter” WordPress plan, Twitter Creator hub and tips and updates for Google Search, Gmail, Drive and more. And there are positive things, like Google’s providing assistance to Ukrainian teachers and students, and Street View tours around the world.

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Keep your Google account secure

This week I joined Michael Daniels and Heather Kraafter on Tinkering with Tech to discuss securing your Google account. You can watch the video replay here.



And if you haven’t yet run a security checkup on your Google account, do that here:
https://myaccount.google.com/security-checkup

YouTube and Video

YouTube is introducing a new comments panel on desktop. You will see a teaser comment below the video, then the comments to the right of the video, allowing you to watch while viewing comments. You will also be able to view the comments below the video. More information from Creator Insider.

The YouTube search results page in the mobile app is getting larger vertical thumbnails for Shorts.

YouTube shared “5 ways YouTube Shorts can help superpower your channel”

TikTok announced Live Subscriptions, a way for creators to “generate predictable monthly income”. According to TubeFilter, this will function similarly to Subscriptions on Twitch and YouTube Gaming Memberships, with a focus on live streaming. Subscribers gain access to special content, emotes and subscriber-only comments. Eventually all creators with at least 1000 followers will be able to offer subscriptions.

Twitter is showing more stats for Tweets with video, including total and unique views, and audience retention.

Web Publishing

WordPress.com has a new “Starter” subscription. Last month WordPress announced they were changing their paid plans to only offer a very basic free plan and a feature-rich Pro plan. That left many WordPress.com users out in the cold, with the features they use missing from the free tier, and the Pro plan outside their budget. WordPress Starter is $5 per month, and includes the ability to add a custom domain, accept payments (for subscriptions or donations), unlimited traffic and extra storage for images. It does not include plugins, video uploads or the ability to remove WordPress’s ads or add your own ads, but those may be addable a la carte in the future.

I use Blogger, at least in part, because all those things are free: adding a custom domain, no-ads other than the ones I’ve added myself, unlimited photo and video uploads (with resizing), unlimited traffic, customizable layouts and so forth. The main advantage of the WordPress.com Starter subscription seems to be that it’s easy to upgrade to the full-featured Pro plan.

You can now add a full page embed of content in your Google Sites site. You can insert Google content, including Google Groups, Maps, Calendars, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Forms, Charts, or YouTube videos. Or embed another site or widget code.

Google is rolling out a core update for Google Search. Barry Schwartz at SEO Roundtable has collected SEO chatter on the change. If you have feedback, post a comment in the Google Search Console help community. And if your site is negatively affected, it’s recommended you review Google’s quality guidelines and reassess your site’s content,

Ads and Advertising

If you use AdSense for Search, there are extension settings changes coming in June. Note that Custom Search ads are for sites with their own “search experience”, and you need to have an AdSense account manager to sign up.

If you want to know the latest about Google advertising, check out this overview from Google Marketing Live. There is interesting information, even if you are a publisher or YouTube Partner (or web surfer), rather than an advertiser. There will be AR shopping ads in Search and (coming later this year) shopping ads in YouTube Shorts.

Social Media

Twitter launched Twitter Create, a hub to help professional content creators to “get the most out of Twitter”. It has how-to guides, interviews and tips for all kinds of creators: film & tv, gaming, music, news, sports, nonprofits, writers and podcasters.

Snap introduced “Shared Stories” that lets groups of Snapchatters view and contribute to a Story. Anyone added to the Shared Story can invite their friends to join as well.

Meta’s new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, will go into effect on July 26. The policies and terms have been rewritten to make them easier to understand. Also, you can now set a default audience for your posts on Facebook, so if you want the default to be private posts, you don’t have to reset it.

Meta’s Head of Commerce and FinTech wrote why they are “bullish about Web3, and how decentralized blockchains still need centralized services.

Instagram has undergone a “visual refresh” with brighter gradient-in-motion and a custom globally accessible font, Instagram Sans.

LinkedIn is posting a series of blog posts and videos on “Mythbusting the Feed” to improve transparency on how the platform works.

The world

Google Maps is celebrating 15 years of Street View with highlights from around the world from ancient pyramids in Sudan, to the Duomo in Milan, and the world’s tallest building in Dubai. The street view man has balloons and a party hat and you can change to a Street View car when you are navigating. Coolest new feature: being able to view older images to see how a location has changed (still rolling out, mobile only).

Google is helping Ukrainian teachers and students with remote learning by donating Chromebooks, training teachers for remote learning, offering premium Google Workspace for Education Meet features free to Ukrainian universities until the end of the year, and expanding youtube.com/learning to include Ukrainian-language content.

Productivity

In Google Chat you can now create personal Tasks from 1:1 or group messages. You can find your Tasks on the right sidebar in Gmail, Calendar and other Google Workspace sites or in the mobile Tasks app.

Google Docs will now let you make multiple text selections at once, and add formatting or delete, copy or paste. For example, you could select all the section headings in your document and make them all bold.

It is easier to organize your files in Google Drive now that you can use the keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste files into new locations in Drive, or into documents or emails.

Did you know you can use the Gmail “Templates” feature to create canned responses? Gmail Product Expert Somnath explains how to set that up.

The latest Chromebook update enables the Cursive app on eligible devices. This lets you use a stylus (or your finger) to write, sketch, and take and organize notes. Check the list of eligible Chromebooks here and access Cursive at cursive.apps.chrome or find it under the Everything Button.

What I’ve Been Reading

Cory Doctorow explains how “Your mom is a tech ninja” and why you should design products and tools to be “so easy your boss can use them”. “Bosses have the social clout to force the universe to rearrange itself to your comfort. Moms, not so much.”

Meta released MyoSuite, an embodied AI platform that can create realistic simulations of the anatomy and movement of the human hand and arm. They note it can be used to model injuries, optimize physical therapy, and, just maybe create more realistic metaverse avatars.

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: Clouds by Kranich17 from Pixabay. Free for commercial use.

Comments

  1. I'm looking forward to a more decentralized web 3 but not sure of the role of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in this new environment. I would like to get away from billion dollar companies owning my data.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like that too. But I don't think Facebook/Meta is going to be leading the way...

      Delete

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