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Creator Weekly: AdSense Site Management, WordPress in the Fediverse, Adobe Firefly out of beta

It’s finally starting to feel like fall. Leaves won’t change here in the SF Bay Area for a while, but the air is crisper. It’s my favorite season.

This week there aren’t any major updates. But there are a number of smaller changes for web publishers, song writers, image creators and more. My top updates include better Sites management in AdSense, Adobe Firefly graduating out of beta, WordPress blogs joining the fediverse, and exploring the Data Commons.

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Hispanic heritage month

Improved Site Management in AdSense

AdSense is making it easier to verify your website and get your site’s ads.txt file crawled.

Note that if you only use AdSense for YouTube, you don’t need to add a site to your AdSense account.

Improvements to site verification

If you add a new website to your AdSense account, your site ownership will be “verified in real time”.

You can add a meta tag to your website’s home page, rather than the AdSense code snippet (that lets you verify your site without adding ads on your homepage).

Learn more
Add a new site to AdSense

Get your site’s ads.txt file reviewed

Adding an Authorized Digital Sellers (ads.txt) file to your website lets you control who’s allowed to sell ads on your site and help buyers identify counterfeit inventory.

AdSense says “Use of ads.txt is not mandatory, but it’s highly recommended.” And if you don’t implement it correctly, you will see a big notice in your AdSense account suggesting you fix it.

With this update you will see the date and time your site’s ads.txt file was last checked and there is a new “Check for updates” button to ask AdSense to recheck.

Learn more:
AdSense Ads.txt Guide
Troubleshooting ads.txt issues

Adobe Firefly Emerges from Beta

Adobe Firefly -- Adobe’s generative AI image creation tool -- is out of beta. You can still play with it for free, but if you want to use it professionally, you’ll need a paid account.

The basic subscription is $4.99 per month for 100 monthly “fast” generative AI credits and the ability to remove Adobe’s watermark. The free plan only includes 25 generative credits.

You can also now share your prompts and generated images in Firefly, which allows others to build on what you created.

Notably, Adobe says they trained Firefly on their own Adobe Stock images, along with images in the public domain and others they had permission to use.

Adobe is also giving a monetary bonus to artists and photographers whose images were used to train the original Firefly model. The amount is “based on the all-time total number of approved images submitted to Adobe Stock that were used for Firefly training, and the number of licenses that those images generated in the 12-month period between June 3rd, 2022, to June 2nd, 2023.”

Adobe Stock also now allows submission of AI-generated images, as long as they meet the guidelines and are labeled as AI-generated.

Explore Google’s Data Commons

Data Commons ( is an open source Google project to make public data more accessible and useful.

This is less “search the web” and more “search databases”, with datasets from government sources, universities and other authoritative sources. There is data from around the world, but US data is most heavily represented.

It now has an AI Large Language Model based natural language interface that makes it easier to explore the information.

There are sample questions you can explore (Which countries in Africa have had the greatest increase in electricity access? Tell me about greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. What are the most popular jobs in California?), or you can ask your own.

You can then download the data or explore further.

If you use the generated charts or tools, they ask you to cite with the following format

Data Commons 2023, Data Commons, viewed 16 Sep 2023, <>.

If citing data from a particular dataset, e.g. CDC Places, then use:
Data Commons 2023, CDC Places, electronic dataset, Data Commons, viewed 16 Sep 2023, <>.

(The “viewed” is the date you viewed the data.)

More Video Creator Updates

Adobe announced AI-powered video editing features are available in beta in Premiere Pro, including:
  • Text-Based Editing of videos, with automatic detection (and bulk deletion) of filler words like “um”.
  • Enhance Speech that lets you remove noise from voice recordings with a single click.

On Twitch streamers can now share moderator comments with channels that they are sharing their ban information with.

Music and Podcasting

Spotify launched Songwriter Promo Cards, which creates a nice graphic for songwriters to promote the songs they have written. The cards can be shared or downloaded and posted to social media.

Web Publishers

WordPress announced that the ActivityPub 1.0 plugin is now available. Once you have activated it, your WordPress blog can be followed in the fediverse (such as on Mastodon) and receive replies as blog comments. It will soon be available to blogs at Get the plugin.

Google Search
released the September 2023 Helpful Content Update. If your website follows Google’s guidelines for creating helpful, reliable, people-first content, then you should be good to go.

Photos on the Web

If you are using Pexels as a source of free stock photos, you can organize your favorite images into Collections. (This isn’t a new feature, but this is a nice tutorial)

Social Media

Mike Masnick @ TechDirt reports on a new study that shows people have a negative view of brands that advertise on platforms that allow hate speech.

Tumblr is experimenting with Collections, and is asking for community feedback (at the link). The current experimental version is a collection of blogs with a feed of those blogs’ posts. The example is this Collection of all the official Tumblr blogs.

Pinterest announced “Collages”, which lets users cut out objects from a Pin and combine them with other objects to make a collage. It’s currently in early testing. This was announced to advertisers, suggesting they should upload their catalogs so that Pinners can use Collages to shop (for example, combine shoes, pants and shirts into a desired outfit).

Pinterest is launching Creative Studio, that will “give brands a speedy way to generate lifestyle imagery for product Pins.” Plus they announced a number of new interactive ad formats.

Instagram Gifts
are rolling out in more countries. This is a tip jar like feature that lets fans send “gifts”. To be eligible you must have a professional Instagram account with at least 5,000 followers and meet the monetization policies.

Twitter alternative Bluesky has hit 1 million users.

On Threads you can follow a discussion thread (with notifications) for 24 hours, without having to follow the poster(s).

X (Twitter) is apparently slowing down the opening of links to Threads, Substack, Instagram, Facebook and Bluesky.

X Premium subscribers can now choose to hide their “Likes”. Maybe worth the subscription fee if you are embarrassed about the posts you like (X suggests using this if you like “spicy” content).

More AI Updates

Adobe is proposing a new Federal Anti-Impersonation Right (“FAIR”) to “provide a right of action to an artist against those that are intentionally and commercially impersonating their work or likeness through AI tools.” This would require the intent to impersonate a particular artist for commercial gain.

Google now offers AI-based creative guidance for creating video ads in Google Ads. These ads run on YouTube, and the AI can make sure the ads follow best practices. Google AI tools also help you edit and add voiceovers to your ads. Learn more.

Creative Commons published an open letter from more than 70 artists who use AI in their work and who want to be included in discussions the US Congress is having about the future of AI.

Communication and Collaboration

How to use the new meeting scheduling feature in Gmail to find a meeting time.

If you have added your birthday to your Google profile, and made it visible to others, people will now see an animated birthday decoration on your personal hovercard on your birthday. Your person card may appear in Google Contacts or when people hover over your name in Google Chat, Gmail or other Google Workspace products. Learn how to make your birthday visible to others (you can limit that to the month and day).

Google offers tips on when to use pageless formatting in Google Docs.

Nina Trankova has information about the language and translation options in Google Meet meeting with Duet AI.

Meta is launching broadcast Channels in WhatsApp. These let you follow personalities or organizations where they post, and you can react or share. Your follows are private.


Chromebooks will now get 10 years of automatic updates (yay!)

Bill Willingham says he has placed his Fables comic book series in the public domain, mostly to spite publisher DC Comics. Of course DC says that he can’t do that and says they will “protect their intellectual property.” Sounds like a fight for the lawyers.

Google’s Emoji Kitchen is now available on the Google Search results page. Just search for Emoji Kitchen, then start mashing together your fave emoji to generate new creations.

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 the September 9 edition here.

Header image: Photo by Pixabay: CC0, Free for commercial use.


  1. I wonder if Blogger will be improved? Or will it take its place in the Google graveyard? Do you have any information about this? Also, if Blogger dies, which platform would you switch to?

    1. There is never any guarantee that a product will be around forever, but Google has not indicated they will shut down Blogger. However, if I did change, it would be to go to WordPress, because everyone is doing it :)

    2. I also know that you can't do it forever. My point is this: Google has recently discontinued so many of its services, I wonder when it will include Blogger?

    3. There isn't any way to know unless Google says something. I haven't seen any indications it will be shut down in the near future.


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