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Creator Weekly: Halloween Treats, Microsoft Ads, Google Image Facts

Are you creating spooky content for Halloween? There are new effects and filters you can use, and hashtags for your content to get seen. Plus it’s easier to fact check images, monetize your blog or website, automatically create videos and more.

Have a spooky and safe pre-Halloween weekend!

Top news and updates this week
  • Halloween effects, hashtags and other features.
  • Fact check images in Google Search
  • AdSense Auto Ads updates for Related Search and Vignette ads
  • Monetize your blog or site with Microsoft pubCenter ads
  • Google Photos new tool automatically creates a video from a library search
  • X has new usage numbers and subscription options
Read on for details and additional updates!

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Halloween 👻

Fact Check Images in Google Image Search

You can now easily learn more about images you find in Google Image Search.

Click the three dot icon on an image in the Google Image search results or open the “About this result” tool in the search results and select “More about this page”. You can find more details about the image, including:
  • The history of the image in Google Search, including the web pages it was on.
  • How the image was described on other sites
  • The image’s metadata, including the AI-generated tag (which may or may not be included)
  • Journalists (and anyone interested in deeper information) can also use Google’s Fact Check Tools.
Note this is currently limited to English.

More controls for AdSense Auto Ads

When you implement AdSense Auto Ads, you place a small piece of code on your blog or website and AdSense then inserts ads on the page where it thinks they will work best. You can control the types and frequency of the inserted ads in your AdSense account.

AdSense announced two changes to the way auto ads are managed.

Related Search for Auto Ads is a new option that displays search terms related to the content of the page. If someone clicks a term, they are taken to a search results page with AdSense for Search ads. This is similar to the old link ads that were deprecated in 2021. Learn more about Related Search for Auto Ads. Note that these ads are currently only available in English and German.

Vignette ads are full screen ads that appear when someone leaves a web page or comes back to it. You can now change the frequency at which the ads are shown from every 1 minute to every hour, with the default being every 10 minutes. Learn more.

Microsoft pubCenter is a new way for publishers to monetize

Microsoft announced Microsoft pubCenter, a new option to monetize your blog or website with ads.

A few details:
  • Compatible with AdSense: You can use the Microsoft pubCenter ads in the same ad units as Google AdSense, and the best paying ad will be served. It’s also allowed to put the ad code on the same page as other ads.
  • Like AdSense, Microsoft uses a real-time auction to display ads from the Microsoft Advertising Network with the highest bid.
  • There is no minimum traffic requirement on your website to serve ads.
  • You will be able to block ad categories or specific advertisers.
  • Select different ad formats.
  • No clear details about how payments are issued (at least none that I could find).
This is currently a “pilot release phase” and US only, but you can join the waitlist if you are outside the US.

Learn more and sign up. I’m probably going to give it a try.

More Video Creator Updates

YouTube has launched the lower eligibility fan funding level of the YouTube Partner Program to 37 more countries, bringing the total to 99. See the full list of countries here.

YouTube product expert The Lady from UNCLE has an excellent guide to best practices for creating a YouTube product for a client or other third party. This describes how to ensure the client has a secure account that they will be accessible in the future.

YouTube’s Creator Liaison Rene Ritchie has useful tips this week about adding a Related Video link to a Short and why YouTube’s A/B thumbnail testing compares watchtime.

Creators can now view and respond in YouTube Live chat while streaming from the Meta Quest 3 VR headset.

If you are a Google Workspace for Education user and embed YouTube videos in Classroom, Slides, Sites or Forms, your admin may need to update your organization's allowlist/blocklist. Learn more.

I’m excited to try Google Photos new AI-powered tool that creates a video from the best images and video in the results of a search of your library. The example they show is a video created from a search “Japan” “2023”. It will even sync it to music.

StreamYard launched the StreamYard Guest App for iOS, which supports joining StreamYard studio as a guest. No word on when there might be an Android app. Learn more.

StreamYard now lets you set the filter intensity when using the automated face touch-up feature.

Web Publishers

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan posted a list of examples of “unhelpful content” that may not do well in the search results.

You can now embed Snapchat content on your own website or blog, including Lenses, Spotlight videos, public Stories or Profiles.

WordPress released the latest version of its Gutenburg layout editor. Search Engine Journal has an overview of all the updates, which they found makes it much easier to use.

Social Media

Snapchat introduced Creator Collab Campaigns to help creators partner with advertisers, including the opt-in Creator Discovery API, Story midroll ad placement and a Paid Partnership tag for branded content.

Twitter alternative Pebble (formerly T2) is shutting down November 1. Pebble was founded by two former Twitter employees, Gabor Cselle (who also was a Director of Google’s Area 120) and Sarah Oh (Twitter’s human rights advisor). With their invite-only option, they have reached 10k users, but that wasn’t enough to make it stand out among all the different Twitter alternatives. You can export your Pebble data up until November 1.

Meta’s Threads now lets you post polls and select GIFs, and they are testing displaying view count and pinning a post to your profile. Threads currently has almost 100 million Monthly Active Users, and is being promoted heavily on Instagram. At Platformer, Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer declare “Twitter is dead and Threads is thriving.”

X introduced 3 new Premium subscription tiers. There’s a new Basic tier at $3/month that offers a few advanced features (post editing, longer posts, video downloads, etc), but no checkmark and no revenue sharing or creator tools. At the high end there’s the new Premium+ ($16/month) that includes all features, as well as no ads in the For You and Following Feed and the “largest reply boost”.

Author and educator Hank Green shared his Twitter/X ad revenue share and it has been significantly decreasing since the launch in August. His October payment wouldn’t cover a month of Premium+, despite his posts routinely getting hundreds of thousands of views. (My guess is because most of his views and comments do not come from “verified” X users.)

X CEO Linda Yaccarino posted an update on user activity and advertising on the site, which SocialMediaToday suggests may not be entirely accurate (The Wall Street Journal had a similar analysis). As they point out, as a private company they are “not beholden to SEC rules around disclosure.”

X owner Elon Musk told employees that he wants the platform to be used for payments and people’s “entire financial life” by the end of 2024. Would you use X instead of a bank account? For me that’s a hard no. (X) is using its robots.txt file to block the Bing bot, Discord bot, and Facebook bot. It’s not entirely clear why. But Googlebot is allowed.

Morning Consult digs into data showing people are being more selective about what they post (and posting less often) on social media.

More AI Updates

Google Bard can now summarize more of your emails using the Workspace Extension and shared conversations now support uploaded images.

YouTube Music lets you create customized playlist art with AI. The options are constrained (it’s can’t be just anything), but there appear to be a lot of options.

Nightshade is “A Poisonous New Tool Is Helping Artists Fight Back Against Generative AI”. More about the project from the Glaze team at the University of Chicago (on X).

Reddit is contemplating blocking the Google and Bing search crawlers if they can’t come to an understanding about whether the companies will pay to use their content for AI training.

Adobe created a new “icon of transparency” that can be appended to image metadata. When someone views an image online, they can hover over the icon to see information about ownership, AI tools used to create it and other information. Supposedly Microsoft will also add the icon in Bing’s image generator.

The AI Journalism ‘Revolution’ Continues To Go Poorly As Gannett Accused Of Making Up Fake Humans To Obscure Lazy AI Use

Communication and Collaboration

In Gmail you can now access more emojis and set emoji skin tones and gender preferences.

Facebook is removing Group Rooms. Rooms were launched in 2020 as a way to create video calls with up to 50 participants from a Group. Facebook notes you can start a video call from your feed instead.

Automattic, parent company of WordPress, just acquired, a tool that “brings all your texts into a single dashboard”. It includes iMessage, Slack, WhatsApp, Instagram, Telegram, Messenger, LinkedIn, Signal, Discord, and X. It’s not clear whether Automattic plans to integrate the functionality into its other products.


The San Francisco Public Library just launched Bay Beats, a free music streaming site featuring local Bay Area musicians. You need a San Francisco Public Library card to download tracks, but anyone can stream for free. Learn more.

Nilay Patel at The Verge interviewed “Harvard law professor and internet policy legend” Lawrence Lessig about copyright, generative AI, YouTube react videos, music and more.

Mike Masnick writes for the Daily Beast ‘Twitter Files’ Hucksters Are Cosplaying as Free Speech Martyrs in the Westminster Declaration

If you are interested in “parasocial” relationships between creators and their fans on social media, this story is interesting: The World’s Most Popular Painter Sent His Followers After Me Because He Didn’t Like a Review of His Work. Here’s What I Learned

More details in Google Maps: Immersive View for routes and other AI features

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 October 21 edition here.

Image: via Canva