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Creator Weekly: YouTube Live in Shorts Feed, Bard is Gemini, BlueSky Opens, Threads Recommendations


This week has three celebrations to brighten your winter. 

Today is Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in China, Korea, and Vietnam and in Asian communities around the world. Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, which might as well be a holiday here in the US (go Niners!) and Wednesday is Valentine’s Day.

I hope you have a fabulous week and prosperous year! I ♥️ you all!

This week there’s news for YouTubers, Google’s Gemini replaced Bard, Threads shared how its recommendations work, BlueSky opened to everyone, and much more.

Top news and updates this week

  • Get Super Bowl ads and music without having to sit through the football.
  • To try this week: Make a Valentine movie in Google Photos, add a dragon to your Meet meeting, use Opus Clip Captions for free.
  • YouTube CEO Neal Mohan shared the platform’s priorities for 2024.
  • You can now go live in the YouTube Shorts feed.
  • Google Bard and (soon) Duet AI are now Gemini.
  • Google is turning down Web Stories.
  • Meta will identify and label realistic-looking AI content.
  • Meta is shutting down the Facebook Groups API, so third party tools for posting, messaging and live streaming to Groups will likely stop working.
  • Threads shared information on how their recommendation algorithms work. The default is that “political content” will not be recommended to people who don’t follow the poster.
  • BlueSky is now open to the public and ready for you to create feeds.
  • LinkedIn will be removing Creator Mode from profiles.
  • There are lots of interesting articles this week about the creator economy, the fediverse, posting platforms and more.
Read on for details and additional updates!

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Super Bowl Celebrations

Whether you love football, look forward to the halftime show, hope to get a glimpse of Taylor Swift, appreciate clever ads, or just like afternoon beer and snacks, watching the Super Bowl is a great way to spend the afternoon. Or, if you hate the Super Bowl, it’s a good time to visit places where people aren’t. Of course the tech companies want a piece of the action.

has an official live pre-game party with headline performer Gwen Stefani.

YouTube has the Super Bowl ads on its AdBlitz channel, including Google’s own Pixel ad.

YouTube also lists the most viewed Super Bowl halftime shows, which, of course, you can watch on YouTube.

SnapChat is teaming up with the NFL to offer special Camera Kit lenses in the NFL app (and in person, in Las Vegas). On SnapChat you can use a lens to put you in your favorite team’s uniform and share your Touchdown Celebration for a chance at winning part of the $20,000 prize.

Apple Music launched USHER’s Road to Halftime with exclusive playlists, mixes from Las Vegas DJs, and a new USHER album.

I’m not seeing any official events on X or Meta’s Facebook, Instagram or Threads, but there’s sure to be discussion during the game.

To Do & Try

Make a movie for your Valentine in Google Photos. This is currently only available in Google Photos on desktop, under Utilities > Highlight Movie (not the new app) or at It requires face grouping to be enabled, and works best if you have a lot of photos. Older, still mostly correct instructions here. You can also use the updated Photos app to create a highlight movie using selected people, places, dates or search terms and add music ❣️.

Celebrate Year of the Dragon in Google Meet. There isn’t a new Lunar New Year background or effect in Meet (at least not as I’m writing this), but there is a dragon. In your next Meet meeting, open the Effects settings, then scroll to Backgrounds > Fantasy and select the animated dragon on the castle (see the screenshot).

OpusClip Captions is a new free tool to add automatic captions to your short videos. It doesn’t even require a sign-in. Try it now! More info on X.

YouTube’s Priorities for 2024

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan shared the platform’s priorities for 2024, along with some stats.

The numbers:
  • More than 3 million channels are in the YouTube Partner Program.
  • YouTube has paid out “over $70 billion to creators, artists, and media companies over the last three years”.
  • Viewers watch more than 1 billion hours of content every day on their TVs.
  • “Shorts is averaging over 70 billion daily views, and the number of channels uploading Shorts has grown 50% year over year.”
  • There are more than 100 million subscribers for YouTube Music and Premium.

AI creative tools for everyone

“AI should empower human creativity, not replace it. And everyone should have access to AI tools that will push the boundaries of creative expression.”

YouTube is experimenting with AI-powered tools for creating Shorts (Dream Screen), music (Dream Track) and maybe more.

Creators are the next-generation studios

This recognizes that many creators aren’t just amateurs recording themselves with their phone. They are entrepreneurs and manage teams to create high quality content.

YouTube sees itself as offering different ways to make money (ads, shopping, fan funding) and pushing for recognition of creators by governments and the entertainment industry.

More people are watching on their TV

A couple of amazing stats: in the US, people spend more time watching YouTube on their TVs than Netflix. Also “people like watching Shorts on their TVs”.

YouTube is leaning in to that and bringing more content to their YouTube TV subscriptions (which are US only).

Protecting the creator economy is foundational

YouTube says it has a responsibility to show appropriate content to kids and teens and to make sure people find high quality information.

They will soon be adding labels to “inform viewers when the realistic content they’re seeing is synthetic” (such as AI-generated content).

Go Live in the YouTube Shorts Feed

Last August YouTube started testing previewing vertical live streams in the Shorts feed. Now that feature is live for everyone.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can go live from the YouTube mobile app.

You can also live stream from desktop. As long as the live stream is taller than it is wide, the preview will appear in the Shorts feed.

And there is a new “Vertical live feed” traffic source in YouTube Analytics so you can see how well the new feature is working for you.

More Information

Google Bard and (soon) Duet AI are now Gemini

In December Google announced Gemini, their “most capable and general” AI.

Now Google’s chatbot Bard has been renamed Gemini ( It’s the same platform, now using Gemini Pro 1.0.

Duet AI, Google’s AI tools for Google Workspace enterprise users and Cloud customers, will soon become Gemini for Workspace and Gemini for Cloud respectively.

Use Gemini on your phone

There is a new Android Gemini App (get it) that can summarize articles, caption images or provide other contextual information. You can choose to use it instead of Google Assistant, but it does not include all of Assistant’s features, such as routines, setting reminders and tasks, or controlling third party media services for radio, podcasts and music.

Gemini will be included with the Google App on iOS devices.

The apps will initially be available in the US in English, with more locations and languages to come.

What if you want more Gemini with your personal account?

Gemini Advanced gives you access to Gemini Ultra 1.0 - for a price. Gemini Advanced is $19.99 per month, after a 2 month free trial. It’s an add-on to Google One Premium with 2TB of data (without AI it’s $9.99 per month).

It will soon include Gemini in Gmail, Docs, Slides and Sheets. Will the free AI access in Google Workspace Labs be shut off? Google hasn’t said, but I’m guessing so.

Note that Google One Premium also includes advanced features in Google Meet, like recording and live streaming to YouTube, in supported countries.

More Video Creator and Live Streaming Updates

Twitch’s emote manager has more Default Emote Animations you can apply to static emotes.

StreamYard now lets you publish long-form videos (up to 2 hours) to YouTube, Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Pages from your StreamYard library.

Web Publishers and Search

If your website’s domain is on Google Domains and you are allowing it to be migrated to Squarespace, be aware you may need to set up Google Search Console again after the migration (or change your settings so that you don’t need to do that).

Google is turning down Web Stories. They will no longer appear in Google Image search results, and will no longer appear in a carousel in Discover. Why the change? The high volume of low quality content is likely at least part of the reason. (And do people view them? I don’t.) At one point Google was heavily pushing the format, but it seemed like a lot of work for not much return.

Social Media

Meta is shutting down the Facebook Groups API in April. TechCrunch notes this has taken both group owners and developers by surprise, as third party tools for posting to Groups will no longer work (including live streaming services).

Meta is adding a setting for people to disclose AI-generated images, video or audio, and will require that disclosure for realistic-looking AI-generated content. They are also working to identify AI-generated content automatically, even if it was generated by AI tools from Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Adobe, Midjourney, or Shutterstock.

Instagram and Threads will not recommend “political content” from accounts that you do not follow, unless you change a setting to allow that (that setting is not yet available). The big question is what “political content” includes. Meta says it’s “potentially related to things like laws, elections, or social topics”, which is pretty vague. Social topics could include almost anything, and almost certainly includes content relating to climate change, reproductive health, and vaccinations. Does it also include topics like “it’s OK for transgender people to exist”? Meta isn’t saying.

Meta’s Transparency Center has an overview of the signals that its AI system uses to recommend content on Threads. Not politics!

BlueSky is now open to the public. It has been invite-only for the past year, but now anyone can join. One of its key features is that anyone can create feeds to follow and you can essentially have your own “for you” algorithm. Soon it will also be testing its own version of federation (BlueSky’s AT Protocol is similar to ActivityPub which is used by Mastodon). Andrew Thaler at Southern Fried Science has a tutorial for creating custom BlueSky feeds.

SnapChat announced they have reached 800 million Monthly Active Users (MAU). That’s small compared to Facebook, YouTube or Instagram (3 billion, 2.5 billion and 2 billion MAU respectively), but more than Pinterest (about 498 MAU) or X (probably less than 400 MAU).

If you set up an account at Twitter-alternative Spoutible check your email for notice of a serious data breach. Online security researcher Troy Hunt points out this was due to a misconfigured API, and notes it may have included the 2FA and password reset tokens for accounts (which sounds very bad). Users are prompted to reset their password when they try to sign in. Spoutible is also recommending clearing your browser cache and cookies, and deleting the cache and data storage for the mobile app.

LinkedIn is splitting its Network Tab into “Grow” and “Catch Up”. Catch Up will show you key moments for your connections, like birthdays and promotions. Premium subscribers can use an AI tool to draft messages based on information from your profile and the person you are messaging.

LinkedIn is also removing Creator Mode from profiles. Creator Mode added profile hashtags, a Featured section and a Follow button (rather than Connect).

Communication and Collaboration

Google Meet hosts can (finally) pin video tiles for everyone in the meeting. This is great for large meetings or webinars. This is rolling out to Google Workspace customers (it’s not clear if this includes Google Workspace Individual subscribers).

In a Google Chat Space you can now link to another Space with a smart chip.

More Reading

Keep your accounts secure! Google shares 6 cybersecurity mistakes people make — and what to do instead

Read this! Anil Dash: “Wherever you get your podcasts” is a radical statement

David Pierce @ The Verge: The fediverse, explained: Mastodon, Threads, and the open future of social networking

Elizabeth Lopatto @ The Verge: Toward a unified taxonomy of text-based social media use (are you a lurker, influencer, commenter, reply guy or poster?)

Ryan Broderick @ Garbage Day: Where are we in the paid subscription death cycle?

Kate Knibbs @ Wired: Confessions of an AI Clickbait Kingpin

Excerpt of Kara Swisher’s book Book Burn @ New York Magazine: Over Three Decades, Tech Obliterated Media (free for a limited time)

Nilay Patel @ The Verge interviewed Casey Newton: Platformer’s Casey Newton on leaving Substack and surviving the great media collapse

Aaron Mok @ Business Insider: Google CEO Sundar Pichai Reads Techmeme Every Morning

Joan Westerberg: The creator economy can't rely on Patreon

Thanks for reading!


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 February 3 edition here.

Image via Canva. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.


  1. I want to ask something: How do you deal with perfectionism?

    1. The only solution is to just do it. I have the same problem, with lots of projects that never really got started because I couldn't figure out the best way. But I try to remember that there isn't really a perfect way, so the best for me is to just start somewhere. Maybe choose a way that is free, since that is low risk :) I do like the beehiiv platform, so you might give that a try - it's free up to 2500 subscribers.

  2. I didn't care if the Niners won, I just wanted the Swifties to lose. Guess I'm eating my hat now.


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