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Creator Weekly: YouTube Playlist Analytics, Google SEO Starter Guide, Universal Music splits with TikTok

Welcome to February! This week there are updates for YouTubers, website owners, and other creators. Plus new AI image generator tools to try and a contest to celebrate Flickr’s 20th anniversary.

Top news and updates this week

  • Try the updated AI-powered image creation options in Google Bard and ImageFX
  • Get Google’s updated SEO Starter Guide
  • Universal Music Group has pulled its music from TikTok
  • Add Clips to your YouTube channel
  • View your playlist analytics in YouTube Studio
  • Google Search no longer links to cached web pages
  • Flickr wants your entry to their 20th birthday photo contest
  • Improvements to Google Calendar Appointment Scheduling 
  • Google Meet lets you pin messages in the in-meeting chat.
  • The Apple Vision Pro VR-headset is now available and the reviews are in
Read on for details and additional updates!

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Try generating images with Google’s Imagen 2

Google’s Imagen 2 model powers photorealistic text-to-image generation, and you can play with it to create images.

Try it in Google Bard, Google’s chatbot.

You can create an image as part of your conversation with the bot.

Or try it in ImageFX, an image creation tool in Google’s experimental AI Test Kitchen.

It will give suggestions for “optimizing” the prompt with suggestions in drop-down menus.

Image prompt: “A school of fish swimming in space towards a planet with stars in the background a comet zooming across”. (Bard named this query “Fishy space journey”)

Images created this way have a SynthID digital watermark that indicates it’s AI-generated.

Google says they have “added technical guardrails to limit problematic outputs like violent, offensive, or sexually explicit content” and are preventing generation of images of named people.

If tunes are more your thing, Google has also improved the MusicFX music generation tool and TextFX, a writing tool for “lyricists and wordsmiths”.

Google’s Updated SEO Starter Guide

Google has launched a revised SEO Starter Guide that is better aimed at beginners. It not only describes what to do, but also why you should do it.

My favorite part so far is the “Things we believe you shouldn’t focus on” section. It includes:
  • Meta keywords
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Keywords in the domain name or URL path
  • Minimum or maximum content length
  • Subdomains versus subdirectories
  • PageRank
  • Duplicate content “penalty”
  • Number and order of headings
  • Thinking E-E-A-T is a ranking factor
Myths busted!

There’s a lot of information in the guide, and probably worth a look even if you aren’t a beginner any more.

Get the updated SEO Starter Guide.

Video Creator and Live Streaming Updates

TikTok and Universal Music Group failed to come to an agreement before their contract expired, and so Universal is pulling its music from the platform. Both Universal and TikTok say the other side is being greedy and unreasonable. This sounds bad for music artists who can’t use TikTok to promote their music and bad for creators whose videos have had the audio muted.

If viewers (or you) are creating shareable Clips from your YouTube videos, you may want to add the new “Top Community Clips” shelf to your channel homepage. You can do this in YouTube Studio on desktop ( in the Customization settings. More information from Creator Insider.

You can now learn more about the performance of your Playlists (and videos in your playlists) in YouTube Studio Analytics. Open the Content tab in Analytics, and you should see the new Playlists button. Click “See more” for detailed metrics. More information from Creator Insider.

If you offer Memberships on your YouTube channel you can now schedule when a members-only video becomes available to the public. More information from Creator Insider.

Rene Ritche, YouTube’s Creator Liaison answered the question “If you are posting a video that isn’t your usual content, should you un-check the box to have it appear in the subscriber feed and notifications?” The short answer is “No”. But you should read why that is the case.

Do you add end screens to your YouTube videos? If not, give it a try. The official YouTube Creators channel has a new video showing you how to do that.

Tubefilter has a writeup of a study from Google that reports 92% of advertisers consider creator content to be “premium”. Why does it matter? Advertisers are apparently budgeting more for creator content.

Web Publishers and Search

Google Search has removed the option to view the cached version of web pages. I noticed this before SEO Roundtable posted about it, but I assumed it was a problem on my end. Apparently not. Why use it? If someone has a blog page or YouTube channel deleted or suspended, viewing the most recently cached version can be informative.

Arc Search is a new feature in the Arc browser, which returns an AI-generated compilation of information in response to a query. David Pierce at Verge liked it, and Gizmodo calls it “An act of war against Google Search”. It has come under some criticism for not clearly citing the web pages that are used to compile the search response, and it’s noted that both Google and Bing make a point of linking their sources.

LinkTree is offering a free year of LinkTree Pro to journalists who have been laid off in the past year. LinkTree also has several new features: archive links without losing history and analytics, automatically display recent TikTok and YouTube links, schedule links for upcoming releases, and prioritize links to make them stand out.

Photos and Image Design on the Web

Flickr looked back at its past 20 years. I hadn’t remembered that their acquisition by Yahoo was just a year after they launched. Submit your best photo in Flickr blue-and-pink to their Birthday Photo contest to possibly win a year of Flickr Pro for you and a friend and more.

Social Media

Adam Mosseri, head of Threads (and Instagram), said they consider in-Threads “trends” to be “an important feature for a small set of power users” and that they are more focused on “growing the overall community”.

If you have a Community on X, you can now add topic tags to help people find it by searching.

More AI Updates

Gemini Pro, Google’s latest large language model, is now available with the Bard AI chatbot in over 40 languages, and 230 countries. Previously it was limited to English. The Bard “double-check the response” feature is also available in more languages.

Google is experimenting with generative AI in Maps, with an option to describe what you want to do. Maps will then suggest activities, restaurants, shops or whatever else you are looking for. This is currently being tested by select Local Guides in the US.

Pinpoint, a research tool from Google for journalists (and others) to explore and analyze collections of documents, is getting AI-powered tools to explore and summarize documents, and to automatically import data from multiple sources into a single spreadsheet.

Communication and Collaboration

If you use the Google Calendar Appointment Scheduling feature (available for Google Workspace Individual and other Google Workspace editions), you can now have it check both your primary calendar and secondary calendars for availability. Select Google Workspace editions can also add co-hosts, create appointment slots on secondary calendars, and delegate appointment scheduling.

In Google Meet you can now pin messages in the in-meeting chat. That lets people who join the meeting after the message was posted see the message.

The Apple Vision Pro VR headset was released this week, with a focus on using it for work, rather than play. To that end Microsoft Teams is now officially available for the device.
For reviews, check out Nilay Patel at the Verge, who wrote Apple Vision Pro review: magic, until it’s not (he used it for Google Meet in Safari). And Marques Brownlee whose video shows Using Apple Vision Pro: What It’s Actually Like!

Microsoft Teams Premium lets you use generative AI to decorate your background. You can clean up the mess, add holiday decorations, or make it sparkle.

More Reading

Google wants everyone to use passkeys, rather than passwords. If you have a Pixel phone or tablet, Google will now help you set up passkeys for third party sites. That includes Adobe, PayPal, TikTok and more.

Read this! Rebecca Jennings at Vox notes Want to sell a book or release an album? Better start a TikTok (or, “everyone’s a sellout now”). It is a good read and concludes:
“The burden of self-promotion isn’t only on creative people, obviously; . . . we’re all expected to perform this labor now. If we’re fully employed, we know that the comfort of health insurance and a salary could be gone at any moment if our company decides to pivot or lay us off. Tech platforms, too, come and go, and the audiences we build there are unstable, impermanent. But what other choice do we have?”

If you are a science fiction fan, you may be interested in the controversy around the Hugo Awards in Chengdu, China. Esquire has an overview of what happened and Charlie Stoss has a bit deeper background and speculation about why it happened.

Michell Cyca at The Walrus: Around the World in Eighty Lies

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 January 27 edition here.

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