YouTube is pulling Tide Pod Challenge videos

 YouTube appears to be trying to get ahead of any wider societal outcry over (yet more) algorithmically accelerated idiocy on its platform — and is removing Tide Pod Challenge videos. Read More

Google is investing in Indonesia-based Uber rival Go-Jek

 Google is back investing in ride-hailing companies. The U.S. search firm and China’s Meituan-Dianping are among the tech giants set to invest in Go-Jek, the Indonesia-based rival to Grab and Uber, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch. We understand a deal could be completed as soon as next week, though whether Go-Jek announces it is unclear since it has history of… Read More

Google is rolling out a fix for those Home-related Wi-Fi issues

 In the latest of a recent spate of bugs plaguing Google’s most recent hardware offerings, a number of Home and Chromecast users have been reporting issues around their devices’ Wi-Fi connectivity this week. Google has since acknowledged the issue on its support page, noting that “In certain situations, a bug in the Cast software on Android phones may incorrectly send a… Read More

Google makes massive changes to YouTube advertising rules in latest clean-up effort

Google is making the biggest changes to the advertising rules on YouTube since the video site’s inception, another attempt to clean up its content and answer persistent complaints from advertisers.

YouTube will now impose stricter criteria for the types of videos that can earn money on the site and will introduce a new vetting process for the top-shelf videos it offers advertisers, the company said Tuesday in a statement. In the past year, YouTube has dealt with a series of firestorms, starting last March when ads were found next to violent and racist videos, leading several advertisers to pull their business.

But problems persisted. Bloomberg reported last week that Alphabet Inc.’s Google had discussed some of the new changes with partners last week following alarming revelations about YouTube videos featuring children. Google doesn’t publicly report YouTube revenue, but frequently cites the world’s largest video site as one of its fastest-growing businesses.

In April, after an ad boycott began, YouTube raised the cap for splitting revenue with video creators, requiring these sites to have at least 10,000 views. Now, Google will only open advertising to YouTube channels with more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 viewing hours racked up over a year. The restrictions are designed to filter out offensive videos, although YouTube’s latest controversies have involved some of its most popular creators, like PewDiePie and Logan Paul.

“While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, and Neal Mohan, its product lead, said in a joint blog post.

As YouTube fielded complaints from advertisers, the company has defended itself by pointing to the number of creators that depend on the service for their livelihood. Some of those video creators reported as much as an 80 per cent drop in sales following YouTube’s tighter restrictions. In YouTube’s blog post, the company said that 99 per cent of the creators affected by the new changes earn less than US$100 a year from YouTube ads.

In addition to the new restrictions, YouTube is pledging that its staff of content moderators will screen every single video in Google Preferred, the company’s premium offering for marketers. Google said that the manual review process will be set up by the middle of February in the U.S. and by the end of March in other countries.

After the initial boycott, YouTube gave advertisers a slew of new controls to ensure their ads don’t run next to offensive content. However, similar issues occurred again, flaring up in the fall around content targeted to children.

“It’s different this time,” Eric Reynolds, chief marketing officer for Clorox Co., said in a phone interview about YouTube’s new policies. “It feels like a whole new level of commitment.” Reynolds said he had placed some of his marketing on YouTube on hold last year, but has now returned with higher levels of spending.

 

Bloomberg.com

Google will make page speed a factor in mobile search ranking starting in July

 Google today announced a significant change in how it ranks websites for mobile searches: it will now take page speed into consideration as one of its signals, the company says. The change, which Google is referring to as the “Speed Update,” will go into effect in July 2018, and will downrank very slow websites under certain conditions. Though speed will become more of a factor… Read More

Google and Salesforce unveil first elements of partnership

 Last fall at Dreamforce, Google and Salesforce announced a partnership. Today, the two companies unveiled the first pieces of that agreement. For starters, Google Analytics 360 users can now import data from the Salesforce CRM tool such as leads and opportunities, among other pieces. This could allow marketers to have a more complete view of the customer journey from first contact to sale… Read More

Experimental Feature Pushes Google’s Arts & Culture App to the Top of the Free Apps Chart

Google’s Arts & Culture app rocketed to the top of the free app charts over the weekend after one of its experimental interactive features went viral.

Better known for its relatively staid virtual history exhibitions and digitized artworks, the app’s sudden popularity is down to the addition of an option near the bottom of its scrolling interface which asks users, “Is your portrait in a museum?”

On tapping the button, the app asks for access to the device’s camera and then prompts the user to take a selfie. Their picture is then compared against thousands of digitized artworks in Google’s historical database using facial recognition technology, after which a series of closest matches are returned.



The find-your-art-lookalike feature, which was actually added to the app in a December update with little fanfare, apparently drew interest only recently after some users and celebrities began sharing their results on social media.

The option only appears to be available to U.S. users at the moment, but if you’d like to give it a go, you can download the free Google Arts & Culture app from the App Store.

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Google moves into Shenzhen in latest China expansion

 A month after announcing plans to open its first AI lab in China, Google is expanding again through a move into Shenzhen. The U.S. tech giant has opened an office in the Chinese city, which borders Hong Kong and known for being a global hardware hub, according to an internal email obtained by TechCrunch. This isn’t a fully-blown Google campus, instead the company has taken up space within… Read More