Digital News Roundup 12 April:
Welcome to a fresh new week of digital news. This time around it’s all about Google finally resolving its de-indexing issues, new Dropbox integration, how Facebook is changing memorialised profiles, and exciting new content from YouTube.
Google announces de-indexing issue is now fully resolved
Wednesday night saw Google announced that its de-indexing issue has now been fully resolved, much to the delight of SEOs across the globe.
The issue involved Google dropping pages from its search index inadvertently, starting on Thursday 4th April. At the weekend, Google announced that it had fixed the issue, although just a day later said that it was in fact not fully resolved. Throughout the week, updates were made to reprocess the pages, with a tweet finally announcing the fix on Wednesday.
The indexing issue has now been fully resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience. We appreciate your patience as we restored normal operation.— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) 11 April 2019
The de-indexing blip could have caused “a loss in traffic, a loss in revenues, sales, conversion and overall metrics during this period”, if you had pages drop out of the index. Google still isn’t saying what caused the issue, so let’s all just hope and pray to the SEO gods that it doesn’t happen again any time soon. Check out more of the details at Search Engine Land.
Dropbox announces integration with G Suite
Users of Dropbox and G Suite rejoice! Dropbox has now announced that business customers will gain deep integration with Docs, Sheets and Slides, bringing “the best of the two services together’.
Currently available in open beta, the integration will mean that it’s now possible to create Docs or Slides directly inside your Dropbox folders, with Dropbox handling the file management. The docs can still be edited using Google’s UI, before being managed or shared using Dropbox’s own controls.
Currently, the integration requires a G Suite account, but it will become available to all Dropbox users who have a Google Account once the feature enters general availability – although it’s not clear whether Dropbox intends to open this up to non-Business customers on the Free or Premium tiers.
Facebook updates memorialised profiles with new tributes section
Friends and family members of people who have died will now be able to continue to post memories on their Facebook pages, following an update to the way the site handles memorialised profiles.
Now the pages will include a new tributes section, which offers two key benefits; it allows memorialised profiles to stay as the user intended before they died, as well as giving people a place to share memories and read posts from others.
Facebook also said that it has improved its AI algorithms in order to prevent memorialised pages appearing in inappropriate places, such as in birthday reminders or event invitations, as well as adding options for legacy contacts to better manage pages – including monitoring the new tribute section. Take a look at more on the features over at The Verge.
YouTube planning interactive Choose Your Own Adventure-style content to rival Bandersnatch
Following the mega hype around Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch, and planned Bear Grylls’ series You vs Wild, YouTube is now jumping on the bandwagon and investing in its own interactive ‘Choose Your Own Adventure-style series’.
A YouTube spokesperson has said that the projects will exist under a new arm of the company, “dedicated to interactive programming and live specials”. This may come as a surprise to some users following recent news that YouTube would be scaling back on original series content, as part of ‘serious budget reductions’.
For now, it’s unclear how many of these projects the platform will be investing in, but it would offer direct competition for high-end interactive programmes coming from other sites like Netflix. YouTube plans on announcing the first of these projects soon, so keep your eyes peeled. Read more at The Verge.
Amazon announces that Alexa can now handle private patient information
Amazon has recently announced that its Alexa devices will now allow customers to access some of their personalised medical information, offered by six health care companies and providers.
Amazon says that it has created a way to transmit previously restricted health information via Alexa-enabled devices in a way that is still HIPAA-compliant. Rachel Jiang, Head of Alexa Health and Wellness, said: “These new skills are designed to help customers manage a variety of healthcare needs at home simply using voice — whether it’s booking a medical appointment, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions, checking on the status of a prescription delivery, and more.”
However, some experts have pointed out the cybersecurity risks involved, with one saying: “I’m concerned about how a very large organisation that also sells me stuff is going to use my health information.” Check out more on the privacy discussion at The Verge.
Microsoft confirms you no longer have to ‘safely remove’ USB flash drives
If you’ve ever encountered the mild hysteria caused by ripping a USB drive from your computer without safely ejecting it then you’re in luck – Microsoft has confirmed that it’s no longer going to be an issue.
Windows 10 boasts a feature called Quick Removal, allowing you to “yank a drive anytime” – unless you’re actively writing files to it. Let’s not be silly now. This was first enabled back in October when version 1809 was released, but now Microsoft is actively promoting the roll out to IT professionals – and deploying the capability more broadly.
One journalist said that “the process of safely ejecting a flash drive can be one of those things you tell your kids about, one of those “Do you remember this thing that olds used to do?” – although there’s an argument that the use of flash drives as a whole in 2019 is fairly old hat, right? Find out more about the update over at The Verge.
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