Digital News | 19th April | Amazon fake reviews are effecting search engines
Well, would you look at that – a digital news roundup and we’re not even at work! While you’re enjoying your Bank Holiday, we’re talking about AMP fixes, fake Amazon reviews, more site outages, and how a game could help rebuild the Notre-Dame.
Google takes steps toward fixing AMP URL issues
Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, is receiving an update which could potentially fix its URL problem, called ‘Signed Exchanges’.
Signed Exchanges should mean that when a user clicks on an AMP link, they will see the “original, correct URL for the story” – instead of the URL showing as www.google.com/somethingorother. Experts have said however that the update is pretty complicated, and the success of this will rely on “every step in the chain of technologies involved in loading the AMP format” supporting it – including “your browser, the search engine, and the website that published the link”.
In practice, “the Signed Exchanges standard means that the publisher is giving any distributor who can show you AMP content the ability to give you the publisher’s URL” – but this will mean Google needs to get publishers on board and earn their trust. Which may not be easy, Read more about the update, including the impact on AMP moving forward, at The Verge.
Fake Amazon reviews could be impacting SERPs
An investigation has found that “tens of thousands of suspicious reviews” are posted on Amazon every day – to the extent that they risk “undermining the integrity of the trading platform itself”.
As well as misleading potential shoppers into buying products that aren’t quite as they seem, researchers have also found “evidence that such content had the potential to unfairly propel listings for little-known brands further up search rankings”. The scale of the issue was highlighted by the announcement that 71% of products on Amazon’s first page were given five-star reviews, “the bulk of which originated from unverified users”.
Amazon made a statement condemning fake reviews, adding that the platform has “clear participation guidelines” for reviewers and that it will “suspend, ban and take legal action” against people who violate these policies. Find out more on the story at The Drum.
Smart speaker usage will overtake tablets globally by 2021
New research has shown that there will be more smart speakers in use than tablets by 2021, with some estimates showing that there are already more than 100 million speakers installed in the US alone.
Canalys, who conducted the study, estimated that the “worldwide base of smart speakers will grow from approximately 114 million units this year to 208 million next year”. Currently the US accounts for 42% of the world’s smart-speaker ownership, but it’s expected that the UK, China and other Asian markets will continue to see rapid growth. We recently wrote a blog about surviving the voice search revolution, so it’s probably a good time to give that a read.
I asked the GIANTs for their thoughts on smart speakers, and found that many have already integrated them into their homes – whether it’s controlling the lights, turning up the heating, or playing pink noise for their baby. Music requests were the most common – from the infamous ‘Baby Shark’ for the parents in the office, to “Toto – Africa” when you need a pick me up, or Radio 2 to keep the dog company. Who knew? Read more on the smart speaker stats at Search Engine Land, or let us know what you use yours for over on Twitter.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp experience worldwide outages – again
Sunday morning saw another major outage across some of the world’s most used apps, with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp all temporarily going down.
A site outage monitoring website called Downdetector.com first reported Facebook being down since 6:30 a.m. EST, with effects felt across much of the world – including the North East US and across Europe. Naturally #FacebookDown, #instagramdown and #whatsappdown were all trending on Twitter globally as people tried to work out what the hell was happening, but fortunately, normality was restored after a few hours. A long, long, quiet few hours…
Facebook is yet to say what caused these most recent outages, but it comes just a month or so after a major issue caused almost 24 hours of connectivity problems. Check out more on the stats at Time Magazine.
Facebook launching new 3D Photos features
3D photo lovers, it’s time to get excited – with Facebook announcing three new features for 3D photos on the platform.
First launched last Autumn, 3D photos have taken News Feeds by storm, and that only looks set to continue. The new features include 3D photos in Stories, where you’ll be able to see who “viewed, reacted to, and responded to” your 3D story, all within the usual 24-hour timeframe.
Facebook will also be rolling out the ability to create 3D photos on Android, beginning with Samsung Galaxy devices that feature dual cameras or Portrait mode, such as the Galaxy Note 9, S9+, Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Fold. In a similar vein, the final new feature will allow for 3D photo creation on the web, allowing people to post 3D photo content from their computer. This will mean users can produce custom art creation or images using photos that weren’t taken in Portrait mode.
Facebook says that it’s hoping that these updates will encourage people to share “memories and photos in a new way” – after all, everything looks better in 3D, right? Check out more over at the Oculus blog.
Assassin’s Creed Unity will help the Notre-Dame cathedral rebuild
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you will have inevitably heard about the tragic fire that raged through the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, causing hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage.
The French government has vowed to rebuild the cathedral “sooner rather than later”, suggesting a five year timeline to get it back to its former glory. As part of this process, architects will examine images of the cathedral before the blaze, in order to make the newly built elements as close to the original as possible. Interestingly, some of these research images will come from Assassin’s Creed Unity.
The open-world game is set in Paris, with the Notre-Dame in the game being an exact copy of the real-life building. When the game launched, artist Caroline Miousse said she spent “literally years” fussing over the details of the building to make it as lifelike as possible, which should come in handy when it comes to the restoration. Head over to Windows Central to find out more.
Enjoy the long weekend, people. We certainly will! See you back here next week, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
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