Digital News Roundup 5 April: Google + is officially dead and Adwords editor evolves
OK, how is it April already? To celebrate the first news roundup of this month, we’re talking in Tulipish, saying bye bye to Google+, covering new features from Instagram and AdWords Editor and celebrating the Guardian’s newest label. Enjoy!
Google closes failed social network Google+ for good
This week saw the final shut down of failed social network Google+, following 8 tumultuous years of semi-existence.
Launched back in 2011, Google+ was designed to compete with Facebook and Twitter – but consistently failed to win people over. Within weeks people declared their newsfeed to be a “barren, blank page”, with one journalist declaring that the site was “full of people who signed up but never actually stuck around to figure out how things worked.”
Finally, in 2014, Google began to disentangle Google+ from some of its other apps, like YouTube, Hangouts and Photos, which inevitably lead to even less people engaging with the platform. Two data breaches in 2018, which lead to 52 million users’ private information being shared with third-party developers, were the final straw – causing Google finally announcing a platform closure.
Now, if you’re interested in Google+ you’ll have to head to the Google Graveyard or the Google Cemetary to find out more about its rocky existence. Or head to BBC News to read the full story.
Google Tulip allows you to communicate with plants
This week saw Google finally answer the age-old issue of how to communicate effectively with your favourite house plant, thanks to a new Tulipish translation feature on Google Home.
Thanks to “great advancements in artificial intelligence”, Google Home owners will now able to understand their tulips, with the built-in Interpreter Mode allowing for translation between Tulipish and “dozens of human languages”. Google declared that “the ability to speak with tulips comes with great environmental and societal benefits”, including them being able to express their needs more clearly. Plus, the jolly little flowers are apparently very chatty and make great friends. Just perhaps don’t tell your human friends…
Naturally, this ‘feature’ was only available on April 1st 2019 (I wonder why), so if you missed out, well, you’ll have to go back to shouting blindly at your floral arrangements for now. Check out more on the story over on Google’s product blog, and be nice to plants.
Guardian to label old news stories on social media
Old news stories from the Guardian will be labelled with their year of publication when shared on social media, in a move designed to limit the spread of misinformation on some of the world’s major social channels.
Currently sites like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp don’t show a publication date when news stories are shared, leading to certain groups promoting old news stories in a bid to push their agenda – and reinforce their point of view.
As part of the move, the Guardian will now mark the date of the story within a banner on the header image, helping to prevent older articles going viral years after their original publication date. Chris Moran from the Guardian said the site will also clearly feature the date on articles over 12 months old, making it “increasingly difficult for bad actors to use our journalism to the wrong ends”.
It may take a while for the changes to appear on social networks, due to the way the sites store copies of news summaries, but keep an eye out over the coming weeks. Check out more on the details from BBC News.
22% of people speak to their video devices
New research has shown that 22% of internet users across the US, UK, Australia and India are using voice command features to speak to their TV and video devices, showing the influence voice commands are now having in the home.
On top of this, 30% said that even though they don’t currently make use of voice commands, they would be “interested in doing so in the future”. While voice usage does currently peak amongst 25 – 34 year olds, all age groups should be targeted when it comes to developing voice-enabled features.
Fateha Begum, associate director of television media at IHS Markit, who conducted the research, said: “The use of voice commands has become increasingly important in the device and entertainment ecosystem, particularly around the home. The use of digital assistants is growing, in terms of reach and usage, as more devices offer a higher degree of interactivity between devices and services.
“In addition to device manufacturers recognising the importance of voice-command features in building a smart home ecosystem, content providers recognise the importance of voice in the customer experience and in the content discovery process.”
The study also highlighted how user experience is vital when it comes to these tech touchpoints, meaning brands and advertisers need to prioritise content discovery and user experience when it comes to creating their content. Check out more of the stats on Net Imperative.
Instagram is finally testing video playback features
Instagram is now testing a seek bar within videos posted on people’s feeds, giving users access to “the most basic amount of control over video playback” – meaning you could skip forward to the part of a video you want to watch, or rewind without having to completely restart a video.
While this is already a feature for videos posted to IGTV – and almost every other video player on the face of the earth – this is the first time we’ve seen it available within regular Instagram feeds. Although it doesn’t appear to work for videos posted as part of an Instagram story, so there are still some limitations.
Experts have likened the ability to scrub through videos on Instagram as being the equivalent of editing tweets on Twitter – something that the masses have long requested, but somehow never quite materialised. Perhaps now Instagram is going to make the move. Read more at The Verge.
Google Ads Editor 1.0 released with fresh new look
AdWords Editor has received some much needed TLC this week, with a new look, layout, name, and a host of fresh features.
The new Google Ads Editor (ooooh) will offer increased capabilities, meaning you can do more within the tool rather than having to access the web interface. Users will be able to make changes across accounts, even if they’re not in the same MCC, as well as having greater control over video ads and campaigns. Responsive ads and custom rules have also had a makeover, as well as new features allowing people to “target and exclude audiences in Smart Display campaigns”.
When it comes to the new look, one of the key changes is the shifting of the editing panel from the bottom of the page to the right-hand side, while the top nav is also smaller and no longer in a bar format.
Enjoy the weekend, people. Read some blogs, have some fun, you know what you have to do.
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