Apple & Google Employees No Longer Listen To Your Home Devices – Digital News Roundup – 09.08.19
This week, we’re talking naming updates from Facebook, Instagram scheduling, changing TV preferences, the latest voice assistant controversy, and Google Ads account maps. Woo!
Did you know Google & Apple employees were listening to your voice recordings… 👀
Facebook releases new naming structure for Instagram and WhatsApp
Facebook has announced that it will be rebranding Instagram and WhatsApp as part of a “broader change” towards making tighter links between the three apps.
Now, the apps will be known as “WhatsApp from Facebook” and “Instagram from Facebook”, with the new branding appearing in the Google Play and App Store, as well as within Facebook’s internal branding. On a device’s home screen, the names will likely stay the same for now, although the updated branding will appear when you open the app.
The move comes as a result of Facebook wanting “to be clearer about the products and services that are part of Facebook”. Currently, WhatsApp and Instagram show no immediate connection to being owned by the social media giant. But Facebook is moving more and more towards powering all three of the apps from the same underlying infrastructure, integrating the three separate platforms more closely together.
However, this has not been all smooth sailing. Facebook has been hit by a number of outages in 2019, many of which have wiped out Instagram and WhatsApp too – leaving users frustrated. Hopefully there will be less of those in the near future, but perhaps only time will tell. Read more on the story at The Independent.
Peak TV viewing falls again digital streaming sites continue to take over
TV viewing habits in the UK are experiencing massive change, potentially due to “around half of homes now subscribing to TV streaming services such as Netflix”.
UK communications watchdog, Ofcom, found that “average daily viewing of streaming services rose by seven minutes last year to 26 minutes” – in comparison to BBC One, which had a 3 minute fall to 41 average daily minutes.
While TV channels show over 100 times more “original, UK-made shows” than those on streaming sites, including things like the Bodyguard – the most watched drama of 2018 – Ofcom has stated that “a few popular drama and entertainment programmes are not enough on their own to stem the overall decline in broadcast TV viewing”.
Perhaps more worrying for TV providers is that 38% of online users said that they can imagine not watching TV at all in 5 years time – and with more and more older audience brackets now also viewing via streaming sites, the potential for a continued decline in traditional viewing is high. Good for streaming sites, not so good for TV. Read more on the stats at Net Imperative.
Apple and Google to stop employees listening to voice recordings
Google and Apple have revealed that they allow human staff members to “listen to private conversations on smart speakers and voice apps” – resulting in third party contractors being able to hear people having sex, or discussing their private medical information.
Google said that listening back to recordings of what people say to Google Assistant “helps it improve its support for more languages, accents, and dialects”, and that while staff can’t match recording to user accounts, some do contain “personally identifiable data”. Apple follows similar practices with Siri, using the recordings as part of its voice grading programs.
Now, however, Apple has said that “voice recordings would not be included in the grading process” unless users had chosen to opt in, as part of the latest in a long line of controversial issues around the practice. Google is also not out of the woods, having just been ordered to stop gathering voice data in Europe by the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. User consent is once again at the forefront of the discussion. Read more on the news over at Net Imperative.
Finally! Instagram scheduling is now available in Creator Studio
Social media marketers rejoice! Instagram scheduling has now been rolled out within Facebook’s Creator Studio app.
The rollout of the new feature has happened over the past month, with large-scale expansion over the previous week – meaning that most users now have the feature. If you don’t, well, you will soon.
To get access to the tool you need to have an Instagram business account linked to your Creator Studio dashboard; from here, you can create posts for the Instagram Feed or IGTV, uploading images and other media, before scheduling for a specific time and date.
Some experts have concerns that scheduling in this way could result in less engagement, and more ‘stale’ posts overall – but this is always a balancing act with scheduling tools as a whole. Check out the full story over at Social Media Today.
Google extends close variants to phrase match & broad match modifiers in fundamental change
Google has announced changes around close variants, extending the previous update to exact match keywords which was seen last autumn.
As a result, “phrase match and broad match modifier will match to same meaning queries”, with close variants expanding to include same meaning queries. The change will roll out “in the coming weeks”, and will also involve Google changing its keyword selection preferences, in a bid to prevent keywords from competing against each other.
The search giant has said that “queries evolve and machine learning has advanced to the point where it can fill in those gaps for advertisers”. With stats showing that 15% of searches every day are new, advertisers who are controlling their query matching too tightly are likely to miss out on opportunities. Some experts are calling the update a “fundamental shift” – so it will be interesting to see the implications over the coming months. Read more on the update at Search Engine Land.
Google Ads launches new account maps for visualising manager accounts
Google Ads has released new account maps, designed to help advertisers managing multiple accounts and sub-accounts to “visualise and navigate” their campaigns.
The maps will show “all the accounts and sub-accounts under your manager account”, helping people to see connections, navigate between accounts, and switch over more efficiently. Performance metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions will also be shown, along with any external managers on the accounts – which could be a handy functionality even if you’re not using sub accounts regularly.
Find the new account maps under the Tools heading within the Google Ads interface, or read more on the change over at Search Engine Land.
Don’t forget to check out some of our recent blog posts for some more digital marketing-themed goodness, or we’ll see you back here next week – same time, same place.
Want to know more?
Reach out and say hello. Come experience the GIANT side.