A New Search Engine Enters The Market!
This week in the world of digital we’re talking about a new search engine from Verizon, Google wellbeing app launches, the end of Apple encryption, emoji reacts for DMs, and the latest changes to featured snippets.
Should we be worried about OneSearch?
A Challenger Approaches – Introducing OneSearch from Verizon
Verizon Media has announced the launch of its very own privacy-focused search engine, OneSearch – which promises not to “track, store, or share personal or search data with advertisers”.
DuckDuckGo is currently the market’s most privacy-focused search engine, putting OneSearch as a direct competitor. However, OneSearch will allow businesses to partner with Verizon Media and integrate the search engine with their “existing privacy and security products”.
OneSearch will offer an advanced privacy mode, which will provide encrypted search results links that expire within an hour – perfect for sharing links with friends, or if multiple people are using the same device. OneSearch also boasts encrypted search terms, no cookie tracking or retargeting, and no storing of user search history.
OneSearch is now available on desktop and mobile in North America. Would you switch over if it comes to the UK? Let us know over on Twitter, or read more at Search Engine Journal.
New Google Envelope Hides Your Phone from Yourself
The impact of digital on a person’s wellbeing was a hot topic in 2019, and it doesn’t look set to change for 2020. This week saw Google launch three new apps designed to help you use your phone less, all as part of its Digital Wellbeing initiative.
The first app works in conjunction with a DIY paper envelope, which you put your phone into. Currently it only works if you have a Pixel 3A, but if that’s you, you can download the app from the Play Store app, called Envelope, then print out the PDF for the envelope, before getting your Art Attack on to construct it. Once you put your phone in the envelope, you can only dial phone numbers, use speed dial, or tell the time by the number on the call pad flashing on request.
The other apps include Activity Bubbles, which puts a bubble on your wallpaper each time you open the phone. The size of the bubble increases over time, so if your home screen is covered in big bubbles, it may indicate some hefty usage. Finally, Google’s new Screen Stopwatch app is a live wallpaper for Android phones, which increases whenever you have your phone unlocked. By the end of the day, you’d be able to see how much time you’d spent on your device.
Am I the only one who thinks it would be pretty scary to see the timer at the end of the day? You can read more about the updates over at The Verge.
Apple iCloud Encryption Halted by FBI
Following pressure from the FBI, Apple has reportedly abandoned plans which would have allowed customers to fully encrypt back-ups of their phone on iCloud.
Full encryption would convert data into code, which wouldn’t be accessible without a password. While some have theorised that this decision not to go ahead with the plans is due to concerns around being seen as ‘protecting criminals’, others have said that it may be due to concern about users getting locked out of their accounts. With full encryption, if a customer forgot their password, there would be no way to re-access the data, whereas currently Apple is able to help people recover data in most cases.
A Reuters reporter who broke the news said he couldn’t determine why Apple had decided to abandon its encryption project, with cyber-security experts highlighting the importance of such measures when it comes to protecting a user’s data. Perhaps we’ll see more solutions in the future? For more on the story, take a look at BBC News.
Featured Snippet Sites Will No Longer Appear Twice on the First Page
Google’s public search liaison, Danny Sullivan, has announced that pages which earn a featured snippet spot will no longer repeat again on the first page of the search engine – leading to a flurry of interest from SEOs.
Previously, if a site earnt the featured snippet spot, their result would also appear lower down on page one too. From now on, however, the result corresponding to the featured snippet will appear at the top of the second page of the SERPs. On top of this, featured snippets will be counted amongst the ten organic listings shown, instead of additionally.
To put it simply – this means that if you win the featured snippet, your URL will only appear once on the first page of search results, instead of twice. Although, on the flip side, if you don’t own the featured snippet, it means that at least your competitor won’t now appear twice on page one.
The change rolled out globally from January 22nd, with advice stating that SEOs should keep an eye on traffic and tracking tools to see how they adjust to possibly appearing on the second page of the SERPs. Take a look at more over at Search Engine Land.
New Emoji Reactions on Twitter for DMs
If you’re a fan of hitting up the DMs on Twitter then you’re in luck – you’ll soon be able to fire react to all those messages you’re getting.
Twitter has announced that it will be launching its new Reactions-like option in direct messages, which will let users allocate an emoji response to any message within a thread – from a heart to a thumbs down or a crying laughing face.
“It’s quick and easy to add an emoji reaction to a Direct Message – both text and media attachments. To add a reaction, hover over the message and click the reaction button (heart and plus icon), or double tap on the message and pick an emoji from the pop-up. You can undo a reaction at any time and it will be removed from the message for all participants,” Twitter explained in its announcement.
Twitter has previously tested reaction emojis within tweets themselves, but the feature never reached a proper roll-out. However, given Twitter’s recent focus on direct messaging, it makes sense that the platform’s looking at new ways to enhance the DM experience. Check out the full story over at Social Media Today.
Share your Brand @ Mentions Easier than Ever on Instagram
Instagram has added a new Stories @ mention feature this week, which will highlight any Stories that mention your profile – potentially a very handy little tool for brands on the platform.
Not only will this make it more visible when you’re tagged, but it will also let you easily re-share the tagged Stories within your own Stories.
You’ll see the new option appear as an @ symbol in your Create mode. When you click the button, you’ll get an option so ‘See All’ at the top of the screen, also signifying how many Stories @mentions your profile has at any given time. When clicked, this offers up thumbnails of all Stories you’re mentioned in, which can be selected and reshared – until the original expires.
For brands, this could be a really handy way to share things like customer feedback and influencer partnership posts, although it’s not completely clear as to whether everyone will have access to the feature at this time. For now, it may be worth checking your Create mode and seeing if it appears. In the meantime, check out more over at Social Media Today.
That’s all for today, folks! Hope you all gave Blue Monday the boot this week, we sure did here at GIANT Towers – from a litter pick to a GIANT yoga sesh. Who knows what next week will bring!
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