Here we are again, the end of another busy week and there's plenty to report on! Amazon has rolled out a new fleet of Echo products, Google has rolled out its latest core update and we had a smashing coffee morning here in the office to support Macmillan! Let's dive into the details...

Google turns 21 years old!

This time 21 years ago, Google was emerging into the world, an infant search engine with unbelievable growth ahead. It's hard to believe that Google's creators had no idea how quickly they would monopolise the world of internet search. Here we are, September 27th exactly 21 years later and Google has become the most popular search engine worldwide! To mark the occasion, BBC Newsround shared 21 unusual facts about Google, we thought we'd share a few of our favourites with you here.

  • The first Google server was kept in a custom case made of Lego!
  • 15% of the searches made every day on Google have never been searched before.
  • Google has tonnes of little tricks that you might not know about. For example, when you Google the word 'askew' it makes all of your search results crooked (give it a try!)

Amazon release a range of new Echo products

This photograph was taken from www.theverge.com

Amazon have been very busy developing a new range of Echo products, all of which debuted this week! What's obvious from this product launch is that Amazon wants us to be able to take Alexa with us wherever we go. 

Alongside a new high-end Echo speaker, an Echo with an impressive smart display, and Echo Dot with an LED display, Amazon introduced a range of Echo products designed for use while you're out and about. The new Echo Buds are sure to be a contender with Apple's Airbuds, they're designed to reduce ambient noise and can access Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant depending on what phone you have. Handy!

Some of the new Echo products definitely fall into the category - Experimental Tech. For all you tech-savvy spectacle wearers, the Echo Frames might be of interest to you. The frames are designed to carry your normal prescription lenses but have Alexa built into the frame. When you ask Alexa a question, the frames use special speakers to project the response down into your ears so that others around you can't hear it. We're interested to see how consumers react to these, although so far responses seem good! 

Another original product is the Echo Loop. This is another way Amazon is allowing you to keep Alexa with you at all times. The Echo Loop is a small device that you can wear like a ring, it has a button you can press to access your Assistant, and you can even use it to receive and answer calls. So far, the experience of using the Echo Loop has been described as, like whispering secrets to Alexa and having her respond. Some may find this creepy, some may think it's ingenious, we'll leave you to decide. 

Google rolled out its core update

The September 2019 core update started rolling out this week. These core updates alter how Google ranks websites and how it determines what the most relevant content for each query is. You might see some changes in your website ranking, but Google provides advice on how to improve your ranking if your site is hit.

You can read it here >

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Ok, we had to give this an honourable mention. This morning we had a Macmillan coffee morning! The whole team put on a great spread, people baked and contributed a ton of delicious treats and we've raised over £100! 

To keep up with updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

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As we approach the end of September, the tech world doesn't show any signs of slowing down. Google has been rolling out some more exciting features, Huawei has released its next instalment of flagship phones and Apple's iOS13 is here! Let's take a look at the news highlights of the week...

Huawei Mate 30 Phones Launch Without Google Apps

This photo was taken from bbc.co.uk

So, let's start with some (potentially not good) news for Huawei users. It looks like their latest smartphones, the Mate 30 Pros, are launching without many of the pre-installed Google apps that Android users have come to expect. The apps missing include YouTube, Google Maps and Gmail amongst others.

As if that wasn't offputting enough, the phones don't have access to the Google Play store and instead rely on Huawei's equivalent app store, Huawei App Gallery. But will users tolerate this? Well, it's pretty safe to assume that these phones aren't going to appeal to everyone.

There might be a few die-hard Huawei users who are willing to tolerate the lack of Google services, but it's unlikely that these phones will be as popular as previous models.  Huawei is hoping the new hardware including four professional cameras will draw in the punters. We'll have to wait and see!

Google Search Introduces 'Key Moments' For Videos in Search

This picture was taken from searchengineland.com

It looks like Google have introduced another feature to help users find what they're looking for in YouTube videos quickly. The name of this feature? 'In this video' a tool that breaks videos up into useful chunks and highlights them on a timeline so the user can skip to the most relevant parts.

If you want this feature to work on your own video content, you need to make sure you're adding timestamps in the description of your videos. But why bother? Well, Google is all about getting content to the user in the quickest and most convenient way, so it's fairly safe to assume that videos with timestamps will rank higher than those without. We'll have to keep you updated on that though.

iOS 13.0 is Here

This photo was taken from theverge.com

You might remember from last week's roundup that Apple revealed a bunch of new products, but this week, the software update went live! iOS 13.0 is here and ready to download... but... it's not without faults. In fact, there are so many faults with iOS 13.0 that people are questioning if they've released it by mistake. Some of the key new features include dark mode and a new photo app, it's just a shame that they're accompanied by a bunch of bugs. Fear not though iOS 13.1 is just around the corner. 

If you want to see a full list of the new iOS 13 features, click here >

Amazon To Order 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans

This photo was taken from theverge.com

This story seems very fitting in the wake of the global Climate Strike taking place today! In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has supposedly ordered 100,000 of these electric delivery vans from Rivian. This announcement formed part of Besos' plan to combat climate change.

You may not have heard of Rivian before, but they've been releasing electric vehicles under the radar for some time now! The first of their vehicles, an electric pickup truck, was released just under a year ago, but it sounds like we could be seeing a lot more from them in the coming years. 

It's great to see such a huge and influential company taking steps towards a greener service this week. It's easy to imagine the vast carbon footprint Amazon has at the moment when you consider just how many Amazon parcels get delivered in a single day (somewhere in the region of 20 million). Let's hope that this is a step in the right direction that will inspire other companies to consider their environmental impact too! 

To keep up with updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

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It's been a short week for us here at Designer Websites as we all enjoyed a long weekend for August bank holiday. However, the SEO, PPC & technology worlds never stand still and plenty of exciting things have been happening this week! Let's take a look...

Competitor ads appear on local business profiles

This week people started noticing Google ads appearing in local business profiles. Up until now, businesses have had a perception of ownership or exclusivity on their business profiles, but of course - like everything else that appears in search results - business profiles are owned by Google. Here's an example of what these ads look like:

Photo from searchengineland.com

Here you can see a business profile for a Chrysler store in California. Below all of the contact options, you can see an ad for Valley Hi Toyota, a different car dealership that's over an hour away from the Chrysler dealer.

Will this be helpful for users? In a way, yes, especially when you're doing something more mundane than buying a new car. Let's say you're trying to find a Chinese restaurant for your Friday night takeaway, perhaps the one you select is closed tonight, but Google advertises one that's open - it will save users time and they might even like the new restaurant more! 

For business owners, this feature is likely to be more of a nuisance and, so far, the SEO community agrees. Google is essentially drawing potential customers away from your business as they view your business profile. Worse still, businesses can't pay to remove the ads so they're here to stay. 

Can humans keep up with AI?

Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tesla's founder Elon Musk took to the stage at an event in Shanghai to share their views on the potential future impact of artificial intelligence. Despite being two of the most influential leaders in the technology community, their predictions for the impact of AI couldn't have been any more different.

Photo from bbc.co.uk

Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma was 'quite optimistic' about the future of AI and suggested it's nothing to be scared of. Musk's response, 'I don't know man, that's like famous last words'. Musk believes that humans are simply the 'boot loader for digital super-intelligence', in layman's terms, a simple catalyst for its creation that will eventually be no longer needed. To avoid this fate, Musk suggests that we need to find a way to connect our brains to the computers so we can "go along for the ride with AI".

Despite their conflicting opinion on this topic, the two businessmen did agree that one of the biggest issues we face worldwide is population collapse. As more thing become automated and people starting to use more of their time for pleasure, both men predict a severe decline in population. They suggested that using AI to help people live longer and healthier lives could be part of the solution. 

Google tests content highlighting

Google have confirmed they are testing a new feature that will take users directly to the most relevant information on a page, depending on their query. Yep, Google is finding even more ways to serve users the information they want as quickly as possible, and we're not mad at it! Google originally introduced this feature on mobile, but it's now being trialled on desktop too.

Photo taken from searchengineland.com

So, here's how it works. Certain queries will show a featured snippet, the content of which is pulled from a source that Google considers highly-authoritative on the topic. When a user clicks the website shown in the snippet, Google with move the view down to the passage featured in the snippet to show users the most relevant content. 

 

Photo from searchengineland.com

This should provide an extra stream of traffic to well-optimised content as more chunks of it appear in search results. The best way for SEOs to stay on top of this is to keep an eye on whether their websites are doing this in Google search and rearrange or replace ads/call to actions in a more appropriate location on the page.

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow Designer Websites on Twitter! See you next week. 

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Welcome to the second instalment of our weekly DW Roundup! For those of you that didn't see our previous Roundup, this is a weekly blog post that you can follow every Friday to find out the latest and greatest news in the digital marketing, PPC, SEO and tech worlds. So, what's been happening this week? Let's find out. 

Hotel Reservations and AR Navigation Coming to Google Maps

If you're someone who loves to travel then this announcement is sure to excite you! Google Maps is starting to roll out new features that allow you to book your flights & hotel reservations directly through the Google Maps app. Store all of your information in one,  easy-to-access platform so that you're not fiddling between apps as you check-in at the airport or head to your hotel.

The reservations tab will show you all the information about your upcoming reservations and can even be accessed while you're offline! Incredibly handy if, for example,  you want to check your hotel reservation details while you're on your flight.

(Image from searchengineland.com)

As if this wasn't cool enough, Google is also bringing the beta version of their augmented reality walking navigation feature "Live View" to Android and IOS devices. If your phone supports ARCore or ARkit software then keep your eyes peeled for this! The arrows and directions are laid directly over your view of the real world, making it even easier than ever to find your way. 

Search Marketing is Becoming More 'Human'

According to PPC expert, Mark Irvine,  digital marketers should be working towards a more real-time marketing strategy. What does this mean? Irvine explained by demonstrating the effects of trending on Twitter: 

(A slide from Irvine's SMX presentation, found on searchengineland.com)

As you can see, within one hour of trending on Twitter, Google searches had doubled and after 6 hours they'd increased fivefold. Irvine makes a strong argument suggesting that users 'discover on socials and search on Google'. Based on Irvine's findings, he suggests that after years of perfecting page copy and posting perfect images across social media, perhaps a more human-to-human approach is better. This means we should be keeping up to date with social trends and customer insights more than ever!

Google Had Indexing Issues

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Google was having indexing problems that meant new content wasn't being shown in search results. This was most noticeable in news results, where no amount of refreshing was pulling recent stories through. Articles were stunted at around 3 am Thursday morning. Luckily, Google confirmed that they'd resolved this problem, so all of your new content should be indexed as normal! Hooray!

To keep up with further news and updates from around the tech and digital marketing world, be sure to follow us on Twitter and check back next week!

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