Tech news roundup

Another working week is almost over, but before we switch off our computers and crank up our Friday night playlist, there's just time for a quick roundup of some interesting tech / SEO stories from the past few days...

Google rolls out new 'Search by photos' feature

Eagle-eyed Google users spotted a new feature in the company's mobile search results this week. Certain local search terms - such as pizza in Cardiff - now deliver a 'Search by photos' section that looks like this:

This section doesn't appear to have any fixed position, and it only seems to show up for queries with clear local intent (e.g. 'Italian restaurants in Chester' or 'wedding dress shops near me'). Nevertheless, this new addition to the SERP could present a great opportunity for local businesses to flaunt their visual appeal and engage with potential customers nearby.

Pinterest releases slimmed-down mobile app

On Monday, Pinterest launched a 'Lite' version of their mobile application. Where the standard iOS Pinterest app takes up approximately 143 MB, Pinterest Lite weighs in at just 1.4 MB - that's less than 1% of the main app's size!

Pinterest Lite is now available to Android users in the following territories:

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Mexico
  • Peru

The 'Lite' app's primary aim is to make Pinterest more accessible to users in these emerging markets.

Google Maps offers additional assistance for visually-impaired users

Google Maps can be very useful when you need directions, but the tool's usefulness is somewhat limited if you're unable to see the directions it provides.

However, that may not be the case for much longer. Visually-impaired Google Maps users in Japan and the USA can now access detailed voice guidance to help them reach their destination safely and efficiently.

Google have released this video showing the improved guidance in action:

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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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What a week it's been in the technology world. Huge announcements and changes have been delivered by the biggest names in the industry which are sure cause quite a stir. If you've missed any of this week's news, Designer Websites has you covered! 

 

Apple Reveals New Products at 2019 Event 

To many, September marks the end of summer and the beginning of colder, wetter months. To others, September only means one thing. iPhones. Over the last few years, technology enthusiasts have become accustomed to finding out what the latest and greatest products Apple have in store for the world during the month of Septemeber, and this year's been no different. 

This week saw Apple's head honchos take the stage for yet another instalment of yearly product and service announcements. And they didn't disappoint. In no particular order, here are the five biggest takeaways from this year's Apple event:

  1. Apple TV Plus, the company's streaming service, launches November 1st costing $4.99 per month. Apple is offering a year-long free subscription when you purchase a new Apple product.
  2. The 7th gen iPad has a new 10.2-inch display. The premium-level iPad is set to launch with an A10 Bionic processor and Smart Connector.
  3. Apple Watch Series 5 releases with an always-on retina display. The latest iteration of the world's favourite smartwatch delivers an overdue feature which Apple fans have been crying out for since its introduction in 2015. The new watch also offers menstrual cycle tracking and brings back ceramic and titanium faces.
  4. iPhone 11 offers more than the XR in every way possible. Apple's new 'budget' smartphone delivers more than its predecessor with a 6.1-inch LCD display, new A13 Bionic processor and GPU.
  5. iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max bring a new three-camera system to the iPhone. Complete with telephoto, ultra-wide and regular lenses, the new iPhone camera is capable of shooting in 4K at 60fps and has the ability to record different subjects through each lens. Both phones feature the same A13 chip as the standard iPhone 11 and come in four colours. 

(Image: Apple)

 

Google to treat nofollow links as 'hints'

One of the biggest shakeups in the SEO world occurred this past Tuesday and search engine giants Google, announced changes to the ways that nofollow links will be treated.

In the past, links to content with the rel="nofollow" attribute would not be recognised by Google within its search algorithms. That is set to change, with Google stating that it is time for link attributes to "evolve". Two new attributes for sponsored (paid-for) links and user-generated content (UGC) will be introduced to give Google a better understanding of links and use them to help index and rank content. Something that will surely make SEOs all over the world re-think their strategy. 

 

(Image: Google)

 

Spotify now lets you share music to Snapchat

Spotify has announced it is adding the ability to share your music with a snap on Snapchat. This may come as a surprise to some people due to the feature being available on other high-profile apps already, such as Instagram. Nevertheless, the feature is on its way, so long as Snapchat is installed on the same device you're using Spotify on.

When selected, Snapchat will automatically create a snap that displays song information and album art for a particular track. This can then be sent to your Snapchat friends or to your story. A cool addition with this feature allows you to start listening to any track that has been sent to you with a quick swipe up.

 

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

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Another week has come and gone with huge announcements from the world's biggest tech companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube. So, without further ado, let's jump in! 

Apple Music now available on the web

Starting in beta this week, Apple Music users will now be able to stream their favourite tracks straight from a browser without having to install iTunes or a separate Apple Music app. The new web interface is available as a public beta for subscribers at http://beta.music.apple.com/.

When launching the interface, users will immediately see the similarities between the new standalone Music app that Apple is launching with macOS Catalina later this year. Apple has stated that it should work in all browsers, across all devices, including Chrome OS, Windows 10 and Androids.

The beta site excludes some features that users may be used to, including the flagship Beats 1 live broadcast, original music videos and smart playlists. Apple says it will be adding more features over time, however. The new site moves Apple on par with its biggest competitor Spotify, which became the first platform to hit 100m paid subscribers this year.

Image: Theverge.com

Facebook Dating launches in the US

This week, social media giant Facebook announced that it's launching its dating service in the US, with plans to expand the new feature to Europe by early 2020. Facebook's dating service is currently available in 19 countries which includes Singapore, Mexico and Canada. Eventually, Facebook plans to release the service on a global scale.

Facebook will begin to integrate features from Instagram, the Facebook-owned app which was purchased in 2012. This move is planned in the hope that more users in their late teens and 20's will try the service, providing them with the ability to add recent Instagram posts to their dating profiles. They can also add one of their Instagram followers as their 'Secret Crush', that lets them select up to nine Facebook friends they're interested in romantically. By the close of the year, Facebook plans to bring both Facebook and Instagram stories to the dating service, allowing users to posts photos and videos to their profiles that disappear after 24 hours.  

 

Image: newsroom.fb.com

YouTube launches a new hub for fashion & beauty

YouTube, the Google-owned video site, launched a new hub for fashion and beauty content; YouTube.com/Fashion

Derek Blasberg, director of YouTube Fashion and Beauty said this week, "The aim for /Fashion is to create an ultimate destination for style content that bridges both our fabulous endemic creator community and the more traditional worlds of fashion and beauty. My hope is that anyone looking for all things style will now have a place to come and be inspired by what they see."

The new hub will feature videos from various YouTube creators, livestreams of runways shows and collaborations with world-renown brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. YouTube stated that the number of fashion and beauty channels on the site grew more than six times between 2014 and 2018 and generated billions of views last year. 

 

Image: Pixabay.com

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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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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Another week and another DW Roundup blog where we take a look at all of the biggest news from the worlds of SEO, PPC, digital marketing and tech! It's been another busy week for announcements and releases so let's dive straight in.

 

Apple releases its 'Apple Card'

This week saw the public release of Apple's latest contribution to the tech world in the form of their 'Apple Card', the company's attempt to join the credit card market. Currently available in the US only, Apple Card's Vice President Jennifer Bailey stated that the tech giants are 'thrilled with the overwhelming interest in Apple Card and its positive reception." Apple also announced that they will be extending its 3% Daily Cash (cashback) to further apps and merchants, this is currently only available through Uber, Uber Eats, Apple Stores and Apple services such as iTunes. 

Following the announcement, however, a storm certainly started to stir across social media when Apple warned the public to keep their Apple Cards away from leather and clothes. If not, they run the risk of their shiny new credit card becoming permanently discoloured. To combat the potential aesthetic damage that may occur as a result of the Apple Card coming into contact with other metal items and materials such as denim, Apple has advised storing the card in a container made of soft material, just not leather. Will this have an impact on the number of people who apply for the Apple Card? Only time will tell. 

Image: Apple

 

Google redesigns its Play Store

Another tech giant, Google, has this week announced an incoming redesign of its Play Store. So, what's the biggest change? The removal of the colourful green header in favour or a cleaner and brighter whiter style. Similar to Apple's App Store, the new Google Play Store contains separate tabs for categories such as apps, books, games and TV shows. The tab bar now appears on the bottom for phones and in a sidebar on tablets and Chrome OS devices and icons now portray a more 'rounded' look, which offers a similar style to that of iOS. 

Image: The Verge

 

More indexing issues for Google? Surely not...

We're afraid so! After Google announced last week that they had resolved the indexing issues that they were faced with, it seems as if that was very short-lived. It appears Google is once again having issues indexing new content, an obvious problem for content creators like us! It is unclear how widespread the troubles are at this point, but Danny Sullivan from Google validated the issues on Twitter stating, "yes, I believe there might be some issues.” Yet another twist in the problems faced by tech giants.

 

Image: Google

 

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

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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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In this blog, we bring to you all of the major talking points from across the world of SEO, PPC, digital marketing and tech to ensure you're kept up-to-date and not missing out on anything important! This will be the first edition of a weekly DW roundup blog, so be sure to keep an eye out each week! So, what are we waiting for? Let's get into it...

Google launches a new algorithm to better understand useful and timely information

The Vide President of Search at Google, Pandu Nayak, announced that the tech giants have released an update to how their search algorithms to keep featured snippets up-to-date with fresh and relevant information. 

This latest release aims to make sure that Google provides searchers with answers that are not just accurate but also timely. Here is what Google said in their announcement:

"As part of our ongoing efforts to make Search work better for you, a new algorithm update improves our systems’ understanding of what information remains useful over time and what becomes out-of-date more quickly. This is particularly helpful for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages that our systems determine are most likely to have the information you’re looking for. For queries where fresh information is important, our systems will try to find the most useful and up-to-date featured snippets."

(Image from searchengineland.com)

 

Google adds 'get a quote button' to Google business local knowledge panels 

Google has added a new call-to-action button to service level businesses in the local knowledge panel for listings that have Google My Business messaging turned on. The reason behind this addition is clearly to make more searchers use Google's messaging feature. By making this button more noticeable, businesses are bound to get more messages via Google Messaging. Remember to get this feature, you will need to have messaging enabled. Click here for instructions. 

(Image from searchengineland.com)

 

Apple is reportedly releasing three 5G iPhones in 2020

With more and more networks beginning to roll out 5G networks, phone manufacturers are starting to release phones that will be able to access them. One of these manufacturers is of course Apple. Many reports have previously stated that Apple is set to release a 5G-compatible phone in 2020, however, according to new reports, all three of their 2020 mobile devices are set to support the 5G network. 

(Image from theverge.com)

Google temporarily banned from listening to voice recordings 

Regulators in Germany have ordered Google to stop listening to voice recordings from people using its Assistance software in the EU. The ban will last for three months while Germany's data watchdog conducts an investigation. 

 A small percentage of voice recordings made into Google's Assistant service are heard by human workers and third parties, with the intention of better understanding people's search queries and improving the software. Those recordings, however, have the potential to include private and sensitive information. Other tech companies such as Amazon have also come under fire for how they use their voice data.  

(Image from theverge.com)

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

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