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Google is fighting back against fraud with an advanced verification process for plumbers and locksmiths.

An email sent out to Google’s top contributors states the company’s plan for an advanced verification process is being beta tested in San Diego. All locksmiths and plumbers currently verified will have to go through the new verification process. Failure to do so before November 1 will result in the loss of verification and the removal from Google Maps.

Of course, any new applications will have to go through the new process as well, which said to be simple. It includes a combination of questions from Google and completing an application with a third party verification company. The new application process is said to take about two weeks to complete.

The entire advanced verification process for plumbers and locksmiths in the San Diego area is explained in this Google My Business help article. The process will also be used for plumbers and locksmiths using AdWords.

Why Locksmiths? Here’s Why.

Did you know that one of the biggest online scams is perpetrated by so-called locksmiths? Google knows, and the issues are finally being taken seriously.

 

It only takes a few bad actors to ruin it for the rest. In this case, the bad actors are individuals or companies claiming to be locksmiths to make some quick cash. Here’s how the scam works.

Locksmith Scam:

  • After being locked out of one’s home and not knowing what to do, a quick Google search brings up a list of local locksmiths.
  • Google returns AdWords ads and Google My Business listings for locksmiths promising cheap or inexpensive service rates.
  • Calling one of these bargain locksmiths actually routes you to an offshore call center, where they dispatch someone local to come to your door.
  • The locksmith shows up and, before trying any other options, immediately drills the lock open and slaps you with a large bill for the service.
  • The cheap service you thought you were getting then turns into a large expense.
  • Congratulations, you can now get back into your home but you’ve become a victim of locksmith fraud.

This locksmith scam has been well documented over the past few years and even written about in the New York Times. To get an idea of how rampant it is becoming, search for “locksmith scam” in Google.

Google’s advanced verification should cut down on the amount of fraudulent locksmiths found in ads and search results. As for why plumbers have to go through an advanced verification, I’m not quite sure. I tried to research online plumbing scams but was unable to find anything.

Google is notoriously secretive about why it makes the decisions it does. Regardless, I have reached out for comment in an attempt to gain further information.

Source: Search Engine Land

 

 

Categorized in Online Research

Google is often criticized for how it handles spammy links, but columnist Ian Bowden believes this criticism may be unfair. Here, he takes a look at the challenges Google might face in tackling the ongoing issue of paid links.

Prior to the recent arrival of Penguin 4.0, it had been nearly two years since Penguin was last updated. It was expected to roll out at the end of 2015, which then became early 2016. By the summer, some in the industry had given up on Google ever releasing Penguin 4.0. But why did it take so long?

I’d argue that criticism directed at Google is in many cases unjustified, as people often take too simplistic a view of the task at hand for the search engine.

Detecting and dealing with paid links is a lot harder than many people think, and there are likely good reasons why Google took longer than hoped to release the next iteration of Penguin.

Here are some of the challenges Google may have faced in pushing out the most recent Penguin update:

1. It has to be effective at detecting paid links

To run and deploy an effective Penguin update, Google has to have the ability to (algorithmically and at scale) determine which links violate guidelines. It’s not clear the extent to which Google is capable of this; there are plenty of case studies which show that links violating the guidelines continue to work.

However, not all paid links are created equal.

Some paid links are obviously paid for. For instance, they may have certain types of markup around them, or they may be featured within an article clearly denoted as an advertorial.

On the other hand, some links may have no telltale signs on the page that they are paid for, so determining whether or not they are paid links comes through observing patterns.

The reality is that advanced paid linking strategies will be challenging for Google to either devalue or penalize.

Penguin has historically targeted very low-quality web spam, as it is easier to distinguish and qualify, but a level above this is an opportunity. Google has to have confidence in its capability before applying a filter, due to the severity of the outcome.

2. Google is still dependent on links for the best quality search results

Maybe, just maybe, Google is actually capable of detecting paid links but chooses not to devalue all of them.

Most people will be familiar with third-party tools that perform link analyses to assess which links are “toxic” and will potentially be harming search performance. Users know that sometimes these tools get it wrong, but generally they’re pretty good.

I think it is fair to assume that Google has a lot more resources available to do this, so in theory they should be better than third-party tools at detecting paid links.

Google has experimented with removing links from their index with negative consequences for the quality of search results. It would be interesting to see the quality of search results when they vary the spammy link threshold of Penguin.

It’s possible that even though certain links are not compliant with webmaster guidelines, they still assist Google in their number one goal of returning users the best quality search results. For the time being, they might still be of use to Google.

3. Negative SEO remains a reality

If Google is sure that a link has been orchestrated, it is very difficult for the search engine to also be sure whether it was done by the webmaster or by someone else executing a negative SEO campaign.

If a penalty or visibility drop were as easy to incur from a handful of paid links, then in theory, it would be pretty straightforward to perform negative SEO on competitors. The barriers to doing this are quite low, and furthermore, the footprint is minimal.

Google has tried to negate this problem with the introduction of the disavow tool, but it is not realistic to think all webmasters will know of this, let alone use the tool correctly. This is a challenge for Google in tackling paid links.

4. It provides a PR backlash and unwanted attention

When rolling out large algorithm updates, it’s inevitable that there will be false positives or severe punishments for small offenses. After any rollout, there will be a number of “adjustments” as Google measures the impact of the update and attempts to tweak it.

Despite that, a large number of businesses will suffer as a result of these updates. Those who regularly join Google Webmaster Hangouts will be used to business owners, almost in tears, discussing the devastating impact of a recent update and pleading for more information.

While the vast majority of Google users will most likely never be aware of or care about the fallout of algorithm updates, these situations do provide Google with some degree of negative PR. Any noise that points toward Google yielding too much power is unwanted attention.

On a related note, sometimes penalties are just not viable for Google. When someone walks down Main Street, they expect to see certain retailers. It’s exactly the same with search results. Users going to Google expect to see the top brands. The user doesn’t really care if a brand is not appearing because of a penalty. Users will hold it as a reflection on the quality of Google rather than the brand’s non-compliance with guidelines.

To be clear, that’s not to say that Google never penalizes big brands — JCPenneySprintthe BBCand plenty of other large brands have all received high-profile manual penalties in the past. But Google does have to consider the impact on the user experience when choosing how to weight different types of links. If users don’t see the websites they expect in search results, the result could be switching to another search engine.

This is how Google deals with the problem

The above four points highlight some of the challenges Google faces. Fewer things are more important than meeting its objective of returning the most useful results to its users, so it has a massive interest in dealing with paid links.

Here are some ways Google could address the challenges it faces:

1. Prefer to devalue links and issue fewer penalties

Penalties act as a deterrent for violating guidelines, and they serve to improve the quality of search results by demoting results that were artificially boosted. A lot of the risk of “getting it wrong” can simply be mitigated through devaluing links algorithmically, rather than imposing manual penalties.

In the instance of a negative SEO attack, the spammy links, instead of causing a penalty for a website, could simply not be counted. In theory, this is the purpose of a disavow file. Penalties could be saved for only the most egregious offenders.

The fact that Penguin now runs in real time as part of the core ranking algorithm suggests that this is the direction they are heading in: favoring the devaluation of spammy links through “algorithmic” penalties (which websites can now recover from more quickly), and manual penalties only being applied for serious offenses.

2. Do a slow rollout combined with other updates

Slowly rolling out the Penguin 4.0 update provides Google two advantages. First, it softens the blow of the update. There is not one week when suddenly some large profile brands drop visibility, drawing attention to the update.

Second, it allows Google to test the impact of the update and adjust over time. If the update is too harsh, they can adjust the parameters. Penguin 4.0 may take several weeks to roll out.

To add to the confusion and make it more difficult to understand the impact of Penguin 4.0, it is probable Google will roll out some other updates at the same time.

If you cast your memory back two years to the introduction of Panda 4.1 and Penguin 3.0, they were rolled out almost in conjunction. This made it more difficult to understand what their impacts were.

There was a lot of SERP fluctuation this September. It is possible part of this fluctuation can be attributed to Penguin 4.0 testing, but there is no certainty because of the amount of other updates occurring (such as the local update dubbed “Possum“).

3. Encourage a culture of fear

Even if the risk of receiving a penalty is the same now as it was five years ago, the anxiety and fear of receiving one is much greater among brands. High-profile penalties have not only served their function of punishing the offending brand, but they also have provided a great deterrent to anyone else considering such a strategy.

The transition to content marketing and SEO becoming less of a black box assisted in this, but this culture of fear has been a large driver in the reduction of paid link activity.

Final thoughts

Google is often criticized for not doing more to tackle paid links, but I think that criticism is unfair. When one considers the challenges search engines face when tackling paid links, one can be more forgiving.

Now that Google has incorporated Penguin into the core algorithm, webmasters may have an easier time recovering from ranking issues that arise from spammy or paid links, as they will not have to wait until “the next update” (sometimes years) to recover from an algorithmic devaluation.

However, the fact that Penguin now operates in real time will make it more difficult for webmasters to know when a loss in rankings is due to spammy links or something else — so webmasters will need to be vigilant about monitoring the health of their backlink profiles.

I suspect that Google will continue to make tweaks and adjustments to Penguin after the rollout is complete, and I expect to see a continued shift from penalties to devaluing links over time.

Source: Search Engine Land

Categorized in Search Engine

Columnist Adam Dorfman explains how Google's recent local search algorithm update, "Possum," has impacted brick-and-mortar businesses.

For brick-and-mortar businesses, proximity to the searcher’s location has become even more important as a ranking signal thanks to a Google algorithm update nicknamed Possum. With the Possum algorithm change, Google is continuing down a path it has been traveling for quite some time, which is the merging of local and organic ranking signals.

Google is now applying filters to reward certain businesses that are not only physically closest to searchers but that also are optimizing their location data and content for search far better than anyone else. To understand the impact of Possum crawling into our lives, let’s look at the following scenario:

  • Before Possum: Let’s say Jim, a resident of San Mateo, California, requires orthopedic surgery and is doing a search for orthopedic specialists in the area. An area hospital, Hospital A, that publishes location pages for dozens of orthopedic surgeons might dominate the local pack results — not necessarily because Hospital A optimizes its content better than anyone else, but because it is the largest hospital in the area and has enough domain strength to make those pages relevant from an algorithmic standpoint.
  • After Possum: Jim conducts the same search for orthopedic specialists. Instead of a single hospital dominating search results, Google allocates more real estate to other hospitals nearby based on their location and the usual ranking signals — unless Hospital A’s content and data are so well optimized for search that they outperform other hospitals by a wide margin.

What Google is doing here is not new to search. For some time, Google has been making it harder for monster brands such as Amazon to dominate search results for product searches simply because of their size and prominence.

The Amazons and Walmarts of the world no longer dominate the top search results like they once did unless their search signals outperform competitors’ content by a wide margin. With Possum, Google is applying to local search a similar filter it has been using for organic search more generally.

Greater competition with your neighbors

Possum also affects local results in a more arcane, but important, way. As Joy Hawkins discussed in a recent Search Engine Land column, the algorithm is affecting search results for similar businesses that are clustered closely together, examples being:

  • Two or more retailers, such as mattress stores or restaurants, located across the street from each other or in the same strip mall.
  • Professionals, such as attorneys, insurance agents or accountants, who might share the same office space.

Before Possum, an unbranded search for, say, Greek restaurants in Chicago might yield the names of several Greek dining establishments clustered closely together in Chicago’s Greektown area. Such a result would make perfect sense if the person doing the search were located a block away from Greektown, which is located on the city’s near west side.

But what if the searcher were located in the north or south suburbs and wanted to find Greek restaurants in Chicago? Getting the names of a bunch of Greektown restaurants might not be a very good user experience if the searcher wanted to find locations closer to their physical location.

Possum has made it less likely that similar businesses clustered together will dominate location-based searches unless, as noted, the searcher is conducting the search close to the actual location of those businesses.

One implication of this, as local search expert Andrew Shotland uncovered, is that national to local brands may see positive shifts in rankings due to brand authority being turned up as a signal in the ranking algorithm.

Possum has a number of other implications for businesses, as Hawkins details in her article. But for brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on local foot traffic, the impacts I have described are especially important. As Hawkins wrote, “The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before.”

How to beat the competition

If you are a business that operates brick-and-mortar locations, you should first check to see if your rankings for local search have been affected. You might not have been affected — or you might be seeing better results, not necessarily a drop in rankings.

Regardless of whether you’ve been affected, now is the time to get more rigorous about how you manage your data and content as assets to make your brand more visible where people conduct near-me searches. Ask questions like:

  • Is my data accurate and shared properly with the publishers and aggregators that distribute my data?
  • Are my data and content differentiated to make my brand stand out? Am I listing data attributes, such as the availability of free parking, which might differentiate me when near-me searches occur? Is my deep content, such as long-form description of my business, or visual imagery, optimized properly for search?

Now, more than ever, it’s time to boost your signal for local search to be found. Don’t let your business play possum with local search.

Source: Search Engine Land

Categorized in Search Engine

This is the wrap-up of the most popular posts and announcements on SEJ over the previous week. Newsletter subscribers are the first to receive this and other updates.

Penguin is Now Part of Google’s Core Algorithm

penguin is now running in real-time as a part of Google’s core algorithm. The update is already in effect in all languages. Learn what else has changed, which is based on some of the top requests from webmasters.

Everything You Need to Know About On-Page SEO

Everything You Need to Know About On-Page SEO

How are you optimizing your online presence to make your voice heard? It starts with ensuring you are up to date on on-page SEO basics to provide peak performance for your website and visibility for your target audience.

Popular Search Marketing Posts

Here is a rundown of the most popular posts on SEJ from last week:

  1. Penguin is Now a Real-Time Component of Google’s Core Algorithm, byMatt Southern
  2. Everything You Need to Know About On-Page SEO, by Ryan Clutter
  3. The Complete Guide to Mastering E-Commerce Product Page, byStoney G deGeyter
  4. 10 Reasons Why Your E-Commerce SEO Campaign is Failing, by James Brockbank
  5. Google AdWords Introduces Cross-Device Remarketing, by Matt Southern / [AD] Looks Aren’t Everything: Why a Successful Infographic is Much More Than Just Design
  6. The Difference Between Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Mobile-Friendly Pages, by Bharati Ahuja
  7. Managing Your Website’s SEO Health, by Melih Oztalay
  8. Google Displaying Vacation Prices on Front Page of Search Results, byMatt Southern
  9. Google Allo Keeps Messages Indefinitely, Raising Privacy Concerns, byMatt Southern
  10. Google Testing New Schema Markup for ‘Science Datasets’, by Matt Southern

Download This Week’s Episode of Marketing Nerds

In this Marketing Nerds episode, SEJ Chief Social Media Strategist, Brent Csutoras, was joined by Tom Anthony, Head of Research & Development at Distilled, to talk about the future of search, other technology trends, and how to put it all together to understand the main trajectories in the industry. Listen to the full episode, or download the MP3 here.

Original source of this article is Search Engine Journal

Categorized in Search Engine

Even if your user downloads your app, which has app indexing deployed, Google will show them the AMP page over your app page.

At SMX East yesterday, Adam Greenberg, head of Global Product Partnerships at Google, gave a talk about AMP. He said during the question and answer time that AMP pages will override app deep links for the “foreseeable future.”

Last week, we covered how when Google began rolling out AMP to the core mobile results, Google quietly added to their changelog that AMP pages will trump app deep links. In short, that means when a user installs an app of a publisher, does a search on the mobile phone where the app resides and clicks on a link within the Google mobile results that could lead to the app opening up, instead, Google will show the AMP page — not the content within the app the user installed.

Google has made several large pushes with App Indexing through the years. These were incentives to get developers to add deep links and App Indexing to their apps — such as installing apps from the mobile results, app indexing support for iOS apps, a ranking boost for deploying app indexing, Google Search Console reporting and so much more.

But now, if your website has both deployed app indexing and AMP, your app indexing won’t be doing much for you to drive more visits to your native iOS or Android app.

Google told us they “have found that AMP helps us deliver” on a better user experience “because it is consistently fast and reliable.” Google added, “AMP uses 10x less data than a non-AMP page.” Google told us that “people really like AMP” and are “more likely to click on a result when it’s presented in AMP format versus non-AMP.”

Google also told us that they “support both approaches,” but “with AMP — and the ability to deliver a result on Google Search in a median time of less than a second — we know we can provide that reliable and consistently fast experience.”

Personally, as a publisher who has deployed virtually everything Google has asked developers to deploy — from specialized Google Custom Search features to authorshipapp indexingAMP,mobile-friendlyHTTPS and more — I find this a bit discouraging, to say the least.

I think if a user has downloaded the app, keeps the app on their device and consumes content within the app, that user would prefer seeing the content within the publisher’s app versus on a lightweight AMP page. But Google clearly disagrees with my personal opinion on this matter.

Original source of this article is searchengineland

Categorized in Search Engine

Google Allo was officially launched this month, and many of us in the search community are wondering how it’s going to affect search, as you can use @google to search by command or text question right within your conversations with one or a group of people.

With over 150K downloads so far on Android devices, a 4-star rating, and 48 percent in an Android Authority poll saying that they use and love Allo, it’s time to contemplate how it could affect organic and local search.

Optimize For Local Search With Reviews

Using the Google Assistant right in Allo allows you to search for specific results on things you’re interested in, like your travel plans, news, local businesses, and more.

A Short Guide to Google Allo Search Optimization

Click to enlarge

To get a better chance of being shown in search results for local commands (or where people are looking for service), it looks like reviews and distance to certain businesses are King. Many of my attempts to find local services either near me or my metropolitan area always brought up businesses that have more than 4-star reviews (out of 5).

A Short Guide to Google Allo Optimization

Click to enlarge

This means that local reviews are more important than ever. Be sure to verify all your profiles on sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and other review sites for your industry.

Optimize For Voice Commands

You can also search in the Google Assistant conversation (not in the conversations you have with others, that is only through text commands) with voice, like you do with Google Now. Aleh Barysevich does a good job of summarizing how to properly optimize for voice search in apps like Google Now, Siri, and Cortana.

The main point in Aleh’s article that is still applicable to Google Allo is that people search for things differently in voice than they do when typing into their regular search engine. It is much more conversational, while also more focused on keywords at the same time. For instance, a voice command is much more likely to be “Where is a Chinese restaurant near me?” versus a text search that might just be “Chinese food.” This is why it’s important to use conversational keywords in your website content.

A Short Guide to Google Allo Search Optimization

To elaborate on the Chinese food example, phrases like “Chinese Buffet in Leawood, Kansas” is going likely do better in text over voice search. Additionally, adding more conversational phrases like “China Star serves Chinese food in Leawood, Overland Park, and Shawnee” may better fit voice searchers’ needs.

Use Rich Snippets

To further elaborate on this, it’s crucial to use rich snippets in your Google Allo SEO efforts. Verve Search has a good overall guide on Microdata and Rich Snippets, and Hall Analysis has a good schema creator tool that’s easy to use. While Rich Snippets aren’t a requirement to good SEO (e.g. you aren’t going to get penalized for not using them), they can help your site’s content get better displayed in search results, which may lead to better Google Allo SEO.

To learn more about what rich snippets you can add to your website, check out schema.org. Once you’ve added it to your site, you can use Google’s free markup verification tool to make sure it is correct. Rich snippets allow you to add additional information that can be displayed in search results, such as menus, reviews, location, hours, and more.

Will AMP Get Preference?

With the news that AMP is now part of organic search results, we can only speculate that Google Allo (a mobile messaging app), will give AMP results preference. AMP results are easier to read because they load faster and have a cleaner interface.

I ran a test on Allo and asked a question I knew would generate me search results: “how to plan the perfect birthday party” after I asked about partying in general (hey, Allo suggested that I should!). Google Allo gave me its top result right in the chat window: a Wikipedia article.

A Short Guide to Google Allo Search Optimization

Click to enlarge

When I clicked on the “search results” option as the next action, it took me to a list of search results. The WikiHow article that was shown in the app was also an AMP article:

A Short Guide to Google Allo Search Optimization
 
Click to enlarge

Of course, more testing is needed but from using the app, it does look like Allo usually offers AMP articles at the top of their search results when users use Google Assistant.

Optimizing for Google Allo Search is going to be a long road. More time will tell on whether or not Allo is going to become as mainstream as WhatsApp, but for now, focusing on AMP and local SEO can help you get more visibility in user’s mobile searches, no matter what app they are using.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Search Engine

With the release of the Google Trips Android and iPhone app earlier this week, I decided to plan and visit London using the latest app from the search engine giant to see what opportunities there are for local businesses and their marketing teams alike.

Google Trips is a personalized tour guide in your pocket. In the past, you may have resolved this by paying for a tour guide or a tour book. Now you can save your pennies with Google’s free Trips app. You can even download your destination before you go to save on WiFi bills moving around the city.  You can download the app on Android and iOS.

In their press release, Google stated they wanted to solve the stress that many people face when planning their holidays. A GoodThink study found that 74% of travelers are most stressed when it comes to figuring out the details of their trip – transportation, working out what to do, an unfamiliar location, etc.

Here’s How I Got on With the New App

The first eye opener on the app is that Google has scraped by Gmail emails and reminded me of previous holiday trips I have been on. It also automatically creates trips based on any travel information in your Gmail account – flight confirmation, hotel bookings, restaurant reservations, etc. Google already knows I will be in Berlin, Germany next month!

Google Trips Amsterdam

Day Plan

Ahead of your trip, you can instantly plan each day of your holiday with just a few taps of your finger.

The app contains significant information, picked up from Google Knowledge Graph and manually edited by Google staff. Each city has different sections, for example, London has Literary London, Art Destinations, Historic London, Posh Shops, Local Favourites, Wartime London, Vintage Shopping, Gothic Churches and Quirky Museums. While Paris has Revolutionary Paris, Small Museums, Impressionist Art, Cutting-Edge Art, Parks & Gardens, Haute Shopping, Vintage Shopping, Food Shopping, Local Favorites, and Selfie Spots.

Google Trips Paris Selfie Spots

Interestingly, there is no Selfie Spots section for London!

The app is clever in being able to estimate motorway delays and even discovering when restaurants are most busy. Knowledge Graph helps Google determine the most popular places and what tourists like to do when traveling.

You can plan all of your sightseeing in advanced with maps and directions, distances and walking times between landmarks, and download your day plan so you do not need to worry about WiFi bills once you arrive.

Select from either pre-defined Google day plan suggestions (based on other visitors’ historic data) or create your own day plan.

Google Trips London Day Plan

The + button in the screenshot above allows you to see other attractions nearby.

Opportunities for Businesses

For the top 200 cities in the world (according to Google), Google Trips gives you a variety of Day Plans, Reservations, Things to Do, Food & Drink and more, all at your fingertips. For those outside the top 200, there are still the Google Local Listings.

Google Trips London Food & DrinkWith a Food & Drink section, there is ample opportunity for restaurants, bars, cafes and such to appear when visitors are both planning their trip or while they’re close by.

This means that, with Google’s latest app, completing your Local Listing correctly and getting positive reviews couldn’t be more important for your business.

While I was in London, the results showing up on my searches for restaurants and cafes all came back with a rating of 4.0 or more and at least 40 reviews – this will come as a surprise to no one that the number of reviews and higher the rating contribute significantly to where you show up.

For the record, restaurants and cafes in villages outside of London were showing up with ratings as low as 3.5 – not as much competition.

Location is another significant factor of course. So make sure that you complete your Local Listings page correctly and with as much information as possible if you want to show up both in Google Maps and on Google Trips.

Google previously published its guide to improving your ranking in local results – Relevance, Distance, and Prominence.

They also state in their Local ranking guidelines that information from links, articles, and directories, as well as reviews and positive ratings are a factor in your position in the web results – one would presume this will be very similar for Google Trips also.

Google Trips is essentially a free version of TripIt. User reviews and Google’s historic data will make it a dream for tourists. This app has the potential to become hugely popular, meaning that ranking in Local Results could be more important than ever for small businesses and chains alike.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Google Maps has updated its mobile app with new voice search capabilities which can help people do more while keeping their eyes on the road.

Now, after entering driving mode, the “OK Google” voice command can be used in various ways. It will be obvious when a voice command can be used at a given time by looking for the white microphone icon in the top right.

Uttering the phrase “OK Google” will trigger the app to start listening to for your next command. Alternatively, you can just tap on the microphone icon and proceed with your voice command. From there, you can tell the app to perform tasks or find information for you. Such as “find the next rest stop”, or “what’s my ETA?”

In order for this to work, it has to be set up properly. To do that, open the Google Maps app and tap on the three-dot menu button on the bottom right. Then go to Settings > “OK Google detection” > turn on “While driving”.

In addition to the usual voice commands, Google has added some new ones, including:

  • “Show / Hide traffic”
  • “Mute / Unmute voice guidance”
  • “Avoid tolls / highways / ferries”
  • “How’s traffic ahead?”
  • “Show alternate routes”

Here is a full list of the new voice commands you can use with Google Maps. To start using them, update the Google Maps app on either iOS or Android, and then hit the road. Safe travels!

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Google’s official blog, now known as “The Keyword”, combines articles across nineteen separate company blogs in one place. No longer will you have to go to the Google AdWords blog for AdWords news, then jump to the Google Maps blog for Maps news, and so on.If you’re looking for official Google news it can now be in The Keyword, which is located at: blog.google.com.

Google’s goal with this change is to make it easier for people to find the most current Google news in one place:

“The Keyword is all the stuff we had across 19 blogs, in one place — so you don’t have to hop from one blog to another to find the latest update. If you’re looking for something from Google from now on, chances are it’s here.”

As Google’s products and services change over time, so will The Keyword, with information about new technologies being added to the blog as they are released.

Alternatively, if you would rather zero in on one topic you still have that option. Go to Menu > Topics and you’ll see a full list of topics contained on the blog. It’s also possible to isolate news about specific products by going toMenu > Products.

If there’s any difficulty finding what you’re looking for, you can use the search bar and filter results by either product, topics, or dates.

In addition to this major change, the new Google blog has also overhauled its design with bigger images, videos, and slideshows. On the homepage, you’ll also find a section which displays the latest tweets from Google.A hat tip goes to Alex Chitu for noticing Google abandoned Blogger and uses a new blogging platform for The Keyword.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Google has been spotted testing trending search results on mobile in the Chrome app. For some, visiting the Google homepage and tapping on the search bar will deliver a list of current trending searches.

Those who have seen this test in action report Google displays up to 5 suggestions for trending searches. You may have read news similar to this before, with the difference being that the test was observed using the Google app.

The latest test has Google displaying trending searches in the Chrome app for mobile. I have not been able to replicate this test, but you can see what it looks like in action thanks to a screenshot from Alex Chitu.

Instant Answers in Google Search Bar

Instant answers in Google search are not a new thing. Searching in Google and getting the answer before clicking through to other search results is a fairly common occurrence.

What is new about this recently spotted test is Google delivering instant answers right in the search bar itself. On top of that, Google is delivering answers for suggested searches, which this Redditor says is scarily accurate.The Reddit user searched for “who owns”, to which Google suggested, “who owns twitch”. That’s apparently the exact thing the user was looking for. To their surprise, underneath the suggestion was an answer in big bolded letter reading: Amazon.com, Inc.

For what it’s worth, from the Redditor’s screenshot it looks like he or she was using the Chrome browser on either an Apple laptop or desktop computer.

Again, I have not been able to replicate this test, but will be keeping a close watch on it for any further developments.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

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