A lot of interesting changes at Google this week with an open-source skin tone research, multisearch near me support, updated advice on how to control search results titles, new education q&a structured data help document, updated performance max best practices document, and more.
ICYMI, here’s what happened at Google This Week.
- Google to Deprecate Some Video & Image Sitemap Extension Tags
- ‘This business doesn’t exist’ on Business Redressal Complaint Form
- Responsive Display Ads’ Better Mobile Experience
- Google Allows Virtual Food Brands to Have Google Business Profiles
- Google Adds New Valid Page Metadata Help Document
- Google’s Digital Skills Training to Australian Communities
- Google Announces Cloud TPU Virtual Machines for AI Workloads
- YouTube’s Memberships Gifting Feature Launches in Beta
- Google’s ‘Multisearch Near Me’
- Google’s My Ad Center Hub Lets Users Control Their Ad Experience
- Google Open-Sources Skin Tone Research to Improve Inclusivity
- New Education Q&A Structured Data Help Document
- YouTube Launches Updated Green Screen Option for Shorts
- Universal Analytics Real-Time Metrics Now Titled “in last 5 minutes”
- Google Search Console Releasing a New Video Page Indexing Report
- Updated Advice on How to Control Titles in Search Results
- New Lighthouse Speed Metrics to PageSpeed Insights
- Updated Performance Max Best Practices Document
Google to Deprecate Some Video & Image Sitemap Extension Tags
Gary Illyes from Google said it is removing support for those sitemap extension tags to simplify sitemap extensions and to help “reduce complexity of your codebases” by making sitemaps “less cluttered in general”. Google said the “deprecated tags will have no effect on indexing and search features after August 6, 2022”.
Google adds that “there’s no immediate action required; you can leave these tags and attributes in place without drawbacks.”
‘This business doesn’t exist’ on Business Redressal Complaint Form
Google has updated its business redressal complaint form to add “this business doesn’t exist” as an option on why users think the business listing is fraudulent. This gives users one more way to communicate to Google why the business listing should be removed from Google Search and Google Maps.
Google said users can use this form “if you come across misleading information or fraudulent activity on Google Maps related to the name, phone number, or URL of a business”.
Responsive Display Ads’ Better Mobile Experience
Google announced automatic display ad type Responsive Display Ads (RDAs) will be undergoing a major transformation in the second half of this year. A unique addition coming to RDAs is the ability to “uncrop” images via machine learning.
Google said this “automatic improvement lets your products shine by seamlessly expanding to fill the available space”.
Google Allows Virtual Food Brands to Have Google Business Profiles
Google recently updated its Google Business profile guidelines page under the “guidelines for chains, departments & individual practitioners” to allow virtual food brands to be listed with “conditions”.
The updated guidelines now say “virtual food brands are permitted with conditions”. The conditions are:
Co-located food brands offering pick-up
- Food brands that are co-located each must have permanent separate signage. They should display their address only if they offer pick-up to all customers.
- Delivery-only brands (no-pick up option) out of shared kitchens must hide their address and add service areas to that specific brand to avoid confusing their customers.
Delivery-only food brands
- Delivery-only brands (i.e. those operating out of virtual kitchens) are permitted if they have distinct branded packaging and a distinct website.
- Multiple virtual brands operating out of one location are permitted, but are subject to additional verification steps.
- Delivery-only brands must add their service areas and hide the address on their business profile to avoid confusing their customers.
- If there is a partnership where a food brand has authorized the virtual kitchen as a verified provider of the food, the virtual kitchen may manage each authorized brand’s business profile once the authorization is confirmed.
- The facility that houses the delivery-only brands, i.e. Doordash Kitchens, is permitted to have its own separate business profile. Only someone affiliated with the facility can claim and verify this profile.
Google Adds New Valid Page Metadata Help Document
Google announced adding a new help document named valid page metadata that talks about how Google can process invalid or inconsistent HTML with the issues around invalid markup.
Google also updated its help document on title links with a new section on “no clear main headline” in the troubleshooting section.
Google’s Digital Skills Training to Australian Communities
Google announces the launch of digital skills training to Australian communities that aims to provide access to digital skills training online and in-person, to help them make the most of the internet.
It includes an online learning hub accessible from anywhere, on any device, with hundreds of handy training modules.
Google Announces Cloud TPU Virtual Machines for AI Workloads
Google has announced the general availability of TPU virtual machines (VMs) for artificial intelligence workloads. This includes an ML-based ranking & recommendation workloads and a new TPU embedding API, which Google Cloud claims can accelerate large-scale.
Google Cloud said embedding acceleration with Cloud TPU can help businesses lower the cost associated with ranking and recommendation use-cases, which commonly rely on deeply neural network-based algorithms that can be costly to run.
YouTube’s Memberships Gifting Feature Launches in Beta
YouTube is launching gifted memberships in beta and will be available for selected channels. Memberships are YouTube’s take on Twitch, which viewers can use to show financial support for creators and get access to certain perks like custom emojis.
The membership gifting beta will be available to a “small group of creators” to start and will be expanded to more “over the next several months”. Gifting will only be available for viewers using a desktop browser window. Gifted memberships will appear in the chat, and you’ll have to click a link and then a toggle to allow gifts.
Google’s ‘Multisearch Near Me’
Google introduced a new “multisearch” feature that offered a way to search the web using both text and images at the same time. At Google’s I/O developer conference, the company announced an expansion to this feature, called “Multisearch Near Me”.
With the new “multisearch near me” query, you’ll be able to find local options related to your current visual and text-based search combination. This addition will allow Google app users to combine either a picture or a screenshot with the text “near me” to be directed to options for local retailers or restaurants that would have the apparel, home goods, or food you’re in search of.
Google’s My Ad Center Hub Lets Users Control Their Ad Experience
At Google’s I/O developer conference, Google introduced ‘My Ad Center’, a new tool that will allow users more control and visibility over how their ads are personalised across Google’s apps and sites, including Google Search, YouTube, and the Discover feed in the Google app.
Within the new My Ad Center hub, users will be able to learn more about how ads are personalised and gain control over how their data is used. It’s specifically meant to address ads appearing on Google’s owned and operated sites, like Search, YouTube, and Discover, but doesn’t extend to the Google Display Network.
Google Open-Sources Skin Tone Research to Improve Inclusivity
Google has announced that it is taking additional steps to improve the representation of various skin tones across its products, and has implemented a new scale that better shows the spectrum of real-world skin colour.
Google is making its skin tone research widely available as part of its effort at creating more “responsible AI” The research has so far resulted in the Monk Skin Tone Scale (MST), a scale “designed to be easy-to-use for development and evaluation of technology while representing a broader range of skin tones”.
New Education Q&A Structured Data Help Document
Google has released another new help document to its search developer documents named Education Q&A. This technical help document explains how to add Quiz structured data to your flashcard pages to appear in the Education Q&A carousel in Google Search results, Google Assistant, and Google Lens results.
The Education Q&A carousel is available in English in all regions where Google Search is available. The feature is only available when searching for education-related topics on desktop and mobile.
YouTube Launches Updated Green Screen Option for Shorts
YouTube announced the launch of “Green Screen,” a tool that will allow users to use up to a 60-second video segment from any eligible YouTube video or YouTube Shorts as the background for their new original Shorts video.
YouTube says the new Green Screen remix feature can be used with any public video, unless the creator has opted out. The only exception to this involves music videos which include copyrighted content from YouTube’s partners or others with visual claims.
Universal Analytics Real-Time Metrics Now Titled “in last 5 minutes”
Google has updated the title it uses for real-time analytics in Universal Analytics 3 that says “in the last 5 minutes.” Previously this section was titled “right now” but with Google Analytics 4 rolling out, Google wanted to make the title more specific to what both are displaying.
It seems that no actual metric or measurement changes were made and that this was only a content change in the report. The GA4 real-time report shows users in the last 30 minutes, while Universal Analytics real-time reports show users in the last 5 minutes.
Google Search Console Releasing a New Video Page Indexing Report
A new video indexing report is coming to Google Search Console in the near future, Dikla Cohen, a Web Ecosystem Consultant at Google, announced at Google I/O. The new report shows a summary of all the video pages Google found while crawling and indexing your site.
The video page indexing report will be found in Google Search Console, under the “Index” tab, under “video pages”. At the moment, this feature is not live yet – but it should be coming soon.
Updated Advice on How to Control Titles in Search Results
Google has updated a section of the developer support page that offers tips on how to control the site title that Google uses in the search results. The new section is about troubleshooting title tags in order to identify why Google may be changing the title links.
According to Google:
“Google looks at various sources when creating title links, including the main visual title, heading elements, and other large and prominent text, and it can be confusing if multiple headlines carry the same visual weight and prominence. Consider ensuring that your main headline is distinctive from other text on a page and stands out as being the most prominent on the page (for example, using a larger font, putting the headline in the first visible <h1> element on the page, etc)”.
New Lighthouse Speed Metrics to PageSpeed Insights
Google’s PageSpeed Insights added two new metrics to the PageSpeed Insights API and UI for Lighthouse. The two metrics are labelled experimental and are now being collected for field data, while the corresponding lab data can be used for diagnostic purposes.
The new Lighthouse metrics are Interaction to Next Paint (INP) and Time to First Byte (TTFB). Another change is that PageSpeed Insights will try to resolve HTTP redirects first before sending them off to Lighthouse to perform analysis. Previously, Lighthouse would handle the HTTP redirects while performing the analysis.
Updated Performance Max Best Practices Document
Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin said that Google has updated its additional best practices for Performance Max help document with more details on how final URL expansion works in this context.
Ginny Marvin says that these additions were added mostly based on questions asked on social – so clarify any of those questions.
Thank You for Reading
Have you noticed the multisearch near me support or any other changes from Google this week?
Check back next Friday for the latest from Google This Week.
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