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Weekly News: Google makes it easier to remove images of kids from the search results

Google makes it easier to remove images of kids from the search results

Google is now letting anyone under the age of 18, or their parent or guardian, to request the removal of their images from the Google Search results. The removal request can lead to the image no longer appearing in the Google Images tab or as thumbnails in any feature in Google Search, the company said.

Reputation management. This may make the process of removing images from Google Search easier and online reputation management companies may benefit from this. Having more and faster methods to remove content from Google Search is likely welcomed by SEO firms, especially those that focus on reputation management.

How it works. Here are the steps to remove these images, assuming you are under 18 and there’s an image of yourself that you want removed from Google results. Now, you or your parent/guardian or authorized representative (maybe an online reputation management firm) can follow these steps.

  1. Visit the help page for this new policy to understand the information you’ll need to provide when using the request form.
  2. Start your removal request using the form at this support link
  3. Fill out the form to report the imagery that is appearing in results. In the form, include information like: 
    1. Image URLs of any images that you want removed
    2. URLs of any search results pages that contain the images
    3. Search query terms that surface the images.
  4. After you submit the request, our teams will review it and reach out for any additional information we might need to verify it meets the requirements for removal. And we’ll notify you once we’ve taken down the image, if it meets the requirements.

Source: Google makes it easier to remove images of kids from the search results

Instagram Lets Everyone Share Links In Stories

All Instagram accounts can now share links in stories, a feature that was previously reserved for verified and high-follower accounts.

This marks the first time that link sharing on Instagram is available everyone.

If users didn’t meet Instagram’s old criteria for sharing links in stories, the only other place they could be shared was in their profile page.

That made it difficult to use Instagram as a tool for driving website traffic, as links can’t be shared in feed posts either.

Comparatively, websites like Twitter and Facebook are more effective in this area. Links can be shared just about anywhere on those platforms.

As one of the most highly trafficked sections of the app outside of the main feed, links in Instagram stories have the potential to be a boon for publishers.

Adding Links To Instagram Stories

Rolling out to everyone today are story stickers, which can be added just like adding any other sticker to your Instagram story.

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This is how it’s done:

  • Capture or upload content to your story
  • Select the sticker tool from the top navigation bar
  • Tap the “Link” sticker to add your desired link and tap “Done”
  • Place the sticker on your story — like our other stickers — and tap on the sticker to see color variations

The Fine Print

Instagram notes that story stickers will not be available to brand new accounts.

Unfortunately, that means you can’t join Instagram today and immediately start sharing links.

What qualifies as a “new” account isn’t specified. I presume users will eventually get access after being an Instagram member for a certain period, but that’s something the company needs to clear up.

In addition, accounts that repeatedly post hate speech, misinformation, or content that violates Instagram’s community guidelines will not have access to link stickers.

If you’re a longtime user, and you’ve played by the rules, then you should be good to go with link sharing.

Other Notes About Instagram Stories

That update rolled out in 2019, after Instagram published its 500 million statistic, so it would be very interesting to know how many people are viewing stories today.

Source: Instagram Lets Everyone Share Links In Stories

In 2022, retailers will lose half of sales on backordered items unless they compensate with experience, according to Forrester

Brands stand to lose 50% of their sales on backordered items unless they compensate with customer support, Forrester said in its Predictions 2022: Customer Experience report. The report also forecasted trends for pandemic era services as well as labor practices that may affect customer experience. The research company also published its 2022 consumer predictions as well, suggesting that brand values will continue to be a factor for customers.

Customer churn due to supply chain issues. Product availability is one of the most common reasons why U.S. consumers purchase from a retailer other than the one they originally planned on, according to Forrester. These unaddressed product shortages can lead to frustration, which negatively impacts customer loyalty. Brands that can stabilize their supply chains, suggest in-house alternatives to products that are out of stock and proactively message customers about shortages and expected availability are in the best position to curb customer churn, Forrester predicted.

Customers will want some pandemic-era services to be part of the new normal. Since the outset of the pandemic, companies have introduced new ways of doing business, like curbside pickup, senior shopping hours, easier and more flexible flight changes and virtual alternatives to traditionally in-person services or experiences. “Brands that successfully navigate the transition to the new normal will avoid a wholesale reversion and analyze current customer insights and research to evaluate which services to keep, adjust, or toss,“ Forrester said.

One-fifth of retail and consumer goods firms will compromise on customer experience. Typically, customer expectations only grow stronger, but those demands may be straining employees. The last year and a half or so has highlighted the human cost of these conveniences. Nearly 40% of U.S. consumers say concerns about companies’ labor practices influence their purchasing decisions, according to Forrester. The research company predicts that, next year, more businesses will consider their responsibility to their employees as they plan their customer experience and product offerings.

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Company values will continue to be a differentiator. Brand values took center stage last summer and that will continue to be the case, but Forrester predicts that the focus will shift to environmental sustainability. By July of this year, three-fifths of Fortune 500 companies had committed to climate action, up from 32% the year prior; and just today, Microsoft announced that it aims to reduce data center water consumption by 95% by 2024.

“Brands that take a stand on more highly charged issues will cater to a small segment of hyperaware consumers with a personal connection to those values,” said Lai et al.

Source: In 2022, retailers will lose half of sales on backordered items unless they compensate with experience, according to Forrester

What’s New in Gutenberg 11.7? | October 2021

In usual fashion, the Gutenberg team released version 11.7 on October 13, 2021, two weeks after releasing version 11.6.

The latest version includes:

  • Global Styles improvements
  • Navigation Block Improvements
  • Column Block Spacing

Global Styles Improvements

Building off the Gutenberg 11.6 Global Styles navigation improvements, developers introduced a color palette to the Global Styles sidebar in version 11.7.

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Gutenberg 11.7 introduces a color palette to the Global Styles sidebar

Another notable update is the presence of the Layout section at the root level of the Global Styles sidebar, which allows users to adjust the padding for the website.

Navigation Block Improvements

Gutenberg 11.7 introduces multiple improvements to the Navigation Block, including the ability to:

  • Add new links after clicking the “+” icon without an additional block step.
  • Add links using the slash inserter.
  • Create new pages when adding links.
  • Transform navigation links into other allowed block types, such as Site Logo, Home Link or Social Icons.
  • Notice linking mistakes with the appearance of squiggly lines indicating empty links.
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Gutenberg 11.7 enables users to create new pages when adding links

Column Block Spacing

Gutenberg 11.7 now allows you to adjust the spaces between columns and the margins surrounding the block. This feature complements the block gap feature that was first introduced in Gutenberg 11.4.

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Gutenberg 11.7 allows you to change the spacing in the column block

Other Gutenberg 11.7 updates include duotone filters to the site logo and a lighter Navigation experience.

The Gutenberg 11.6 and 11.7 updates focused on improvements to Global Styles and Navigation blocks, which will be incorporated into the WordPress 5.9 release in December 2021.

Source: What’s New in Gutenberg 11.7? | October 2021

ACCC wants all Android devices to have dedicated screen for choosing search engines

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has reiterated its call for Google to implement a mandatory search engine “choice screen” after finding the company’s dominance in the online search market has harmed competition and consumers.

A choice screen is a setup page that presents consumers with a selection of search engines to use, rather than sending consumers to a preset default search engine.

In the interim report, the ACCC said Google currently owns 94% of the online search market, which was in large part due to Google Search being the preset default search engine for Google Chrome and Apple Safari. Chrome and Safari have a combined browser market share of over 80% on desktop devices and almost 90% on mobile devices.

According to the ACCC, Google gains significant value from being the default search engine for Safari, with Google estimated to receive around $8 to $12 billion per year in advertising revenue from being Safari’s default search engine, and Siri and Spotlight’s default provider for search queries on Apple devices.

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The watchdog also noted, however, that Google’s royalty payments paid to Mozilla for having Google Search as its default search engine contributed over 90% of Mozilla’s Firefox annual global revenue.

With this market dominance and control of key search access points, the ACCC said there is likely to be less innovative services being developed and such services having limited reach. 

Examples of this are search engines that emphasise privacy and minimal data collection, such as DuckDuckGo and Brave.

The screen choice concept is not new, as Google implemented the measure two years ago for new Android devices in some European countries to comply with EU rules.

But the ACCC said the EU screen choice measure has had a “limited impact”, both in terms of the level of market concentration and consumer reach, due to the design of the EU Android choice screen and its implementation as the choice screen only applying to new devices.

choice-screen-example.png

Detailing how the ACCC wants Australia’s version of the choice screen to work, the regulator said the measure should initially apply to new and existing Android mobile devices and across all search access points on these Android mobile devices.

It added that the choice screen measure could also include restricting a provider, which meets pre-defined criteria, from tying or bundling search services with other goods or services.

Other things flagged in the interim report were that less than a third of respondents to the ACCC’s 2021 consumer survey were aware of privacy-focused search engines and mobile browsers, despite 70% of consumers reporting concerns about the collection of data and personal information by browsers and search engines.

The survey also found that 35% of consumers did not know how to change the default browser on their mobile device or were unsure if they knew how to do so. For desktop use, this issue affected one in five consumers.

Last month, the ACCC criticised Google’s ad tech practices, accusing the tech giant of creating “systemic competition concerns” as part of its inquiry into Australia’s ad tech market.

From analysing open display ads — which are online ads except for those shown on a general search engine or classifieds websites traded on open channels — the regulator found Google’s share of impressions for the four main ad tech services used in Australia was between 70-100% and, for those ad tech services where revenue information is available, Google’s share of revenue was between 40-70%.

The ad tech services inquiry was wrapped up after the ACCC made those findings, with the watchdog now considering how to implement broader ad tech changes as part of the Digital Platform Services Inquiry.

Source: ACCC wants all Android devices to have dedicated screen for choosing search engines

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