Google launches Cameos, a video Q&A app aimed at celebs and public figures

Google launches Cameos, a video Q&A app aimed at celebs and public figures

Google has launched a new video-based Q&A app called Cameos on the App Store, which allows people to answer questions about themselves, then share those answers directly on Google. The app is aimed at celebrities and other public figures, who are often the subject of people’s Google searches. With the Cameos app, they can address fans’ questions in their own voice, instead of leaving the answers up to other websites.

The feature is an extension of the company’s “Posts on Google” platform which has been slowly rolling out over the past couple of years, giving some people and organizations the ability to post directly to Google’s search result pages.

Initially, “Posts on Google” was open only to a small number of celebrities, sports teams and leagues, movie studios and museums. But last year, it expanded to local businesses who could then publish their events, products and services. This spring, it opened up to musicians. And it had been earlier experimenting with a feature that inserted celebs’ video answers into search, as well.

Those invited to use the service have been able to post updates to Google which include text, images, video, GIFs, events, and links to other sites. In a way, it’s like Google’s version of Twitter – but with the goal of helping web searchers find answers to questions.

The new Cameos app is focused specifically on video posts.

As the App Store description explains: “Record video answers to the most asked questions on Google and then post them right to Google. Now, when people search for you, they’ll get answers directly from you.”

The app also allows celebrities using Cameos to see the top questions the internet wants answers to, so they can pick and choose which of those they want to answer. Their answers, recorded with their iPhone’s camera, will be published directly to Google search and in the Google app.

The service brings to mind Instagram’s new Q&A feature, launched this July. Via a Questions widget that’s added to an Instagram Story, users can solicit questions from their followers. The recipient can then select the questions they want to respond to, and post their replies publicly to their Instagram Story.

The feature become so popular, so quickly, that it began to dominate people’s Stories feed. There was even a bit of backlash.

Google’s Cameo video answers could be more useful, as they’d only appear when that question was searched on Google. It would also give Google a social platform of sorts – a market it has tried to compete in for years, and is now littered with failures like Orkut, Dodgeball, Latitude, Lively, Google Wave, Google Buzz, and of course, Google+. At least with Posts, Google is focusing on what it does best: Search.

Google confirmed the feature is part of its earlier efforts around Posts on Google using video. The Cameos app is part of a pilot that makes it possible for celebrities and other prominent figures to participate, a spokesperson said.

The Cameos app description also notes that it will add more questions for celebs to answer on a regular basis.

Access to use Cameos is only available upon invitation. Those interested can download the iOS app to request access.

Updated 8/9/18, 11:20 AM with Google comment

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Google revamps local events search to include personalized suggestions

Google revamps local events search to include personalized suggestions

Last May, Google launched a new events feature designed to help web searchers more easily find things to do nearby, while also challenging Facebook’s dominance in the local events space. Today, Google is updating event search with personalized event suggestions, and well as a new design that puts more event information directly in the search results.

When the feature first launched last year, Google said it was built in response to the millions of search queries the company saw daily for finding local events and activities.

However, it was also clearly an area where Google had ceded ground to Facebook. The social network said last fall that 100 million people were using Facebook Events on a daily basis, and 650 million were using it across the network. Those numbers have surely grown since.

The original design for Google’s events search offered web searchers a list of events they could filter by category and date. Meanwhile, the event listings themselves were powered by data from Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Meetup, Vividseats, Jambase, LiveNation, Burbio, Allevents.in, Bookmyshow.com, StubHub, Bandsintown, Yext and Eventful.

Now, Google is returning these event results in a new format — instead of more standard search results, they appear as cards, each with a little bookmark icon you can click on to save the event details for future reference.

In addition, when you tap on one of the event listings’ cards, you’re directed to a more information-rich page, offering the date, time, location and shortcuts to save the event, buy tickets, get directions or share it with others. The design looks even more like a Facebook event page, albeit without a discussion section for posts and comments.

Clicking on the “Get tickets” button will pop up a window that links to ticket resellers for the event in question — like Ticketmaster or StubHub, for example.

As users continue use the system, it will be trained to know what sort of events users like.

Google tells us that for users who are signed in and have history turned on, it will provide customized recommendations based on their interests. People have control over their Search history and data via My Activity.

This data will be used to power the new personalized recommendations feature, found in the bottom navigation bar’s “For You” tab, which organizes suggested events by category, like “concerts,” “festivals,” “shows,” free events and more. This page also will show you trending and popular events in the area, if you need ideas.

The feature is not currently live for everyone, but is rolling out to mobile users over the next few days, says Google.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

Google begins to roll out mobile-first indexing

Google announced this morning its “mobile -first” indexing of the web is now starting to roll out, after a year and a half of testing and experimentation. Back in 2016, Google first detailed its plan to change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results.

In December 2017, Google said it had begun to transition a small handful of sites to mobile-first indexing, but declined to say which properties had been made the move.

Mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of a web page “for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for,” the company writes in a blog post.

By “primarily mobile,” Google is referring to the fact that the majority of people who use Google search today now do so from mobile devices, and have done so since 2015.

Google also explains that it will have one index for search results, not a mobile-first index that’s separate from its main index. In other words, it will start to look to the mobile web pages to index the web, not the desktop version.

Mobile-friendliness has long been one of the many factors in determining how a site is ranked, but it’s not the only factor. For example, there are times when a non-mobile friendly page still has the best information and will appear higher, Google says.

However, Google has begun to prioritize mobile sites in several ways. For example, it began to boost the rank of mobile-friendly webpages on mobile search results back in 2015, and more recently said it was adding a signal that uses page speed to help determine a page’s mobile search ranking. Starting in July 2018, slow-loading content will be downranked.

While Google today claims the mobile-friendly indexing won’t directly impact how content is ranked, it does note that having a site’s mobile-friendly content indexed in this new fashion will likely help the site “perform better” in mobile search results.

Google isn’t shifting all sites over to the new mobile-first indexing today – just the first wave.

Specifically, Google selected those sites that are already following the best practices for mobile-first indexing, it says. And it will favor the mobile version of the webpage over its own fast-loading AMP pages.

Those sites who have been shifted will be notified via Search Console, says Google, and will begin see increased visits from the Smartphone Googlebot. After the shift, Google will show the mobile version of the site’s pages in its Search results and in the Google cached pages.

Google tells the webmasters of sites that are not yet mobile-optimized to not panic yet. “If you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index,” assures the Google announcement.

The company did not specify when the rollout of the mobile-first indexing would complete.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch