Five things to share from about the past week, presented each Friday by a different member of the Browser Media team.
My Five this week is from Ali.
1. Google’s new “to-do” announcements
Aiming to help the travel industry turn around, Google has announced a new type of listing for attractions, tours, and activities.
“Things to do” announcements are displayed in response to attractions, tickets, tours, etc.
While the move is supposed to support the travel industry, it’s also useful for those looking for things to do closer to home – a response to the increased number of “nearby” search queries.
2. Search Console failure
Google’s Search Console, the tool that helps site owners understand, assess performance, and troubleshoot issues, has been down for some users for days.
Google says the issue only affects reports and has no effect on ranking, crawling, or indexing.
They are working on a fix but no timeframe has been shared.
For the most part, this is a ‘nothing to do here’ story, just a lack of short-term data, but for those launching a new website, things could be a little tricky in the meantime.
3. Mozilla is testing Bing
Mozilla tests Bing on about 1% of its Firefox users’ workstations, but the reason why it does so has not been disclosed.
Speculation centers around that Google is paying Mozilla more than $ 400 million a year for the privilege of being the default search engine for the Firefox web browser, but that agreement expires in 2023.
We will have to wait and hold our breath to see if Mozilla plans to move away from Google for good, but this testing phase is not going to make any tangible difference in the meantime.
Cue the usual uproar in the SEO community… Reality? Firefox has 3.5% market share, so the impact is limited. You need to optimize for users, not for individual search engines.
4.iPhones for diagnosing mental health
If reports are to be believed, Apple is apparently working on technologies that could diagnose mental health issues from the way users interact with their phones.
This may include an analysis of facial expression, the way they speak, the pace and frequency of their walks, their sleep patterns, and their heart rate. Typing speed and frequency can also be measured along with typos and content type.
The nation’s mental health has been pushed to its limits during the pandemic and mental health apps have seen a huge increase in downloads. However, Apple is working with the University of California and pharmaceutical company Biogen, which could lead to questions about data security.
5. Does the world need more emojis?
Apparently yes. Three thousand six hundred and thirty-three is not enough!
As part of Apple’s new iOS 15 software update, users can now share their screen during a FaceTime call and have their ID or driver’s license in their Apple Wallet.
This week, 217 new emojis were also approved and will be rolling out for the rest of the year. They include a heart on fire, a bandaged heart, and eight variations of couples with a range of different skin tones.
Contenders who didn’t make the cut include a pregnant man and a range of random items, including a slide, skeleton, bitten lip, kidney beans, and a glitter ball.