Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.
This week’s My Five is by Ali.
1. Google’s ‘Speed Update’
Turn the clocks back four years and desktop searches still outnumbered mobile searches, but that certainly isn’t the case today. To reflect the fact that mobile is now the dominant channel, Google is updating its algorithm to make page speed a more important factor.
Panic not. Page speed has been a factor on desktop search for a while now but Google had not applied it to mobile search before. From July next year, the company will implement what it is calling the ‘Speed Update’ but reassuringly it will still only be one of the factors taken into consideration – but not the only factor: slow pages will still rank more highly if they are deemed to provide the most relevant content.
Google recommends the following tools to check and improve your download time:
- Chrome User Experience Report, a public dataset of key user experience metrics for popular destinations on the web, as experienced by Chrome users under real-world conditions
- Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages
- PageSpeed Insights, a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations
2. Two new apps launch
In other Google news, the company’s Culture and Arts division has launched a new app, sadly not yet available in the UK, that enables individuals to find their art doppelganger. Simple to use and highly intriguing, it opens up a whole world of portraits that many of us would simply not know existed. The results seem to be based more on facial expression than actual features but if you overlook that minor detail, it’s a fun way of making the arts more accessible.
Rather than a retrospective version of yourself, a new app has just launched in North Korea which looks to improve the user in the future. It piqued my interest as it rather reminded me of a digital version of the must-have 80’s toy – a Girl’s World. The Spring Scent app, as reported in the DPRK news outlet said it allows people to try new types of makeup tools virtually.
It’s a long way from watching YouTube tutorials on how to perfect the perfect cat eye flick, but there is apparently growing interest for skincare and beauty as South Korean television dramas are being illegally smuggled into the country which are highlighting a new world of makeup and skincare to the North.
3. New Friends movie?
Fans of the 90’s sitcom, Friends, had their hopes dashed this week when it was revealed that a trailer for a new film was made by a nostalgic fan and not a film studio. However, that wasn’t before it set social media alight.
The three-minute video titled The One With The Reunion, is bound to bring a big grin to your face if you fondly remember the gang. Now with nearly 1.4m views on YouTube, I’m clearly not the only one with happy memories of the programme – in fact, there may still be some old VHSs lurking at the back of a cupboard somewhere of my favourite episodes. However, with the entire back series now available on Netflix, millennials keen to see what all the fuss was about, are not so impressed.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised about the lack of a remake, for as Jennifer Aniston was once quoted as saying, that if the sitcom was made now, no-one would be talking – everyone would just be staring at a screen. Maybe it’s a little window into our pre-smartphone past that gives it a special place in (some of) our hearts?
4. Social media is relaxing
A new study from Galen Panger, a PhD student, has found that contrary to popular belief, social media can actually help us wind down as it isn’t the huge stimulant that we assume it to be. The paper, which identified the fact that when people browse Facebook and Twitter they feel more relaxed, sleepy and bored, won the student the 2018 Doctoral Dissertation Award from iSchools Inc. a consortium of more than 80 universities and other institutions across five continents. The research was undertaken whilst the student was employed by Google to investigate user experience which does perhaps make us see it in a different light, but interesting nonetheless.
5. Downward facing dog
It’s mid-January, and I’m just about (give or take) back to my pre-Christmas weight but depressingly, scientists at Stanford University have discovered that despite shedding the pounds, it might be too late to prevent damage done to my insides.
Apparently, the body suffers major changes when we take on extra weight and those changes are not automatically reversed when we lose it. The impact is mainly on the cardiovascular system but also on internal bacteria and our immune system, too.
However, instead of reaching for the chocolate digestives and giving up entirely, why not take a leaf out of this YouTuber’s video…
As you may know, the My-Fivers love a dog or a cat conclusion, so in-keeping with that tradition, if you’re still determined to get fit, here’s a pretty cool way of going about it with a four-legged friend.