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 Vic.
1. GMB set to come with a fee?
As reported by Search Engine Journal this week, a survey sent by Google My Business to its users hinted at snazzy new features they can access… for a price, of course.
The survey asked questions about features such as:
- Google customer support
- “Book” button on your business profile
- Promote your “Book” button
- Verified reviews
- Promoted map pin
- Call reports and recordings
- Verified bookings
- Automated message responses
- Automated response for reviews
- Google search results placement
- Get leads from competitor profiles
- Background check
- Instant quote
- Request quote
- Featured review
- Google Guarantee
- Remove ads from your business profile
- Verified licenses
- Video on your business profile
After outlining various package options that include a combination of the above, Google asked users to vote on the one they liked best.
Monthly subscription prices for the selected packages were then displayed alongside the question “Now that the pricing information is available, do you think you would actually purchase the feature bundle that you preferred?”
Would your business be willing to pay for any of these features? And what would the impact on traffic be for smaller companies if features like ‘Google search results placement’ became pay to play?
2. Killer whale
Yeah, I know it’s not an orca, because those ones are my faves.
White whale spotted wearing a special harness could be weaponised Russian spy pic.twitter.com/v92I5anmPG
— The Independent (@Independent) April 30, 2019
But it is a beluga whale that may have been trained by the Kremlin to do some fishy business.
Fisherman in Norway observed the big white floaty boi acting strangely, going as far as harassing their boat by pulling on ropes and straps. Under closer inspection, they noticed it was wearing a harness that could be used as a mount for a camera/underwater death ray.
That harness had the words ‘Equipment of St. Petersburg’ written inside it (subtle) leading experts to believe that the whale has been trained by the Russian Navy to perform nautical special ops.
3. An open and shut case?
I’m quite a fan of true crime (especially if it’s a bit grisly) so I really enjoyed Forensics: The Real CSI on BBC 2 this week.
Even with the forensic evidence, I was pretty stumped as to what had happened in both the cases featured in the episode. Fortunately, I can hone my skills thanks to some excellent interactive content created in conjunction with the Open University.
If you want to have a go at analysing a crime scene, or want to examine evidence to determine whether or not someone deserves to rot in prison, you can do just that right here.
4. Is big tech finally making changes to protect its users?
Tech giants have been under closer scrutiny in recent times, particularly for their lack of transparency when it comes to how they use and protect user data.
Facebook announced that the platform will be made safer and more secure in an update it’s set to roll out soon.
Zuckerberg stated during the company’s annual conference that “we’re building a more privacy-focused social platform — giving people spaces where they can express themselves freely and feel connected to the people and communities that matter most.”
In the same week, Instagram confirmed it is considering introducing new features that aim to tackle cyberbullying and abusive behaviour.
Google joined the party too, announcing that it now offers users the option to automatically delete their search and location history after three months.
This is great for users concerned about privacy, but what does it mean for advertisers using remarketing?
5. Time to ruin more childhood memories
I was a geeky kid who grew up gaming. There are some games that gave me feels I’ll never forget. Getting to the top of the screen on Rainbow Island before the rising water drowned you. Completing Super Mario World for the first time. Winning the final battle against Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII after weeks of hard graft. Ah, sweet fond memories.
Now, as an adult, I spend a large portion of my free time riding about on a horse, shooting guns, and getting a scrub down in the bathtub from women of ill repute. Or, at least I pretend to – thanks to the wonder of computer games.
For me, gaming is a form of escapism. Watching films is also a form of escapism. But in my opinion, these two creative mediums should never meet. Ever.
Remember how bad the Super Mario Bros film was, which featured this… thing?
Well, now Sonic the Hedgehog is joining the list of computer game characters that look very, very wrong when put into a real-world scenario.
I didn’t think it was possible, but he looks more terrifying than Sonic fan art. And that’s saying something. Those weird human teeth. Puke.
[Sonic the Hedgehog movie pitch meeting]
Jim Carrey: [chanting] teeth, teeth –
Director: teeth, TEETH
Paramount execs [pounding the table]: TEETH, TEETH, TEETH! https://t.co/eDzzAmSjDC
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (@Hello_Tailor) April 30, 2019
Here’s the trailer so you decide for yourself whether this is acceptable.
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) April 30, 2019