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 My Business to log customer calls
Google is working on a new call monitoring system that allows a business to keep track of phone calls that originated from search. The calls will be recorded in one place to help business owners monitor who called and more importantly, respond to unanswered calls. The time, date and number will be saved for 45 days but will only be available in the app, not in the browser version of Google My Business.
It’s not available just yet, although some people have noticed a preview about the service and a ‘try it out’ button.
In order to remind the small business about this little wonder, every call the business receives will start with a short message to say the call originated via Google.
It could be useful for some businesses but I expect the constant reminder that the call came via Google could be annoying, and in order to offer this service, Google will override the business’s actual number with a forwarding number – this may not be appropriate for all SMEs.
2. Facebook bans political ads after US polls close
Following criticism that it allowed politicians to include misinformation in its ads, Facebook had previously announced that it will not allow any new political adverts to run in the seven days prior to the polls closing in the US election.
However, in a statement issued this week, it has also declared that there will be a short hiatus in political advertising after the polls close on 3 November in order ‘to reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse’. The move comes after Trump used social media to claim that postal voting can be rigged and after he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.
3. Long YouTube videos criticised by YouTube itself
YouTube was pulled up this week for mocking the makers of the long videos, despite the platform incentivising content creators to upload lengthier films.
The platform’s rules stipulate that adverts can only be played in the middle of videos that are at least eight minutes long and the creator can only start monetising their videos when they have racked up 4,000 hours of watch time.
However, the platform appeared to mock video makers who it said ‘talk for 15 minutes’ and then say, ‘All right let’s jump straight into the video’.
It saw the error of its tweet and followed up with an apology which was met with a mixed response, as many video creators believed they were simply responding to economic incentives from the platform.
We hear you. You’re right and we apologize. Our now-deleted Tweet was intended in good faith, but we missed the mark and did not reflect the spirit of the Creator community that we love. – YouTube Social Team
— YouTube (@YouTube) October 3, 2020
4. Structural reforms possible at the big four
A report was released this week into whether the US’s four biggest technology companies, namely Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook, wield too much power and whether this monopoly has been used to stifle competition and innovation.
The report suggested that the companies could be broken up to separate out their main functions, in order to prevent them from having an unfair advantage within other areas.
Any formal legal changes are a way off for now but it’s likely that some of the congressional report, issued by the House Judiciary Subcommittee, will shape future policies in this area.
5. National Careers Service Skills Assessment Test
The National Careers Service website has come in for a fair amount of ridicule this week. Why? Rishi Sunak advised those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic to retrain in other fields, and the government’s new skills assessment quiz aims to help people understand where they may be able to transfer their experience from one career to another. All sounds fairly helpful so far, doesn’t it?
However, in the space of 5 minutes and 50 questions, I’ve gone from being an experienced digital marketing and PR consultant to a boxer, football referee or a Royal Marines officer. Apparently, these results are pretty standard and have at least provided the Twittersphere with much amusement over the past 24 hours.
It looks like we may become a nation of boxers, although exactly how we might monetise this is yet unclear.