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 Joe.
1. DuckDuckGo has a dig at Google’s ‘privacy’
Privacy has been a hot topic in the digital world for some time, but the whole concept of personal privacy is growing in importance in the fallout of the current virus crisis.
A debate is starting to rage about the potential for the introduction of a vaccine passport system. In one camp, you have people that believe that some form of digital passport will enable a simple validation of health status. In the opposing corner, you have people that believe that this is the start of a dystopian existence where everything we do is tracked and the government has total control of our lives.
DuckDuckGo issued an interesting Tweet this week that played to the ‘big brother’ fears:
After months of stalling, Google finally revealed how much personal data they collect in Chrome and the Google app. No wonder they wanted to hide it.
Spying on users has nothing to do with building a great web browser or search engine. We would know (our app is both in one). pic.twitter.com/lJBbLTjMuu
— DuckDuckGo (@DuckDuckGo) March 15, 2021
It really is quite staggering how much Google knows about our every move, both physically and digitally. Terrifying really, if you are a ‘dystopiaphobe’.
Big Brother (Google) is most definitely watching you!
You have to credit DuckDuckGo for a brilliant piece of marketing – simple but brutally effective.
2. £2.6m broom cupboard
A new press room has been built at Downing Street at a cost of £2.6m. I am not entirely sure what is wrong with the room that they have been using all year but it seems that Boris is keen on splashing the cash in every room at Downing Street.
Described as the Prime Minister’s ‘latest vanity project’ by the opposition, it was revealed this week in a series of photos, one of which you can see below:
A few things struck me when I saw it:
- It looks so incredibly American. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it simply doesn’t feel very British.
- Please, please, please can they remove the TV screen so that we don’t have to be subject to more painfully bad presentations?
- Henry the hoover watching the grand unveiling on stage left!
Maybe Henry is looking out for his mop friend (last seen on Boris’s head) and this room is actually a broom cupboard in (very expensive) disguise, but is it really that difficult to get something as simple as this right?
A very embarrassing screw up to add to the growing list. As Ian Hislop commented on Question Time last night, “It’s a metaphor for an entire year of Covid incompetence”.
3. Account based marketing on LinkedIn
A bit of blatant self promotion, but I make no excuses for picking out Vic’s blog post yesterday about account based marketing on LinkedIn.
It is an excellent post and definitely worth a read if you want to find out how you can use the targeting options available to get in front of a very specific audience. Of course, if you need help on that front, you know where to come :-)
4. Google testing pricing information in local search results
It is not unusual to see Google testing new features on its results pages, although most new features tend to be launched in the US.
I was interested to see this Tweet, which highlights some interesting additions to local search results:
Google testing *Estimated cost near you* in the Google MY Business Pack. Not sure if it got noticed before? @rustybrick #seo #localbusiness #localseo #googlemybusiness #HeyGoogle pic.twitter.com/SOv83M0S3W
— SEO Anubhav Garg (@seoanubhavgarg) March 12, 2021
In this particular example, it turns out that the pricing information is the result of a partnership with Homewyse, which is an independent reference for home improvement services. The extra information is not part of Google Ads and is organic / free information.
Google is constantly trying to find / display information that enrichens the user experience on its results pages and pricing information such as this would indeed be helpful when browsing results of your search, but there is a real risk that it would lead to frustration if the prices displayed proved to be wildly inaccurate, so it will need to be monitored carefully.
The cynic in me also wonders if this is actually something that will be coming to the paid search landscape, as Google is never shy about making more $$$, but it is always good to see new features on the SERPs.
5. Human Rights Act v Policing Bill / Cancel Culture
Jonathan Pie is always thought provoking. I don’t agree with everything that he says but I always enjoy listening to him as he has an incredible skill of raising very important points through humour.
His latest video is arguably one of the more serious ones and highlights some of the lunacies of the current ‘cancel culture’ trend and it highlights the real threat to freedom of speech. A feast of food for thought and I absolutely agree that we need to reinvent the art of healthy debate and it is high time that we stop being so easily offended by any opinion that we do not share…
You can see what he has to say right here: