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 new ‘things to do’ ads
Aimed at helping the travel industry recover, Google has announced a new type of listing for attractions, tours and activities.
‘Things to do’ ads are displayed as a response to attractions, tickets, tours and the like, and will not only show basic information about the ‘thing to do’ but will also provide admission and ticket information.
Although the move purportedly supports the travel industry, it is also useful for those seeking activities nearer home too – a response to the increased number of ‘near me’ search queries.
2. Search Console outage
Google’s Search Console, the tool that helps site owners understand, review performance and fix issues has been down for some users for days.
Google says that the issue only affects reporting and has no effect on ranking, crawling, or indexing.
They are working on a fix but no time frame has been shared.
For most, this is a ‘nothing to see here’ story just a lack of data in the short term but for those launching a new website, things could be a little hairy in the interim.
3. Mozilla tests Bing
Mozilla is testing Bing on around one per cent of its Firefox user’s desktops but why it is doing so has not been revealed.
Speculation centres on the fact that Google pays Mozilla over $400m per year for the privilege of being Firefox web browser’s default search engine but that deal runs out in 2023.
We’ll have to wait with bated breath to find out whether Mozilla is considering a permanent shift away from Google but this test phase isn’t going to make any tangible difference in the meantime.
Cue the usual uproar from the SEO community… The reality? Firefox has 3.5% market share, so the impact is limited. You should optimise for users, not individual search engines.
4. iPhones to diagnose mental health
If reports are to be believed, Apple is apparently working on technologies that could diagnose mental health issues from the manner in which users interact with their phone.
This may include analysis of facial expression, how they talk, the pace and frequency of their walks, sleep patterns and heart rates. The speed and frequency of typing may also be measured as well as typos and the type of content.
The mental health of the nation has been pushed to the limit 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 on data security.
5. Does the world need more emojis?
Apparently so. 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 whilst on a FaceTime call and have their ID or Driver’s License in their Apple Wallet.
This week 217 new emojis were also approved which will be rolled out to during the remainder 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 that didn’t make the cut include a pregnant man, and a range of random items including a slide, a skeleton, a bitten lip, kidney beans and a glitter ball.