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. Google tests new featured snippets
A couple of fairly significant new changes to Google’s featured snippets have been seen out in the wild this week. As always with featured snippets, this could be very good news (if you manage to get your site to be featured) or very bad news (if you are not featured and other sites suddenly muscle in on your coveted no.1 organic ranking spot. There is also the debate about whether a significant featured snippet will stop anyone actually clicking through to a site at all, so it is not as black and white as it may appear.
The new additions that are being tested are:
‘From the web’
Google testing a new type of "From the web" box for product reviews. Desktop. Is this new? :) cc:@rustybrick pic.twitter.com/4yvKGGYWSj
— Vlad Rappoport ?? (@vladrpt) April 19, 2022
‘Other sites say’
I've never seen this "other sites say" before. kinda cool. pic.twitter.com/pEwTTjs3bZ
— Sarah (she/her) (@SarahBlocksidge) April 19, 2022
2. Will Elon Musk buy Twitter
There has been a lot of chatter about the prospect of Elon Musk launching a hostile bid to take over ownership of Twitter. Having bought a 9.2% stake earlier this month, the billionaire Tesla CEO said he’s lined up $46.5 billion to fund his offer of $54.20 a share.
It would be easy to think that this is just another money making move but it does appear that he has more genuine intentions. He is a big champion of freedom of speech and is not one to shy away from controversy. In a recent interview with TED chief Chris Anderson, Musk claimed that, “My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilisation.”
Whilst I am not sure that the next move in the power struggle with determine the future of civilisation, there is no doubt that we are facing a massive challenge of trust in both the main stream media and online platforms. I have witnessed, first hand, some fairly shocking censorship on Twitter and would welcome a crusade to improve transparency if that is indeed his mission. I will watch with interest.
3. No more fake reviews?
On the subject of trust, I was interested to see the announcement of new legislation to protect consumers from fake reviews this week.
In a nutshell, the government has given the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) greater powers to crackdown on fake reviews online. Under the new regulations, it will become illegal to pay someone to write or host a fake review, so people are not cheated by bogus ratings.
Reviews are incredibly influential online and I am sure that you will have turned to other people’s opinions when researching a product or service, so I welcome any initiative that seeks to stamp out the inevitable gaming of the system that occurs when the rewards are so high.
I do, however, wonder exactly how this will be policed. I also fear that it could become a way for the Gov to exert too much control and I hope that it will not facilitate the Gov stamping out any opinion that is not towing the party line?
Maybe another one for Elon Musk to sort out?
4. Stop sharing your TikToks in our reels!
Instagram reels are often just re-shares of TikTok content. It would appear that Instagram has had enough and is going to actively encourage users to create original content, judging by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri’s tweet yesterday:
? New Features ?
We’ve added new ways to tag and improved ranking:
– Product Tags
– Enhanced Tags
– Ranking for originality
Creators are so important to the future of Instagram, and we want to make sure that they are successful and get all the credit they deserve. pic.twitter.com/PP7Qa10oJr
— Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) April 20, 2022
It will be interesting to see how aggressive they are with this and whether big brands who repeatedly share TikTok content are actually penalised. I also wonder what will happen if a bigger brand shares your content – will Instagram be able to recognise the original creator of that content?
One to watch…
5. How do you know whether to trust a Chrome extension?
Google Chrome is a great web browser which can be enhanced through the use of extensions.
I use a handful of extensions to speed up any SEO analysis of a web page, but there are extensions available for all sorts of things. There are, unfortunately, some fairly shoddy extensions that will really have a negative impact of the performance of your browser and can pose real security risks, at worst.
I was interested to read the news that Google is launching ‘Featured’ and ‘Established Publisher’ badges to help consumers know which extensions that they can trust. Extension publishers cannot buy these badges – they can only ask to be reviewed – so it should be a reliable badge of honour that will allow you to instal an extension without worrying.
A very positive move and one that I welcome. Have a great weekend :-)