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. Shareholders call for change at major tech platforms
Following prior engagement with the companies involved, Schroders, one of Europe’s largest independent investment management firms, has declared its intention to vote against management on several issues at major tech companies.
As well as voting against Amazon on worker’s rights issues, the asset manager said it would support a number of shareholder proposals for change at Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and Alphabet (Google’s parent company).
It’s pretty unusual for large asset managers to publicly declare their voting plans ahead of time but Kate Rogers, Head of Sustainability at Schroders said, “By voting against the management at Alphabet and Meta we are signalling the importance of big technology companies acting to avoid harm and tackling misinformation on their platforms.”
As active fund managers, the company believes it can use its influence to make a significant difference in helping accelerate positive change.
2. Recruitment consultants – Google is coming for you!
Recruitment consultants beware – Google has launched a new tool this week that uses AI to help interviewees prepare for the task ahead.
The Interview Warmup tool was originally used for Google Career Certificate participants but is now available to everyone (at least in English-speaking countries).
The tool asks three types of interview questions – general, situational, and technical. It then analyses results to look for positive and negative trends in answers – such as words that are really relevant to the industry and phrases that are used repeatedly. Users are not graded but merely given insights to help them improve.
It’s far from perfect, and at the moment mainly focused on IT, but a really interesting development that could be enhanced to become a first-round interview tool.
3. Google update?
According to the SEO community, we are more than overdue a core update from Google. We normally expect these very 3-6 months and it’s been 6 months since we’ve had a confirmed update from the search engine but that’s not to say we haven’t seen some volatility in rankings in the past year.
This Monday (16 May) various sources were suggesting that it had finally arrived but yet again Google did not confirm any official update.
Like earthquakes, small clusters of volatility may be a warning sign of larger shockwaves to come as Google tests out a few things before putting them into practice widely. The reality is, as long as you’re working within Google guidelines you really should be fine.
4. Google filing for bankruptcy
Google and bankruptcy are not two words you expect to see in the same sentence but Google is indeed filing for bankruptcy in Russia. Russia has fined the tech giant over the content on its site and has now seized its local bank account, meaning it is unable to function i.e. to pay employees and vendors and meet other financial obligations.
After requests by Russia, YouTube’s owner, Alphabet (also the owner of Google), refused to delete content about the war with Ukraine and has blocked Russian media from advertising on the channel.
Despite closing its Russian operations, Google will continue to make its services available so the Russian people will still be able to access search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android, and Play.
Russia has also banned other Western social media sites calling them ‘extremist’ and is trying hard to lure people away from YouTube too by launching its own platforms.
5. Google’s lost in translation gaff
Google raised eyebrows on this side of the pond this week with a rather unfortunate tweet:
Users were shocked to be invited to learn what a ‘nonce’ is but after coming in for ridicule the post was later deleted.
In the US, the word is a technical term used in cryptography meaning a number that is only used once (number once = nonce) but here in the UK it’s a slang term that refers to pedophiles.
One user said, “Did they not Google it, omg!”