Lab Weekly: Google Home Services Ads Being Tested

Jodie King

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It is time for the weekly roundup and while there are no significant bombshells this week there is plenty going on, as you would expect with digital marketing. Take a look at the headlines that have caught our eye this week. Perhaps one to keep an eye on is Google testing home services ads – looks like a nice feature that is currently in the Beta testing phase.

An end to API

Google have recently announced that on August 10th 2015, they will be closing down their Autocomplete API (Actionable Program Interface). Google have said that the unsupported API had no official restrictions and saw the API being used in ways that they found useful and in other ways that weren’t so useful. Google said that because of this the Autocomplete API doesn’t provide a ‘meaningful user benefit’ other than being paired to Google Web Search.
Peter Chiu who works for Google wrote:

“In the interest of maintaining the integrity of autocomplete as part of Search, we will be restricting unauthorized access to the unpublished autocomplete API as of August 10th, 2015. We want to ensure that users experience autocomplete as it was designed to be used — as a service closely tied to Search. We believe this provides the best user experience for both services. For publishers and developers who still want to use the autocomplete service for their site, we have an alternative. Google Custom Search Engine [CSE] allows sites to maintain autocomplete functionality in connection with Search functionality. Any partner already using Google CSE will be unaffected by this change. For others, if you want autocomplete functionality after August 10th, 2015, please see our CSE sign-up page.”

Google believes that some SEM and keyword tools use this API to generate new keyword ideas, so this may affect some of the tools that you use.

Are we nearly there yet?

Google maps is one of the most powerful and useful apps on the planet. However, it also has a lighter side to it. We all know the situation where are kids in the back of the car getting tired, frustrated and incredibly bored. It is not long until the incessant ‘are we nearly there yet?’ starts to ring out.
Google maps has a lovely Easter planted for those repetitive cries from the back seat, found by Chris Smith of Just hold down the microphone button and ask Google maps ‘are we nearly there yet?’ and on the fourth question the app will reply ‘If you ask me again, we won’t stop for ice cream’. For it to work your phone needs to be in navigation mode. Google will tell you the estimated duration of the first time of asking and say ‘no’ the second and third time. It does not add any functionality to the app but does give it that rarest of gifts: personality!

Right To Be Forgotten

Still the thorn in Google’s side the “right to be forgotten” shall not be quickly forgotten! Google have rejected France’s ruling that the “right to be forgotten” should be applied globally instead of being restricted to Europe. More than one million requests to Google to remove data since the ruling came into effect have been made for search results that they thought were out of date, inflammatory or irrelevant.
The data that has been deleted is only removed from European websites, including and but not from Google’s privacy counsel Peter Fleischer has argued that while the “right to be forgotten” is law in Europe that is not the case in the rest of the world. Google have appealed the ruling stating that more than 95% of searches in Europe are made on the firm’s local websites.

Google Home Services Ads

What are they?
Good question! It is a program currently in the test phase just launched in the San Francisco market. Essentially it will enable users to review providers and submit requests directly from the ads to up to three service professionals. The home services ads promote pre-qualified home service professionals.
Here is a tweet of the test uploaded by Pete Meyers of Moz:

There are ads showing up for “San Francisco plumber” and “San Francisco locksmith”. Take a look they are looking slick!

Technical Reasons behind Panda 4.2 slow roll out

George Mueller has been explaining why Panda 4.2 is rolling out over months and months. In a Google Hangout between Mueller and webmasters he explained that internal issues related to technical reasons were to blame and that it wasn’t an attempt to control webmasters. There was no more information than that but suffice to say that those looking for positive or negative impacts are not going to see them over night. It is going to take months for a site to fully see a positive or negative impact of the algorithm.

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