Well it is that time again. We have all the usual updates below on Google search and social to wrap up 2015. But first, a huge thank you to all of our clients who have joined us and stayed with us through 2015. It has been a pleasure working with you all and we look forward to more success working in partnership with you in 2016 and beyond.

Here are our Christmas opening hours – we will be having a lovely Christmas break and hope you all get to do the same:

our christmas opening times

And in case you are all workaholics, as we suspect you might be, here is what has changed over the last few weeks in the world of digital marketing:

Google Search App Update

Recently, Google has updated the Google iOS app and the Google Maps iOS app. Now on Google Search there is a ‘3D touch’ option only available on iPhone 6s devices. To use this feature, hard press on the Google app icon and a shortcut option for Search, Image Search and Voice Search appears. (Image)

If you are a iPad user you will be happy to know Google has provided support for Split View and Slide Over, so you can use your iPad side by side with your other apps.

The Google Maps iOS app has also been updated. There has been a variety of different updates to the maps, some that have previously been rolled out, these include, offline maps and navigation, busiest venue/store hours and gas prices. Also added to the Google maps which was previously only available on Android is store traffic graphs. Store traffic graphs illustrate when the venue or the business location is likely to be busiest. This is similar to Google car traffic data. Google gathers this data from “anonymised and aggregated visits to place from Google users who have opted-in to sharing location data.” You can now downloaded map areas for access offline, which will be very useful for many! This includes all relevant maps content for the area you have chosen and it includes turn-by-turn navigation. Google have said:

“You can download an area by searching for a city, county or country, for instance, and tapping “Download” on the resulting place sheet, or by going to “Offline Areas” in the Google Maps menu and tapping on the “+” button. Once downloaded, Google Maps will move into offline mode automatically when it recognises you’re in a location with spotty service or no connectivity at all. When a connection is found, it will switch back online so you can easily access the full version of Maps, including live traffic conditions for your current route.”

Google Tries to Index HTTPS Pages before HTTP Pages

Recently Zineb Ait Bahajji from Google has announced that Google is going to try and index HTTPS pages before they HTTP equivalent page. This means if your sites internal navigation references HTTP URLS then Google will try see if the same pages work on HTTPS. If the pages do work then Google will index the HTTPS version and display them in the search results instead.

Google have said:

“Today we’d like to announce that we’re adjusting our indexing system to look for more HTTPS pages… Specifically, we’ll start crawling HTTPS equivalents of HTTP pages, even when the former are not linked to from any page… When two URLS from the same domain appear to have the same content but are served over different protocol schemes, we’ll typically choose to index the HTTPS URL.”

The conditions included are listed below. This is all to make a more secure web.

  • It doesn’t contain insecure dependencies
  • It isn’t blocked from crawling by robots.txt
  • It doesn’t redirect users to or through an insecure HTTP page
  • It doesn’t have a rel=”canonical” link to the HTTP page
  • It doesn’t contain a noindex robots meta tag
  • It doesn’t have on-host outlinks to HTTP URLs
  • The sitemap lists the HTTPS URL or doesn’t list the HTTP version of the URL
  • The server has a valid TLS certificate

Social

Twitter
Apple has recently shut down Topsy, that was once the leading Twitter search engine. When you now go to Topsy.com you will be redirected to the how to search on iOS help page. There has been no announcement of Topsy being shut down on the page, it just shows you a clear and simple 301 redirect to an old help page from Apple’s help resource.

Youtube

YouTube have recently announced a permanent fixture to the iOS, Android and desktop version of their services – A ‘trending’ tab that will surface viral videos in the real-time. YouTube have said:

“This new tab in your YouTube app delivers the top trending videos directly to your Android, iOS and desktop device. It’s the best way to catch the videos, creators and trends that people watch, share and talk about each and everyday.”
Before this change, recommended popular videos appeared on the homepage but now the trending tab will be the place to find trending videos. The Verge have said that the trending tab uses an algorithm based on comments, views and “external references.” Manual filtering allows YouTube to override the algorithm and add or remove content from the tab. For example, the video “Youtube Rewind” is currently at the top of the trending tab, this suggests that YouTube have pinned this video even though it might not be the most viral video at the moment.

Facebook

The European Parliament have recently announced that they will be having a vote on whether teenagers should be banned from internet services such as, Facebook and other social media messaging platforms that require their data without consent from parents and guardians. If this regulation does happen then it will become illegal for companies to handle the data of anyone aged 15 and younger, meaning the new legal age of digital content will be 16 instead of 13. The draft law states:

“The processing of personal data of a child below the age of 16 years shall only be lawful if and to the extent that such consent is given or authorised by the holder of parental responsibility over the child.”

Currently, social media platforms such as Facebook allow users from the age of 13 to access their services. People such as child-safety experts don’t agree with this change, they think changing the age of consent will make it difficult for teenagers under 16 to use social media and other internet-based resources. Janice Richardson, the former coordinator of European Safer Internet network, and consultant to the United Nations’ information technology body, the ITU and the Council of Europe said:

“Moving the age from 13 to 16 represents a major shift in policy on which it seems there has been no public consultation. We feel that moving the requirement for parental consent from age 13 to age 16 would deprive young people of educational and social opportunities in a number of way, yet would provide no more (and likely even less) protection.”

As always with debates like this, everyone has their own opinion. Some think that it is a good idea as it could help to decrease the amount of bullying that is happening. However some think this isn’t a good idea as it is preventing teenagers from learning about social media and being able to socialise through the sites.

The latest news on this story…

Europe have taken a big step towards the pan-European data privacy laws after they agreed the text of new reforms. The agreement has come after half a year of “trilogue” negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the council of the European Union. The plan to see under 16’s blocked from social media has been diluted in the final text. The new privacy regulations are aiming to create a stronger data protection law for Europe’s 500 million citizens. This is set to replace the outdated patchwork of the national rules that have only allowed for small fines in cases of violation. Jan Philipp Albrecht, the Parliament’s Chief Negotiator said:

“The new laws would give regulators real means to clamp down on misconduct and that firms breaching EU data protection rules could be fined as much as 4% of annual turnover for global internet companies in particular, this could amount to billions. Companies will not be allowed to divulge information that they have received for a particular purpose without the permission of the person concerned. Consumers will have to their explicit consent to the use of their data.”

The GDPR governs the age of the digital consent about whether it should be increased to 16 from 13. Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative MEP said:

“Concerns have been listened to and the UK’s age of consent will not be forced to change.”

The new regulations will be strong on EU citizens’ data protection but are not going to affect businesses, only encourage growth in the European data economy. Andrus Ansip, the vice-president for the EU Digital Single Market said:

“The digital future of Europe can only be built on trust. With solid common standards for data protection, people can be sure they are in control of their personal information. Our next step is now to remove unjustified barriers which limit cross-border data flow: local practice and sometimes national law, limiting storage and processing of certain data outside national territory.”