How in the world did we get here?
It’s hard to believe it’s already August — but alas, here we are, watching summer (in Boston, anyway) progress.
We’ve been keeping busy, and so has Google, it seems. July was a busy month for the search giant, and we’ve put together a rundown of the major highlights you may have missed last month.
What You Missed Last Month in Google
1. Someone From Google Will Testify on Election Interference
At Wednesday’s Senate Select Committee Intelligence hearing on foreign influence in social media, Senator Mark Warner confirmed that a representative from Google will testify before the same committee next month on election interference.
In July, BuzzFeed News scooped this upcoming testimony, where it was reported that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are confirmed to appear.
While there’s no definitive answer on who, exactly, will represent Google, CEO Sundar Pichai has been invited.
However, Google recently promoted General Counsel Kent Walker to senior vice president of global affairs, where he’ll manage both the company’s legal team, and one dedicated to trust and safety. The move could point to Walker’s presence alongside Sandberg and Dorsey next month.
The testimony is scheduled to take place on September 5.
2. More Search Results
For quite some time now, Google has been evolving its search results page (SERP). Whether it’s an algorithm change, a featured snippet, or a knowledge graph — if there’s a way to get information to users in a quicker, more concise way, chances are, Google will try to incorporate it.
Now, that’s coming in the form of certain content displays from web pages — specifically, lists of FAQs, Q&As, and how-to steps.
And while, as we’ve covered, having page content displayed right there on the SERP could lead to fewer clicks — The SEM Post explains that there is an upside to content creators whose pages are featured in these results. For starters: one result appears to take up the entire screen, at least on mobile, giving the page owner a significant amount of “screen real estate.” Read full story >>
3. Chrome’s “Not Secure” Warning Is Here
In February, Google announced on its security blog that, in a matter of months, any sites without HTTP encryption (the “s” is for “Secure Sockets Layer,” or SSL, which is covered here) would display a “not secure” warning.
Last month, that took effect.
With the July release of Chrome 68 — the latest edition of Google’s web browser — these new warnings display to let users know that, while the browsing experience for an HTTP page isn’t necessarily unsafe, it removes an additional layer of security from “eavesdroppers” when you enter secure information like passwords or credit card numbers. Read full statement >>
4. EU Fines
The European Union will fine Google €4.3B — roughly $5 billion — in an antitrust case that the European Commission has based on alleged abuses by the company for “Android market dominance.”
These include the Google’s forced inclusion (e.g., for phone manufacturers) of its own search engine and apps like the Chrome browser into the Android operating system — which Google has 90 days from the decision date to stop doing.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai later released a statement defending the company’s practices around its operating system, saying that they have “expanded the choice of phones available around the world.” Read full story >>
5. In the Clouds
Google Cloud Next, the company’s annual cloud conference, has come and gone. A host of new products and solutions were unveiled — many of them within the realm of language processing capabilities. From new machine learning capabilities, to text-to-speech (and speech-to-text) tools, the company dedicated an entire blog post to the top announcements — all 100+ of them — from this year’s event. Read full post >>
Until Next Month
As always, we’re watching all things Google. We’ll continue to pick out top news items, algorithm updates, and trends.
And until September arrives — have a great August.