What’s been happening in the world of digital publishing over the last week? Here’s your weekly round-up of news, announcements, product launches, and more.
IndexWatch 2021: The SEO Winners In Google’s US Search Results
2021 was a volatile year for Google’s organic search results, with frequent algorithm updates – both confirmed and unconfirmed – ranging from several broad core updates, to Product Review updates, to the long-awaited Page Experience update. Read more
Google Says Emojis Won’t Hurt Or Help SEO
Google provides an update on the use of emojis in webpage titles and meta descriptions, saying they’ll neither hurt or help SEO.
This is stated by Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on January 28. Read more
Belgian DPA fines IAB Europe 250K euros over consent framework GDPR violations
The Belgian Data Protection Authority fined IAB Europe 250,000 euros Wednesday, ruling its Transparency and Consent Framework, used by much of the advertising industry in the European Union, does not comply with several EU General Data Protection Regulation provisions. IAB Europe was also ordered to permanently delete personal data already processed in the TCF system “from all its IT systems, files and data carriers, and from the IT systems, files and data carriers of processors contracted by IAB Europe.” Read more
Why it matters: As the author explains: “On the heels of the recent decision from the Austrian Data Protection Authority that the use of Google Analytics violates the GDPR, and news from other authorities on the topic — including Norway’s DPA, Datatilsynet, advising companies to seek alternatives — Head of Cooley’s European Privacy and Data Protection Practice Patrick Van Eecke said the decision highlights that European data protection authorities are using 2022 to “clean the house.””
Audience growth and engagement
New York Times buys viral “Wordle” game
The New York Times on Monday said it bought Wordle, a viral online game that tasks players with identifying a new word puzzle each day. While full deal terms weren’t disclosed, The Times noted that it paid “in the low-seven figures.” Read more
Why it matters: As Sara Fischer breaks it down, “The company has been doubling down on games as a means to lure subscribers. New subscriber growth continues to come from non-core news products, like games, as well as cooking and its consumer reviews website Wirecutter. The Times’ Games and Cookings subscriptions both surpassed 1 million paid subscribers in December.”
YouTube’s video player is getting a new look on Android and iOS
YouTube is rolling out a new interface for its mobile app’s full-screen player, which should make it easier to like or dislike a video (privately, of course), view comments, and share what you’re watching. The old version hid most of those features behind a swipe-up gesture on the “more videos” section, where the new version puts them front and center, relegating related videos to a button in the corner. Read more
Strong results from Pinterest, Snap spur turnaround in clobbered social media stocks
Shares of Snap (SNAP.N) and Pinterest (PINS.N) surged in extended trading on Thursday following strong quarterly reports, and Twitter also jumped, marking a massive reversal from a wipeout in those social media stocks earlier in the day following a dismal forecast from Meta Platforms. Read more
Facebook Shifts Focus To Short-Form Video After Stock Plunge
Following the greatest single-day stock drop in recorded history, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg intends to shift the company’s focus to growing short-form video. Zuckerberg communicated this plan to Facebook employees during a company-wide virtual meeting. Read more
Future of digital publishing
Digital evolution: News Corp, Google unite to train journalists
News Corp Australia and Google have joined forces to establish a groundbreaking digital news training initiative, which will develop and enhance the online skills of journalists across the country.
In a world-first partnership between Google and a media company, the Digital News Academy will provide on-the-ground reporters, editors and publishers with the latest tools, techniques and insights on online news gathering and multimedia storytelling. Read more
Why it matters: As per the statement by Sonja Heydeman, the inaugural director of the Digital News Academy, “This initiative is so important because it allows for journalists across the country – and it doesn’t matter if you’re with the biggest news group, or the smallest family-owned newspaper – to develop their skill sets in line with what will be required in modern and future newsrooms.