Google’s promising $159 Pixel Buds are now shipping to customers, and they do something no other wireless earphones do.
The Pixel Buds offer instant access to Google assistant and offer 5 hours of battery life, but the most intriguing feature is the eal-time translation of 40 different languages. With the feature, you’ll be able to speak to someone in a different language and rely on Google’s Translate to help you get the job done. But as Google’s own support page, and those who have tried out the feature, can attest, it’ll take some legwork to make it happen.
Here’s how to make Google’s real-time translation work with Pixel Buds:
For one thing, you’re going to need a first-generation Pixel or a Pixel 2 phone. All other handsets won’t allow for the real-time translation Google offers with its own line of smartphones. Additionally, you’ll need to have the Google Translate app running on your smartphone.
Now that you’re ready with the correct hardware, you’ll need to activate Google Assistant from the Pixel Buds by pressing the right earbud and saying, “OK, Google, help me speak” followed by the language of your choice. You’ll notice on your phone that Google Translate is now up and ready to help you translate.
If you’re speaking English and the other person is speaking another language, you’ll need to have that person speak into your Pixel or Pixel 2 phone. With Google Translate activated, the other person will speak through the Pixel phone in her or her language and you’ll be talking through the earbuds. Along the way, Google Translate is translating what you’re saying on the fly to each other.
The Google translation feature comes free, as well as Google Translate. But to get it up and running, you’ll need to be living in Google’s ecosystem.
APPLE AND GOOGLE are cracking down on obnoxious online ads. And they just might change the way the web works in the process.
Last week Google confirmed that Chrome—the most widely used web browser in the world—will block all ads on sites that include particularly egregious ads, including those that autoplay videos, hog too much of the screen, or make you wait to see the content you just clicked on.
Apple meanwhile announced yesterday that Safari will soon stop websites from automatically playing audio or video without your permission. The company’s next browser update will even give users the option to load pages in “Reader” mode by default, which will strip not only ads but many other layout elements. The next version will also step up features to block third parties from tracking what you do online.
But the two companies’ plans don’t just mean a cleaner web experience. They represent a shift in the way web browsers work. Instead of passively downloading and running whatever code and content a website delivers, these browsers will take an active role shaping your web experience. That means publishers will have to rethink not just their ads but their assumptions about what readers do and don’t see when they visit their pages.
For years, browsers have simply served as portals to the web, not tools for shaping the web itself. They take the code they’re given and obediently render a page as instructed. Sure, browsers have long blocked pop-up ads and warned users who tried to visit potentially malicious websites. But beyond letting you change the font size, browsers don’t typically let you do much to change the content of a page.
“Browsers have always been about standards and making sure that all browsers show the same content,” says Firefox vice president of product Nick Nguyen. “It’s been a neutral view of the web.”
The problem is that this complacency has led to a crappier web. Publishers plaster their sites with ads that automatically play video and audio without your permission. Advertisers collect data about the pages you visit. And criminals sometimes use bad ads to deliver malware.
Many people have taken the matter into their own hands by installing plugins to block ads or trackers. About 26 percent of internet users have ad blockers on their computers, according to a survey conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Some 10 percent have ad blockers on their phones.
Now browser-makers are starting to build these types of features right into their products. Firefox added tracker-blocking to its private browser mode in 2015, and Opera added an optional ad-blocking feature last year. Meanwhile, newer companies like Brave and Cliqz have launched privacy-centric browsers of their own.
Now, thanks to Apple and Google, this trend is going mainstream. About 54 percent of all web surfers used Chrome last month, according to StatCounter, and about 14 percent used Safari. In other words, nearly all browsers will at the very least let users curb the worst ads on the sites they visit. And websites will have to adjust.
The Business of Blocking
It might seem weird for Google, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, to build an ad-blocking tool right into one of its core products. But the search giant may be engaging in a bit of online judo. Google only plans to block ads on pages that feature types of ads identified by an ad-industry trade group as the most annoying. Google may be hoping that stripping out the worst ads will eliminate the impetus to download much stronger third-party ad blockers that also block its own ads and tracking.
Apple, which doesn’t depend on advertising revenue, is taking a more radical approach. In addition to blocking cookies that could be used to track people across sites, the company will also give users the choice to display only the main content of a page, throwing out not just ads but extras like lists of “related stories” and other enticements to stay on a particular site. The page’s prescribed fonts and color scheme get thrown out as well.
Safari has offered the reader view as an option since 2010, but traditionally you’ve had to load a page before you can turn the option on. Letting people turn it on by default means they could visit pages and never see the original versions. That’s a big change that goes well beyond ad-blocking. It means that a page’s code could soon act more as a set of suggestions for how browsers should present its content, not a blueprint to be followed as closely as possible.
That doesn’t just change the way companies have to think about ads. It changes the relationship between reader and publisher—and between publishers and browser makers. For example, Brave—the privacy-centric browsing company founded by Firefox creator Brendan Eich—hopes to essentially invert the advertising business model by having the browser, not the webpage, serve up ads, then share the revenue with publishers. That’s just one new model that this new paradigm makes possible, whether publishers like it or not.
Jayson DeMers , CONTRIBUTOR I de-mystify SEO and online marketing for business owners.
What Is Google’s New Event Search Feature And Why Does It Matter? – Image Source: Pexels.com
Google has never been a company to rest on its laurels. Over the past two decades, the search engine giant has continued surprising, delighting, and serving its users with new features, layouts, and inner workings. Not all of these features have been successful, but it’s never long before a disliked feature is improved, replaced, or modified.
Recently, much of Google’s focus has been on improving experiences for mobile users—and by that, I’m referring both to users relying on mobile devices like smartphones, and users who need fast, on-the-go information. Event search is the latest new mobile feature, rolled out by Google earlier this month, and it’s worth considering both as a new SEO strategy and as a signal for what’s coming next.
How Event Search Will Work
In the Google search app, event searches take over when Google detects that a user is looking for an event. For example, the basic “events near me” triggers the event search, but specific queries, like “jazz concerts” also bring up relevant results. Rather than seeing a conventional search engine results page (SERP) layout, users then see a list of events relevant to their query, with the option to filter or reorder results based on a specific date, or by qualifiers like “today,” “tomorrow,” and “next week.”
After clicking on an event in the list, Google will display information for how to attend, such as linking a user to a ticket purchasing app or showing an RSVP option.
Supported Sites (and How to Get Involved)
So where is Google getting the information for these events, and how can you be a part of it?
Before launch, Google worked with a number of event sites to coordinate correct markup and listings for each respective enterprise. At launch, event search was displaying results from Meetup, Yext, Vividseats, Eventbrite, Ticketmaster, SeatGeek, Jambase, LiveNation, Bookmyshow.com, StubHub, Bandsintown, Eventful, and a handful of others. It plans to add support for even more ticket and event apps in the next several weeks and months.
However, you don’t have to wait for Google to reach out to you to make sure your organization’s events are listed in event search results. In fact, all you have to do to see your event listed is mark it up using standard Schema markup protocols—with a few new rules. Google has a handy guide for developers looking to mark up their site’s events, and it’s simple to follow. You’ll need to properly categorize your event, include all the specific information Google requests, create a unique URL for your event, and be careful not to mislabel an event (especially if it takes place over multiple days).
Marking up your events feeds that information to Google, so it can consider those events for relevant searches made by its users. Depending on how your site is currently set up and what types of events you host, it shouldn’t take long to make the change.
The Increasing Shift to Here and Now
One of the most important takeaways from this change by Google is that it marks another step in the search world to favoring the here and now. Mobile devices sparked a new revolution in moment- and place-focused optimization, and Google keeps pushing for better features. For example, Google overhauled the design and functionality of its local search results to favor users with mobile devices searching for immediate needs while they’re on the go. It has also introduced accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), which are designed to load as quickly as possible for mobile users who need fast information.
The rise in popularity of live video and in-the-moment social media updates also demonstrates users’ interest in seeing more content that’s relevant to their immediate interests. By coordinating content based on proximity to users’ location and proximity to present time, Google is moving forward in new dimensions of “relevance,” and users are demanding more instantly gratifying results.
Is It Worth Optimizing For?
Ignoring the paradigm shift toward immediate gratification for a moment, let’s consider whether it’s “worth it” for businesses to optimize for Google event search. If your business or organization coordinates most of its events through EventBrite, Ticketmaster, or similar sites, your events are likely already optimized for search. You won’t have to change anything to get your events listed. However, if you list your events mostly through your own site, and you host events regularly, it’s imperative that you adopt the latest markup standards so that people can easily find your events when searching for them.
However, even if your organization doesn’t host many events, it’s still in your best interest to mark up your event data whenever it comes up. Employing Schema microformatting is a best practice for all sites, as it makes it possible for your content to be featured in a rich snippet, and properly “understood” by Google’s search crawlers.
Looking to the Future
As you consider how to update your SEO strategy from here, make sure you consider the rise in importance of “here and now” content. Showcasing local events, getting involved in the community, and catering to users’ immediate needs with content and resources is, in my mind, one of the best ways to future-proof your SEO strategy.
It’s likely that Google will continue releasing new features that cater to demanding mobile users over the next several years, so make sure your business stays ahead of the curve.