MZ Weekly News Round-Up: Project Ara and Nearby Friends
SEO: The head of Google’s search spam team addressed the biggest myths he sees today in the SEO industry. The most notable myth, apparently, is that people believe Google makes changes to search results solely to make more money for themselves by coercing people into buying ads. On the contrary, choosing or not choosing to buy ads has no impact on a website’s rankings. What’s more, Google doesn’t make changes to their organic algorithms with the intention of selling ads. Google, in the last year, launched the carousel interface, intending to better distribute content from their Knowledge Graph. Now, the company is testing something new: showing ads from paid Google Shopping results in that carousel interface. For example, a search for laptops will bring up a carousel that features different laptops from a variety of vendors.
Social Media: Facebook is back in the news, and this time it’s not for another multi-billion dollar acquisition. The world’s largest social network announced a new feature for its core product this week: Nearby Friends. As the name suggests, the feature will let users see which of their Facebook friends are in physical proximity to them. Nearby Friends will work on iOS and Android devices, and can be switched on or off in the “more” section at the bottom corner of the mobile app. Twitter has announced that they will be launching a new mobile app promotion suite, which will enable app developers to use mobile app-install ads on Twitter and throughout the MoPub Marketplace. The suite, currently, is in beta testing. If Facebook’s success with similar mobile advertising is any indication, Twitter will likely earn a substantial amount of ad revenue in a very short period of time.
Technology: An early model of Project Ara, Google’s attempt to enter into the smartphone market, was set to be shown off this week at a developer conference. Then the unthinkable happened: someone dropped the model, causing the display to break. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a selling point. What makes Project Ara unique is its modular design, which means fixing a broken phone may soon be as easy as switching out a non-functioning part for a newer one. An official release for this Google product is still a long way off, but from the looks of it, Project Ara will definitely deliver in its innovations.