Audiobooks Teaser and App Update for Google Play Books

Shelves in Google Play Books

It is one thing when a company gets an upcoming feature or product leaked.  It is another thing entirely when the company itself leaks the upcoming feature or product.  That appears to be what happened late on Friday with Google Play Books.

Both online and in the Android app, a banner in the Play Books store promoting the coming of Audiobooks to the store and a 50% discount on your first purchase.  I, unfortunately, didn’t capture the banner but the folks over at 9to5 Google did and you can see it here.

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Google to Begin Using Mobile Site Speed Consideration as a Ranking Factor Mobile Site

Google has informed webmasters via a blog post that an upcoming changing the Google Search algorithm will take mobile site speed into consideration for page ranking.  Referring to it as the “Speed Update”, starting in July 2018, sites that have slow response times will have that factored into their overall search results within Google Search.

The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page.

However, mobile site speed is not the only consideration in page ranking nor will it be the only factor come July.

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Google Continues to Tweak G Suite App Menus for Clarity

Google Docs New Break Menu

Over the past few months, Google has been making minor tweaks to the menus in various G Suite apps online.  Most of these efforts, with the biggest change coming last month, have been aimed at making it easier to navigate these menus and to be clear about what exactly you are doing with that menu option.

Today another round of menu tweaks started rolling out to all G Suite customers that further adjusts menus in Google Docs and Google Slides.  In their announcement, Google laid out the before and after menu views to help users find the difference.

For Google Docs, to add a line or page break, here are the changes:

  • Before: Insert > Page break or Column break
  • After: Insert > Break > Page break or Column break

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Huawei to Integrate Android Messages into Upcoming Devices

Android Messages

Late yesterday, Google and Huawei both announced an agreement where by the Chinese manufacture will start integrating the RCS-powered Android Messages app into their upcoming devices.  The move means that Huawei will abandon their current messaging app in favor of Google’s for a richer user experience.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, HUAWEI devices will offer a rich native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over WiFi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on HUAWEI’s devices through RCS business messaging from Google.

Huawei also announced that they will be integrating with Google Duo for video calls directly from Messages via carrier’s ViLTE services.

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Google to Release an Update to Fix Slow WiFi Problems with Chromecast and Google Home

Google Home

Google is set to roll out an update to Google Play Services tomorrow aimed at addressing the slow WiFi issue that some users of Chromecast and Google Home have experienced.  The issue cropped up a couple of weeks ago and at first, was thought to be an issue with the new Google Home Max.  It turns out that Google Play Services was the culprit.

For those that haven’t encountered the problem (good!), it comes down to Android devices on your network as well as Chromecast and Home devices.  Essentially what was happening is that Android devices on the same network would see the Cast enabled device and flood your network with packets.  That would cause slowness or instability.  It was effectively an internal DDoS attack.

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Project Fi Introduces Unlimited Data Plan Named Bill Protection

Project Fi

Project Fi is rolling out a new unlimited data named Bill Protection.  It assures that individual users who use more than 6GB of data a month will be charged one flat rate and, like current Fi plans, if you use under 6GB in a month, you are credited back money for those unused gigs.

The plan is being rolled out today and it is for individual users as well as groups who are all on Project Fi.  For individual users, the maximum out of pocket per month would be $80 per month.  That is $60 for the 6GB plus $20 for the calls & text portion of the service.  If you go above those 6GB, you still only pay $80.  If you have two members in a group, the maximum cost is $135 with a data plan level of 10GB.  There is a calculator to help you understand the costs for your plan

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The New YouTube Monetizing Requirements will Impact Many Content Producers

YouTube for Android

YouTube has begun sending emails out to content producers on the changes that are coming next month to how they can monetize their channels.  The email lays out the new requirements in order to have access to the ad monetizing tools and that access will end starting February 28, 2018 if you do not meet the requirements.

Those new YouTube requirements are pretty steep.  You have to have 1000 subscribers but the higher hurdle is the requirement for 4000 watch time hours over the previous 12 months.  This last requirement will eliminate many channels from being able to monetize.

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