Etsy Turns to Google Cloud to Improve Search, Boost Sales

Etsy, the online crafts marketplace, boasts more than 60 million unique items and is using Google’s machine learning technology to help boost sales. Because more than 80 percent of its search-based purchases come from the first page of results, it is crucial to provide relevant items on that page. With that in mind, Etsy started a move to Google Cloud in 2017, motivated by the platform’s artificial intelligence capabilities. About three-fourths done with the migration, it’s already seen $260 million in incremental gross sales.

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Amazon Stops Purchasing Competitive Google Shopping Ads

Amazon has ceased purchases of ads at the top of Google search results, a much-prized position for which advertisers and retailers pay handsomely to place eye-catching images. Google runs online auctions for these slots, dubbed products listing ads (PLAs) and Amazon, which began bidding in late 2016, found itself in competition with rival Walmart there. On April 28, Merkle, a marketing firm that analyzes Google Shopping ad data, first noticed that Amazon was missing from those coveted slots. Two sources confirmed the news. Continue reading Amazon Stops Purchasing Competitive Google Shopping Ads

Consumers Support the Regulation of Technology Companies

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of Congress made it clear that U.S. legislators are concerned about the power wielded by big technology companies, and believe that such companies may need to be reined in with regulations. Now, according to a survey from market research firm HarrisX, we learn that about 53 percent of Americans think the federal government should regulate big technology companies — even though only 31 percent believe the government is capable of doing so. Continue reading Consumers Support the Regulation of Technology Companies

Google Initiates Rollout of its Mobile-First Indexing of the Web

After a year and a half of testing, Google is rolling out its mobile-first indexing of the web. According to TechCrunch, Google first detailed its plan in 2016, aiming to “change the way its search index operates, explaining how its algorithms would eventually be shifted to use the mobile version of a website’s content to index its pages, as well as to understand its structured data and to show snippets from the site in the Google search results.” The move caters to Google Search users, the majority of whom search via mobile devices.

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Google’s New Shopping Actions Aid Competition with Amazon

Google recently launched Shopping Actions, a new program to help retailers compete with Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer. The program allows companies to list “products across Google Search, in its Google Express shopping service, and in the Google Assistant app for smartphones and on smart speakers, like the Google Home,” reports TechCrunch. It offers a universal cart no matter what device shoppers are using and Google earns money via a pay-per-sale model. The program is now open to any retailer in the U.S.

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Google Pledges $300 Million in Effort to Clean Up Fake News

Google has set its sights on combating fake news on the Internet, pledging to spend $300 million over the next three years in support of what The New York Times calls “authoritative journalism.” The Google News Initiative’s goals include making it easier for Googlers to subscribe to news and providing publishers with tools for fast-loading mobile pages. In partnership with Harvard Kennedy School’s First Draft initiative, Google will also create a “Disinfo Lab” to identify fake news, particularly during moments when it’s breaking.

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EU Considers Implementing New Rules for Big Web Platforms

The European Union’s executive body may establish new rules to give a fairer shake to small businesses using popular Web platforms. Currently, the EU deems that platforms such as Google, Amazon and TripAdvisor set unfair terms for the small businesses that sell or promote products there. These businesses have been complaining to the EU about unilateral contract changes, no access to sales and customer data, below-par transparency regarding their rankings in search results, and no means to resolve disputes. Continue reading EU Considers Implementing New Rules for Big Web Platforms

Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

Facebook is not the only tech giant looking to address the growing problem of fake news. Alphabet-owned Google, the world’s biggest search engine, is introducing a feature that offers users a new layer of fact checking in their search results. The move follows criticism that Google and other Internet companies are assisting with the spread of misinformation. After limited testing, Google rolled out the feature to its News pages and search catalog Friday. “Fact Check” tags will appear in News search results, but they will not be powered by Google. Instead, the feature will rely on fact-checking firms such as PolitiFact and Snopes, as well as reputable publishers including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Continue reading Fact Check: Google Takes on Fake News with Search Feature

European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

The European Commission in Brussels is at the end of its seven-year investigation of Google and preparing to issue a record-breaking fine, expected to be about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). To date, the toughest fine the Commission has issued was 1.1 billion euros, levied at Intel. Inside sources say the announcement will likely come before the summer break, possibly as early as next week, and that the final amount hasn’t been decided upon, with the maximum possible at around 6.6 billion euros, or a tenth of Google’s total annual sales. Continue reading European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Facebook and Yahoo Attempt to Expand Search Capabilities

Facebook and Yahoo just made strategic deals with regard to search. Facebook, which unsuccessfully attempted search with its Graph Search feature in 2013, states it has now indexed more than two trillion posts, promoting it as a way to follow news discussions in real time. Yahoo just inked a non-exclusive deal with Google to provide search results and ads; antitrust regulators struck down a similar deal in 2008. Yahoo renegotiated an exclusive deal with Microsoft’s Bing to make this latest deal. Continue reading Facebook and Yahoo Attempt to Expand Search Capabilities

Google Augments Search, Connects Users with Home Services

Google is no longer just a way to search for a good local plumber or electrician. Now, users in the San Francisco Bay area can make appointments via Google Home Services, a newly unveiled program that connects users with companies vetted by Google. So far, Google Home Services supplies plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and housecleaners. The move puts Google in direct competition with Amazon, which launched a similar service in March, as well as Angie’s List, Yelp and TaskRabbit. Continue reading Google Augments Search, Connects Users with Home Services

Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

As Internet browsing via mobile devices continues to become the norm, tech companies are scrambling to add new functionality to the scaled-down mobile versions of their sites. In the coming weeks, Google plans to introduce buy buttons to its mobile search-result pages. The buttons will direct users to other Google product pages where purchases can be made (products will be sold by retailers). The move is seen by many as an effort by Google to create an online marketplace to take on leaders such as Amazon and eBay. Continue reading Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

Yahoo is Developing a Mobile Search App to Take On Google

Yahoo is making a personal assistant and mobile search app that will compete with Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana. The app, codenamed “Index,” will be able to pull information from a user’s email to provide the most relevant search results. It will most likely be ad-supported and the company is aiming to complete a pilot version of the app this year. Yahoo executives hopes this app will be able to take some share of the mobile search market from Google. Continue reading Yahoo is Developing a Mobile Search App to Take On Google

Google’s Search Criteria Now Includes ‘Mobile Friendliness’

Google has revamped its search criteria to make sure sites at the top of its search rankings are mobile friendly. The change went into effect earlier this week, along with other criteria that could dock a site for having hard-to-click links or a lopsided layout that requires too much scrolling. Google announced the new search criteria two months ago to give companies time to improve their mobile performance. The secret algorithm has about 200 factors that determine a site’s ranking. Continue reading Google’s Search Criteria Now Includes ‘Mobile Friendliness’

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