Weekly Digital News Roundup: October 11-15

 Google to Put User Photos, Comments in Online Ads

  • google262way_custom-b0a89fbf1933607665ebaac4a7c08bc85e11dfe3-s6-c10According to the Washington Post, Google has made a fortune selling ads. Now it’s trying to put its hundreds of millions of users to work as company pitchmen, using the profiles, pictures and recommendations of ordinary people to endorse products and services across the Web.
  • The controversial practice, announced Friday by Google, is part of an emerging trend on the Internet. Advertisers believe that consumers place enormous value on product endorsements that come from a friend or family member, and growing numbers of Web companies are trying to capture that social advertising in a systematic way. But critics say tactics that further exploit the data people leave online amount to a bait-and-switch.
  • Google said the launch of “shared endorsements” will help consumers make better choices. “We want to give you — and your friends and connections — the most useful information. Recommendations from people you know can really help,” the company wrote in its announcement.“This move by Google reflects the growing and unchecked expansion of online data collection by the industry,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.  Continue reading

Weekly Digital News Roundup: October 4-8

Instagram to Start Rolling Out Ads in ‘Next Couple Months’

  • instagram-cropAccording to Mashable, Instagram announced Thursday that it will start rolling out ads in the “next couple months.” Instagram framed the move as part of an effort to turn itself into a “sustainable business.”
  • “In the next couple months, you may begin seeing an occasional ad in your Instagram feed if you’re in the United States,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow. We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.”
  • Instagram also tried to put users at ease by noting they would have control over what ads they see. “If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback about what didn’t feel right,” the company wrote. “We’re relying on your input to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.” Continue reading

Weekly Digital News Roundup: September 27 – October 1

Google Alters Search to Handle More Complex Queries 

  • google262way_custom-b0a89fbf1933607665ebaac4a7c08bc85e11dfe3-s6-c10According to the New York Times, Google on Thursday announced one of the biggest changes to its search engine, a rewriting of its algorithm to handle more complex queries that affects 90 percent of all searches.
  • The change, which represents a new approach to search for Google, required the biggest changes to   the company’s search algorithm since 2000. Now, Google, the world’s most popular search engine, will focus more on trying to understand the meanings of and relationships among things, as opposed to its original strategy of matching keywords. The company made the changes, executives said,   because Google users are asking increasingly long and complex questions and are searching Google   more often on mobile phones with voice search.
  • Google announced the new algorithm, called Hummingbird, at an event to celebrate the search   engine’s 15th birthday. The outcome is not a change in how Google searches the Web, but in the   results that it shows. Google also announced a few smaller changes to searching. It is changing   the visual layout of mobile search to better suit phones and tablets. People can now compare two   things, like butter and olive oil, or corgis and pugs, in search results. Continue reading
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