Google update – but it’s not Penguin 4.0
Google has tweaked its search algorithm at the weekend, with sites reporting some rises and falls in ranking results.
However, the search giant has confirmed that this is a minor adjustment and not a major update, such as a new version of Penguin, Google’s algorithm designed to clamp down on link manipulation.
SEOs and webmasters have detected two updates – a first, larger, update around core web search and a second one around local listings.
These have had the effect of removing a host of spammy links, giving some sites a boost in search results.
It has been almost two years since the last Penguin update (version 3), when vast numbers of sites were hit with penalties for violating Google’s policies on black hat link building.
Twitter gets the message
Twitter has announced new features for direct messaging, to make it more useful as a customer service tool.
Users on DM can now get read receipts, typing indicators and web link previews in their threads, bringing twitter more into line with messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
This will be good news for businesses who interact with customers via the channel, as more than 80 per cent of brand customer service requests on social now happen on twitter.
Snapchat to focus on live as it drops Stories
Snapchat is getting rid of its local Stories feature, which documented and curated what users were up to in major cities.
Instead, the fast-growing social platform is to focus on big live events, such as sports games, movie premieres, holidays and festivals.
The app continues to promote its Discover section, where big brands such CNN, Cosmopolitan, The Sun and MTV all place content daily.
New iPhone is the focus for Instagram
The iPhone 7 launch is set to have massive benefits for Instagram.
The photo sharing app is preparing new features that take advantage of the 7’s powerful new camera. This includes equipping photographers with the ability to zoom into scenes by dragging a finger anywhere within the viewfinder.
There will also be a host of new filters, making full use of the iPhone’s increased colour capabilities.
Bringing human touch to AI
Finally, voice-controlled search is set to sound a lot more lifelike after Google revealed that it has developed AI that mimics a human voice.
Dubbed WaveNet, the software is capable of learning different voices, accents, speech patterns, inflections and emotions for a truly natural sound.
The learning capacity and vast amounts of data input into the project means that it is also capable of producing music and composing songs of its own.
With bots increasingly being used to carry out customer service functions on social media and messaging services, this next step in automated realism will be sure to filter down to become commonplace very soon.