“New Mexico Lawsuit Highlights Google's Deep Involvement With Student Data - ConsumerReports.org” plus 2 more

“New Mexico Lawsuit Highlights Google's Deep Involvement With Student Data - ConsumerReports.org” plus 2 moreNew Mexico Lawsuit Highlights Google's Deep Involvement With Student Data - ConsumerReports.orgGoogle Updates Its Collection Feature To Add AI Capabilities - ForbesGoogle backtracks on design that made search ads look like normal results - CNBCNew Mexico Lawsuit Highlights Google's Deep Involvement With Student Data - ConsumerReports.orgPosted: 21 Feb 2020 02:47 PM PST Google's products are widely used in public and private school classrooms throughout the United States. The New Mexico suit reported that 80 million students and educators across the U.S. use G Suite for Education, while 25 million students use the company's Chromebook laptops.Google provides a separate privacy policy for its G Suite for Education core products, which include Gmail, Calendar, Classroom, and Drive. However, students can also access other Google services, such as G…

Google Search Ranking & Algorithm Update Over The Weekend? - Search Engine Roundtable

Google Search Ranking & Algorithm Update Over The Weekend? - Search Engine Roundtable

Google Search Ranking & Algorithm Update Over The Weekend? - Search Engine Roundtable

Posted: 19 Aug 2019 06:09 AM PDT

Google Algorithm Update

Over the weekend, maybe started late Friday, August 16th, more noticeable on Saturday, August 17th, there may have been a rollout of another Google search ranking algorithm. It is 100% not as big as the past ones we have been covering recently but there is some chatter and some of the tools showed spikes in fluctuations this weekend.

The ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has some chatter, but again, it is not insane chatter but 100% more chatter than a normal day. Here is some of that chatter - again, starting mostly around August 17th

Today I don't know what happened. But all the traffic is gone including the direct and referral ones. Are you guys facing this too?

ive lost lots of traffic and close to zero conversions (and the conversions I get are just very low value ) since Thursday. After August ticking along reasonably it is like it has just been switched off. This is a regular occurrence each month now were there is a throttling of traffic and im in no doubt it is google that is responsible.

Woke up in the morning and seeing changes over both of my websites. Thanks G, they are positive. As I see — another update is rolling out. What about your websites, guys? Are you noticing the update?

As I see - no one saying they see changes. Another thing is that I've made a lot of changes last 2 weeks, so maybe this "the answer" from big G for my websites. But I still doubt on the update - the Mozcast actually shows an update.

The funny thing is, this guy "Bill Lambert" will from time to time post in the comments area telling us before an update that an update will be rolling out. He did so here on Monday, August 12th he wrote "We just had an all hands on deck meeting - Back to School update rolling out in the 24-48 hours." Well, August 16th, which was more than 48 hours after that post, something started rolling out. :)

Anyway, here are charts from the tools:


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SERP Metrics:

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Advanced Web Rankings:

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Cognitive SEO:

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So it does look like something happened - did you notice changes in your rankings and traffic from Google organic search since around this weekend?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claim That Google ‘Manipulated’ Millions of Votes for Clinton - The New York Times

Posted: 19 Aug 2019 03:32 PM PDT

What President Trump Said

Mr. Trump lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million in the 2016 election and has long attributed this loss to baseless claims of voter fraud. Now Mr. Trump suggests that he would have lost the popular vote by a much smaller margin, or even won it, were it not for Google's machinations.

He appears to be referring to a disputed estimate given by Robert Epstein, a psychologist and former editor in chief at Psychology Today who says he supported and voted for Hillary Clinton.

In a 2017 white paper, Mr. Epstein examined how Google Search might have influenced undecided voters in the 2016 election by providing more positive results for one candidate than the other. He estimated that the search results may have swayed "at least 2.6 million votes to Clinton." When he testified to Congress this summer, Mr. Epstein added that the estimate was a "rock bottom minimum" and that up to 10.4 million votes could have been shifted to Mrs. Clinton.

In an interview, Mr. Epstein took issue with Mr. Trump's characterization of his work.

"I've never said Google manipulated the 2016 elections," he said. "The range of numbers he listed in the tweet is also incorrect."

Panagiotis Metaxas, a computer science professor at Wellesley College, emphasized that the white paper showed a possibility — "what such an influence could have been if Google was manipulating its electoral search results" — not a conclusive fact.

"I and other researchers who have been auditing search results for years know that this did not happen," Mr. Metaxas said. "I think that, in his congressional hearing, Dr. Epstein is misrepresenting the situation."

He noted that Google does "sanitize" its search results, prioritizing more trusted sources while devaluing low-quality information sources. (Here's a more detailed explanation of how Google Search works.)

The white paper also came with huge caveats. First, it was not peer-reviewed or rigorously evaluated by other researchers.

It was based on the daily online searches of just 95 participants, 21 of whom were self-described undecided voters — a small sample size to extrapolate to millions of voters, experts said. (Mr. Epstein says that the statistical significance of his findings was high.)

Their election-related search results were then given to another group of people who evaluated whether the results were biased toward Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, and concluded that most favored Mrs. Clinton. Searches conducted on other websites like Yahoo and Bing did not display the same bias, according to the paper.

Then, Mr. Epstein applied his previous research demonstrating that biased search results could shift voting preferences by 20 percent or more to reach his baseline estimate of 2.6 million people affected.

But it takes "a leap of faith" to connect Mr. Epstein's experimental results to actual election outcomes, said Nicholas Diakopoulos, an assistant professor in communication studies at Northwestern University. (Mr. Diakopoulos's own research does show that Google Search results favor Democrats.)

"There's a substantial shift in context, and a difference in asking someone in an experiment about likely voting behavior and how they might actually act during an election," Mr. Diakopoulos said.

A more meticulous scientific analysis measuring the impact of Google Search on election outcomes could, for example, take into account voter history or other sources of election information.

Given the difficulties in disaggregating the impact of Google and the paper's lack of methodological detail, Mr. Diakopoulos said, "I am skeptical of the validity of the estimates."

Curious about the accuracy of a claim? Email factcheck@nytimes.com.

Google Expands Its College Search Features - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 15 Aug 2019 12:01 PM PDT


Google is expanding its college search features, introduced last year, with the ability to search for more types of programs.

The feature now includes two-year colleges, as well as associate and certificate programs at four-year colleges.

Google has also introduced a new discovery engine for colleges that can help students find schools offering the programs they're interested in.

Here's more information about each of these updates.

Search for More Programs

This update refers to the knowledge graph cards that show up when searching for colleges in the US. Previously, the feature only included four-year colleges.

Now, the knowledge graph cards will show for two-year colleges and popular programs that can be taken at four-year colleges.

In addition to providing information about the institution itself, Google's knowledge graph cards show information about individual programs offered at the college and the cost of tuition.

To give students a realistic look at what it costs to attend a specific college, Google displays the tuition cost and the "total cost" with books and housing.

Explore More Colleges

Google has a new exploration tool that lets users find colleges based on specific sets of criteria.

Users can discover colleges by filtering the list by parameters such as:

  • Program
  • Location
  • Type
  • State
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Size

If a user isn't sure which college they want to look up they can enter a more generic query like "hotel management schools in Georgia."

Google Expands Its College Search Features

These updates are available now to searchers in the US.

Google Ads is Switching Search & Shopping Campaigns to Standard Delivery - Search Engine Journal

Posted: 19 Aug 2019 12:31 PM PDT

Google Ads is changing its ad delivery methods, switching search and shopping campaigns from accelerated delivery to standard delivery.

After September 17, Standard delivery will be the only ad delivery method for search campaigns, shopping campaigns, and shared budgets.

Google says this change is being made because accelerated delivery isn't effective for campaigns that aren't limited by budget.

"… for campaigns that are limited by budget, [accelerated delivery] can increase CPCs due to increased competition early in the day, or unintentionally spend most of your budget in earlier time zones. Alternatively, Standard delivery takes into account expected ad performance throughout the day and is better at maximizing performance within your daily budget."

Lastly, Google recommends using ad scheduling to manage how ads are delivered in a day. Ad scheduling can be used to increase or decrease bids during certain times of the day.

Going forward, existing campaigns using accelerated delivery can continue to do so until October 1, after which time they will be automatically switched to standard delivery.

This change does not apply to display campaigns or video campaigns. They will continue to have accelerated delivery as an option.


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