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GOOGLE

Google Agrees to Pay for (Some) Australian News

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Google announced that they have negotiated to begin paying for Australian News with publishers who have agreed to participate in the Google News Showcase program. It’s unclear if this is enough to stop Australian legislation that Google claims will force it to leave the country.

News Media Bargaining Code

Australian legislators had been holding hearings and working to enact a new law that would effectively force Google to pay for the privilege of displaying links to Australian News.

Australian news media has suffered a catastrophic decline in advertising revenue, said to be as high as 75% since 2005 and some have laid the blame on Google.

I attended the first Google Zeitgeist conference at Google’s campus in Mountain View California in the early 2000’s and listened to presentations from the leaders of American news media and the common theme was fear that Google would impact their revenues.

The situation of declining revenue has been simmering for a long time.

Google Threatened to Pull Out of Australia

As reported in last week (Will Australia Have to Live Without Google Search?), Google Australia’s Managing Director Mel Silva testified in a Senate hearing that there was no way Google could continue in Australia should the law pass.

She testified:

“If this version of the code were to become law, it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia.”

Then she threatened that Google Search would pull out of Australia entirely:

“We do not see a way, with the financial and operational risks, that we could continue to offer a service in Australia.”

Google Offers to Pay for News

In a seeming reversal, Google announced that it will pay for Google News through their Google News Showcase program that licenses news for use in their search engine.

According to the official Google announcement:

“To meet growing reader and publisher needs, last year we increased our investment in news partnerships and launched Google News Showcase.

Today we are happy to announce we are rolling out an initial version of the product to benefit users and publishers in Australia, with a keen focus on leading regional and independent publishers given the importance of local information and the role it plays in people’s everyday lives.

News Showcase is designed to bring value to both publishers and readers by providing a licensing program that pays publishers to curate content for story panels across Google services, and gives readers more insights into the stories that matter.”

There is no indication whether this will be enough to stop the new law from going through.

The Guardian reported that one news organization dismissed Google’s News Showcase:

“The parent company of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age has dismissed Google’s offer to pay media organisations with the launch of News Showcase in Australia, stating it would not negotiate with the tech giant before the news media code comes into effect.”

So it’s unclear whether or not Google’s overture will be enough to keep Australian lawmakers from backing Google into a corner from where Google has threatened to pack up and leave Australia.

Reaction in Australia

I asked Melbourne, Australia digital marketing expert Ash Nallawalla about this and he indicated that in his view the average Australian feels caught in the middle of a struggle between Google and the Australian government and that regardless of what Google says it will do the average Australian will still be able to access Google.

Ash commented:

“The average Australian has shown little to no interest in what is seen as a struggle between two large entities – Google versus some TV companies and News Corporation. At best, many think that Google will no longer be available to them in any of its products.

Google is not threatening to block Aussie IP addresses and I doubt that Google dot com dot au will be shut down.

In a quick check I made, Google dot com was able to give me fairly usable local results to buy a pizza. There will not be a need to find another search engine.”

SEO Professional Nigel Mordaunt in New South Wales, Australia said that local businesses that depend on Google search are worried:

“Business owners are generally concerned as local businesses thrive from Google and are worried about how this could potentially impact their sales. Australian business owners love google and want it to stay.”

Mr. Mordaunt then commented from the viewpoint of the impact to digital marketing:

“As an SEO I think our country is being completely unreasonable. If the news stations really think it’s unfair they can noindex their article/post and not have it appear on the search engines.

Being on google is their choice. I praise google for working with the Australian government.

We were extremely worried about search being pulled as our current government is taking hard stances on many subjects within our country with regards to Google and other technology companies.”

Too Little Too Late?

Google News Showcase may prove to be not enough to placate the news organizations that blame Google for their loss of income.

But many news organizations have already signed up.

According to Google:

“Starting today, a growing number of Australian publishers, leading examples of the best of local and regional journalism, will be paid to provide content for News Showcase.

…As this early version of News Showcase rolls out, the partnerships will provide financial support for some of the country’s most respected independent, local and regional publications including The Canberra Times, The Illawarra Mercury, The Saturday Paper, Crikey, The New Daily, InDaily and The Conversation.

We are looking forward to bringing more Australian media partners on board in the coming weeks and months as we further build out the experience for publishers and users.”

Google is working to come to agreements with more Australian news organizations.

But it’s unclear those efforts are enough to stop Australian lawmakers from passing laws that would force Google to pay through legal channels rather than through negotiated agreements with individual news publishers.

Searchenginejournal.com

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GOOGLE

This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

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This Week in Search News: Simple and Easy-to-Read Update

Here’s what happened in the world of Google and search engines this week:

1. Google’s June 2024 Spam Update

Google finished rolling out its June 2024 spam update over a period of seven days. This update aims to reduce spammy content in search results.

2. Changes to Google Search Interface

Google has removed the continuous scroll feature for search results. Instead, it’s back to the old system of pages.

3. New Features and Tests

  • Link Cards: Google is testing link cards at the top of AI-generated overviews.
  • Health Overviews: There are more AI-generated health overviews showing up in search results.
  • Local Panels: Google is testing AI overviews in local information panels.

4. Search Rankings and Quality

  • Improving Rankings: Google said it can improve its search ranking system but will only do so on a large scale.
  • Measuring Quality: Google’s Elizabeth Tucker shared how they measure search quality.

5. Advice for Content Creators

  • Brand Names in Reviews: Google advises not to avoid mentioning brand names in review content.
  • Fixing 404 Pages: Google explained when it’s important to fix 404 error pages.

6. New Search Features in Google Chrome

Google Chrome for mobile devices has added several new search features to enhance user experience.

7. New Tests and Features in Google Search

  • Credit Card Widget: Google is testing a new widget for credit card information in search results.
  • Sliding Search Results: When making a new search query, the results might slide to the right.

8. Bing’s New Feature

Bing is now using AI to write “People Also Ask” questions in search results.

9. Local Search Ranking Factors

Menu items and popular times might be factors that influence local search rankings on Google.

10. Google Ads Updates

  • Query Matching and Brand Controls: Google Ads updated its query matching and brand controls, and advertisers are happy with these changes.
  • Lead Credits: Google will automate lead credits for Local Service Ads. Google says this is a good change, but some advertisers are worried.
  • tROAS Insights Box: Google Ads is testing a new insights box for tROAS (Target Return on Ad Spend) in Performance Max and Standard Shopping campaigns.
  • WordPress Tag Code: There is a new conversion code for Google Ads on WordPress sites.

These updates highlight how Google and other search engines are continuously evolving to improve user experience and provide better advertising tools.

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AI

Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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GOOGLE

Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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