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Google Lists 5 Key Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior Amid COVID-19



google lists 5 key trends shaping consumer behavior amid covid 19 via mattgsouthern
Google has published a new set of research designed to help marketers respond to the changes brought on by COVID-19.

Over four billion people are staying home worldwide as of this week, Google says, which has lead to significant shifts in online behavior.

Google Lists 5 Key Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior Amid COVID-19

Google Lists 5 Key Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior Amid COVID-19

Google’s research highlights five key trends that demonstrate how consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior have been altered.

The five key trends listed in Google’s report include:

  1. More consumers using multiple devices
  2. Increased reliance on Google
  3. People are creating and fostering relationships virtually
  4. Adjusting routines to be at-home-first
  5. People are practicing self-care more

Here’s more insight into each of these trends based on Google’s latest data.

Multiple Devices

As people use multiple devices to go online at rates never seen before, content consumption is skyrocketing.

Staying home has led to a 60% increase in the amount of content watched in the US.

Americans are watching roughly 12 hours of media content a day, according to Nielsen data.

Searching for Critical Information

There has been an increase in searches for critical information and content to meet essential needs:

  • Search interest in “online grocery shopping” and “grocery delivery” grew 23% year over year in the US.
    • Americans are watching videos related to recipes and cooking at a rate 31% higher than they did in March 2019.



  • Search interest in telemedicine is up 150% week-over-week in the US.
    • Searches for “online pharmacy” have grown globally by more than 100% year over year.

Staying Connected Virtually

As people stay physically apart, they’re discovering new connections and nurturing relationships virtually.

Some examples of this from Google’s data:

  • As of April, Google Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding nearly 3 million new users every day.
  • 50% of US consumers said they used video to communicate with family and friends in March.
    • Search interest for “virtual happy hour” is rising, especially in the US.
  • On YouTube, there has been a rise in “with me” videos, where people film themselves going about ordinary tasks like cleaning, shopping, or cooking.
    • In the US, views of videos containing “study with me” in the title are 54% higher compared to the same period last year.

Adjusting Routines

With no way of knowing how long this pandemic will go on for, people are adjusting their routines to be internet-first.

People are adapting their regular activities to meet the demands of isolation.

Some examples of this include:



  • Search interest for “telecommuting” in the US reached an all-time high on Google and YouTube in mid-March, and continue to grow.
  • There’s growing search interest for “stationary bicycles” worldwide, as well as “dumbbell set.”


As people cope with the challenge of staying home, they’re focusing more on taking care of their own physical and psychological needs.

Some examples of this from Google’s data:

  • Views of meditation-related videos in the US are 51% higher compared to 2019.
  • Searches for “bored” have spiked significantly in the month of March.
  • Searches for “games,” “puzzles,” and “coloring books” increased considerably during in March.

See the Full Report

Google Lists 5 Key Trends Shaping Consumer Behavior Amid COVID-19

See Google’s complete, 39-page report here (PDF link).

For more data about recent shifts in consumer behavior, especially as it relates to product searches, make sure you haven’t missed our coverage of Google’s new Rising Retail Categories tool.

See: Google Reveals the Fastest Growing Product Categories in Search Results


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



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




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.


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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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