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Google Replaces Structured Data Tool with Promotional Landing Page via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google announced that the URL to Google’s structured data tool now redirects to a landing page. The landing page encourages users to try Google’s Rich Results page, while using a near invisible button to link to the new Schema.org Structured Data Validator.

Google Announces Schema.org Structured Data Validator is “Stabilized”

While the fact that the announcement of the redirect is hidden at the bottom of the page of a December 2020 blog post is odd, what’s really curious is the way Google characterizes the Schema.org structured data validator in words that imply it’s not ready in a statement saying that it is ready.

Specifically, the announcement doesn’t say that the competing Schema.org structured data validator is out of beta (which would be normal).

The announcement by Google says that the Schema.org structured data validator has stabilized.

Google Says Schema.org Structured Data Validator has Stabilized

Schema Structured Data Tool is StabilizedGoogle: “The Schema Markup Validator has stabilized…”Schema Structured Data Tool is Stabilized

Stabilized is a word used for a hospital patient whose condition has stopped deteriorating.

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Here’s what the announcement said:

Update on August 9, 2021:
The Schema Markup Validator has stabilized, and Google now redirects the Structured Data Testing Tool to a landing page to help you select the right tool.”

Is Google’s Landing Page Promotional?

The new landing page feels promotional because it actively encourages visitors to first use Google’s Rich Results page:

“Google recommends that you start with the Rich Results Test… “

When it comes to the competing Schema.org validator, Google uses less flattering words like “generic” and describes the competitor in the context of what it does not have:

“For generic schema validation…  without Google-specific validation.”

Considering that this is the URL that users of the discontinued validator will have bookmarked, it almost seems like Google is encouraging users to its own tool at the expense of the competing Schema.org tool that is most likely to satisfy users of the discontinued Google structured data validator.

Google Structured Data Testing Tool

The Structured Data Testing Tool tested whether the structured data is valid. Negative responses were categorized as either warnings or errors.

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The tool was greatly appreciated because it was useful for troubleshooting structured data.

A sandbox feature allowed changes to be made right in the tool to explore possible solutions to errors and provided an interactive way to learn about structured data code.

All of those useful features are available in the non-Google Schema.org Structured Data Validator.

Screenshot of Schema.org Structured Data Validator

Structured Data Markup Validator

Structured Data Markup Validator

Slow Retirement of Structured Data Testing Tool

Google announced in July 2020 that the structured data testing tool was being retired in favor of the more Google-specific Rich Results Test.

Many publishers were upset that Google’s structured data validator was going away.

Thus in December 2020 Google announced that the structured data testing tool would not disappear but will live on at Schema.org.

The announcement acknowledged the disappointment felt by the SEO and web development community:

“Since then, we’ve heard your feedback and we’d like to give an update on what the future looks like for the Structured Data Testing Tool.

To better support open standards and development experience, we’re… migrating it to a new domain serving the schema.org community… The main purpose of the tool will be to check syntax and compliance of markup with schema.org standards.”

The new Schema.org validator could now be found at validator.schema.org but was labeled as an in-development tool.

Google Structured Data URL Redirects to Landing Page

Google is now redirecting the discontinued Google structured data validator URL to a landing page that promotes the use of Google’s Rich Results Test tool and also links to the new Schema Markup Validator tool.

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Google promotes the Rich Results Testing tool by prominently recommending users start with it.

Rich results promotional page

Rich results promotional page

It makes sense to have a landing page that explains that the Google structured data validator is gone and where to find a replacement.

But the page seems to go beyond an explanation.

Is Google Using Dark Patterns?

Dark Patterns is a method of presenting information in a way that appears like a choice but is designed to guide the user to make the decision the company wants, often against the best interest of the user.

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Researchers have noted that Google and other tech companies use dark patterns to cause users to do things like give up their privacy (Deceived by Design, PDF) by making it difficult to opt out of privacy invasion and very easy to opt-into it.

A typical dark patterns trick is to make the button they want users to choose stand out, while making the button they don’t want users to choose fade into the background.

Google uses a bright blue button for the link to their Rich Results tool and uses a white button that fades into the white web page for the competing structured data validator.

Here is a screenshot of the button Google uses for their Rich Result Tool on the new landing page:

Highly Visible Button

Rich Results ButtonThe button for the Schema.org testing tool is colored white on a page that has a background color of white.

Rich Results Button

Nearly Invisible Button to Competing Validator

Structured Data button

Structured Data button

It’s almost as if Google is actively encouraging people looking for the validator to visit their own Rich Results tool while hiding the link to the competing tool by making the button white so it blends into the background.

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Google’s 53 word description of the Rich Results tool gushes about all the features it has.

The 16 word description of the Schema.org tool uses 30% of the words to say what it does not have.

You decide what choice Google is encouraging visitors to make…

Schema.org Validator is “Stabilized”

Although Google is seemingly encouraging users to use its own tool, the new Schema.org tool is live and ready to be used. The landing page still says it is in beta but presumably that message may be removed soon.

Citations

The Official Schema.org Structured Data Validator

Google’s New Landing Page

Google’s December 2020 Announcement of Schema.org Tool
An Update on the Structured Data Testing Tool

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

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Survey says: Amazon, Google more trusted with your personal data than Apple is

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survey-says:-amazon,-google-more-trusted-with-your-personal-data-than-apple-is-–-phonearena
 

MacRumors reveals that more people feel better with their personal data in the hands of Amazon and Google than Apple’s. Companies that the public really doesn’t trust when it comes to their personal data include Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

The survey asked over 1,000 internet users in the U.S. how much they trusted certain companies such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon to handle their user data and browsing activity responsibly.

Amazon and Google are considered by survey respondents to be more trustworthy than Apple

Those surveyed were asked whether they trusted these firms with their personal data “a great deal,” “a good amount,” “not much,” or “not at all.” Respondents could also answer that they had no opinion about a particular company. 18% of those polled said that they trust Apple “a great deal” which topped the 14% received by Google and Amazon.

However, 39% said that they trust Amazon  by “a good amount” with Google picking up 34% of the votes in that same category. Only 26% of those answering said that they trust Apple by “a good amount.” The first two responses, “a great deal” and “a good amount,” are considered positive replies for a company. “Not much” and “not at all” are considered negative responses.

By adding up the scores in the positive categories,

Apple tallied a score of 44% (18% said it trusted Apple with its personal data “a great deal” while 26% said it trusted Apple “a good amount”). But that placed the tech giant third after Amazon’s 53% and Google’s 48%. After Apple, Microsoft finished fourth with 43%, YouTube (which is owned by Google) was fifth with 35%, and Facebook was sixth at 20%.

Rounding out the remainder of the nine firms in the survey, Instagram placed seventh with a positive score of 19%, WhatsApp was eighth with a score of 15%, and TikTok was last at 12%.

Looking at the scoring for the two negative responses (“not much,” or “not at all”), Facebook had a combined negative score of 72% making it the least trusted company in the survey. TikTok was next at 63% with Instagram following at 60%. WhatsApp and YouTube were both in the middle of the pact at 53% followed next by Google and Microsoft at 47% and 42% respectively. Apple and Amazon each had the lowest combined negative scores at 40% each.

74% of those surveyed called targeted online ads invasive

The survey also found that a whopping 82% of respondents found targeted online ads annoying and 74% called them invasive. Just 27% found such ads helpful. This response doesn’t exactly track the 62% of iOS users who have used Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature to opt-out of being tracked while browsing websites and using apps. The tracking allows third-party firms to send users targeted ads online which is something that they cannot do to users who have opted out.

The 38% of iOS users who decided not to opt out of being tracked might have done so because they find it convenient to receive targeted ads about a certain product that they looked up online. But is ATT actually doing anything?

Marketing strategy consultant Eric Seufert said last summer, “Anyone opting out of tracking right now is basically having the same level of data collected as they were before. Apple hasn’t actually deterred the behavior that they have called out as being so reprehensible, so they are kind of complicit in it happening.”

The Financial Times says that iPhone users are being lumped together by certain behaviors instead of unique ID numbers in order to send targeted ads. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says that the company is working to rebuild its ad infrastructure “using more aggregate or anonymized data.”

Aggregated data is a collection of individual data that is used to create high-level data. Anonymized data is data that removes any information that can be used to identify the people in a group.

When consumers were asked how often do they think that their phones or other tech devices are listening in to them in ways that they didn’t agree to, 72% answered “very often” or “somewhat often.” 28% responded by saying “rarely” or “never.”

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