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Google Update Response Falls Short of Expectations

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google update response falls short of expectations via martinibuster

Google’s SearchLiaison confirmed that some updates happened. But he downplayed their importance. The attempt to trivialize the update was in contrast to the widely felt impact and passionate response to it by publishers.  Many asserted that this update was significant and worthy of more guidance.

Google Confirms November 2019 Update… Sort of

The confirmation was in the form of answering the feedback about the update felt last week, beginning approximately November 7th but felt in force on November 8th.

This is what Google SearchLiaison said:

“Some have asked if we had an update to Google Search last week. We did, actually several updates, just as we have several updates in any given week on a regular basis. In this thread, a reminder of when and why we give specific guidance about particular updates….”

Publishers Dissatisfied With Lack of Guidance

The response to the update was out of step with the widely felt impact on publishers. Many publishers expressed dissatisfaction with Google’s response.

Another publisher expressed confusion as to why his content could be considered good for years and overnight have it’s traffic dramatically slashed.

A common theme among the casualties of Google’s update was astonishment of having played by the rules and succeeded, only to watch all the success disappear:

Not Just Another Update

Google SearchLiaison’s statement that the update was not out of the ordinary stood in contrast to the extraordinary outcry on Twitter and elsewhere.

Clearly, this update was not like any other update that Google does on any given week.  The update was so widespread and keenly felt that it was compared to the devastating 2012 rollout of the Google Penguin algorithm:

The comparison is not an exaggeration.

I have witnessed and lived through every update that Google has rolled out. This update compares closely in publisher impact with Google’s most disruptive updates, the Florida Update in 2003 and the Penguin update from 2012.

The Florida update caused major disruptions in the publishing world. In fact, I remember that Danny Sullivan himself sent me a private message on WebmasterWorld asking if I had any information to share. The impact of this update feels as if it’s on a similar scale.

Update Introduced More Spam?

A common complaint is that the update allowed more spam into the search results. There is anecdotal evidence that this update affected spam sites in a positive way for some sites. Ordinarily in an update it’s mostly misery being reported. That’s not the case with the November 2019 update.

Anecdotal evidence from reading the link spam related Facebook groups seems to indicate generally upbeat reports.

Update Introduced Irrelevant Results

Another common complaint was that some search results were irrelevant. One person tweeted a screenshot of a search for “meatball recipe” that resulted in recipe for gluten free pumpkin cupcakes.

Is November Update Bert Part 2?

According to Google SearchLiaison’s short statement, the November update was a number of different changes:

“We did, actually several updates…”

It may be a reasonable assumption that one of those changes was an expansion in the use of BERT. I gave an informal look at a few of the sites that had experienced drops of 30% or more and I noticed that certain anomalies in how the pages used keywords. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe not. It was odd however how this anomaly was common across the sites I took a quick look at.

Speculation About Impact of BERT

UK Search marketing and algorithm expert Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) had some interesting “guesses” about how BERT might impact the search results.

She tweeted:

“Only guessing but I suspect it is now much more easy to OVER-optimise since BERT, because it’s designed to actually prevent keyword-ese language / negate the need for this unnatural language in favour of more natural human language. Only thinking off the top of my head though.”

I was startled to read that because it was similar to preliminary observations about what might be happening to some of the recipe and travel bloggers that were impacted by this update.

Boston-based search marketing expert Dave Matson (@davematson) tweeted in response:

“Interesting. Yes, if Bert is better understanding natural language and context, presumably it also means noting “unnatural” language, keyword stuffing etc.”

I tend to agree that this update may have at least some component that is related to relevance. On the occasions when Google has discussed their updates, the changes have almost always been related to relevance. Such is the case with BERT, which is also about relevance.

There has never been an E-A-T update and there is no such thing as an E-A-T algorithm.

BERT itself is about relevance. That’s why if one is going to make a guess about the November 2019 Google update, there may be a good chance that relevance may be a part of it (though not the entire update).

Google spent the entire weekend ignoring publishers, as if nothing happened. When Google finally issued a statement it fell far short of expectations. Publishers have expressed dissatisfaction with Google’s response so far.

Searchenginejournal.com

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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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Google’s Next-Gen AI Chatbot, Gemini, Faces Delays: What to Expect When It Finally Launches

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Google AI Chatbot Gemini

In an unexpected turn of events, Google has chosen to postpone the much-anticipated debut of its revolutionary generative AI model, Gemini. Initially poised to make waves this week, the unveiling has now been rescheduled for early next year, specifically in January.

Gemini is set to redefine the landscape of conversational AI, representing Google’s most potent endeavor in this domain to date. Positioned as a multimodal AI chatbot, Gemini boasts the capability to process diverse data types. This includes a unique proficiency in comprehending and generating text, images, and various content formats, even going so far as to create an entire website based on a combination of sketches and written descriptions.

Originally, Google had planned an elaborate series of launch events spanning California, New York, and Washington. Regrettably, these events have been canceled due to concerns about Gemini’s responsiveness to non-English prompts. According to anonymous sources cited by The Information, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, personally decided to postpone the launch, acknowledging the importance of global support as a key feature of Gemini’s capabilities.

Gemini is expected to surpass the renowned ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, and preliminary private tests have shown promising results. Fueled by significantly enhanced computing power, Gemini has outperformed GPT-4, particularly in FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), owing to its access to a multitude of high-end AI accelerators through the Google Cloud platform.

SemiAnalysis, a research firm affiliated with Substack Inc., expressed in an August blog post that Gemini appears poised to “blow OpenAI’s model out of the water.” The extensive compute power at Google’s disposal has evidently contributed to Gemini’s superior performance.

Google’s Vice President and Manager of Bard and Google Assistant, Sissie Hsiao, offered insights into Gemini’s capabilities, citing examples like generating novel images in response to specific requests, such as illustrating the steps to ice a three-layer cake.

While Google’s current generative AI offering, Bard, has showcased noteworthy accomplishments, it has struggled to achieve the same level of consumer awareness as ChatGPT. Gemini, with its unparalleled capabilities, is expected to be a game-changer, demonstrating impressive multimodal functionalities never seen before.

During the initial announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company emphasized Gemini’s multimodal prowess and its developer-friendly nature. An application programming interface (API) is under development, allowing developers to seamlessly integrate Gemini into third-party applications.

As the world awaits the delayed unveiling of Gemini, the stakes are high, with Google aiming to revolutionize the AI landscape and solidify its position as a leader in generative artificial intelligence. The postponed launch only adds to the anticipation surrounding Gemini’s eventual debut in the coming year.

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Google Brings Bard Students Math and Coding Education in the Summer

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Google Brings Bard Students Math and Coding Education in the Summer

Google is stepping up its AI efforts this summer by sending Bard, its high-profile chatbot, to summer school. The aim? To boost the bot’s math and coding smarts. These developments are excellent news— when Bard first debuted, it was admittedly not a finished product. But Google is steadily plugging away at it, and have now implemented implicit code execution for logical prompts, and handy Google Sheets’ integration to take it to the next level.

Thanks to implicit code execution, Bard can respond to inquiries requiring calculation or computation with Python code snippets running in the background. What’s even more amazing is that coders can take this generated code and modify it for their projects. Though Google is still apprehensive about guaranteeing the accuracy of Bard’s answers, this feature is said to improve the accuracy of math and word problems by an impressive 30%.

In addition to this, Bard can now export directly to Sheets when asked about tables. So, you don’t need to worry about copying and pasting, which comes with the risk of losing formatting or data.

From the company’s I/O keynote address, it is clear that they are focused on making the most of what Bard can offer. As they continue to speak highly of the chatbot, we’re sure to expect more features and capabilities when the summer comes around.

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