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Daily Crunch: Discord raises $100M

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Discord announces a big funding round, Google gets European approval to acquire Fitbit and Twitter launches a new voice-based feature. This is your Daily Crunch for December 17, 2020.

Discord raises $100M

The popular gaming chat platform confirmed today that it has raised $100 million and also announced that it has 140 million monthly active users, twice as many as a year ago.

“We are humbled and honored by the growth we’ve seen among so many incredible and diverse communities that have made Discord their place to hang out,” said CEO Jason Citron in a statement. “As we look to 2021, we are excited about what we have in store and plan to use this funding to help make Discord even better — both for our free service and our Nitro subscribers.”

The confirmation comes after TechCrunch reported that the company was raising up to $140 million at a valuation that could be as high as $7 billion.

The tech giants

Europe clears Google-Fitbit with a ten-year ban on using health data for ads — Under the terms of the EU’s clearance for the deal, Google has committed to not use Fitbit user data in the European Economic Area for ad targeting purposes for a 10-year period.

Twitter launches its voice-based ‘Spaces’ social networking feature into beta testing — During this initial testing period, the product will be limited to select individuals, largely from underrepresented backgrounds, Twitter says.

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Google slammed for ‘monopoly power’ in new antitrust lawsuit from 35 states — Compared to the Texas-led suit against Google announced yesterday, the second lawsuit represents a broader coalition of 35 states.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Coinbase files to go public confidentially and we’re hyped — To be clear, I don’t consider myself part of the “we” that’s hyped, but Alex Wilhelm definitely is.

Spryker raises $130M at a $500M+ valuation to provide B2Bs with agile e-commerce tools — Spryker offers a platform to bring a company’s inventory online, as well as tools to analyze and measure how that inventory is selling and where.

Health insurer Oscar adds another $140M in what’s likely a pre-IPO round — The new capital means that Oscar has raised what would be the equivalent of $1 million a day for the entirety of 2020.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Virgin Orbit, Relativity Space and Astra dish on the economics and efficiencies of space launches — Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis, Astra CEO Chris Kemp and Virgin Orbit’s VOX Space President Mandy Vaughn all joined us at TC Sessions: Space to discuss their approaches to the small spacecraft launch market.

Just how bad is that hack that hit US government agencies? — Spoiler: It’s a nightmare scenario.

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2020’s top 10 enterprise M&A deals totaled a staggering $165B — It was a blockbuster year for enterprise M&A.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

HBO Max finally lands on Roku devices — “Finally” gets overused in headlines, but it absolutely applies here.

You can now securely submit tips to TechCrunch using SecureDrop — We’re making it easier and more secure for you to contact TechCrunch reporters and editors.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

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NEWS

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.

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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.

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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]

Searchenginejournal.com

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