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Daily Crunch: Facebook faces VR challenges

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Daily Crunch: Facebook faces VR challenges

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 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Not all is predictable on Facebook’s social Horizon

Last week, Facebook unveiled Horizon, a massively multiplayer VR world that’s scheduled to launch in 2020. This might seem to play to Facebook’s software strengths, but Lucas Matney argues that the social networking giant may not actually have much of an advantage against smaller game studios.

For example, the team at Against Gravity has already built a network inside VR called Rec Room that’s been maturing over the past few years, with rich environments and toolsets for multiplayer interactions. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

2. Spotify now lets you add podcasts to playlists

Users can create their own custom playlists of their favorite podcasts, or even those that combine music and audio — similar to Spotify’s newly launched playlist “Your Daily Drive.”

3. Kickstarter darling EcoFlow Delta battery generator is not what it seems

The EcoFlow Delta is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible features claimed. Most are true, some are not.

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4. YouTube TV is now available on Fire TV devices

Earlier this year, Google and Amazon reached an agreement to bring their streaming video apps to each other’s platforms. The YouTube app launched on Fire TV in July, and now Google is adding its live TV streaming service.

5. Amboss, the knowledge platform for medical professionals, scores €30M Series B

Launched in 2014 as a study platform for medical students, Amboss has since evolved to offer what it claims is the “most comprehensive and technologically-advanced” knowledge platform for medical professionals.

6. Learn everything you can about mobility at Disrupt SF

We’re bringing some of the industry’s leaders onstage at Disrupt SF — including Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden, Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun and Zoox CEO Aicha Evans.

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

The latest episode of Equity kicks off with the reemergence of the much-criticized startup Bodega, which is now known as Stockwell and has raised a total of $45 million in funding. Meanwhile, Original Content reviews “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” on Netflix.

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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.

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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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