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Daily Crunch: More details emerge in Twitter hack

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Fallout continues from this week’s big Twitter hack, podcaster Harry Stebbings launches a small VC fund and robots help with sorting the mail. Here’s your Daily Crunch for July 17, 2020.

The big story: More details emerge in Twitter hack

As we recapped in yesterday’s newsletter, a number of high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked earlier this week as part of what appeared to be a cryptocurrency scam. So how bad was it?

“We have no evidence that attackers accessed passwords,” the company said. “Currently, we don’t believe resetting your password is necessary.”

However, Twitter did not comment on whether hackers were able to access users’ direct messages. Senator Ron Wyden criticized the company for failing to end-to-end encrypt DMs: “While it still isn’t clear if the hackers behind yesterday’s incident gained access to Twitter direct messages, this is a vulnerability that has lasted for far too long, and one that is not present in other, competing platforms.”

The tech giants

Apple opens another megastore in China amid William Barr criticism — Apple opened a new store in Beijing’s upscale shopping district Sanlitun, doubling the size of the previous store in that location.

Federal court rules WhatsApp and Facebook’s malware exploit case against NSO Group can proceed — Last October, WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook filed a complaint alleging that NSO Group exploited an audio-calling vulnerability in the messaging app to send malware to about 1,400 mobile devices.

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Startups, funding and venture capital

Give us your seed round and we will send back double — The latest episode of Equity discusses funding rounds for Macro, The Browser Company and LiteBoxer.

From Twenty Minute VC to 20VC, Harry Stebbings launches a micro VC off the back of his popular podcast — The plan for Stebbings’ new $8 million fund is to invest in U.S. startups across various stages alongside “tier 1” co-investors.

Marketing, PR and brand building, oh my! TechCrunch Early Stage goes down July 21 and 22 — At next week’s virtual event, we’ll hear from some of the world’s top minds in the fields of marketing and brand building.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Extension rounds help some startups play offense during COVID-19 — A recent flurry of extension rounds for hot startups like Stripe and Robinhood suggests that this investment type has suddenly become cool.

Former Spotify marketing exec-turned-VC Sophia Bendz on her love of early-stage investing — Bendz recently joined Berlin’s Cherry Ventures to focus on startups in the Nordic region.

Assessing the potential for a gig economy in education — Entrepreneur and investor Rish Joshi looks at platforms that could help teachers deliver more personalized learning.

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

Everything else

SpaceX and NASA targeting August 1 for Crew Dragon return trip with astronauts on board — SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule has been docked at the International Space Station since its first crewed launch in May. Now it’s getting ready to make its return trip.

FedEx is utilizing robotic arms to sort packages at a Memphis facility — In March, FedEx installed a quartet of robotic arms from Yaskawa America and Plus One, with the goal of helping to sort the massive numbers of parcels that pass through its Memphis facility.

Play the prologue of ‘Linda & Joan,’ a video game about the worst year of its creator’s life — The full game isn’t due until 2022, but you can get a peek at what a video game about grief might look like.

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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