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Daily Crunch: Parler sues Amazon after going offline

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Platforms and infrastructure providers dump Parler, Microsoft unveils a new Surface and a Chinese fitness app raises $360 million. This is your Daily Crunch for January 11, 2021.

The big story: Parler sues Amazon after going offline

President Donald Trump has found himself banned from most of the major social media and internet platforms, with companies pointing to his role in inciting the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol last week, as well as his continuing statements expressing support for the rioters.

Right-wing social network Parler might seem like an obvious beneficiary of those bans, but the app itself has come under scrutiny — Apple and Google removed it from their respective app stores for failing to moderate comments calling for violent or criminal behavior, and Amazon Web Services followed suit, resulting in the social network going offline.

In response, Parler sued Amazon over alleged antitrust issues. Meanwhile, alternative social media and messenger apps have suddenly become much more popular.

The tech giants

Microsoft’s latest business-focused Surface is focused on remote work — Pricing for the Surface Pro 7+ starts at $899 for the Wi-Fi version and $1,149 for LTE.

Snap acquires location data startup StreetCred — Four StreetCred team members are joining Snap, where they’ll be working on map and location-related products.

Samsung’s upcycling program is designed to give new life to old tech — Samsung says the program “reimagines the lifecycle of an older Galaxy phone and offers consumers options on how they might be able to repurpose their device to create a variety of convenient IoT tools.”

Startups, funding and venture capital

Vision Fund backs Chinese fitness app Keep in $360M round — The latest fundraise values the six-year-old startup at about $2 billion post-money.

Revolut applies for UK banking license — It’s hard to believe that fintech startup Revolut doesn’t already have a proper banking license in its home country.

Orange spins out Orange Ventures with $430M allocation — With this new corporate structure, Orange Ventures could attract third-party investors.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Affirm boosts its IPO price target, more than doubling its latest private valuation — Who is mispricing whom?

Flexible VC: A new model for startups targeting profitability — A new category of investors has emerged offering a hybrid between VC and revenue-based investment.

Get live feedback on your pitch deck from big-name VCs on Extra Crunch Live — As a part of Extra Crunch Live, we’ll be offering EC members the chance to get live feedback on their pitch decks from our guests.

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

Everything else

Hulu discounts its on-demand service to $1.99 per month for students — This represents a more than 65% discount off Hulu’s ad-supported subscription.

Original Content podcast: Despite some odd choices, ‘The Undoing’ lays out a satisfying mystery — Your podcast hosts caught up on their mystery viewing over the holidays.

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.

TechCrunch

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.

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]

Searchenginejournal.com

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