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Daily Crunch: Twitter will let you limit replies

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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. Farewell, don’t @ me. Twitter will test a way to let you limit replies to your tweets

Twitter users will soon have four options to “tailor” the replies to their tweets: anyone can reply, only those followed by the user can reply, only those tagged can reply, or setting a tweet to allow no replies at all.

At CES, Twitter’s head of conversations Suzanne Xie said the feature builds on the already launched ability to hide replies: “We thought, well, what if we could actually put more control into the author’s hands before the fact? Give them really a way to control the conversation space, as they’re actually composing a tweet?”

2. Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman offer a deeper look at the new streaming service

Quibi is using a new engineering technology it’s calling “Turnstyle,” which allows the viewer to move between portrait mode viewing and landscape viewing, seamlessly — and without any black bars to fill the rest of the screen when switching to landscape video.

3. IAC sells CollegeHumor to executive Sam Reich, resulting in 100+ layoffs
CollegeHumor will continue on with a new owner and a dramatically reduced team. Reich announced the move on Twitter, saying that digital media holding company IAC “made the difficult decision to no longer finance us,” but that it would allow him to “run with the company.”

4. Facebook won’t ban political ads, prefers to keep screwing democracy

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Instead of banning political ads, Facebook is announcing a few tweaks to the information it lets users see about political ads — claiming it’s boosting “transparency” and “controls.” Natasha Lomas is not impressed.

5. MasterClass co-founder’s new educational startup Outlier raises $11.7M

Founder and CEO Aaron Rasmussen previously helped to popularize online learning as co-founder and creative director at MasterClass. When Outlier launched last year, Rasmussen told me his goal is to address the growing cost of higher education by offering a more affordable alternative.

6. Together with portfolio company AMP Robotics, Sidewalk Labs launches recycling pilot in Toronto

Sidewalk Labs and its portfolio company AMP Robotics are working on a pilot program that would provide residents of a single apartment building of 250 units in Toronto with detailed information about their recycling habits. In other words, waste is categorized, sorted and recorded at a materials recovery facility, and Sidewalk will communicate with building residents about how they’re doing in their recycling efforts.

7. Will online privacy make a comeback in 2020?

Last year was a landmark for online privacy in many ways, with consensus emerging that consumers deserve protection from the companies that sell their attention and behavior for profit. The debate now is largely around how to regulate platforms, not whether it needs to happen. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

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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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