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Daily Crunch: Zuckerberg is wrong about TikTok

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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. Zuckerberg misunderstands the huge threat of TikTok

In leaked audio of a Facebook all-hands meeting, Mark Zuckerberg described TikTok as “almost like the Explore Tab that we have on Instagram.” But Josh Constine argues that this is a serious misunderstanding of the app, which is more like a new form of social entertainment.

These distinctions matter because TikTok is a rapidly growing force in social media, a.k.a. a significant threat to Facebook and Instagram. And how can Zuckerberg beat what he doesn’t understand?

2. Microsoft’s latest Surface Laptop arrives in 13- and 15-inch models

Microsoft’s press event is currently underway as I write this newsletter, but it has already announced a new piece of hardware — the latest version of the Surface Laptop, with pricing starting at $999 for the 13-inch model.

3. Court says FCC’s ‘unhinged’ net neutrality repeal can’t stop state laws

The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules has been significantly weakened by a federal appeals court, which ruled that the Commission could not preempt state laws like those pending in California. In fact, one judge called the FCC’s logic “unhinged from the realities of modern broadband service.”

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4. These are the top Y Combinator companies of all time, based on valuation

In October of 2018, Y Combinator published a mega list of the top 101 companies to have gone through the accelerator, as sorted by each company’s valuation. This morning they updated the list, with Airbnb and Stripe have swapping the top spots.

5. NASA launches a new planet-hunting telescope using a giant balloon

A new telescope will seek out planets that resemble Earth from a height of around 125,000 feet, using special optical technology that will filter out light from the stars they orbit to provide a better view.

6. Where top VCs are investing in edtech

New software, content and financing solutions for learning outside the traditional school system offer the more compelling business opportunities, particularly when it comes to vocational training. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Streamlit launches open-source machine learning application development framework

Streamlit co-founder Adrien Treuille says that rather than building a one-size-fits-all machine learning tool, the key was developing a solution that was flexible enough to serve multiple requirements, depending on the nature of the data involved.

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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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