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India is restoring 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir after 18 months

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India is restoring 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior government official said Friday evening, 18 months after imposing a sweeping communications blackout in the Muslim-majority region in an attempt to curb the spread of potential backlash over New Delhi’s decision to revoke Kashmir’s semiautonomous status in August of 2019.

Rohit Kansal, principal secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir government, said 4G internet services were being restored in the entire region.

India partially lifted ban on internet in two districts — out of 20 — of the state last year but maintained speed restrictions (2G internet), after a ruling from the Supreme Court that found an indefinite shutdown of the internet in the state unwarranted and demonstrated “abuse of power” by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.

The lifting of restrictions at the time had applied to 301 “whitelisted” services that included entertainment platforms such as Netflix and Amazon and some news outlets including The New York Times. Many Indian news outlets remained blocked, along with all social media. Many residents complained that the slow 2G speeds barely allowed them to check their emails and WhatsApp messages.

The internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir, home to more than 13 million people, has been by far the longest by any democracy.

In August, New Delhi told Supreme Court that it will start offering high-speed internet in one district of Jammu and one of Kashmir valley on a “trial basis.” Late last year, the government resumed broadband service in the region. Critics have said that ban on internet has cost citizens of Jammu and Kashmir hundreds of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.

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Raman Jit Singh Chima, a senior international counsel and Asia Pacific Policy director at Access Now, a nonprofit internet advocacy organization, said today’s move was welcoming, but “let’s be clear — the previous shutdown was excessive, mindless repeated. Glad that all Jammu and Kashmir residents will soon have internet restored, denied to them in violation of their rights under the Indian Constitution.”

Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, celebrated the news, adding “For the first time since Aug 2019 all of J&K will have 4G mobile data. Better late than never.”

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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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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