Google news roundup March 15

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 15 Mar, 2017
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Google demos new video recognition capability, upcoming developments to click-to-call ads, can new pages rank for competitive keywords, and a new invisible Captcha.

If you’ve missed any of these developments, read on to catch up on all of the essential details.

Google demos video recognition using new Cloud Intelligence API

Google’s chief scientist of Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning, Fei-Fei Li has unveiled a series of new products, research and education programs during a keynote speech at Google Cloud Next ’17.

The most significant part of the keynote concerned a new Cloud Video Intelligence API. Currently in a private beta test, this essentially means that the search engine can now recognize objects in videos thanks to machine learning.

Described by some listeners of the keynote speed as a ‘whoa moment for machine learning’. Fi says the API is notable for

"…enabling developers to easily search and discover video content by providing information about entities (nouns such as “dog,” “flower” or “human” or verbs such as “run,” “swim" or “fly”) inside video content. It can even provide contextual understanding of when those entities appear; for example, searching for “Tiger” would find all precise shots containing tigers across a video collection.

(Image source: Google)

There are several potential applications suggested for this technology:

  • The potential to build apps that see, hear and understand unstructured data
  • An easy way to manage crowdsourced content
  • Useful for media companies building their content catalogs
  • Video management

Read the full announcement from Google here:

Changes to click-to-call ads

In a new post on the AdWords blog, the product manager of mobile search ads, Manas Mittal says that Google has invested in new click-to-call ad developments in order to improve the number of high quality calls that advertisers receive.  Mittal says the changes thus far have meant:

  • Easier workflows for click-to-call advertisers
  • An improved ad experience making it easier for consumers to contact the advertisers
  • More detailed reporting

Building on these three core areas of focus, further changes will shortly be rolled out to further improve click-to-call for advertisers. The updates include:

  • Account level call extensions, so advertisers can set up call extensions at scale much quicker than would otherwise have been the case.
  • Business names to appear on call only ads, so search users can more easily get in touch with advertisers. In testing, the addition of brand names has led to better click through rates and improved conversion rates according to some advertisers
  • Changes to reporting at keyword and ad level detail to include two new metrics – phone impressions and phone calls. Google says these additions will help advertisers to improve performance and better identify opportunities.

For more information, read the full post here:

New pages can rank for competitive keywords (with a few conditions)

Speaking in a Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller tackled an often asked question, can a new page rank for a competitive keyword?

Mueller, who is a webmaster trends analyst at Google responded to a question from a user who asked if a new page could rank well for a medium to high volume keyword. Mueller said that it was definitely possible (in theory). He explained that the search engine doesn’t look at how competitive a keyword is and then determine that only pages with a certain age, of a certain length or with a certain number of keywords can rank well.

He didn’t give too much else away, saying, “We use a lot of different factors for crawling, ranking and indexing and sometimes it can happen that a really new page is suddenly really important for us and we’ll rank it really high, even for keywords that are fairly competitive.”

Watch the full video of the hangout here:

Captcha becomes invisible to humans (but not bots)

Google has made the Captcha invisible to humans after saying its systems are now clever enough to detect if a user is a human or a bot. Designed to prevent automated programs from spamming a site, Captchas would typically call on users to perform some manual action, such as completing a puzzle or entering a term, to confirm they are human.

Google’s new invisible reCAPTCHA tracks how a person interacts with a website to prove they are real.

Read the full story here:

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