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Google Maps is about to get personal: all the new features coming soon
Google Maps is about to be revamped with a more personal experience, Google has revealed, helping users figure out where to eat, where to stop for drinks, and more. The company aims to eliminate the current seemingly endless scrolling involved with “recommended restaurants,” replacing it with faster, smarter suggestions. In coming months, users will see a new Explore tab and more.
According to Google, the navigation app’s upcoming redesigned Explore tab will serve as a “hub” where users find unique places nearby, as well as places that are new to them. The tab will present options based on the area the user is exploring within the map, the company explains. The section will also tie in data from local experts, show where notable “tastemakers” are at, factor in trusted publications, and more.
The content isn’t limited to just restaurants, of course. Google demonstrated the Explore tab with things like annual arts and crafts fairs, marathons, sightseeing destinations, and similar. Options are also broken up by category, such as “dive bars” and places where literary notables visited. These things tie in other products via links; users can, for example, tap “Add to calendar” to add a suggested event to their calendar.
The Explore tab isn’t passive, says Google, instead actively helping the user keep track of what they’ve done on the various lists. For example, users who visit the top restaurants for the destination will see them marked as such in the app, helping narrow down future activities.
Google heavily emphasized AI and intelligent features in its keynote today, and we see that mission highlighted in its upcoming Google Maps update. The app will soon show users their “match” — that is, how likely they are to like a suggestion alongside an explanation about why it may be a match.
That data, as you’ve likely guessed, is based on Google’s machine learning technology, which uses what the company knows about you to make the determination. Various pieces of data are factored into the rating, such as what you’ve rated other restaurants in the past, where you’ve already been, the drink and food preferences you’d have already given Google, and more.
The match is presented next to the listing’s start rating; users see a Chrome-like circle next to a percentage reading “Your match.” Tap that match and a card will give brief information about why you got that rating — maybe you’ve already expressed interest in Mexican food, for example, and Google thinks this new place fits the bill.
The changes continue from there. Google Maps is adding a feature that helps groups of people coordinate their interests, each person contributing to the creation of a shortlist of choices. Users then vote on those choices, narrowing it down to a single place. Reservations for the chosen destination can be made directly from Google Maps.
Finally, Google Maps has a new “For you” tab in which the user finds things happening in the regions they’re into. The user has an option to follow specific neighborhoods and other locations; by doing so, For you will offer places to check out the next time you decide to venture into the region or you’re setting up an outing.
Google promises the new Google Maps features will be arriving for everyone on Android and iOS around the globe “in coming months.”
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The key to local business success: Be the first to use Google’s newest marketing features in your area.
Get more traffic in the door, get your business noticed faster, and outrank your competition.
Amanda Jordan, Director of Digital Strategy for RicketyRoo Inc., joined me to discuss the easiest ways to incorporate the new Google Local and Google Maps features into your local SEO strategy.
The pandemic, changing search habits, and more people shopping locally have driven the need for local businesses to have a strong presence in the search results.
Google Business Profile and other local features are vital to adapting to these changes.
In this podcast, you’ll learn how to grow your local business with a few tweaks on Google Local, Google Maps, and Google Business Profile.
Every time I’ve seen someone go from no Google Business Profile to a cool business profile, or even just adding anything like that, there’s a huge amount of growth because essentially you’ve just made yourself visible to lots of people that didn’t even know you existed before. –Amanda Jordan, 58:54
The more thorough and valuable your reviews are, the more of an impact it does have on your ability to rank. –Amanda Jordan, 19:55
It’s good just to have something up there that’s recent and current just because It’ll help you stand out. –Amanda Jordan, 11:35
A lot of times, we see social media and SEO as two completely separate things, but they can inform each other. They both give you data about who your customers are, how they found you, why they like you, and what they’re interested in. –Amanda Jordan, 22:01
A lot of times, especially with local SEO and the focus on reviews and things like that, we can forget about the technical elements or not be as confident in our ability to handle them. I think it’s perfectly normal but I think that’s a place where a lot of technical and local SEOs can grow. –Amanda Jordan, 40:40
Connect with Amanda Jordan:
Amanda has extensive experience designing campaigns, including web development and SEO, and is very talented and creative.
She began her SEO career in 2011 and has enjoyed tackling complex problems for clients. Her specialty is local SEO for legal and enterprise companies. In her free time, Amanda enjoys playing with her dogs and beating her son at Mario Kart.
Connect with Loren Baker, Founder of Search Engine Journal:
OneDrive will get new sharing features soon: Here’s what you need to know
Microsoft is preparing some big updates for OneDrive. As soon as the company revealed its roadmap for Office 365, we noticed a couple of interesting additions for every version of OneDrive, including OneDrive for Business and its web version.
Most of the improvements deal with OneDrive for Business’ sharing features. We’ve listed each notable change here, so you can find more information about the upcoming improvements in one place.Simplified sharing from OneDrive for Business from the web
Microsoft will make the sharing experience in the web version of OneDrive for Business easier. The previously-established workflow of users emailing links or saving them to the clipboard will remain.
We’re updating the user experience for sharing files and folders in OneDrive for Business from the web. This new sharing experience simplifies the flow of emailing links to colleagues and guests and copying links to the clipboard. Like the original experience, the new experience presents two choices to users who want to share: type email addresses to send a link in email, or copy a link to the clipboard. Both the “Share” and “Get a link” command support all three types of links in OneDrive, including anonymous access links (accessible by anyone), company shareable links (accessible to those within your organization) and restricted links (accessible to a custom set of users both in and outside your organization).
The revamped feature allows users to easily choose their sharing method. Microsoft already started rolling out this feature and is expected to be completed in by the end of February.Dedicated OneDrive for Business Admin Console
Microsoft added a graphical user interface to the Office 365 Console to make management easier for admins.
One useful feature Microsoft will implement in the upcoming update is a success indicator for sending links. .
Today, when a user adds an ODB modern attachment, there’s no indication before sending that sharing with their recipients will work. We’re adding Sharing Tips to fix this by adding tips that warn you if sharing with your recipients will not work and provides a suggested action. In addition, Outlook will use the best URL for your situation – in most cases the Company sharing link.Outlook on the web: OneDrive Sharing Improvements
Finally, Microsoft will be introducing more access levels, like “anyone can edit” and “anyone in my organization can edit.” That way, group admins will be in full control over users’ assignments within the project.
Today, modern attachments are shared by default with “recipients can edit” access and you can switch to “recipients can view” access before you send your mail. With this update, you’ll also be able to switch to other access levels such as “anyone can edit” and “anyone in my organization can edit.
Microsoft has already started rolling out these features to all eligible users. However, as the rollout is gradual, not everyone will get them at the same time but they should arrive by the end of this month.
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Google announced a series of updates are coming to Search Console in the next couple of months.
Along with these updates, Google has also made a “hard decision” to drop some legacy features in Search Console.
Here’s an overview of all the changes that are on the way.New Features in Search Console
Google says the following new features will be fully implemented in Search Console toward the end of March.Crawl Errors in Index Coverage Report
In an effort to make the list of crawl errors in Search Console more actionable, Google is shifting the focus toward issues and patterns used for site indexing.
With crawl errors being moved to the Index Coverage report, Google believes sites owners will be able to find and fix issues much faster.Sitemaps Data in Index Coverage Report
The Index Coverage report will also be the new home for sitemaps data. Google says this will make it easier to focus on URLs that site owners care about.
Users will be able to track URLs submitted in sitemap files by selecting and filtering data in the Index Coverage report.Fetch as Google via the URL Inspection Tool
Site owners can now use Search Console’s revamped URL inspection tool to check and review URLs on their website.
The tool can also be used to submit images for re-processing in order to get them updated in search results as soon as possible.User-management is Now in Settings
Search Console’s user management interface has been merged with the Settings section. This replaces the user-management features in the old Search Console.Old Features Getting Removed
The following features are getting removed from Search Console. Some are being replaced, and some are going away altogether.
Old Crawl Errors report: With crawl errors being included in the Index Coverage report, the old report is going to be removed.
Crawl Errors API: Google is deprecating the crawl errors API, which was based on the same internal systems as the old crawl errors report. There is no replacement at the moment.
HTML suggestions: As Google’s algorithms have gotten better at showing and improving titles over the years, Search Console will no longer show information about short and duplicated titles.
Property Sets: This feature will be removed because it’s only being used by a small number of users. As a replacement, Google will soon add the option of managing a Search Console account over an entire domain.
Android Apps: This feature will be removed as most of the relevant functionality has been moved to the Firebase console.
Blocked Resources: This standalone section will be removed as blocked resources can now be found in the URL inspection tool.
Structured Data reporting: Structured Data types that are not supported with Rich Results features will not be reported in Search Console anymore.
Google welcomes feedback in its help forums regarding any of these changes.More Resources
The Google Pixel 7 Pro shows how good Android software can be, and does so at a lower price than its competitors.
Standing out amongst today’s army of Android smartphones is hard. But in a world of high-powered devices focusing on long lists of impressive hardware stats and figures, Google is going a slightly different direction.
More like the mammoth Apple, Google’s new Pixel 7 Pro leans into the world of software, implementing clever new tricks to improve your photos, call experiences, battery life and a number of other phone-related tasks you didn’t know could be better.
But does this bet pay off? We spent a week with the new Google Pixel 7 Pro to find out.Stylish design at a surprising price
Costing £849, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is more affordable than its flagship competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max. However, it is also a big jump up in cost compared to the cheaper £599 Google Pixel 7.
The phone is made using 100 per cent recycled aluminium, so it feels great in your hand, but does have some serious weight to it. Not only that, but the camera bump pulls the weight abnormally to the top of the device.
But while the design is a minimalist aesthetic that we can get onboard with, a case is a good idea; luckily Google includes one in the box. The same can be said for most modern smartphones, but that massive camera bump makes the phone feel precarious and exposed when placed on a surface.
This combined with the fact that the smartphone is wider than your average device and the Google Pixel 7 Pro does feel somewhat unwieldy in your hand. In other words, this is not going to be a device for those with small hands, with the smaller Google Pixel 7 being a better fit.
This is very much design over usability. Yes, it looks and feels great, but I was living in constant fear of dropping the phone, smashing that beautiful design.Camera excellence
Google is known for its camera abilities, in fact, it has been the company’s big selling point since the very first Pixel smartphone. Luckily, the camera is once again the device’s leading feature.
This is another area where Google’s focus on software over hardware pays off. The phone features a 50MP main camera, 48MP 5x zoom and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. These are similar features to most flagship smartphones.
The best compliment I can give the Google camera is that it is a Jack of all trades. Samsung can zoom for miles, Apple can take stunning up close photos and draw in colour accuracy, Google can do it all, offering a camera for all situations.
Where Google really thrives is with its added features. The brand has made a big deal of its ‘real tone’ feature where the device can analyse skin tones to achieve more accuracy. There is even a feature that will keep track of faces that appear a lot in your photos, making sure those people are more in focus in groups.
The Pixel’s photo-editing software is also interesting. There is an ability to remove blur from photos, whether it’s a new photo or one you took years ago on another device that was never worth using.
However, the feature I got the most use out of is the magic eraser. This allows you to cut things out of an image. You can completely cut out your friend trying to photobomb you, strangers ruining your perfect shot or a random item that doesn’t fit the photo. In most cases this works great, with the occasional moment of making a complete mess.The spec sheet
For the Google Pixel 7 Pro, Google implanted a new chipset, the Tensor G2. While this means a more powerful smartphone, capable of dealing with more intensive tasks, it also means better machine learning capabilities.
It improves the phone’s ability to take photos, how it can handle speech recognition, its understanding of you as a user and generally makes the phone more capable of doing what the Google Pixel does best – impressive software.
The other factor the new chip informs is battery life. Google has struggled with battery life in the past, but with the 5000mAh battery, it is rivalling Apple and Samsung’s largest devices. I frequently got through a full day of medium to heavy usage with some charge left.
The display is also a nice experience on this device. It features a 6.7-inch OLED display which is consistently bright and colourful. The screen can refresh at up to 120Hz which simply means your scrolls, jumps and swipes around the phone will stay looking smooth without any jittery lag.Verdict
Google has been struggling to find its feet with smartphones for a while, never quite managing to get it all right. The Google Pixel 7 Pro feels like the first time the brand has nailed the whole package, producing a well-rounded flagship phone.
Of course, it is not perfect. The charging is slow, and it lacks some of the high-end specs Samsung, Apple and OnePlus have achieved, but these factors really don’t matter.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro is snappy and responsive, has a capable battery, the camera is one of the best you’ll get in a smartphone, and it is full to the brim with clever software. It feels like the best of both Apple and Samsung… albeit, with a few small sacrifices.Alternatives iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro is going to be the closest competitor Apple has to Google’s Pixel 7 Pro. It is immensely powerful, has a great battery life and display and most importantly, is the perfect rival for the Google Pixel 7 Pro in terms of camera ability.
The noticeable downside is the higher price, taking you over the £1,000 mark.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the definition of over-powered. Samsung has crammed everything into this design, including a stylus pen fitted inside the phone, a 100x zoom camera and a burly battery and processor to power it through the day.
All of this does come at a cost similar to that of the iPhone above, but you won’t get much more power in a phone than this.
Google Pixel 7
Like everything about the Google Pixel 7 Pro, except for the price? The smaller Pixel 7 will be the obvious choice. It brings the price shooting down to just £599 but keeps all of the most important specs.
The phone does get smaller, as does the battery. Plus, you do lose out on a camera lens and a few key functions, but for the huge drop in price that is a worthy sacrifice.
New CPU and GPU architectures roil the market pretty much every year—sometimes more than once a year. Yet in spite of the impact that system memory can have on a PC’s performance, the industry has relied on the same basic memory architecture for what seems like an eternity—in tech time, at least.
What took so long?
Part of the reason for the long gestation period is that memory manufacturers compete more on price than performance. And unlike the CPU and GPU markets, where just two companies dominate the market, memory standards are developed by a committee: The Joint Electron Devices Engineering Council (JEDEC). If you want a standard to develop slowly, do it by committee (consider how long the IEEE is taking to ratify the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard).
DDR4’s lower power requirements—and the corresponding reduction in waste heat—will be this technology’s real draw.
JEDEC, which consists of every memory maker in the world, started work on the DDR4 spec in 2005—two years before DDR3 even hit the market—but the first test samples didn’t appear until 2011. DDR4 memory finally hit the market last year in very limited supply, but the industry finally shifted into high gear around Computex 2014.
What’s so great about DDR4? Read on and the truth shall be revealed.What exactly is DDR4?
There are a lot of deeply technical aspects to DDR4, but we won’t dive that far. The two key improvements in DDR4 are power consumption and data transfer speed, thanks to the development of an all-new bus.
DDR4 memory will deliver significant benefits in terms of performance and power consumption.
Less power draw means less heat and longer battery life, so laptops and servers are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the jump to DDR4. Servers can be deployed with as much as a terabyte of memory and they routinely operate 24/7, so the power bills to keep them running—along with the onboard fans and outboard ventilation systems to keep them cool—can be enormous.
Smartphones and tablets will benefit from DDR4 memory, too. Because they typically come with only 1GB or 2GB of memory—and their displays consume much more power than their memory—they’ll benefit much like laptops will, from extended battery life rather than lower power bills.
Reducing power consumption will give desktop PC users a warm, green feeling, but they’ll probably appreciate DDR4’s speed bump a lot more. DDR4 memory kits shown off at Computex boasted speeds ranging from 2133MHz to 3200MHz, and DDR4 could eventually hit 4266 MHz. DDR3 memory topped out at 2133 MHz, so there’s no question memory will be a lot faster.
Finally, DDR4 uses much higher-density chips, so each memory stick (DIMM, technically) will pack a lot more memory. Where you might buy DDR3 memory in 1- or 2GB kits for desktops and notebooks, expect to see 4- and 8GB kits with DDR4. And for high-end servers, each DDR4 DIMM could deliver 64- or even 128GB of memory.Do you need DDR4 memory? Will you ever?
Before you get too excited about DDR4, note that it hasn’t even reached bleeding edge status. You can’t buy DDR4 memory today, and your existing hardware wouldn’t be able to use it if you could. But it’s a safe bet that it will be expensive when it does come to market. Mike Howard, memory analyst at the research firm IHS, said he expects DDR4 memory to launch later this year at prices 40- to 50 percent higher than DDR3 memory. So if you were to buy 16GB of DDR3 memory at the average price of $140, the same amount of DDR4 memory would set you back around $210.
Improvements in memory technology occur at a relatively stately pace.
Howard doesn’t consider DDR4 a must-have update for most people. “Users don’t need 2400MHz speeds,” he said. “In the PC world, except for the power-user segment, people aren’t screaming for more memory bandwidth.”
Kelt Reeves, president of boutique PC builder Falcon Northwest, echoed that sentiment. “On current-generation CPUs, we see almost no benefit in DDR3 speeds above 1866MHz,” he said. “For 2133MHz and higher, you have to specifically run memory bandwidth tests to see anything outside of margin-of-error in most benchmarks.”
According to Reeves, DDR4’s lower power requirements—and the corresponding reduction in waste heat—will be this technology’s real draw. “Memory has become so much more reliable in recent years with the voltage drops from 2.1- to 1.8- to now 1.5 volts,” he said.
If that doesn’t describe you, you don’t need to worry about jumping into a major upgrade anytime soon, or even postponing your next PC purchase until models with DDR4 come out.
That’s not to say DDR4 will be a waste of money. It’s just that in its early days, it won’t deliver significant benefits to anyone beyond the earliest of adopters.
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