Recently just keeping up with developments in the regular news has been impossible, not to mention the technology and business news. As a result you may not be aware of some of the changes and initiatives that Google have announced in the last month that could affect or help you in some way. Let’s get you up to speed and hopefully provide some useful sources and resources.
Changes to Google Services Due to Corona
Google announced on the 16th Marchthat they would be focusing their services on the areas deemed essential. This means that Google’s customer service is currently operating with a more limited focus than usual and non-urgent requests may take a little longer to get a response.
In order to free up more time for Google’s workforce to focus on essential services the company is automating more administrative processes than usual. For example Google’s management of its video platform is currently removing more content automatically and without human review.This reduced oversight for video monitoring means that some content that complies with YouTube’s rules is taken down. Those of you who are worried that this may affect your content should note that Google has stated that it:
“won’t issue strikes on this content except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative. If creators think that their content was removed in error, they can appeal the decision and our teams will take a look. However, note that our workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeal reviews.”
So make sure you monitor your content after posting and also be aware that content may not be promoted in the same way on the platform:
"We’ll also be more cautious about what content gets promoted, including livestreams. In some cases, unreviewed content may not be available via search, on the homepage, or in recommendations.”
Google’s YouTube Policy
On the 11th of March Google used the YouTubecreators’ blog to announce some special provisions for the platform with regards to Corona. A key area was pushing awareness and engagement with reliable resources for educating people about the virus:
‘We're using our homepage to direct users to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other local authoritative organizations’
This is why users are now prompted on YouTube’s homepage to visit the WHO channel and site. As part of the fight against misinformation Google also announced that the platform would
“continue to quickly remove videos that violate ourpolicies when they are flagged, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits.”
This push for greater awareness has also led to Google making changes to its search results. On the 21st of March Google announced that new features have been added to search aimed at making it easier for people to find the most reliable sources for advice on the virus by giving greater prominence in the results to local and national health authorities and adding a:
“carousel of Twitter accounts from local civic organizations and health authorities to help connect them with the latest local guidance as it’s shared. We’ve also introduced a feature to surface some of the most common questions about the pandemic, with relevant snippets sourced from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Support for Communities
From early March Google started posting what is now 15 articles (at time of writing), view them here, announcing various initiatives supporting communities, businesses and educational institutions to deal with disruptions caused by the virus. Including support for SMBs with their article resources to help your small business manage through uncertainty, advice for teaching from home and the pledge that for every $1 donated to the United Nations Foundation in support of WHO’s global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund Google.org will donate $2, (up to $5M) with 100% of your donation going to the cause.