What You Missed Last Month in Google

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It's hard to believe it's already fall here in the U.S. -- but alas, here we are, with another recap of the month's top Google news items.

What You Missed Last Month in Google

1. The 20th Anniversary Announcements

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Google held a press event last month to unveil a number of new products and features, letting users know where the company plans to go next.

The company also said it would be adding more context to Image search results, and including featured videos in those search results -- using what sounds like machine learning to help users discover the most helpful video content for their search queries.

Google also announced new tools to help users pick up where they left off from previous searches, as well as changes to its Knowledge Graph to help tie together queries across its various search engines (e.g., flights, images, and core).

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Source: Google

Check out our full coverage of the 20th anniversary announcements here.

2. Speaking of Visual Content: Images Now Play a Role in Ranking

Google's anniversary announcements also included a growing emphasis on not just quality written content -- but quality images, too.

This focus on images means a few things:

  • Image search results are said to be more relevant to the broader query. Using the example of "DIY shelving," Google says, image results for that query are likely to come from pages about DIY projects.
  • The image (and overall content) should also be recent, Google says, as fresher content will likely rank better.
  • The image should also be easier to find -- "it wasn’t long ago that if you visited an image’s web page, it might be hard to find the specific image you were looking for when you got there," wrote Google Images Director of Engineering Cathy Edwards in a blog post -- and now, that's going to impact which Image search results are prioritized.

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Source: Google

Read the full statement here.

3. And Finally: Credits and Metadata in Images

While it wasn't one of the many visual content announcements made during Google's 20th anniversary celebration, the company did say a few days later that photo displays in Image search results will soon include creator and credit metadata.

According to VentureBeat, the image's "creator" is typically the person who originally took the photo. "Credit," meanwhile, applies to those who may have supplied the image or otherwise hold some rights on it.

The VentureBeat story goes on to explain Google's rocky history with image creators, as Google sometimes improperly credits their work or makes it too easy for others to scrape the images from their original webpages.

Our own tests didn't indicate that these changes have taken effect just yet -- Google says they'll be rolled out "in the coming weeks." Here's a peek at what that metadata might look like:

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Source: Google

Read Google's full statement here.

4. Sundar Pichai Is Going (Back) to Washington

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee before the end of the year.

The appearance -- originally reported by Reuters -- will likely take place after the U.S. midterm elections on November 6. The announcement comes after Google failed to send a representative of the committee's liking to the September hearing on foreign influence on social media, which was hosted by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

But Pichai won't be testifying on foreign influence. Rather, this hearing is slated to focus on accusations from certain elected officials that its algorithm is biased. According to Reuters, lawmakers are also likely to ask Pichai about privacy, among other issues.

Read the full story here.

5. The Pixel 3 Is Coming October 9

Google distributed invites last month for an October 9 event in New York. The invites contain very little information other than “I <3 NY” -- which The Verge predicts is an allusion to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.

The latest generation of Pixel phones has been particularly plagued with leaks -- including the "unboxing" video below -- leaving many wondering if the October 9 event will fall flat, and what other announcements might be made.

It's being billed under "Made By Google": the same name as Google's 2017 major fall event, where it announced a number of other hardware products in addition to the Pixel 2.

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Source: 9to5Google

Read the full story here.

Until Next Month

As always, we're watching all things Google. We'll continue to pick out top news items, algorithm updates, and trends.

See you next month, and until then -- have a fabulous start to the fall.

Featured image credit: Google