It's been a cold first month of 2019 (in the Northeast U.S., anyway), but Google was hot with new product announcements, integrations, and an intriguing new feature you might have noticed during your last online search. Let's dive in.
What You Missed Last Month in Google
1. Android Phones Start Receiving Automatic Spam Protection
With as many unwanted texts and calls as we get today, blocking unfamiliar phone numbers manually might not suffice anymore. With that in mind, Google has started to roll out automatic spam protection across its Android mobile devices.
The feature, only available to certain users right now, temporarily stores the number of each incoming phone call for you -- along with the number of times they've called -- to help you identify which phone numbers are spam. But, there are privacy concerns. Read full story >>
2. Google Chrome Ad Blocker Goes Worldwide This Summer
Speaking of unwanted content, Google announced this month that it will expand its ad blocker to every Chrome browser in use across the globe starting on July 9. Currently, four types of ads are blocked on desktop versions of Chrome: pop-ups, auto-playing videos with sound, prestitial ads that start with a countdown, and large sticky ads.
The ad blocker currently blocks the advertisements a website is carrying if they don't comply with the Coalition of Better Ads, an organization Google joined in 2018. In the next six months, this policy will apply to every website being viewed on Chrome regardless of the country it's being viewed in. Read full story >>
3. G Suite Gets a Price Hike
Google has never increased the price of its popular G Suite, a collection of business tools that includes Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, Hangouts, and more. Well, that changes this year, as the company announced it will officially raise the cost of its cloud-based business software starting this spring. G Suite Basic will move from $5 to $6/month, while G Suite Basic will move from $10 to $12/month.
Although storage costs and competitor pricing likely play a part in Google's higher prices, the company was sure to mention that G Suite has become far more robust since it was first launched, and their new prices reflect that. Read full story >>
4. Google Search Wants Your Feedback
For all the searches we perform through Google, the search tool doesn't answer our questions perfectly every time. Now, the company wants your comments. Google is reportedly testing a long blue bar beneath featured snippets at the top of certain search engine results pages, which solicit feedback on what the users thinks of that featured result.
This feedback bar, the first instances of which were discovered by SEO professionals from India, suggests Google wants to get better at matching the intent behind people's searches when those searches might not be that clear. Read full story >>
5. Wikipedia Employs Google Translate to Publish Articles in More Languages
Wikipedia might be your go-to destination for quick history lessons on, well, any subject, but that's not the case in many non-English speaking communities around the world. To expand its content into other languages, Wikipedia has teamed up with Google Translate on a project that will serve an additional 15 languages with localized articles. Wikipedia will publish content in a total of 121 languages as a result of this new integration. Read full story >>
6. See "Your Related Activity" in Google Searches
Google searches aren't one-and-done tasks -- you often conduct multiple searches all about one subject you're interested in. And sometimes, you'll wander away from one search and start another. To make it easier for users to revisit old searches, Google has rolled out a new feature called "Your Related Activity," helping people sort through their search history when it senses past activity is similar to a new search.
This addition appears at the top of a user's search engine results page, and can include both a previous search he/she performed and the websites they visited as a result of that search. Read full story >>
Did you miss CES 2019 this month? Google showed off several of its latest contributions to consumer electronics at the event in Las Vegas three weeks ago. Catch up on all of them here. Otherwise, keep tabs on all our News & Trends for the biggest updates in business tech, and we'll see you next month for another roundup of Google developments.