MetaFilter, a news and discussion site founded in 1999, caught some attention this week after announcing that a Google penalty has damaged its business, causing the website to let staff go. The effects of Google penalties on sites both large and small are nothing new, but in the case of MetaFilter, it’s hard to say what went wrong. As Google continues to distribute penalties, both manually and automatically, the search engine is remaining tight-lipped in terms of giving explicit reasons. Without confirmed reasoning, SEOs continue to speculate about what caused the fall of MetaFilter.
Google has released new updates for its Chrome web browsers on OS devices, among which are “hotwording” capabilities. “Okay Google” voice search is now implemented on the US version of Google.com, and Chrome’s new tab page. This voice search feature will work automatically upon opening a new tab or navigating to the main Google page, and it will not require a user to click or complete any other input prompts. Other new features with this update include folders to organize apps, and a “captive portal detection” feature that will make it easier for Chrome users to access the Internet in locations with wifi.
Facebook may be looking to change the online dating game with a simple, but powerful, new feature on user profiles. For users who don’t set their relationship statuses, an “Ask” button will appear at the top of their profiles, allowing friends to ping them and inquire about their love lives. Not only can this new button spark romantic flames, but for advertisers, too, it is a handy tool for attaining data to help with targeting ads.
However, if the “ask” button seems like an unwanted invasion of privacy, Facebook is also making new strides to protect its user content. In 2009, the world’s most popular social network gave its users the ability to share posts publicly with the world, which then became the default privacy setting on user content. With the newest update, that default is changing—now when a person signs up for Facebook, their posts will automatically be viewable to just his or her friends. In addition, a prompt will be implemented to encourage users to do a checkup on who they’re sharing with and which apps they’ve given permissions to. These decisions notably simplify the idea of privacy settings, which will make the website safer for more people.
Microsoft has introduced its newest tablet, which the company claims may be able to replace laptops. The Surface Pro 3 boasts a 12-inch screen, a 9.1 mm thickness, and a weight of 1.76 pounds (without a keyboard). Currently available for pre-order, the tablet will cost $799, and among its robust features is the pen that comes along with it. The pen (not a stylus!) can turn the device on, launch OneNote, and write with no lag between the act of writing and the “ink” appearing on the screen. The Surface Pro 3, meant to compete with Apple’s Macbook Air, is the lightest Intel Core product on the market, and its promises to eliminate the need for laptops immediately set high expectations for its release.