Headlines & Stuff July 16, 2012

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Here are some cool things we read about this past week:

Google+ Now Lets You Merge Personal and Work Profiles
Google announced last week that Google+ users with a profile attached to a regular Gmail account and work-related Google apps account can now blend the two together. The new tool allows users to elect a master Google+ account and transfer circles and other information into one main profile, instead of having two separate accounts. For those that make the transfer, you will only be able to log-in with the email address associated with the primary Google+ profile.

Facebook Starts Automated Home-Page Ad Buying
Facebook will make premium ad inventory available through its self-serve Power Editor tool and to third-party Facebook ad sellers. These “premium ads” are the ones that appear on the right side of a user’s news feed as opposed to a users’ profile page. It is considered prime real estate because that’s where users spend most of their time. Until now, these ads had only been available through Facebook with a minimum buy commitment.  Facebook is now removing the requirement so no such commitment will be necessary when the inventory is bought through an Ads API partner, but Facebook will retain final approval over ads that are displayed there.

Google’s Search As You Type Tool Goes Retail
Google began offering its Google Commerce Search product, ‘Search As You Type’, as a free, stand-alone feature. The service for retailers who are also AdWords advertisers supports for free up to 25 million searches per year on their site. Lowe’s and Hasbro are two partners that are participating in the initial launch. Similar to an auto-complete tool or predictive suggestions, the Search As You Type package for retailers customizes the search for products on the site, runs Google’s cloud servers and says it helps lift conversion rates and sales. The tool returns a list of products as site visitors enter characters in a search box. For example – begin to type “red” in the description of “red shoes” and the search query will not only provide a list of products, but photos and prices too.

Facebook Groups Start Showing Exactly Who Saw Each Post
Facebook Groups will soon display a count and list of names of who saw each post. For example: “Seen by 2,” and when hovered “John Doe/Adam Smith.” The feature is rolling out to English language groups starting now. “Read receipts” is a feature Facebook recently added to Messages and Chat, but is now being brought to public feeds. Here’s how it works: Whenever someone publishes an update, as soon as at least one person sees it, a checkmark and a count of the total number of impressions will be displayed. Any user, group member, or admin with permission to see the post can hover over the count to see a drop-down list of names of everyone who has seen the post.

LinkedIn is Gearing Up for a Redesign
LinkedIn has been quietly rolling out a new version of its home page to some of its 160 million users – the first major update in years – with a layout that will put a lot more emphasis on building out relationships and make better use of socially curated news content. Some of the new features: The new menu bar has the same tabs as the existing one, but will remain at the top of the page as you scroll down. “LinkedIn Today” still appears close to the top of the page but now the images in the feed are much bigger. Additionally, there  is more functionality in the “people who have viewed your profile” area, with conditional “Message/Connect” buttons next to each person.  Expect the changes to take place over the next few weeks.

Twitter Officially Launches Age Screening
The next time you follow an alcohol company or other brand with age-restricted products who has opted in to Twitter’s new “Age Screening” system, you’ll be required to submit your age and won’t be allowed to follow if you are too young.  Upon your first new follow of an adult brand, you will be sent a DM with a link to submit your age. Your age will then gate your future follows of brands who’ve signed up for age screening.

China Wants to Censor Online Video Content
China’s broadcasting and Internet regulators have told Internet video providers that they must prescreen all programs before making them available, tightening state censorship of increasingly popular online drama series and mini-movies. The new rule was issued jointly by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the State Internet Information Office. SARFT said this week that the rule is in response to a rapid growth in online video programs, some of which is said to contain vulgar content, excessive violence or pornography. It said the rule would protect younger people and promote high-quality online programming.

Google Introduces Walking Directions in ‘Maps’ for 44 Countries in Africa
Last week, Google announced that the walking directions feature on Google Maps would be coming to 44 countries in Africa. Google is getting the directions from cartographers on the ground in Africa. By “crowdsourcing” these efforts, the company can make the feature available wherever people really want it to be.