In important news for local businesses, Google has revised its quality guidelines for Google Maps.
Within Google Analytics, Enhanced Ecommerce came out of beta. These new tools and a new Shopping Campaigns report give advertisers a more detailed view of buyers’ actions before and during the purchasing funnel.
For people who want an ad-free experience on the web, Google is trying out a new service called Contributor. Individuals would pay up to $3/month to view sites without ads, with proceeds being split between Google and participating websites.
Facebook released its latest Global Government Requests Report, which reveals how many data and content-removal requests the company received from governments, as well as how many it complied with and cases where Facebook fought against the demands. Requests increased 24 percent compared to the prior period.
Facebook is reportedly testing a new social network called Facebook at Work, which would enable sharing in the workplace and be completely separate from its current consumer site.
During Twitter’s first-ever Analyst Day (a seven-hour conference call event in mid-November), Twitter announced future product changes such as "Instant Timeline" to jumpstart new users with interesting content, a "While You Were Away" feature to show top tweets since the user’s last login, the ability to upload and edit video natively, and more standalone apps.
In other Twitter news, the company introduced Twitter Offers to give merchants "the ability to sell products directly from a Tweet." An experiment has been spotted in Twitter’s official mobile app, where some users have access to "View Analytics Details" about tweets right on their phones.
A new study by Simply Measured shows the percentage of big brands using Instagram daily has risen from 54 percent in 2012 to 86 percent, and their average engagement per post has increased over 400 percent.
Tumblr has surpassed Instagram as the fastest growing social platform, with active-user-base growth of 120 percent in the past six months according to Global Web Index research. Also in the news, Tumblr is testing Sponsored Apps, mobile-only ads for app installations.
On Pinterest, men are the fastest growing demographic. One third of all new sign-ups are men, and in emerging markets such as India, South Korea and Japan, men account for 50 percent of the Pinterest user base.
A trade group called the Streaming Video Alliance has been formed to standardize best practices for large-scale Internet video services. The 17 founding companies include Comcast and Yahoo, but do not include major players YouTube or Netflix.
The Russian search engine Yandex rolled out a new concept for its two-year-old Yandex.Browser. The redesigned browser interface uses translucency and Windows 8-style tiles to achieve a minimalist look.
Amazon introduced a new website for consumers to hire "handpicked pros" for Local Services such as home repair, auto repair, etc. Service areas initially available are Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle.
Google and LG, the electronics manufacturer, signed a global patent license agreement that covers a wide array of products and technologies and includes both existing patents and up to 10 years of future patents.
Mozilla announced that Yahoo will replace Google as the default search tool for the Firefox browser in the U.S. Mozilla said the five-year agreement with Yahoo would promote "innovation and competition." Around the world, Google will continue to be Firefox’s search provider in Europe despite having no new contract, while new deals will make the default search Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia.
At least two top Yahoo investors, dissatisfied with CEO Marissa Mayer, have urged AOL to pursue a merger with Yahoo and take over management of the combined companies.
Podcasts are surging in popularity again, in large part because of wifi-enabled cars. An Edison Research report found that 39 million people listened to a podcast during a one-month period in 2014, an all-time high.
Apple’s latest operating systems include a Continuity feature called Handoff, which enables users to start and stop a task on one Apple device and pick it up again on another. Similarly, leaked files indicate that Google may be working on CoPresence, which would enable file sharing between Android and iOS devices. These new technologies for seamless Internet use could usher in an era of device-agnostic SEO.