According to Google's Gary Illyes, we can expect the next Panda update this month. His exact words, spoken at SMX Advanced on June 2, were: "in 2 to 4 weeks, probably."
Local businesses that have not logged in to their Google My Business account in at least six months risk being unverified by Google. The search engine is trying to contact inactive users by email to find out whether they still actively manage the account; if no response is received, Google plans to unverify those pages in order to keep its local listings up-to-date.
Google has unveiled a new hub for people to view and control their privacy and security settings, with a My Account area where users with or without a Google account can run a Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, manage their privacy settings across many Google sites, control which apps and sites are connected to their account, and exert some control over the ads they see.
Google's Chrome browser will soon be improved to automatically pause animations (such as Flash) on a web page that could interrupt the central content a user is watching (such as a video). This smart-browser feature is intended to save battery power, particularly on mobile devices; Google may also be trying to motivate developers still making Flash ads to finally move to the technology Google prefers, HTML 5.
Google has adopted a more conciliatory tone and admitted to mishandling its messaging in Europe, according to an interview with the president of Google's European affairs, Matt Brittin. The company still awaits settlement of the European Commission's case alleging that Google violated EU competition rules.
Google has added "location-aware" search capability to Android search and the Google Search app on iOS. Searchers can refer to things near them using pronouns and get information (for example, "How tall is this tower?").
Startup artificial intelligence firm Diffbot says it has developed semantic-based index capabilities similar to the Knowledge Graph that powers Google Now. The key difference is that Diffbot is offering this AI technology to power intelligent third-party apps; in fact, CEO Mike Tung claims that Diffbot underpins the Microsoft Bing search engine.
YouTube's redesigned player is available for install. In the new design the player bar becomes transparent and auto-hides to take the controls out of the way.
Pinterest announced soon-coming Buyable Pins, a way for people to purchase items directly on Pinterest. Blue "Buy It" buttons will appear on 2 million pins (a tiny fraction of the 50 billion the site contains) when the feature rolls out in late June (versions for Android and the web will come out later this year). Buyable Pins is Pinterest's answer to compete with the coming Google Buy button and Amazon in general on the field of mobile shopping; however, with no fees charged to buyers or merchants, Pinterest is banking on the hope that merchants will pay for ads to promote their Buyable Pins merchandise.
Instagram is unveiling its new "Shop Now" buttons, which enable advertisers to use the image-heavy social network for ecommerce. Ads can allow the user to make a purchase inside Instagram or link outside the app to a product page. Built with insights and technology from Instagram's parent company, Facebook, the new feature is launching with ad management tools, ad targeting based on people's interests as well as demographics, and a fully formed API for advertisers.
Yahoo advertisers now have the flexibility to use third-party measurement tools to verify viewability and fraud rates on their ads. Independent assessments from comScore, Moat or another tool may be used instead of Yahoo's own Prime View measurement to meet the Media Rating Council's standards.
Apple CEO Tim Cook strongly criticized competing Silicon Valley tech companies for "lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information" for the sake of convenience and "gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it." After calling this practice wrong, he warned that "someday, customers will see this for what it is." However, some speculate that taking this position could hurt Apple's competitiveness.
According to the Obama administration, a recent massive data breach of federal worker information has been linked to hacker groups based in China. Whether it was state-sponsored is unclear.