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Chrome launches ad crackdown and unpopular Snapchat update separates famous from friends

16th February 2018

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Critics wary as Google’s Chrome begins an ad crackdown (dailymail.co.uk).

Chrome annoying ad crackdown

Well, is it really begging the question of a company who’s main source of revenue is advertising that long saw best way to further monetise it was to tempt all to monetise the web for them selves with its AdWords, locking them into its own analytical and algorithmic SEO pain bubble?

On Thursday [yesterday], Google will begin using its Chrome browser to eradicate ads it deems annoying or otherwise detrimental to users. It just so happens that many of Google’s own most lucrative ads will sail through its new filters.

Indeed, no surprise there, but is that because they are fastidious in sticking to the ad quality control rules they will set?

The move, which Google first floated back in June, is ostensibly aimed at making online advertising more tolerable by flagging sites that run annoying ads such as ones that auto-play video with sound. And it’s using a big hammer: Chrome will start blocking all ads—including Google’s own—on offending sites if they don’t reform themselves.

Which indeed may seen rather problematic to said critics in title, akin to being able to move the goal posts to exclude their own practices as seen fit should a prospective ad goal not be theirs.

They already can penalise or completely remove sites from their search results if their secret search algorithm does not like something, no doubt genuinely to defeat scammers—aka the more extreme of those “internet marketers” monetising the web—but often catching out those putting a genuine wrong set of keywords or links that raise penalise flag; should we really be entrusting them with more power than their 65% + search engine market share gives? (searchengineland.com, Aug. 2015).

But then again, it’s not exactly as if they have actually been put in charge of ad policing the web—Chrome is their own browser after all but, as the de facto browser having an almost 50% browser market share (zdnet.com, Jan. 2017) with no other browser coming even remotely close, those critics again my argue they may as well have been.

There’s some irony here, given that Google’s aim is partly to convince people to turn off their own ad-blocking software. These popular browser add-ons deprive publishers (and Google) of revenue by preventing ads from displaying.

Further irony considering Google were so keen to force websites to become mobile friendly or else be penalised in search results to further encourage a new demographic more likely to be viewing them on mobile devices such as Androids and Apples—on which ad blocking extensions are slightly harder or just less likely to be installed—will doubtless now be trumpeting its ad blocking as the reason to download and use Chrome from the app store.

Where the close advert bit?

And sadly the worst recurring advert I regularly come across in not in a browser but one for Google Home that refuses the scale correctly and refuses to close popped up over Plants vs Zombies 2 on an admittedly aging but not exactly antique iPad popularly used at home by whoever is on exercise bike.

So to critics, Google’s move looks less like a neighborhood cleanup than an assertion of dominance.

Google’s effort focuses on 12 ad formats criticized by a group called the Coalition for Better Ads, whose members include Google, Facebook, News Corp. and the News Media Alliance, which represents 2,000 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

Annoying ads, but what about the snake oil?

But while making a big thing about prohibiting “annoying” ads, what about those that despite behaving are still “sponsored” snake oil praying on people’s worries, insecurities—and with a bottle of jollop and “alternative” treatments for just about every chronic condition—desperation.

And while Google decides it should know best which ads you should see, Snapchat has been trending because Snapchatters are not so keen on what the apps new update thinks they should see:

Snapchat petition attracts one million signatures (bbc.co.uk).

Snatchat

One million people have signed a petition calling on Snapchat to roll back its latest redesign.

The changes were intended to separate interactions with friends from branded content—including that of celebrities and influencers.

With thousands of Snapchat users saying that the new layout is hard to use and in response Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel writing in a blog post that he believed blurring of people you might actually know and rich celebrities you never will had “contributed to the rise of fake news”, seemingly clueless to what people are really using his photo sharing app for, and indeed what social media actually is in reality in general.

Most Snapchat users give selfie #stankface to any sort of news whether fake or not beyond where meeting up after school or college (statista.com, Feb. 2016) or who recently selfied their tits.

But Snapchat seems to want to be wearing the same social media big boy pants as those more likely and actually blamed for contributing to the rise of fake news, with Facebook and Google convinced that user submitted local “community news” is the answer (Blog 22nd January 2018), seemingly equally naive enough to not see that instantly turning into libelous accusations about Ms Wanton’s ripe melons for sale and just what Mr Doodah was doing with that spade in the dead of night down the bottom of his garden.

So, what was the actually problematic issue with the update again, beyond selfies captioned “look at my new shoes” helping those in conspiracy dungarees elect an orange tycoon to make more than himself great again I mean:

“Many ‘new features’ are useless or defeat the original purposes Snapchat has had for the past years.” [Said Nic Rumsey, who set up the petition.]

The petition, posted on the change.org website, is one of several appealing to Snapchat to revert to its previous state.

A previous state in which Snapchatters did not have to confront how many of the people on their friends list were really not actual friends:

Users now swipe left to see and interact with their friends, and swipe right to see branded and celebrity content.

Model Chrissie Teigen tweeted that she didn’t like feeling that her followers no longer felt like “friends” as a result.

Being the same Chrissie Teigen who has 16.2m followers on Instagram yet only follows 825; vastly more than some celebrities follow but still perhaps suggesting Instagram has a similar friends and fans of my brand and celebrity content divide already that is making her “no longer feel like a friend” to the vast majority of her following too.

Indeed, it makes me feel like a right rotter when Instagram notifies me on iPad mentioned above that Ariana Grande wants me to follow to see pictures she wishes to share with me on an account I have but do not use but which I saw and perved over anyway without even attempting to be her friend while not logged in on my desktop.

Updated 24th February 2018

And those “celebrities and influencers” prove they are indeed that, including influencing what apps to use:

The Kylie Jenner curse? Snapchat faces its defining moment (cnn.com).

Kylie Jenner: “sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?

Being the “curse” the youngest and now suggestively richest of the Kardashian-Jenner sisters (thesun.co.uk) has put on Snapchat rather like a billionaire Lip Kit gypsy rather than Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel taking to blog to damn Kylie for personally contributing to that Snap ship-sinking rise of fake news as opposed to shit redesign.

The reality TV star and influential Snapchat user tweeted this week that she no longer uses the app. Jenner’s tweet was enough to cause Snapchat’s parent company’s stock to plunge 6% Thursday, wiping off $1.3 billion in market value.

Crikey! Obviously Kylie even more peeved than Chrissie Teigen at losing her connection to her “friends” and their appreciation of her brand, and I bet Spiegel’s own “separate interactions with friends” on his smartphone became at that moment as quiet and out of sight as “that of celebrities and influencers”.

The article then goes on to what could be Spiegel and Snapchats “defining moment” to prove users wrong with anecdote of how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg starred down protestors when introducing News Feed in 2006 when its stock also fell when users and celebrities complained of plans to shift from a reverse chronological timeline to more of an algorithmically ordered feed. But concludes Snapchat is not F’book or other trollin’ elder social media bullying brother Twitter :

Unlike both Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat’s audience has options. Facebook users may dislike certain features, but there’s no other service that provides as comprehensive a directory of people—and their birthdays. Likewise, Twitter remains the top service for discovering real-time news—and for complaining about Twitter.

Suggesting they have real competition choice, something that might incite even formally just a search engine Google to change its targeting-just-for-you ways if actually had any competition beyond Bing:

But Instagram [owned by Facebook] has managed not just to clone Snapchat with its Stories feature, but also to make its clone more popular than Snapchat. Case in point: Jenner has shared more than 50 posts on Instagram Stories since abandoning Snapchat.

Backlash against Snapchat’s hated update has actually made the app more popular, figures suggest (metro.co.uk).

Snapchat peekaboo

The backlash was so ferocious that Snapchat’s valuation and stock price plunged following a tweet from Kylie Jenner which said she never opens it anymore.

You might think that the upgrade was a huge act of selfie harm.

“Selfie harm” being a rather crass turn of phrase perhaps for an article published yesterday considering The Metro was also advising how indelicate it was to point out a stranger’s self-harm scars, 1st March being annual Self-Harm Awareness Day (metro.co.uk).

But now all the fire and fury has died down, the explosion of anger appears to have been extremely good publicity for Snapchat.

SensorTower, a tech analysis firm, said the number of new people downloading Snapchat increased by 55% following the redesign.

Snapchat seemingly dropping out of the U.S. iPhone top 10 for free apps prior to the redesign going live, with it now ranking No. 5 overall.

“While this new surge in interest can be viewed as a net positive, the verdict is out on whether these new users were drawn in by the promise of an easier-to-navigate app or simply a desire to see for themselves what this polarizing update is all about.”

To indeed tweet and F’book their revulsion about it along with the rest of their “friends”.

Updated 17th May 2018

And with an awesome feat of backpedaling:

Snapchat’s redesigned redesign starts rolling out (theverge.com).

Snap says the new layout puts Snaps and Chats in chronological order again, and moves Stories from your friends back to the right-hand side of the app.

With much celebratory dog filter ears and tongue on all no doubt.

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