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Google Invests $100 Million in Developing Avatars to Compete With TikTok

Cam Speck

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Google invests $100 million in developing avatars to compete with TikTok

Is a Bitmoji-like necessary for YouTube Shorts?

As per a recent allegation by a close source, currently, Google may be struggling with its ad business and concentrating more on hardware, yet it also appears willing to shell out nine figures to acquire an AI-powered imaging business specializing in creating avatars.

Google later acknowledged the transaction but provided no other information. According to that source, the cost was $100 million, and the company is called Alter. This deal is expected to support the company’s ambitions to take on TikTok and was finalized two months ago. Jonathan Slimak, former Alter COO, without explicitly mentioning the transaction, revealed in September on LinkedIn that he would be beginning a new role at Google.

Alter debuted as Facemoji, a company that sold plug-and-play avatars on social media and gaming platforms in 2020. Several businesses, including Twitter, gave three million dollars in seed funding.

Snapchat has dedicated full-body avatars called Bitmoji in addition to face-mapped filters and avatars. Facebook and Instagram have similar options. With Tik-Tok being the target, Google may also be preparing avatars for its YouTube Shorts platform. However, it’s unclear if Google is only trying to catch up with TikTok with such a move.

Our previous report covered Google’s acquisition of micro-LED manufacturer Raxium in February. Now, with the purchase of Alter, Alphabet has acquired eight significant companies this year.

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Google’s AI Summaries Stir Up Debates for Search 

Anne lise Sylta

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Google‘s new AI Summaries in search results have drawn mixed reactions. These AIcreated summaries offer quick answers to user searches but their accuracy and effect on content creators are major concerns.

What are AI Summaries?

The intention of AI Summaries is to give short answers to user searches, summarising important details from a range of sources. Despite their aim, there have been complaints about incorrect information or missing information. Google is still promoting this feature, which can now be seen by users in the U.S.

  • Instant Responses: AI summaries show up at the top of search results instantly.
  • Origin Links: The summaries also include source links used for reference.
  • Varying Accuracy: There are frequent reports about incorrect or misleading information.

Doubts and Criticisms

The main complaint against AI Summaries is their occasional display of incorrect data confidently. A notable example was Google’s AI suggesting that people eat rocks every day, which originated from a satire website. This highlights the limitations of AIs due to lack of understanding context and fact checking.

  • Incorrect Data: Regular instances of errors in the AI generated summaries do exist.
  • Copied Content: There are worries about inappropriate acknowledgment of original work.
  • Traffic Impact: Original content creators may face lower site visits and visibility.

How it affects Content Creators

Lisa Bryan, an author, and YouTuber along with several other creators has shown dissatisfaction with these AI Overviews. They worry that these misleading summaries may decrease website traffic and affect their income.

Michael Sanchez, CEO of content firm Raptive, shares similar worries. He claims his creators have seen a significant decrease in traffic after the launch of AI Overviews. He calls on tech companies to be more transparent about how they use content and for legislation that safeguards creators’ rights.

  • Concerns over Quality: The depth and precision disseminated by AI summaries often leave much to be desired.
  • Economic Impact: Content creators could potentially face a drop in site traffic and income.
  • Push for Clarity: Creators want clearer insights into the use of their content.

The Response from Google

Google has partly acknowledged these problems with AI Summaries and claims to have reduced their frequency in search results. The company explains that its AI doesn’t “imagine,” but can misinterpret queries or lack enough information to provide correct answers. However, accuracy concerns remain unresolved.

Particularly in health related searches, Google’s AI Overviews are pervasive raising apprehensions due to the need for precise medical data. Misleading summaries in this field could lead to potentially dangerous advice being widely shared.

  • Decreased Usage: Google has drawn back the uses of AI summaries.
  • Health Data: There is an extensive presence of AI summaries in health oriented searches.
  • Persistent Problems: Issues associated with accuracy and attribution are yet to be resolved.

A Look Ahead

Action needs to be taken by Google with respect to refining its AI Summaries, particularly concerning balancing innovation and reliability. As these technologies advance, it will become vital to counteract their deficiencies while capitalising on their potential user enhancements.

  • Innovation versus Reliability: Balancing innovation with consistency is a challenge for Google.
  • Packing up the Creators: A demand for improved protection and transparency for content providers.
  • Upcoming Changes: Technology advancements are expected to impact search and content creation.

End Note

The advent of Google’s AI Overviews represents a significant change in how search results are delivered. Despite the fact that they pledge speedy responses, the problems of accuracy, acknowledgment, and impact on original content cannot be overlooked. As progression continues, it becomes increasingly important to alleviate these concerns.

For original content creators, their future seems unclear. Advocating for legislative clarity and transparency will be vital in ensuring fair representation of their work in the online field. AI technology must be integrated into search engines judiciously to uphold trust and reliability in its information supply.

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Google Search Algorithm Leak Stuns SEO Professionals

Cam Speck

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A vast leak of Google’s internal material has startled the SEO industry, providing revealing aspects about the confidential ranking algorithms of the search giant. This exposure has sparked much strategic revision amongst digital marketers and SEO experts.

The Leak Breaks Out

The leakage comprising over 2,500 pages of internal references was first exposed by renowned SEO influences on May 31, 2024. These details concerning how Google evaluates and ranks web content were some of the tech industry’s mostkept secrets.

The uncovering prompts serious investigation from the SEO community who were curious about Google’s search algorithms and had very limited specifics till now. The leaked material provides a broad scope of technical particulars including elements that affect search rankings such as users’ engagement figures and website authority.

  • Emphasis on user interaction statistics like rates of click throughs and duration on site are denoted as “goodClicks” and “unsquashedClicks” in the documents according to implications drawn from these documents.
  • Contrary to Google’s previously denied claims, the leaked information suggests that Chrome browsing data and domain authority are used in their ranking procedures which challenge their public declarations.

SEO Industry Respond

The reaction from SEO professionals range from surprises, satisfaction to worries. Many members feel reassured regarding doubts they had regarding influences on Google’s ranking but are also wary about extensive availability this particular data now will have.

The disclosed factors that can potentially have an influence are especially being scrutinized by experts such as,

  • Domain Authority, Mentions related to a ‘siteAuthority’ score imply that Google possibly uses such figures for website reliability evaluation.
  • Engagement Statistcs, Evidence of Google utilizing minute users’ engagement data for page ranking may heavily bring about changes in SEO strategies, leading towards better user connectivity.

Strategy Reworking

The leak has undeniably triggered reconsideration of existing SEO strategies. Professionals are currently critically analyzing the details to see how it can change their current methods and what new tactics might be considered. The focus is mainly on aligning with the factors brought to light by the leaked information , majorly around content quality and technical SEO aspects.

Google’s Stance

Reacting to the leak, a representative from Google stressed that documents were taken out of context and could project obsolete techniques no longer being used . With a note of caution against hasty conclusions based on these papers about its prevailing search algorithms, they advised against it.

Google passed on its assurance for improving relevant and qualitative search results urging web owners and marketing experts work on generating enlightening, premium content as an integral part of their SEO work.

Moving Ahead

The broader effects on digital marketing structure under watch as professionals engaged in SEO and digital marketing in general continue to process this huge leak’s implications . Known for their complexity and frequent changes , this leak could merely depict a fleeting glimpse into Google’s constantly changing conundrum.

This also brings up big questions regarding upcoming scenarios in both SEM industries. As machine learning becomes more integral to Google’s search algorithms , professionals will have to continualy adapt and stay informed.

Closing Notes

The total repercussion of the leaked information is still not completely known but definitely been a jolt for SEO industry . Whether this will lead to more transparency from Google or lend itself to more guarded sometimes evasive communication strategy from the search giant is yet to be seen. Currently, both SEO professionals and digital marketers should tread carefully in light of this revelation and look upon it as a possible major influence on their working adaptability.

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Widening Internet Access in Africa, Fresh Start

Ashley Waithira

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Date, May 25, 2024. Vice President Kamala Harris has started a significant project to raise internet access in Africa from 40% to 80% by the year 2030. Kenyan President William Ruto’s visit to Washington saw the reveal of this initiative that focuses on improving digital connections and promoting economic growth throughout the continent.

Outline on the Digital Integration Program

The plan, labeled as “digital integration” strategy, aims more than lessening the digital gap. It employs a broad approach to stimulate economic development, endorse social fairness, and generate considerable employment opportunities across Africa. The African Development Bank Group, Mastercard, and other key stakeholders are supporting this effort as part of the Mobilizing Access to Digital Economy Alliance (MADE).

  • Strategic Collaboration: The project’s initial objective is to provide 3 million Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Nigerian farmers with digital tools and internet access as groundwork for wider expansion over the continent.
  • Funding details: Despite its promising potential, Africa has historically lagged in acquiring necessary capital for enhancing its tech sectors. In 2022 foreign direct investment sharply decreased highlighting a crucial need for sustained investment strategies.

The US vice president challenges the notion of simply giving aid and stresses on partnership underscoring America’s determination in redefining its association with Africa into a vibrant and reciprocal relation with enormous economic possibilities.

Feedback from Communities and Industries

Although generally viewed optimistically this announcement also initiated discussions regarding increased answerability and enhanced work environment in tech industries particularly in Kenya. Employees of US tech firms operating in Kenya conveyed their apprehensions about harsh working conditions which are being compared to “modern day slavery.”

  • Productivity and Competitiveness: The project aims to increase productivity and strengthen competition among African economies using modern tech and digital services.
  • Focus on Bridging Gender Disparity: An important part of the project emphasises reducing the gender disparity in accessing tech. Over $1 billion has been accumulated from public and private sectors for creating allinclusive digital environment.

The US government’s drive towards Africa’s digital transformation is viewed as a strategy for long term economic growth as well as developing new markets for US goods and services. This association is expected to strengthen diplomatic and economic bonds between African nations and the US private sector, benefiting everyone involved.

Effect on World Dynamics and Africa’s Future

Vice President Harris’s considered move reflects an extensive global change where powerful nations are steadily identifying Africa’s role in the worldwide economy. By focusing on helping Africans with technological tools, they are also setting up a conducive environment for American firms facilitating them to flourish into fresh markets.

The program anticipates impact very positively, possibly changing millions of lives across Africa by providing them tools necessary for education, health care, and commerce. It establishes an optimistic base for Africa’s progress into becoming a hub of digital innovation achieving financial autonomy while advancing global connectivity.

Final Thoughts

The world is moving towards a technologically integrated period, and Vice President Harris’s plan to significantly boost internet coverage in Africa is essential and opportune. This expansion is expected to have major impacts in unleashing economic growth, improving education, and elevating healthcare across the continent.

The plan promotes strong cooperation, with the goal of turning Africa into a centre for digital innovation and economic progress. Most importantly, this effort shows meaningful progress in working towards an equal global digital presence by ensuring Africa’s notable role in the future of digital advancements.

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