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Goole Building Censored Search & News App for China, Released New Search Features Worldwide

Google is panning a comeback in Chna after eight years of exile as it’s reportedly working on a censored search engine for China along with a news app.

Google China had quit its operations in January of 2010, after Chinese oriented hacking attack on Gmail. Google said at that time, “they were no longer willing to censor searches in China and would pull out of the country completely if necessary.”

Since, then the company has been actively seeking ways to re-enter China where many its prodcuts and services are blocked. Now, a report citing interanl Google documents and people familiar with the plans claimed that Google was developing a search engine or mobile search app that would censor content deemed offensive or sensitive by the Chinese government and allow it to re-enter the Chinese market.

This project is code named “Dragonfly” and has been underway since the spring of 2017, the Intercept said.

The article goes on to reveal that Google has build the new database of “blacklised” search queries, websites and keywords with the help of Chinese website 265.com, which Google bought in 2008.

Additioanlly, a another app which focuses on news aggregation for Chinese market and also comply with the country’s censorship laws is in development, the news site claimed.

From The Intercept’s article:

After gathering sample queries from 265.com, Google engineers used them to review lists of websites that people would see in response to their searches. The Dragonfly developers used a tool they called “BeaconTower” to check whether the websites were blocked by the Great Firewall. They compiled a list of thousands of websites that were banned, and then integrated this information into a censored version of Google’s search engine so that it would automatically manipulate Google results, purging links to websites prohibited in China from the first page shown to users.

Google did not respond. However, the state-owned China Securities Daily, citing information from “relevant departments”, denied the report.

Naturally, Baidu — Google’s biggest rival in China has something to say — it said that if “Google decides to return to China, we are very confident we can just PK and win again,” wrote Baidu CEO Robin Li on his verified WeChat account. By “PK,” Li was referencing “player-kill,” a Chinese slang that originated as a gaming reference for when you kill another player, usually in a multiplayer role-playing game.

In over a month Google Search has launched a host of new features and updates bringing new functionalities for searchers like enabling Knowledge Panel edit, Job search comes to U.K., new features to events in Search.

Back on Jun 22nd, Google rolled out a new verification process enabling users to manage their presence by letting them edit their Knowlede Panels. In additiion to updating the verification process, Google also extended verification eligibility to more entities.

“Any person, organization, sports team, event and media property with a Knowledge Panel is eligible to get verified and suggest edits to the information shown,” Google wrote.

“Knowledge Panel on the search results page—is a box with an overview of curated key information and links to resources to help go deeper. Information in Knowledge Panels is pulled from trusted sources on the web, such as Wikipedia. Currently panels are available for people, organizations, sport teams, events, and media properties.”

Previously, there was no way to control the information displayed in a Knowledge Panel. As individuals and organizations with Knowledge Panels could only claim their panels and provide authoritative feedback on the information and images by using Google verification process.

And, because panels are automatically generated they tend to end up with inaccurate information. Now, to make panels more accurate, Google is allowing any individual or organization to suggest edits to their Knowledge Panels after verifying their representation to the entity in the panel.

“Individuals and organizations with Knowledge Panels can use our verification process to claim their panels and provide authoritative feedback on the information and images presented,” stated Google.

To become verified follows these easy steps:

  • Simply search your name or organization on Google Search to bring up the Knowledge Panel to edit.
  • Next, tap on the prompt below the Knowledge Panel that reads “Do you manage the online presence of [name of person or organization]?” to begin the verification process.
  • Prove that you represent the entity by signing into either YouTube, Google+, Search Console, or Twitter.
  • After successfully signing in you are now verified.
  • Review the displayed information about features granted after verification.

Being verified make you eligible to suggest factual changes to information in the Knowledge Panel as well as suggest a featured image.

The GIF image below demonstrates this verification process:

Verified on Google Knowledge Panel

In order to help more people find their next job, Google on Jul 16 announced the exapansion of its job search experience in the U.K. The feature was first introduced in the U.S. a year ago.

“Job Search lets user more easily explore jobs from across the web and find job postings that suit your needs and skills. ”

User now enter search query like “jobs near me,” or “teaching jobs,” or other will have an option to explore jobs from across the web as well as access to salary information, reviews and ratings of the employer. Additionally other different options like apply for a job, or use location filter to see jobs in the area, a single tap to save individual jobs to access them on any devices will be available, too.

And, if signed in Google Maps when exploring jobs will show you how long it would take to commute to a job from your home.

Here is an example screenshot of the new job search experience in the UK on mobile:

Google Job Search in UNited Kingdom

Google is also providing schema markup for job listings enabling publishers to make their job results pages appear in Google job search.

The job experience in Search was started in test mode in April 2017, and later it was launched in the U.S. at the Google I/O. It’s now live in several countries, said Google and added it has resulted in “130% more companies showing jobs in Search and connected tens of millions of people around the world to new job opportunities.”

Google said, this launch builds upon their last year’s commitment of helping 100k people in the U.K. find a job or grow in their career by 2020, through its “Google Digital Garage program,” which gives anyone free training in digital skills and products to help grow their career, business or confidence.

Also, for all jobs providers Google has published an open documentation detailing how to make their job openings discoverable with this new job search feature.

July 26, Google rolled out new event search search results as it expands the feature to include more details like time, location, ticketing providers, sharing, saving and much more. Users can also easily save events and share events with others.

Events in Search was introduced a year back as a new way to look for events near you. Now Google is providing personal recommendations along with more inforamtion about events that interest you.

The screenshot below shows the feature in action for search like [events near me] or [free concert] in the US:

Events in Google Search

Also, users can now find events based on their interests while browsing events — Just tap the “For You” tab to get “personalized ideas for things to do near by.” Additionally, trending and popular events in the area will also show up.

Here is a demonstration of “Events For You” feature:

Google Events Search: Events For You

Google also added an ability to buy tickets from the provider of users’ choice, not just from one source.

Also a Google guide is available now making it easier for event sites to mark up their event listings to ensure events are discoverable in this experience.

Deep breathing exercises and meditation technique are now avialable in the Google Search results. To trigger the new feature just add the seach queries like [deep breathing], or [breathing exercise] and or other similar terms in Google search on desktop or mobile and guides you through a “1-minute breathing exercise.”

A GIF shows it in action:

Breating excercise in Google Search results

Another feature added but this time to the paid search results now shows “People also search for.” The new feature was updated for organic search this past Feburary, now suggestions appears in ad results, too.

It was first spotted by a marketer who noted that Google’s organic “People also search for” box of suggested queries panel shows up within the paid search results after clicking on an ad and then goes back to the search results page.

Clicking on one of the suggestions will trigger a new search for the chosen keyword. So the feature behaves the same way as it does in organic search. “People also searched for” results also show under an ad after a user clicks back from the landing page.

A GIF animation below shows the feature in action:

People also search for in Google paid search results

Another tweet revealed that Google is preparing to begin highlighting “Q&A, FAQ, and How-to Content” with customized rich results. According to the image shared in the tweet, the new rich results will appear at the top of the page, similar to how featured snippets are displayed.

The image below shows FAQ, Q&A, and How-to Verticals on Google Search results:

Google Search shows FAQ, Q&A, How-to Verticals

Another tweet revealed a new design currently in test for image search results pages on Google. In addition to the redesign of images are presented in search results, the redesigned page also adds an in-line photo viewer that opens in the left side of the SERPs.

A screenshot of new image search results with in-line photo viewer:

Google Image Search Results Page with In-line photo viewer

Google is reported testing a new location tab and section for the hotel Knowledge Panels. The new location tab highlights information such as what is around the hotel, top sights and getting-around section.

Google refer to this tab as “location score,” that grades the hotel’s location based on its proximity to the top sights, to public transit and to airports.

Below you can see screenshots of about the location tab in knowledge panel:

Google Hotel Knowledge Panel : New Location Tab Highlights Google Hotel Knowledge Panel : New Location Scores

Google Hotel Knowledge Panel : New Location Tab Top Sites Google Hotel Knowledge Panel : New Location Tab Getting Around

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