Weekly Digital News Roundup: August 15-20
Google Adds Personal Info To Your Search Experience
- According to WebProNews, Google is adding some new Google Now-like functionality to Google Search. Users will be able to ask Google for specific, personal information, and the search engine will retrieve it from across the various services the user uses, like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google+.
- “Ever had trouble checking your flight’s status on the go because it meant digging through your email for the flight number?” asks product manager Roy Livne. “Or wanted to just quickly see whether your package would arrive on time, without having to look up the tracking info first? You’ve told us it would be much easier if you could skip the fuss and just ask Google.” Users will be able to ask Google for information on flights, reservations, purchases, plans and photos, and get them right from the search interface. You can ask Google if your flight as time, or say “my reservations” or my hotel” to get info on your plans, including hotel/restaurant names and addresses.
- “With one tap, you can get driving or public transit directions straight there, saving you lots of steps,” Livne notes. The new [information] will be rolling out to all U.S. users in English on the desktop, tablet and smartphones, with Voice Search.
Apple Bans Behavioral Targeting In Apps For Children
- According to MediaPost, Apple is telling developers that they can no longer use behavioral targeting techniques to monetize apps aimed at children under 13. The company also is informing developers that childrens’ apps must now include privacy policies.
- The revised policies, which were set out on Wednesday in an update to Apple’s guidelines for developers, appear to have been sparked by the Federal Trade Commission’s new rules implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which took effect last month. The new COPPA regulations prohibit Web site operators from collecting the type of data that can be used to create behavioral profiles, unless the operators obtain parental consent.
- COPPA itself prohibits Web site operators from knowingly collecting “personal data” from children under 13 without their parents’ consent. The FTC’s new rules broadly define “personal information” as including data used by ad networks to create behavioral profiles, including persistent cookies and mobile device identifiers. The new definition also includes IP addresses, geolocation data and photos of children.
Twitter Flexes Its Location Muscle, Tests Out Highlights Of Live Events Happening Near You
- According to TechCrunch, like the Trending TV feature, [Twitter’s new] proximity-based alerts are organized around hashtags — in this case for actual, in-person events nearby. They are one more example of Twitter’s play to be the platform of choice for discussions about all occasions — real and virtual; how it can be a powerful player in location-based services; and how Twitter could use new formats like this to drive revenues in the form of paid placements.
- Twitter started out as a mobile-only service so in a way, developing more features that play into that is part of the company’s DNA. We’ve had the ability to see the location of a tweet for a long while now, and so having location-based capabilities is not exactly new to Twitter. What is, perhaps, more interesting is in how Twitter is starting to look at ways of using that information to push specific information out to people.
- While Twitter could very easily offer this as a useful extra service to people to get them more engaged in Twitter conversations and in browsing its platform, you could also see how something like this could be just as easily expanded to work as a new mobile ad unit, for those who are interesting in promoting an event or place in your general vicinity. In that regard, that would not be unlike what Twitter has done with other features like trending topics, which are often a mixture not just of organically/virally popular words, but also of those that sponsors have paid to put front and center. It’s that persistent theme of monetization that will likely be the undercurrent running through much of what Twitter rolls out as it continues to mature.