In big win, Apple hires Google AI chief John Giannandrea away from Google

Earlier this week, we reported on personnel changes within Google’s search organization: Ben Gomes will now be in charge of all search, and Jeff Dean is taking on leadership of Google Brain and AI. The changes come as Google SVP of Engineering John Giannandrea moves to Apple to run AI efforts there.
Giannandrea “will run Apple’s machine learning and AI strategy,” according to reports. He will also report directly to the company’s CEO, Tim Cook.
While Google has a “deep bench” in AI, the move is still a loss for Google and a win for Apple. Giannandrea was instrumental in infusing AI into all of Google’s main products, including search. He came originally from Metaweb when Google acquired the company in 2010.
Google’s focus and emphasis on AI is such that at an event last year in San Francisco, CEO Sundar Pichai said, “We’re moving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world.”
It’s not clear from statements and published reports

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Google’s AMP Project announces new consent component ahead of GDPR compliance deadline

With the deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fast approaching, Google’s AMP team has announced a component to enable publishers to surface a user consent notification for sites using the mobile-friendly framework.
From the announcement:
The features to be launched include the ability to show choices in user interface notices via “accept” and “reject” semantics, and configuration of AMP element behaviors in response to users’ choices.
The GitHub issue page details the component’s format and configuration options, along with future feature suggestions. As the issues surrounding GDPR consent and compliance are complicated — including acquiring per-usage consent (e.g., publishers need to acquire separate consent for users being tracked for both first-party and third-party purposes) — the project team is encouraging publishers and vendors to participate in the component’s development so that support will be available for as many integrations as possible. They particularly note existing support within AMP for these types of features and state that user consent may need

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Google Images update: Captions added to images, pulled from the page title tag

Google Images search results continue to evolve — from the rollout of badges last summer to the related searches box this past December and the removal of the “view image” and “search by image” buttons last month. Google has been rapidly expanding visual search features.
Beginning today, Google Images results will now include captions for each image. The rollout is global and will be available for mobile browsers and the Google app (iOS and Android). The caption displayed with an image will be pulled from the title of the page that features the image.
As shown in the image below, the caption will be shown below the image and above the page URL.
Google Images: without captions / with captions
From the announcement:
This extra piece of information gives you more context so you can easily find out what the image is about and whether the website would contain more relevant content for your needs.
When asked if these titles might be rewritten

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Optimize your search, Facebook and display targeting with call analytics

Digital advertising is ruthlessly competitive. Your AdWords, Facebook and display ROI depends on your ability to show the right ad to the right audience for the right cost. But, while targeting audiences based on who they are is critical, marketers are leaving qualified leads and revenue on the table if they aren’t also targeting people based on how they want to convert.
If your business values inbound calls, you can use data on those callers to target audiences that want to call you across search, Facebook and display. Download this new e-book from DialogTech to learn how to increase conversions, acquire more customers and eliminate wasted ad spend by showing audiences relevant ad campaigns tailored to generate a qualified inbound call.
Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Optimize Your Search, Facebook, and Display Targeting with Call Analytics.”
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Google is extending Search capabilities to iMessage and other browser apps on iOS

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Google announced on Monday a couple of integrations to extend Google Search functionality to more apps on iOS. They include extensions for iMessage and browser apps such as Safari.
First, a look at the new iMessage extension, which allows users to search Google and share results with those they’re chatting with in iMessage. To activate the new functionality, click on the App Store icon next to the message field in an iMessage chat to bring up the iMessage apps drawer. Then select the Google app icon to see the options below (You’ll need to have the app installed on your iPhone). You can search or click one of the shortcut buttons to bring up related results.
Clicking on the “Food” icon, for example, will bring up a list of cards for nearby restaurants. Clicking “Share” in any of the cards will add the listing to the iMessage chat.
It appears that if you click through on any

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Google Assistant adds new media capabilities ahead of HomePod release

The Google Assistant has been updated to make entertainment content more accessible to voice control. The company announced today that users can set alarms to play a favorite song, playlist or radio station instead of a loud, unpleasant alarm sound.
Users invoke this by speaking, “Hey Google, set an alarm for 6 a.m. that plays [insert favorite musician].” This is optimized for Google Play Music but will work with other services as well (e.g., Pandora).
Google added that you can now ask for TV show schedules using the Google Assistant. You can also set reminders so you can catch shows at specific dates and times. The Google Assistant can control TV programming as well.
This isn’t entirely new; users can “cast” content to their TVs from the Assistant on Netflix, YouTube TV and a couple of other sources. If you’ve linked your Netflix account to Google Home, you can now say “Watch XYZ show . . . “ and the

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Google says Assistant now on more than 400 million devices

Google said in a blog post this morning, “The [Google] Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices.” When Google says “devices” it’s including Android smartphones, tablets, TVs, headphones . . . and Google Home smart speakers.
What we don’t get from the post is how many Google Home, Mini and Max speakers were sold in 2017. Four hundred million is a massive number but it’s going to be mostly Android smartphones. If Google were really psyched about the Home figures it would have called them out specifically.
We can make a crude estimate of how many Google Home devices there are in US households. Based on a review of data from NPR, Strategy Analytics and Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, it appears that Google Home has roughly a 25 percent share of the US smart speaker market. Specifically, Strategy Analytics estimated that Google’s share of Q4 smart speaker sales was 24 percent.
Walker Sands (“Future of Retail 2017“),

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Measure the impact of digital marketing on in-store sales

With more than half of internet use now occurring on mobile devices, brands are focused on bridging the gap between their digital presence and in-store sales. Today’s consumers research products on the go, using their smartphones to find and choose at which nearby business to make a purchase or eat a meal. Most visit the store they select on the same day.
Yet most marketers can’t — or don’t — measure the impact of their digital campaigns on in-store sales.
This white paper from MomentFeed explores online/offline connections across multiple digital channels and discusses best practices to drive foot traffic, as well as key metrics to measure the impact of digital search marketing, organic search, social media and ad campaigns on top-line growth.
Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Mobile Marketing vs. In-Store Sales: Help! What’s the Correlation?”
The post Measure the impact of digital marketing on in-store sales appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Are you considering call analytics software?

Thanks to the ubiquity of the smartphone, phone calls are finally getting the respect they deserve as an integral part of the customer journey. Mobile calls now account for 60 percent of inbound calls to businesses, according to BIA/Kelsey, which projects that the number of mobile calls to businesses will climb to 170 billion in 2020.
As consumers increasingly use their smartphones to research, browse and connect with businesses, brands are developing a newfound respect for the inbound call as an integral part of the conversion path.
MarTech Today’s “Enterprise Call Analytics Platforms: A Marketer’s Guide” examines the current market for enterprise call analytics platforms and the considerations involved in implementing this technology. If you are considering licensing an enterprise call analytics platform, this report will help you decide whether you need to. This 41-page report provides:

call analytics market overview with the latest industry statistics.
in-depth analysis of call analytics features and capabilities.
recommended steps for making an informed purchase decision.
profiles

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AMP: A case for websites serving developing countries

Like Taylor Swift, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) have a reputation. In a not-very-official Twitter poll, 53 percent claimed AMP was “breaking the web.”

What do you think about AMP?
— Maximiliano Firtman (@firt) March 23, 2017

The mobile ecosystem is already complex: choosing a mobile configuration, accounting for mobile-friendliness, preparing for the mobile-first index, implementing app indexation, utilizing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and so on. Tossing AMP into the mix, which creates an entirely duplicated experience, is not something your developers will be happy about.
And yet despite the various issues surrounding AMP, this technology has potential use cases that every international brand should pause to consider.
To start, AMP offers potential to efficiently serve content as fast as possible. According to Google, AMP reduces the median load time of webpages to .7 seconds, compared with 22 seconds for non-AMP sites.
And you can also have an AMP without a traditional HTML page. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller has mentioned that AMP

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