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Hey folks, welcome to another week and another Smattering. Kind of a weird week for news, as there must not have been much going on since much of the coverage was on Google’s testing of stuff. Take a look:

Google Testing News (There Was a Lot of News About Google Testing Things This Week)

  • Google Testing Red “Slow” Labels In SERPs – Reports are coming in that Google has been testing an addition to the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that would show a bright, red, and clear “Slow” label next to sites it feels aren’t performing speedily enough. This is honestly an excellent incentive for site owners and webmasters to take site speed a lot more seriously, which is awesome.

slow

  • Google Testing Live Hangout Chats In SERPs – Reports are also coming in that Google is testing incorporating Hangouts directly into SERPs. This will allow local businesses who support the functionality via their Google Places. Questions remain on how this will work for site owners, such as will it be available at all times of the day or night, or whether it’ll be available on desktop or mobile or both, but what a neat idea!
  • Google Testing Green Colored Star Reviews – Users are reporting that Google has been experimenting with the colors of their starred reviews via sites using Schema (if you’re not, and you have reviews on your site, you should). While users are reporting a green color instead of the traditional orange/yellow, Google says more color experiments are coming.

green-stars

 

Regular Google News:

  • Webmaster Tools Sending Out WordPress Plugin Update Notifications – A little while back, Google began sending webmasters notifications to update their WordPress installation to help with security. They’ve now taken this a step further and are alerting webmasters that they should update their plugins as well. As security issues can abound due to old, outdated plugins, this is an excellent usability move.
  • Google Most Discussed Brand, But Disney Most Loved – A firm named Infegy – which tracks conversations online to determine the popularity of brands – has named Google the most talked about brand for the second year in a row (covering 2013 and 2014). However, only about 70% of the chatter surrounding Google was positive. For most loved brand, that would be Disney with 86% positivity.

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