This Week In Search: Hands-Free Calling & Pollen Forecasts

Pure SEO’s This Week In Search series takes a look at the top SEO and SEM news stories from the week.

This week, Google worked on catering for more people by introducing helpful features for allergy sufferers, business owners and foreign language speakers.

Google Introduces Hands-Free Calling on Google Home to US and Canada

Google is allowing Alexa device users to call each other through voice search. Google Home will operate as a speaker phone and calls will be routed over WiFi.

Turning a smart speaker into a calling device will make it easier and more convenient to make calls. The person on the receiving end doesn’t need a corresponding Alexa app to participate in the conversation.

Google’s Pollen Forecast

Those who suffer from allergies can now be better prepared with Google’s new pollen index and forecast. Google has partnered with the Weather Channel to report local pollen levels.

Allergy sufferers can do a quick Google search to check the pollen levels in their area, and they can also receive push notifications on pollen levels and the pollen forecast.

AdWords App-Install Campaigns to Move to Universal App Campaigns

Two years ago, Google launched Universal App Campaigns (UAC) to help developers drive app downloads. So far it has co-existed with AdWords app-install campaigns, but now all app-install ads are moving under the umbrella of UAC. Google says UAC will simplify ad creation and optimisation with automation and machine learning.

16 October 2017 marks the start of this transition, and from 15 November all current app-install campaigns will stop running, so developers and publishers need to start converting their campaigns pretty soon.

Google Adds 30 Languages to Voice Search

Aiming to make its voice technology more inclusive, Google has added 30 new languages to voice search. The new languages include Swahili, Amharic, Bengali, Lao, Sundanese, Urdu and even Georgian, an ancient language that dates back to the 10th century. This makes the total number of languages supported by speech recognition to 119.

Google worked with native speakers to collect speech samples. They are also adding new languages to its Cloud Speech API and are working to integrate new languages into apps like Google Translate.

Google Questions and Answers for Local Businesses Now Available on Android

Google has brought out a new feature for businesses with Google Maps to answer commonly asked questions from customers. Users can post questions or answer someone else’s questions, and business owners will receive push notifications to keep updated. There is also a thumbs-up button to validate questions and answers.

Questions and answers will be visible to users who view a business’ Google Map listing. Google said it will only be visible for your own listings over the next few days, but soon the feature will be visible on other businesses as well. It is only available for Android users.

Rachel Matela

Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.

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