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Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Google has almost entirely disabled the country’s live traffic data from being visible in Google Maps. Usually, this data has to be combined with other sources to provide reliable info. In the case of the traffic jams spotted outside of Ukraine last Thursday, for example, investigators were already examining the area using satellite imagery. The smartphone data itself probably come from civilians stopped at roadblocks, not soldiers using Android phones.
Initially dubbed “Panda 3.0”, Google appeared to roll out yet another round of changes. These changes weren’t discussed in detail by Google and seemed to be relatively minor. Google announced a radical shift in personalization – aggressively pushing Google+ social data and user profiles into SERPs. Google also added a new, prominent toggle button to shut off personalization. Google announced that they would start penalizing sites with repeat copyright violations, probably via DMCA takedown requests. Algorithm changes beginning on February 1st continued for a full week, peaking around February 6th .
Speculation ranged from an e-commerce focused update to a mobile usability update. Multiple tracking tools reported historically-large rankings movement, which Google later confirmed as a “core algo update”. Google officially said that this was not a Penguin update, but details remain sketchy. Just more than a year after the original “mobile friendly” update, Google rolled out another ranking signal boost to benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search. Since the majority of sites we track are already mobile-friendly, it’s likely the impact of the latest update was small.
Google started rolling out a penalty to punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that might damage the mobile user experience. Google also provided a rare warning of this update five months in advance. MozCast showed high temperatures from January 10-11, but many SEOs reported minimal impact on sites that should have been affected.
On the Google Open Source blog, you’ll find exciting news about Google releases, projects, and program updates, as well as guest posts from our project partners and program participants. Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of products, became Google’s new CEO. Alphabet again reorganized in 2017 to create an intermediate holding company, XXVI Holdings, and to convert Google into a limited liability company . More changes followed in 2019 as both Brin and Page left their posts as president and CEO, respectively.