Monthly Archives: December 2019

An update on 2019

With 2020 hanging above our heads much the same way that bricks don't, people start reflecting on what they achieved this year, what went wrong, and how they could improve. We're no different, but instead of choosing what went well or wrong ourselves, we picked the announcements on our @GoogleWMC Twitter account that users interacted with the most, and decided to reflect on those. 

We had launches that you appreciated a lot. For example, we announced at Google I/O that Googlebot is becoming evergreen, meaning that it's always going to use an up-to-date version of Chromium for rendering. We hope that this will make it easier for developers to create stunning, modern, and snappy JavaScript experiences, by tapping onto the power of over 1000 new features and interfaces that are now supported.

Speaking of robots, together with the original author of the Robots Exclusion Protocol, other search engines, and input from webmasters, we submitted an Internet Draft to the IETF in order to start standardizing the 25-year-old protocol. 



Like Twitter users, we also thought it's an exciting project which lays down the rules of crawling for good, although it doesn't change anything for most.

But we haven't stopped there with touching ancient protocols: we also rethought how we need to treat "nofollow" links to keep up with the evolution of the web. It was an announcement that seemed to be welcomed by most Twitter users, and for a good reason: having a "hint" model for rel="nofollow" may help us reward those who create high quality content more, by serving even better results to our users.

One of the most tweeted  – and also most humbling – moments this year was when we lost a part of our index, which caused Search Console to misbehave, and also had rendering failures roughly the same time. Since Google Search works like a well oiled machine most of the time, we didn't have processes to quickly communicate issues to those who should know about them: webmasters. Lacking a proper process and channel to communicate these issues was a mistake and we are still working hard to rectify it, however one thing is clear: we need to do more on the critical communication side of things. 

We do like to communicate, in general: we shoot videos, we go to conferences, big and small, where we reach thousands of webmasters and SEOs, and in 2019 we extended our reach with the Webmaster Conference, which landed in 35 locations around the world in 12 languages. Not to mention the weather reports on our YouTube channel.

We hope you had a fantastic year and the new year will bring you even more success. If you need help with the latter, you can follow our blogs, @googlewmc on Twitter, or you could join us at a Webmaster Conference near you!

Posted by John Mueller, Cheese Connoisseur, and Gary the house elf 


2019 in review: Stories from Google this year

This is (probably) our last Keyword post of 2019 (and the decade). It’s cliche to talk about the passage of time, but as a new parent—my son was just a few weeks old at the time of this wrap-up post last December—I have an especially keen sense of how much can happen in a year. I also know it’s important to savor the individual moments. In that spirit, let’s look back at the stories that we shared from Google in 2019.  

1. We invested in the communities around us, with a new Grow with Google Learning Center in New York and an expansion to libraries. We made investments in housing in the Bay Area and in data centers and offices across the U.S. In places like Chile, India, Mexico and Nigeria, our products and initiatives are helping connect more people to the opportunities afforded by the internet. And we officially reached 10 million people across Europe and the Middle East with digital skills training.

2. We continued our work to connect young people with digital skills and computer science education. Code with Google brings together CS resources for educators and coding programs for students. Our fourth annual Tech Day brought hundreds of students to Google to learn about CS, and partnerships with 4-H and The Boys and Girls Club encourage young people to learn about digital skills.

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Youth development professional Basha Terry helps the teens in Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Delta get the most out of Applied Digital Skills.

3. With our sustainability efforts, we’re also investing in the future of our planet. This year, we made the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history. We broke down exactly what goes into keeping our data centers green, and how we’re making sustainability the centerpiece of our hardware products. Beyond Google, we saw people use our products to find bike-sharing options, map climate change with Google Earth Engine, and track air quality across the globe

4. What do a pharmacy-turned-local landmark in Chicago, a greeting card shop in Colorado, and a Hawaiian food spot in Oahu have in common? They’re all using Google products to promote and grow their businesses. Meanwhile, developers are building on our open-source platforms to address problems like youth unemployment in Capetown and crop-destroying pests in Uganda.


5. We continue to be amazed by the various applications of AI. AI was put to work to improve recycling, discover planets, add color to black-and-white photos, help conservationists monitor wildlife, write a song, create a Doodle and improve road safety in Iowa. Organizations around the world submitted ideas for how they’d use AI to address societal challenges. And our quantum computing breakthrough shows the potential of the technology to solve problems ranging from climate change to disease.
emil_photo_2880x1500.jpg

Parisian coder Emil Wallner built a program that uses machine learning to learn how to add color to black-and-white photos.

6. Stadia, our new video game platform, launched to provide instant streaming access to games on any type of screen, without a console. With BERT, we made one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search, while Android 10 brought a new look, and a new way of naming releases, to our mobile operating system. 


7. We shared tips to help you master your email, add mindfulness to your everyday routine, set up your home Wi-Fi networkget more out of Chromecast, get things done at home with Nest Hub Max, and even soothe your dog’s anxiety with Nest Cam. For help finding more balance with technology, we tapped a Googler to show us how she puts our digital wellbeing tools to work.

Using Android’s Digital Wellbeing tools to spend less time on the phone

Using Android’s Digital Wellbeing tools to spend less time on the phone

8. Action Blocks, Live Caption, Project Euphonia and Live Transcribe are just a few of this year’s many updates to make technology more helpful for people with disabilities. We also heard from people both inside and outside of Google about why accessible technology matters—including a member of the Google Maps team, a business analyst who helped create a new Maps feature, a developer in the U.K. and a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Ambassador


9. We celebrated the 15th anniversary of Gmail and reflected on how 1GB of email storage seemed like SO MUCH back in 2004. We turned the page on the newest design for Google Books, and asked Google’s own Vint Cerf, one of the original architects of the internet, for his take on the 50th anniversary of the “first packet sent.” While we’re on the subject of technological achievements, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with an out-of-this-world tribute to Margaret Hamilton.
Margaret Hamilton portrait

Margaret Hamilton led the team that developed the onboard flight software for Apollo 11’s historic moon landing. This 1.4-square-mile portrait—bigger than New York's Central Park—was created by positioning over 107,000 mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Facility in the Mojave Desert to reflect the light of the moon.

10. John Legend and Issa Rae lent their voices to the Google Assistant, while Google Nest gave us a glimpse into Martha Stewart’s smart home and a taste of a new recipe from Ayesha Curry. Google Arts & Culture worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda to bring artifacts from the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña online. And just last week we heard from Chance the Rapper about the opportunities kids have when they learn to code. 


11. We met so many Googlers, including Academy Award winners, a concert pianist and the world record holder for calculating the most accurate value of pi. We heard from one of Google’s first interns—now the SVP of Google Maps—about our 20th intern class (the most representative ever), and followed along with Take Your Kids to Work Day and Take Your Parents to Work Day. Googlers shared their stories of coming out at work, writing a book about racial stereotypes, and keeping the hackers out of Google.


12. We welcomed new emoji to our Android phones and took a look at the year in GIFs. We discovered the right way to peel a sticky note—and learned more about how Wi-Fi, spreadsheets and spam calls work. And as ever, we turned to Search to answer important questions, about BBQ sauce and why cats like boxes.

Animated GIF of pulling a sticky note off a pad

That was quite the year. And my kid is quite literally trying to take my keyboard away from me, so I’ll take that as a sign to wrap things up. Catch you in 2020! 

The Night Before Gigmas


Twas the night before Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) in every house,
Not a creature was scrolling on trackpad or mouse.
The router was blinking with lights all in green,
With hope that movies would soon be on multiple screens.
The gamers and streamers were snug in their beds,
While visions of unlimited data ran through their heads.

And Google Fiber in 11 cities and Webpass in nine,
Had customer service reps waiting online.
And throughout the Internet on sites far and wide,
New posts, videos, and tweets were populating across the divide. 
And before the calendar rolls to a new decade
There are tons of new multiplayer games to be played.

And gifts of all sizes that use your wifi (phones, computers, and TVs in 4k) 
Want the experience of a gig, and the speed it provides:
Uploads, downloads, an AR sleigh ride
Or something more practical, like video chat
With nary a glitch — how about that?

So before you power down for the rest of the night,
Check your passwords once more and log off every site.
Google Fiber wishes you some much needed holiday cheer,
And a wonderful, very connected, and truly fast new year!



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Putting you in control: our work in privacy this year

Every day, hundreds of people at Google work on building the best privacy protections into our products. In 2019, we made a renewed push around privacy tools, controls and engineering talent, an investment that is already making a difference—nearly 20 million people around the globe visit their Google Account daily, accessing security, privacy and ad settings. As a vice president of product for privacy, I look forward to supporting this work more in my new role leading Google's strategy on building world class privacy tools. Here’s a look at what we did in 2019 in this important area: 


Keeping your data private and secure
We’re committed to ensuring that our products meet user expectations around data sharing and data security. This year, we used findings from Project Strobe—an internal review of how third parties can request access to your Google account and Android device data—to implement new policies across Gmail, Android, Chrome and Drive to better protect your data and give you improved controls over the third parties to whom you grant access. We built Password Checkup, which automatically checks the security of all of your saved passwords, tells you if they’ve been compromised, and offers personalized help. Password Checkup started as a standalone Chrome extension, but it was so useful—downloaded more than a million times—that we built it into your Google Account’s password manager. We also introduced the Titan M security chip in Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 to help secure the operating system and your most sensitive on-device data. 


Simpler controls in Google products
We've built tools to give you control over your data, easily accessible directly in our various products. This year, we expanded incognito mode across our apps, including Google Maps on Android and iOS, and we launched various auto-delete tools. We also put privacy controls at the forefront of Android settings, and rolled out simple voice commands so you can manage your privacy settings while using the Assistant by saying something like “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.” All these tools make it easier for you to control what information is saved in your Google Account, and for how long. 


Investing in privacy engineering
Our significant investment in privacy engineering and research helps improve our own products, as well as everyone’s overall experience online. In May, we opened the Google Security Engineering Center, our engineering privacy hub, where teams are building tools to keep users’ data safe. And for years, our research teams have been building privacy-preserving technologies like federated learning and differential privacy. These technologies provide smart, helpful experiences—like showing you how busy a restaurant is in Maps without identifying the individuals that visited it. In 2019, we open sourced the differential privacy library that powers some of our core products and introduced Tensorflow Privacy, Tensorflow Federated and Private Join and Compute to help other organizations implement these kinds of technologies. And in August, Chrome introduced the Privacy Sandbox and committed to restricting secretive user-tracking efforts such as “fingerprinting,” with the goal of safeguarding user privacy while keeping ad-supported content accessible on the web. 


The year ahead in privacy regulation
This is the second year of GDPR in Europe and we invested significantly ahead of its implementation to upgrade our systems and policies, to ensure that we and our partners can comply with its requirements. 


In the U.S., we’ve continued to advocate for strong federal privacy legislation and published a regulatory framework drawn from various privacy frameworks around the world and our own experience. We continue to believe this is the best way to provide safeguards to U.S. users, give businesses clear rules of the road, and avoid a patchwork of conflicting requirements and exemptions. 


Like many businesses, we’ve been working to comply with the requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), coming into effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA will require businesses to disclose how they use people’s data, offer opt-outs of data sales, and give individuals rights around accessing and deleting their data. We’re committed to putting its requirements into practice and have invested in our systems to make necessary changes. 


We’ve offered a range of tools for users to access, manage and delete their data like Download your data and Google Account globally for years, so we’re encouraged to see these practices become more widely adopted and codified into law in California. And while we never sell your personal information to anyone, we do let you control how your information is used, including for personalized ads. As we did with GDPR, we’ve made our CCPA data controls and tools available to all users globally, not just in California. Last month, we also introduced Restricted Data Processing, which will allow advertisers, publishers, and partners to restrict how data is used on our advertising products, and help them as they work to comply with CCPA. Publisher partners can also easily implement this kind of limited processing for their users globally. Of course, we’ll continue to follow developments around CCPA and ensure we’re taking appropriate steps if new regulatory guidance emerges. 


Rather than just talk about privacy, we’ve spent this year building real tools and protections—they’re already available and used by millions of people. I’m proud of all this, but I also know that our work to build the best privacy protections into the products you use is never done. I look forward to sharing even more with you in the coming months. 

Posted by Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Vice President of Product, Privacy

When will Santa be here? Find out for yourself!

His boots are on, his coat is well-pressed and his reindeer are ready. Santa is about to start his annual worldwide tour—and you can follow along.


Take off time!

Have you ever wondered what happens right before Santa’s hybrid sleigh takes off? This year, you’ll get to see an exclusive video of the behind-the-scenes preparations. Join the elves while they mark the last lists, the reindeer as they warm up before the long flight, and Mrs. Claus as she helps Santa get ready for the big day!

Video showing a cartoon Santa getting ready for Christmas Eve with the help of Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and other animated helpers.

Follow the map

Starting Dec. 24 at 2 AM Pacific time, when he heads to the first stop in far-eastern Russia a bit after 10 PM local time, everyone will be able to follow Santa’s route around the world and toward their city. A live map will track the magic, showing Santa’s location, moment to moment, along with photos of seasonal scenes from hundreds of Local Guides around the world. He and his reindeer will visit more than 400 locations, and the Santa Tracker will display how far they are from your town and how long it will take for them to get there. Santa is coming to town, and you’ll know exactly when!

Santa tracker map

It’s time for a bedtime story 

Need a little help winding down? Try reading our new bedtime story called “Ollie Under the Sea.” This richly illustrated rhyming story follows a narwhal named Ollie on his quest for an underwater celebration. Mary Bear, a group of elves and some helpful sea friends will join your visions of sugar plums.

Santa tracker bedtime story

Invite Santa into your home

You can invite Santa into your living room by searching for “Santa Search” on your phone and clicking “View in 3D.” He’ll magically appear, rocking around your own tree, patio, or wherever you are! You might want to take a screenshot to prove that Santa made a pit stop at your home ?.

AR Santa

The jolliest place on the internet

While you’re visiting our village and tracking Santa, scroll down to check out the clumsy penguins, make some gingerbread friends, and even meet a friendly Yeti. Keep exploring, and you’ll find some of the new surprises hidden around the village, including the newest game, Build and Bolt. Bring the family together and take turns with this new two-player game where you race to be the fastest gift wrapper. Ready, set, wrap! 


A final note… from your hosts! 

Real magic happens when we spend time together. Start the countdown with your family, read a bedtime story together, put a smile on your friend’s face with a funny video or sing some carols with your loved ones. 

We’re excited to spend a little time with you and your family as the holidays approach, and of course we also can’t wait to watch Santa as his travels begin!

ALBERT: A Lite BERT for Self-Supervised Learning of Language Representations



Ever since the advent of BERT a year ago, natural language research has embraced a new paradigm, leveraging large amounts of existing text to pretrain a model’s parameters using self-supervision, with no data annotation required. So, rather than needing to train a machine-learning model for natural language processing (NLP) from scratch, one can start from a model primed with knowledge of a language. But, in order to improve upon this new approach to NLP, one must develop an understanding of what, exactly, is contributing to language-understanding performance — the network’s height (i.e., number of layers), its width (size of the hidden layer representations), the learning criteria for self-supervision, or something else entirely?

In “ALBERT: A Lite BERT for Self-supervised Learning of Language Representations”, accepted at ICLR 2020, we present an upgrade to BERT that advances the state-of-the-art performance on 12 NLP tasks, including the competitive Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD v2.0) and the SAT-style reading comprehension RACE benchmark. ALBERT is being released as an open-source implementation on top of TensorFlow, and includes a number of ready-to-use ALBERT pre-trained language representation models.

What Contributes to NLP Performance?
Identifying the dominant driver of NLP performance is complex — some settings are more important than others, and, as our study reveals, a simple, one-at-a-time exploration of these settings would not yield the correct answers.

The key to optimizing performance, captured in the design of ALBERT, is to allocate the model’s capacity more efficiently. Input-level embeddings (words, sub-tokens, etc.) need to learn context-independent representations, a representation for the word “bank”, for example. In contrast, hidden-layer embeddings need to refine that into context-dependent representations, e.g., a representation for “bank” in the context of financial transactions, and a different representation for “bank” in the context of river-flow management.

This is achieved by factorization of the embedding parametrization — the embedding matrix is split between input-level embeddings with a relatively-low dimension (e.g., 128), while the hidden-layer embeddings use higher dimensionalities (768 as in the BERT case, or more). With this step alone, ALBERT achieves an 80% reduction in the parameters of the projection block, at the expense of only a minor drop in performance — 80.3 SQuAD2.0 score, down from 80.4; or 67.9 on RACE, down from 68.2 — with all other conditions the same as for BERT.

Another critical design decision for ALBERT stems from a different observation that examines redundancy. Transformer-based neural network architectures (such as BERT, XLNet, and RoBERTa) rely on independent layers stacked on top of each other. However, we observed that the network often learned to perform similar operations at various layers, using different parameters of the network. This possible redundancy is eliminated in ALBERT by parameter-sharing across the layers, i.e., the same layer is applied on top of each other. This approach slightly diminishes the accuracy, but the more compact size is well worth the tradeoff. Parameter sharing achieves a 90% parameter reduction for the attention-feedforward block (a 70% reduction overall), which, when applied in addition to the factorization of the embedding parameterization, incur a slight performance drop of -0.3 on SQuAD2.0 to 80.0, and a larger drop of -3.9 on RACE score to 64.0.

Implementing these two design changes together yields an ALBERT-base model that has only 12M parameters, an 89% parameter reduction compared to the BERT-base model, yet still achieves respectable performance across the benchmarks considered. But this parameter-size reduction provides the opportunity to scale up the model again. Assuming that memory size allows, one can scale up the size of the hidden-layer embeddings by 10-20x. With a hidden-size of 4096, the ALBERT-xxlarge configuration achieves both an overall 30% parameter reduction compared to the BERT-large model, and, more importantly, significant performance gains: +4.2 on SQuAD2.0 (88.1, up from 83.9), and +8.5 on RACE (82.3, up from 73.8).

These results indicate that accurate language understanding depends on developing robust, high-capacity contextual representations. The context, modeled in the hidden-layer embeddings, captures the meaning of the words, which in turn drives the overall understanding, as directly measured by model performance on standard benchmarks.

Optimized Model Performance with the RACE Dataset
To evaluate the language understanding capability of a model, one can administer a reading comprehension test (e.g., similar to the SAT Reading Test). This can be done with the RACE dataset (2017), the largest publicly available resource for this purpose. Computer performance on this reading comprehension challenge mirrors well the language modeling advances of the last few years: a model pre-trained with only context-independent word representations scores poorly on this test (45.9; left-most bar), while BERT, with context-dependent language knowledge, scores relatively well with a 72.0. Refined BERT models, such as XLNet and RoBERTa, set the bar even higher, in the 82-83 score range. The ALBERT-xxlarge configuration mentioned above yields a RACE score in the same range (82.3), when trained on the base BERT dataset (Wikipedia and Books). However, when trained on the same larger dataset as XLNet and RoBERTa, it significantly outperforms all other approaches to date, and establishes a new state-of-the-art score at 89.4.
Machine performance on the RACE challenge (SAT-like reading comprehension). A random-guess baseline score is 25.0. The maximum possible score is 95.0.
The success of ALBERT demonstrates the importance of identifying the aspects of a model that give rise to powerful contextual representations. By focusing improvement efforts on these aspects of the model architecture, it is possible to greatly improve both the model efficiency and performance on a wide range of NLP tasks. To facilitate further advances in the field of NLP, we are open-sourcing ALBERT to the research community.

Source: Google AI Blog


Refining your website’s user experience in 3 steps

There are plenty of sites out there. Beyond producing great content, it’s vital to make yours stand out. How? One way is to provide an exceptional user experience (UX). 

Use tools to put yourself in your user’s shoes, and then rectify anything that compromises their ability to move easily through your site. In turn, these optimizations can produce a positive impact on the performance of your ads. 


1. Measure your site’s performance

As a first step, assess your current website user experience to understand what developments are needed.

Track important metrics about how your site performs in Google Search results using Search Console. Find out how often your site appears, its average position, click-through rates and more. 


The Performance report provides visibility into how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from and what search queries are most likely to show your site. See which pages have the highest (and lowest) click-through rate from Google Search. 


Expose untapped performance opportunities and improve the quality of web pages through Lighthouse. With Lighthouse audits, you can identify and then fix common problems that affect your site’s performance, accessibility and user experience. 


Run a mobile-friendly test to see how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device. Just enter a page URL to find how you score. The majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device, so if you haven’t made your site mobile-friendly, you should.  


With 53 percent of users abandoning mobile sites that take longer than three seconds to load, it pays to be fast. Check your mobile page speed and compare it against industry benchmarks

performance_measurement_tools

2. Design for optimal user experience 

Now that you know how your site measures up, it’s time to put your analysis to use with UX strategies for improvements. There are three development frameworks you can consider using to create a smoother, faster experience for your users.

  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a framework of web components that lets you create a highly performing site that’s consistently fast across all devices. 

  • Responsive web design is about using HTML and CSS to automatically resize, shrink or enlarge a website to make it look good on all devices, including desktops, tablets and phones.

  • Progressive Web Apps provide an installable, app-like experience on desktop and mobile. Built and delivered directly via the web, these web apps are fast and reliable on any browser.

mobile_user

3. Keep mobile front of mind


Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, the mobile version of your site’s content is what informs indexing and ranking. If your site has separate desktop and mobile content, here’s what you need to remember to optimize for mobile-first indexing.


  • Your mobile site should contain the same content as your desktop site.

  • Structured data should be present on both versions of your site.

  • Metadata should be present on both versions of the site.


When it comes to design, remember that users are impatient – so organise your site so that it’s easy for people to find and do what they want. Focus your homepage and navigation on connecting users to the content they’re looking for. Offer site search to ensure users can find what they need in a hurry. Understand your customer journeys and let users convert on their own terms. Provide a seamless, frictionless conversion experience through easy-to-use forms.


To learn more about what you can do to propel your website user experience from good to great, check out these mobile design best practices


Source: Inside AdSense


Cloud Covered: 2019 in Google Cloud

As we get ready to ring in 2020 here at Google Cloud, we’re taking a look back on stories that captured the imagination, provoked new ideas, and helped us be more efficient at work. Check out our top-read posts from 2019. 

Build the cloud that's right for your business
Just like you choose the right mix of apps you want on your phone, businesses that are using cloud computing choose the apps and services that will work for them. There are a lot of options available on Google Cloud, and some of the popular posts of the past year were about new technology that came out, as well as some new concepts to understand.

Lots of businesses learned how to organize their data better. 
Different types of data, like the price of a product or how many are sold, can be used to help a business understand their customers and make future planning decisions. Many of our blog posts this year explained different ways to process and manage that data.  

Technology keeps making work easier.
The technology we use at work has come a long way in a pretty short time—it wasn’t too long ago that a video conference would have seemed like science fiction. Collaboration and productivity tools keep getting better, and in 2019, popular posts explained new ways to be efficient, and new ways to use multiple apps together. 

Cloud inspiration is all around.
Cloud computing is constantly evolving to be even faster and work better for users. Lots of the highlights of 2019 were stories from customers about how they’re using Google Cloud to power their great work—and from one of our own Googlers on her record-breaking computing accomplishment.

Keep up on everything that’s new with Google Cloud on our blog.

10,000 Australians trained through Digital Springboard

Infoxchange and Google Australia launched Digital Springboard in 2018 to help address Australia’s digital skills shortage by delivering face-to-face training across the country.

The program aims to improve digital skills for all, while supporting transitions to work and career growth through courses that build job readiness skills, as well as topics like social media strategy and an introduction to coding.

This week, the program reached a milestone of 10,000 people trained, helping people across the country get the digital skills they need to apply for a job or reach the next level in their career.

The courses are delivered face-to-face in partnership with more than 150 community groups, libraries and not-for-profits.



Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs said he was proud of the impact that Digital Springboard has had in communities from Perth to Gundagai, the Barossa Valley, Shepparton and beyond to boost digital skills.

“We’ve heard some amazing stories along the way from the people who’ve come along to our sessions,” Mr Spriggs said.

“A chef who’d been out of work for some time had created a CV with his job network provider but wasn’t getting any job offers, after he completed our Digital Springboard Build a CV course and learned about online tools that could strengthen his CV, he got the first position he applied for.”

“Our data shows that participants across the board feel more knowledgeable about the topic and more confident putting their new digital skills into practise after attending a Digital Springboard course.”

You can find details on Digital Springboard’s reach and impact here. To find out more about the program and courses near you, check out Digital Springboard.

Upcoming sunset of message extensions in in AdWords and Google Ads APIs and Google Ads scripts

On January 27, 2020, message extensions will be sunset in AdWords and Google Ads APIs and Google Ads scripts. After the sunset date:
  • All existing message extensions will no longer serve.
  • You will not be able to create new message extensions or update existing extensions.
  • You will still be able to retrieve data for existing message extensions until the end of 2020.
  • You will also be able to remove the existing message extensions until the end of 2020.
What will happen when you try to create or update message extensions after the sunset date?
If you try to create or update a message extension, you will see the following errors:

Google Ads API
  • Trying to create or update a TextMessageFeedItem will result in the ExtensionSettingError.INVALID_FEED_TYPE error.
  • Trying to create or update a message extension via FeedMapping with placeholder_type set to MESSAGE will result in the FeedMappingError.INVALID_PLACEHOLDER_TYPE error.

AdWords API
  • Trying to create or update a MessageFeedItem will result in the ExtensionSettingError.INVALID_FEED_TYPE error.
  • Trying to create or update a message extension via FeedMapping using placeholder type ID 31 will result in the FeedMappingError.INVALID_PLACEHOLDER_TYPE error.

Google Ads scripts
Trying to execute the following operations will result in the error, “Cannot operate on deprecated placeholder type” (translated to the language based on your locale):
What do you need to do?
  • Retrieve all the data from your existing message extensions that you need. All message extension data will be deleted at the end of 2020.
  • Ensure that your programs don’t contain any code trying to create or update message extensions after the sunset date.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on the Google Ads API forum.