After expanding its character limit for tweets a few years ago, Twitter is testing a new feature called Notes that lets users ditch character limits altogether.

The company confirmed testing the new feature in a tweet, along with a longer Note explaining everything Notes can do:

“Notes will give people the ability to go over 280 characters on Twitter in a single piece of content, with the inclusion of photos, videos, GIFs, and Tweets. Notes can be written, published, and shared on Twitter, and read all across the Internet.”

Unfortunately for most of us, the feature is initially being tested among a select number of writers in the US, UK, Canada, and Ghana. 

As the announcement explains:

“We’re excited for the moment when everyone can use Notes, but for now, our focus is on building it right. A large part of that is engaging with writers and building community.”

Notably, the feature does not appear to be replacing Twitter threads, at least for now:

“There are situations, however, where threads aren’t enough. From the rise of the screenshot announcement Tweet to the newsletter boom, a new reality became clear: people were writing long elsewhere, and then coming to Twitter to share their work and for the conversation surrounding all those words.”

In the announcement, Twitter also detailed a few unique features which will make Notes attractive to those looking to publish longer content:

  • Formatting: Formatting tools included bold, italic, and strikethrough text, as well as the ability to add links and create lists.
  • Include Media: Notes can include one GIF, one video, or up to four static images.
  • Embedded Tweets: Include traditional tweets in Notes by pasting a URL or from your bookmarked tweets.

Google is offering a new solution for e-commerce brands interested in improving their site’s search capabilities. 

With the release of Retail Search, Google Cloud is making it possible for online retailers to provide Google-quality search results on their own websites. This means it will be faster and easier for customers to find the products they are looking for on your site, making them more likely to complete thor transaction instead of abandoning your site. 

How Poor Search Experiences Hurt Online Retailers

According to a 2021 survey from The Harris Poll and Google Cloud, at least 94% of American consumers have abandoned a shopping session because of poor quality or irrelevant search results and 76% of shoppers said that an unsuccessful search led to a lost sale for a retail website. 

Based on this, the report estimates retailers lose $300 billion each year solely because of this phenomenon known as search abandonment. 

Understanding Intent To Deliver Better Search Results

The biggest hurdle to delivering successful search results has always been understanding search intent. 

Most basic search engines struggle to identify user intent and deliver the most relevant search results quickly. Google’s systems, however, are constantly being updated with the specific goal of better understanding user intent and delivering the best results quickly.

With Retail Search, retailers can now deliver that same quality search experience on their own site. 

Customizable For Your Needs

Retail Search is fully customizable to suit the needs of almost any e-commerce site. 

As the announcement says:

“Our site search solution builds upon decades of Google’s experience and innovation in search indexing, retrieval, and ranking. Retailers can make product discovery even easier for shoppers, while optimizing for their business goals with advanced capabilities.”

These capabilities include:

  • Advanced query understanding that produces better results from even the broadest queries, including non-product searches. 
  • Semantic search to effectively match product attributes with website content for fast, relevant product discovery. 
  • Optimized results that leverage user interaction and ranking models to meet specific business goals.
  • State-of-the-art security and privacy practices that ensure retailer data is isolated with strong access controls and is only used to deliver relevant search results on their own properties.

For more information, read the full announcement here or visit Google’s Discovery Solutions for Retail.

It is no secret that the past few years have wildly shaken up the world – especially when it comes to doing business. Coronavirus, international shipping delays, and rising prices have drastically reshaped customer needs and expectations in virtually every market – as a new report from Google makes particularly clear.

Using a comparison of search trends from 2021 to 2022, Google’s data reveals what customers are looking for as we settle into a “new normal” and brace for even more new challenges in the future.

What Customers Want

More than anything, the search trends from Google reveal that customers are looking for brands that can provide the goods and services they are looking for when they need them. This is reflected by significant increases in searches extended hours and quick service. 

For example, the report shows these search phrases saw major increases over the past year:

  • “Late night shopping”: Up 100% year-over-year
  • “24/7 customer service”: Up 500% year-over-year
  • “Next day flower delivery”: Up 800% year-over-year

Return to In-Person Events

Google search data makes it very clear that consumers are itching to get back out and enjoy in-person events again, now that the coronavirus pandemic appears to be winding down. This has led to growth in searches for phrases like:

  • “Cinema near me”: Up 300% year-over-year
  • “Seating chart”: Up 600% year-over-year
  • “Spring break”: Up 100% year-over-year
  • “Unique things to do in”: Up 100% year-over-year

Some Pandemic Trends Linger

While shoppers are eager to ditch some aspects of the pandemic, Google pinpoints a few trends which popped up during quarantines and appear to be sticking around. These “sticky” trends include:

  • “Makeup game”: Up 700% year-over-year
  • “Best movies to stream right now”: Up 300% year-over-year
  • “Nursery plants near me”: Up 100% year-over-year
  • “Hair trends female”: Up 800% year-over-year

For more, check out Google’s full Global Insights Briefing for 2022 here.

At the start of 2022, LinkedIn Chief Product Officer, Tomer Cohen put out a call for suggestions on how to improve the platform for professionals and the brands they represent.

Just over a month later, the company says it is already working to integrate these suggestions with a slew of updates to how users can share content, manage their feed, and track their content’s performance.

We’ve collected the highlights below:

LinkedIn’s Updates Based On Your Feedback

Giving You More Control Over Your Feed

LinkedIn is making it easier to signal the types of content you want to see and to flag content that isn’t relevant to you.

Not only can you more easily follow and unfollow connections, but the company has also introduced quick ways to remove content by clicking the 3-dot icon in the top right corner of posts and selecting “I don’t want to see this.”

Lastly, LinkedIn is making it easier to find the content, pages, and conversations most relevant to your goals with improved search tools.

Connect With Industry Authorities To Build Your Career

LinkedIn has always positioned its platform as a tool for those starting out or looking to grow further to connect with the established experts and leaders in their markets. 

To further this goal, the company is working to create new opportunities for career advancement through live events, live courses, and even the chance to speak with industry-leading content creators like Jonathan Fields and Mita Mallick.

Better Measure Your Content Performance

Lastly, LinkedIn is introducing new ways to track how your posts are performing and refine your content strategy.

In addition to broad metrics like the number of people who view your posts, the company says it is going to be soon adding more granular details about your audience including their job titles, engagement patterns, and helpful demographic information.


Obviously, many of these features were already in progress before LinkedIn surveyed users. Still, they show how the company is looking to expand its capabilities in the exact areas users are also most interested in using to build their careers.

The coronavirus pandemic brought unprecedented changes to practically every market around the world. While existing businesses struggled with new safety requirements, the number of new business openings slowed significantly.

As we come to the end of the second year of living with the COVID pandemic, though, it appears new business openings are close to reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to Yelp’s COVID-19 Second Anniversary Report

Specifically, new business openings in the second year of the pandemic were just 1% below rates from the year before the pandemic (2019). Over the year, at least 521,926 new businesses were established – up 14% from the first year of the pandemic. 

How New Variants Affected New Business Openings

While new business openings are on the rise overall, this is not happening without setbacks. The Delta and Omicron variants caused dips in openings, especially in the largest cities across the US. In many cities, these hurdles slowed growth enough to cause an overall decrease in openings.

Despite this, other cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Detroit helped offset these losses. 

New Expectations For Businesses

While openings are returning to pre-pandemic rates, Yelp emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic is still strongly influencing consumer behavior. For example, interest in outdoor seating continued to rise by 292% in the second year of the pandemic. 

Similarly, consumer interest continues to be heightened for outdoor activities, including scooter rentals, outdoor movies, and the newly trendy pickleball.

The Big Picture

Businesses continue to stand strong in the face of the COVID pandemic, despite new challenges like labor shortages and supply bottlenecks. Being adaptable has long been a key trait of successful businesses, especially after the onset of the COVID pandemic.

Google has confirmed that it is “slowly” rolling out the Page Experience update for desktop search results.

Back in November, the search engine notified webmasters that it planned to extend the Page Experience update – originally limited to just mobile search results – to desktop search results by February 2022. 

While the update is rolling out on schedule, the company says the update will not be completed until closer to the end of March. 

What You Should Know About The Desktop Page Experience Update

For the most part, the algorithm update looks identical to the update introduced to mobile search results last year. As such, the most important aspect of the update is the use of Core Web Vitals metrics to measure website performance.

“This means the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, and their associated thresholds will apply for desktop ranking. Other aspects of page experience signals, such as HTTPS security and absence of intrusive interstitials, will remain the same as well.”

One factor is being dropped from the desktop Page Experience update, however. For obvious reasons, this version of the update will remove the mobile-friendliness signal which was originally built into the update.

What Does This Mean For Your Site?

If you have been having good performance on mobile search results, you are probably fairly safe from the newer desktop version of the Page Experience update. However, if you’ve seen drops in search visibility or performance from mobile searches in the past year, this update is likely to compound your pain. 

To help you predict how the algorithm update will impact you, Google Search Console is launching a new report specifically dedicated to Page Experience metrics for desktop versions of sites. 

This report is available in the Page Experience tab of Google Search Console, immediately under the mobile report.

Any small-to-medium-sized business owner or operator is all too aware that it often feels like the odds are stacked against them – especially when it comes to competing with larger companies on Google. 

It’s something Google rarely addresses outright, but it seems clear that big companies have several advantages which can make it hard to compete. This is why one person decided to ask Google’s John Mueller about the situation during a recent Office Hours hangout chat with Google Search Advocate.

As Mueller acknowledges, Google is well aware that big brands often receive natural competitive advantages. But, he also had some advice for smaller brands trying to rank against massive brands – big sites face their own unique problems and limitations which can give you a chance to get the upper hand.

John Mueller’s Advice For Small Companies On Google

The original question posed to Mueller included two parts, but it was the second half that the Search Advocate decided to focus on. Specifically, he was asked:

“Do smaller organizations have a chance in competing with larger companies?”

From the outset, he says its a bit of a broader “philosophical” question, but he does his best to show how smaller companies have consistently been able to turn the tables against larger brands. For example, Mueller points to how many larger companies were so invested in using Macromedia Flash, they stuck with it long after it became clear it was not helping their SEO. Meanwhile, smaller sites often knew better and were able to use this against their competition.

“One of the things that I’ve noticed over time is that in the beginning, a lot of large companies were, essentially, incompetent with regards to the web and they made terrible websites.

And their visibility in the search results was really bad.

And it was easy for small websites to get in and kind of like say, well, here’s my small website or my small bookstore, and suddenly your content is visible to a large amount of users.

And you can have that success moment early on.

But over time, as large companies also see the value of search and of the web overall, they’ve grown their websites.

They have really competent teams, they work really hard on making a fantastic web experience.

And that kind of means for smaller companies that it’s a lot harder to gain a foothold there, especially if there is a very competitive existing market out there.

And it’s less about large companies or small companies.

It’s really more about the competitive environment in general.”

While it is true that it can seem very difficult to compete with the seemingly unlimited resources of bigger brands, history has shown time and time again that bigger brands face their own challenges. 

As Mueller concludes:

“As a small company, you should probably focus more on your strengths and the weaknesses of the competitors and try to find an angle where you can shine, where other people don’t have the ability to shine as well.

Which could be specific kinds of content, or specific audiences or anything along those lines.

Kind of like how you would do that with a normal, physical business as well.”

In the end, big brands competing are much like David facing down Goliath; if they know how to use their strengths and talents to their advantage they can overcome seemingly unbeatable challengers.

You can watch Mueller’s answer in the video below, starting around 38:14.

YouTube is previewing its latest upcoming features for users, creators, and brands in a new blog post shared by the company’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan.

While Mohan was light with actual details – likely because these features are still in development – the post teases new shopping features, ways to share content, and more coming to YouTube this year.

New Ways To Shop On YouTube

YouTube is preparing to double down on its shopping features with a dedicated section and a number of new partnerships and features. 

For example, Mohan says the team is currently working on making videos across the platform more shoppable through user-created tags in existing content. 

YouTube Shopping Preview

The company is also testing Live Shopping, which mixes the experience of the Home Shopping Network with a livestream hangout. For an idea of what to expect when this goes live, Mohan suggests looking to the weeklong Holiday Stream and Shop event hosted on the platform last November. 

Updates to YouTube Shorts

Unsurprisingly, Mohan says the company is planning to focus on expanding its popular Shorts format. Following the smash success of TikTok in 2021, social networks are rushing to establish their own versions of the short-video format. 

YouTube is working to improve its own take on the format with new effects, improved editing tools, better viewer engagement features, and even monetization options. The monetization features mentioned range from implementing BrandConnect with Shorts, expanding the Super Chat feature so users can stand out on live chats, and adding the ability to shop products directly from a Short.

Other Updates

Mohan also hinted at a number of other features and improvements coming to YouTube this year. 

For creators, the blog post says that new insights are coming which will help not only understand your current videos’ performance on the platform but also help “generate concrete content ideas for upcoming videos.”

Channels will soon also be able to establish their own guidelines for community interaction, letting creators set the tone for the conversations occurring on their channel.

Meanwhile, brands may be excited to try out Collaborate Livestreaming, which allows multiple creators or partners to go live together – rather than hosting independent streams on their own channels. 

More To Come

The blog post is just a taste of the many features and updates YouTube is working on and anything previewed by Neal Mohan today could change significantly before they reach the public.

Still, these features give a clear idea of the company’s priorities for the upcoming year, including how it plans to address the continued growth of TikTok.  

With new data showing that LinkedIn’s virtual events are experiencing a massive surge in participation lately, the company announced it is testing a new feature for audio-only live events. 

In the recent announcement, LinkedIn revealed that attendance for virtual events on the platform is up more than 230% year-over-year. At the same time, the platform says it also saw 150% more events created year-over-year.

Obviously, a major contributor to the popularity of these events is the ongoing Covid pandemic, which has seen in-person events limited or entirely canceled over the past year and a half.

As this continues to be a problem around the world, the company believes expanding its services to include audio-only events will draw even more users to LinkedIn live events.

As the announcement says:

“This month, we’re taking a big step forward and building on the success of LinkedIn Live broadcasts by launching an entirely new interactive events experience that allows our members to more actively participate in the conversation.

Being an active part of the conversation at an event can help you make new connections, bolster your professional brand and inspire peers. In our new experience, you can participate in the live conversation by raising your hand and joining the speakers, “on stage” to help direct and add to the discussion.”

Since audio-only live events are still in the testing phase, LinkedIn says only a small group of users will be able to host these events when they first roll out. However, anyone will be able to sign up, listen, and participate in these events.

Once the company is satisfied with testing the service over the next few months, the company says it plans to expand the ability to host events to more users, though an exact date when to expect this was not available.

Step aside Google, there’s a new top domain around the world according to the annual rankings of most popular domains globally from Cloudflare. For 2021, TikTok is the top site based on internet traffic.

The full list of the most popular domains in 2021 is:

  1. TikTok.com
  2. Google.com
  3. Facebook.com
  4. Microsoft.com
  5. Apple.com
  6. Amazon.com
  7. Netflix.com
  8. YouTube.com
  9. Twitter.com
  10. WhatsApp.com

This is a big jump from 2020, when the newly popular social network ranked in just 7th place overall, while Google (which includes the variety of services under the Google umbrella, such as Maps and News) seemed safely in the top position. 

Cloudflare’s Year in Review report details TikTok’s rise to dominance over the course of the year:

“It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day. Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days. There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26).”

What Does This Mean?

To be clear, this is only based on traffic. This does not necessarily mean that TikTok is now the biggest social media platform around the world, let alone the site with the most users.

When looking at the number of distinct users on each platform, most estimates still place the upstart platform behind both Facebook and Instagram – let alone Google.

It is quite clear, though, that TikTok is quickly growing into a force to be reckoned with online. If it isn’t already on your map for your marketing plans in 2022, perhaps this report will cause you to reconsider.

Read the full Cloudflare Year in Review report, which includes stats on the top social networks, e-commerce sites, and streaming sites from the past year, here.