Google overhaul

The tech giant has overhauled its famous search to show more pictures, videos and context.

Google has rolled out a host of updates to its search product. The updates are designed to make visual information more useful as pictures and video become more central to the Internet experience.

The new features showing up in searches include introductory videos about public figures, topic videos to help users plan trips or learn about new subjects, and an overhaul of its ranking system for displaying image-based searches, offering users more context and easier ways to shop online.

Businesses can leverage these changes to their benefit by integrating photos, videos, online reviews and more into Google’s “My Business” page.

Posting through Google My Business lets you publish your events, products and services directly to Google Search and Maps. By creating posts, you can place your timely text, video or photo content in front of customers when they find your business listing on Google.

Your business profile appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. Creating a Google My Business (google.com/business) page is free and you can update your Business Profile with it so you can stand out and bring customers in.

Once you set it up, you can learn how customers are interacting with your Business Profile. How did people find you? Where are they coming from? It’s similar to Google Analytics, but tailored to your specific business. It’s also designed to be much less overwhelming. While many data scientists are devoted to analytics’ ability to handle any deep dive, the sheer amount of variables involved is enough to frustrate those without a statistics degree.

Google My Business also gives you the tools to build a website for your company, for free, in less than 10 minutes. The free website builder makes it easy to create and edit your site from your computer and phone. Google handles the optimization, ensuring your new site will look great on any screen, from desktops to tablets and phones. By doing it Google’s way, you might be losing a bit of your own autonomy, but the tradeoff might be worth it. All of the sites set up through Google My Business are designed to drive customer actions, using Google’s other services, like Maps to help people find you, and AdWords, Google’s online advertising platform that aims to turn searches into sales.

Matt is managing editor of sister publication Nursery Management.

Apple merging iPhone, iPad and Mac apps

Users should be able to access the same apps on all three devices by 2021.

Apple is engaging in an effort to combine applications on iPhones, Macs and iPads by 2021, writes Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.

The project, which has the code name “Marzipan,” could create more software options and increase customer use of Apple products, Gurman writes.

When Apple first announced that it wanted to help developers make iPhone apps available on Macs in June 2018, Wired’s Lauren Goode deemed it the most recent move in tech companies’ shift toward “Frankensoftware.”

Other examples of this streamlining came in the form of Google making Android apps available on Chromebooks in 2016, and making Linux apps available on Chrome OS in May 2018, Goode wrote.

The rollout of “Frankensoftware” can involve some growing pains, Goode wrote, notably windows opening at the wrong size and multiple processes not feeling natural for the user.

“But these software experiments also hold the promise of being able to use the apps or input methods you want, whenever you want to use them,” she added.

Apple plans to allow software developers to convert iPad apps to Macs in 2019, and iPhone apps to Macs in 2020, Gurman writes. Also in 2020, developers will have the option of combining apps for all three device types into single apps. However, this timeline is subject to change, Gurman adds.

“Despite the app merger plan, Apple has said it won’t combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system,” Gurman writes.