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Content Aware media news: February 8, 2024

Exit Bard, enter Gemini. Exit ad clicks, enter ad clicks! And folding phones are back in vogue.

Published: 10:30, 09 February 2024
Goodbye Google Bard hello Gemini

Those with memory may remember recurring Little Britain TV comedy character Kenny Craig, the unprincipled hypnotist whose main power of persuasion was insistence not mesmerism. You do remember, I can assure you.

If I bumped into a hypnotist this week, I can't tell, but I really do miss Google Bard now that it’s gone. However, I am very excited to introduce Google Gemini, which is not at all Google Bard with a fresh coat of paint and an eye on the Alphabet share price.

So excited, that for amusement I asked jaded AI reporter Chad G. Petey what the change was all about. Initially coy, after some prompting it he suggested it was cynical, marketing over substance, done to reset public perception, revealed no change to underlying technology, and was an attempt to reclaim the AI conversation. Phew, say what you think Chad!

Old being new is a bit of a theme this week in Content Aware, touched upon in a couple of areas in addition to old Bard being new Gemini.

One positive example is the very traditional-looking ad deal done by UK publisher Reach PLC with retailer Amazon, which looks very like a good old-fashioned publisher/partner deal, as Glide Content whizz Rob Corbidge put it, done in specific response to the apparent tidal wave of revenue away from publishers to ad platforms.Another involves Apple sizing up the glitter dispenser to convince us something it laughed at years ago is now cutting edge chic again.

Anyway, on with the weekly media industry trumpet that makes every Thursday feel like Friday!

Corbidge comments... on a publisher/tech deal that sounds familiar
UK news giant Reach signs a good old-fashioned commercial deal with a major retailer, aka tech giant Amazon. Does this herald a wresting of power away from ad exchanges and search firms back towards old-style ad deals that favour both sides equally? Our secret shopper Rob looks for the value to ad-supported media.

AI's stolen content: lodge your views
Privacy pressures build for OpenAI/ChatGPT: last week data regulators in Italy mirrored colleagues in Poland  by raising concerns over the AI firm's use of personal data. Meanwhile the UK Information Commissioner's Office is currently mid-consultation and calling for evidence relevant to the legality of scraping websites for training data. Got something to add to the discussion? You have slightly over three weeks before the March 1 deadline to get your view in.

And the roboband played on
AI firms using publisher content to toddle off and become their own publishing house is far from the only content theft game under legal scrutiny. Here is an interesting view from within the music industry, which is singing the same song but to a mildly different autotune.

Other comments invited
Echoing the regulatory investigations into AI, the ad industry's tech standards body IAB Tech Lab has released an explosive 106-page report into the possible impact of Google's Privacy Sandbox initiative, its answer to the end of third-party cookies. Critics say Privacy Sandbox merely seems to whiten the knuckles of Google's grip around the throat of advertising. The report itself is here (PDF). a summary of it is here. IAB too is seeking contributions from industry to help formulate a future official position, to be submitted by March 22nd by email. Get your insight into the mix.

Eye spy a beady eye
We and others have spoken before of the Federal Trade Commission's itchiness to start getting into the faces of tech firms and platforms. Here's a good summary of one that's been less reported, the suit against data brokers Kochava and insight into the things it might know about you and turn into something saleable. Did you go to church today? Or a pub? Kochava might know better than anyone but you.

Get the best from your big day
SEO gurus Newzdash have published a really handy playbook on prepping for and maxxing traffic from big events your sites cover: Elections, Coronations, Oscars, premieres, launches, sports, reports, and the like. It's tragic to mob-hand a big event with reporters and resource, and miss out on reach because you didn't suitably prep the SEO landscape. One of the elements covered is Live Blogging, a tenuous enough excuse for our commercial team to threaten me with tepid tea for a week if I fail to mention that Glide has an in-built collaborative Live Blog CMS as a standard feature and already powers many Live Reports you may read.

Google news wobble mapped
The weird Google indexing issue which stopped the clocks for many news sites over the last week is, according to Google this morning, now solved. No word on what decision or error caused it. Trisolute has had a look to see where it impacted most: it's less about geography, and more about sector.

Google talks, wants you to hearIndustry title Press Gazette has turned its coverage of media and publishing into appointment reading, combining the drive of a superb editor with the insight of an excellent team of writers and reporters. In recent weeks and months, it has been sounding the alarm over shattered SEO plans and traffic graphs, as Google appeared to lose its marbles over search traffic and publisher sites. So it's telling that Google has chosen the site to try to reshape the conversation about its relationship with media and publishing: it is trying to talk directly to us.

Apple's old clothes act
At Glide we're trend-bucking fans of grey-haired devices such as phones with actual keyboards and audio jacks and suchlike (one of us even owns a car with a turbo), so not feeling the buzz around Apple's latest idea to radically reinvent the mobile phone by making it fold in half is par for the course. However, we do raise a wary eye on behalf of the countless developers and designers building your apps. Apple screen sizes and ratios are so well known that their numbers are burned into app team retinas. What would a mooted two-screen folding iPh-one look like, and what changes would be demanded to retain placement in the App Store shop window? Jesting aside, it's budget to allocate towards reshaping your apps. Next week: the Apple "Cassette Tape".

Those three little words
Brace yourself: Google Algorithm Update. There's a new one rolling out today.

Read this on Substack.

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