Mobile search, WhatsApp, same-day click-and-collect, digital currency and autonomous cars.

It’s just another week jam-packed with digital news.

Commence your catch-up…

Google announces changes to mobile search

Google is removing the ‘mobile friendly’ label from mobile search results in order to declutter the page.

The search company said that 85% of pages now comply with mobile-friendly criteria, chiefly, no need to zoom in to read text and links far enough apart to be easily tapped.

Google also announced that as of January 2017, interstitials that obscure mobile pages will be a factor that negatively impacts ranking.

Exceptions include login dialogues, legal messages (e.g. cookies) and smaller banners (e.g. subtly promoting app download). 

google interstitials advice

WhatsApp adverts are coming

WhatsApp has updated its terms and privacy policy, with two headline announcements.

Firstly, WhatsApp will be sharing phone numbers with Facebook, unless users opt out. This will be used to improve friend suggestions and ads on Facebook.

Secondly, WhatsApp is to allow businesses to message its users.

This is intially intended to be used for informational messages (often sent by SMS), such as notifications about flights, but will eventually include marketing messages.

BuzzFeed restructures 

BuzzFeed has split into BuzzFeed News and the newly-created BuzzFeed Entertainment Group (BFEG).

Press coverage has made much of the fact that the restructure is intended to enable the prioritisation of video (where BuzzFeed makes money via Facebook ads), without compromising news.

Mashable is one publisher that has previously laid off news team staff to make way for more video.

buzzfeed news

Tesco offers same-day click-and-collect groceries

Tesco is offering the service at 261 stores in the UK, charging £2 Monday to Thursday and £3 for Friday and Saturday.

Customers will be required to place orders before 1pm and collect after 4pm.

Introducing Amazon Vehicles

August 25, Amazon launched Amazon Vehicles, ‘a car research destination and automotive community that makes it easy for customers to get the information they need when shopping for vehicles, parts, and accessories’.

Customers won’t be able to buy cars directly through the service, but it will enable them to:

  • Research.
  • Read and post reviews, including photos and video.
  • Add information about their current car to receive recommendations.

Amazon already had an automotive category, but this goes one step further. Go check it out.

amazon vehicles

nuTonomy becomes first to offer autonomous taxi rides

In last week’s news roundup, we reported that Uber’s surprise announcement of an autonomous vehicle trial in Pittsburgh would see it become the world’s first.

But nuTonomy, founded by two MIT researchers, has jumped ahead in Singapore, having already offered such a service this week.


WPP has bumper six months, remains cautious

Despite very good global results over the past six months, Martin Sorrell (headlining this year’s Festival of Marketing) warned that uncertainty around article 50 and the triggering of Brexit is going to affect the ad business.

Headline profits were up 10% to £769m, with global revenue of £6.5bn in the six months to the end of June (partly explained by ad spend over a big sporting summer and the US election).

Business slowed in the second quarter in the UK, a wobble that preceded the Brexit vote.

Amazon planning more click-and-collect groceries

Last year it was revealed Amazon was planning to open a click-and-collect warehouse for groceries in Sunnyvale, now plans are also afoot in San Carlos.

With Amazon Fresh continuing to expand, it seems the company is intent on providing quick, timed fulfillment in any way it can, creating convenience for customers.

Uber launches Scheduled Rides 

The service allows one to book an Uber up to a month in advance. A soft launch in the US has been followed by a rollout to business users in London yesterday.

All Uber users will get access to the feature over the coming months.

UBS creates digital currency

UBS has developed a digital currency using blockchain technology and four banks have jumped aboard.

Deutsche Bank, Santander, BNY Mellon and ICAP have all joined the development of the so-called Utility Coin.

It’s thought that the currency’s use in security and currency trading will lead to cost savings and improved security.