In this month's roundup, we discuss Google's plans to re-enter China's internet market, the changes and challenges that voice innovation is bringing to search marketing, and WhatsApp's new pay-to-use advertising app.
Google to re-enter the world’s largest internet market
For years tech giants have been attempting to enter China’s internet market. Reports are now emerging that Google plans on launching a ‘censored’ search engine there that will block websites and search terms regarding democracy, religion, human rights and peaceful protest. This is following its ban in China in 2010 for refusing to comply to the government’s censorship regulations.
The proposed agreement – codenamed ‘dragonfly’ - would see Google rolling out its censored search engine via an android app. This would automatically identify and filter websites blocked by China’s ‘Great Firewall’, the government’s tool to monitor and censor the use of the internet by Chinese citizens.
However, it must be noted that Google hasn’t yet addressed these reports and has refused to comment on the matter. Many human rights groups have criticised Google, urging them not to be complicit with the human rights violations of millions of internet users in the country.
Could Voice Assistance bring an end to regional accents?
A study conducted by the Life Science Centre in Newcastle asked 536 visitors about their struggles with technology. It found that 79% of people with a regional accent said they had to alter how they spoke in order to communicate with their devices.
The concern this brings is that the use of voice assistants could suppress regional accents entirely if users permanently altered their behaviour to communicate with them.
WhatsApp to launch a pay-to-use app for advertisers
It’s been reported that the messaging service WhatsApp has plans to introduce ads, powered by Facebook’s advertising system, to allow brands to reply to users who contact them and send notifications such as shipping confirmations, event tickets and appointment reminders.
This move comes following the launch of the WhatsApp Business app in January.
The advertising fees will account for the first revenue of any kind that WhatsApp has generated since the platform abolished its £0.99/$1 subscription fee in 2016. The service could actually be more expensive than standard SMS messages, with fees being based on confirmed delivery, upon which advertisers will pay between 0.3p to 7p (0.5 cents to 9 cents), dependant on what country the user is based in.
Facebook has recently said it was already using the platform with brands such as Uber, Wish and Singapore Airlines.
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