Taking a page from Facebook’s enormously successful Events feature, the ubiquitous pocket oracle is beefing up Google Search as an events concierge.
Now that our smartphones are in common use as personal assistants we’ve become accustomed to reaching for them to find upcoming entertainment and events, especially as weekends approach.
Most entertainment venues have long ago caught on to the usefulness and reach Facebook started providing a couple of years ago to its Events feature. Post an event and the people will come. It has become so successful Facebook created its own stand-alone Events app.
“Hear about an amazing event but can’t remember where to buy the tickets? Have trouble finding the right activity to do with your sister who has two toddlers? Looking for something fun to do nearby tonight? Now Google can help,” explains everyone’s favorite mobile search tool.
Google is drawing events posted in popular ticket apps and other sources to provide in search results what looks like a pretty complete list of events in any given location across the U.S. It may even be more complete than any Facebook compilation because the Facebook algorithms tend to show you most frequently events at venues in which you’ve previously expressed interest.
The new feature may also help spark ad sales to art galleries, movie houses, concert venues and sports events because it’s Google and that means, of course, ads pop up at the top of any search results page.
“To try it, type in a quick search like, (‘music in Asheville,’) or ‘art events this weekend‘ on your phone,” Google says. “With a single tap, you’ll see at-a-glance details about various options, like the event title, date and time, and location. You can tap ‘more events’ to see additional options. Once you find one that’s up your alley, tap it to find more details or buy tickets directly from the website.)
The mobile search results will even break down upcoming events by the day: tomorrow, this week, the weekend, next week. Searchers can also ask Google for “events near me” and get the list.
Concert halls and music venues, art galleries and owners of event spaces will want to read thoroughly Google’s developer guidelines to make sure events get listed in the right ways.
Facebook (finally) starts down-grading click bait
“We’re rolling out an update so people see fewer posts and ads in News Feed that link to these low-quality web page experiences,” explains FB. “Similar to the work we’re already doing to stop misinformation, this update will help reduce the economic incentives of financially-motivated spammers.”
Facebook promises the new policy for the News Feed will work like its effort to reduce spammy ads.
“We have had a policy in place since last year to prevent advertisers with low-quality web page experiences from advertising on our platform,” Facebook says. “Now, we are increasing enforcement on ads and also taking into account organic posts in News Feed.
“With this update, we reviewed hundreds of thousands of web pages linked to from Facebook to identify those that contain little substantive content and have a large number of disruptive, shocking or malicious ads,” FB continues. “We then used artificial intelligence to understand whether new web pages shared on Facebook have similar characteristics. So if we determine a post might link to these types of low-quality web pages, it may show up lower in people’s feeds and may not be eligible to be an ad. This way people can see fewer misleading posts and more informative posts.”
Facebook says the update will take several months to roll out completely and promises the owners of legitimate websites may actually see traffic increase from the social platform giant – assuming they use it correctly.