China scrutinises PPC Baidu ads
China’s largest search engine is under scrutiny from authorities over the way it presents paid search results following the death of university student Wei Zexi, who died after trying a bogus cancer treatment advertised on the site. Chinese advertising regulations reportedly don’t currently include search results, and the case has sparked concern that the government isn’t doing enough to make sure consumers know they are being served ads through search results. Baidu controls more than 70% of the Chinese search market, serving roughly 600 million monthly users.
Google goes black
Google is no stranger to experimenting with how it displays search results and ads, playing with fonts, sizes, and layouts on a pretty frequent basis. It might have gone too far this time though, as some users are reporting that the search engine’s iconic blue links have gone black, and they’re not happy. People have seen the black links on both mobile and desktop, but either way they’re not impressed, and we can’t blame them – it makes the links stand out much less, and the page a lot drearier. Don’t expect this change to stick around for long.
Son of Siri
The engineers behind the original development of Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, have unveiled their next-generation version, Viv. They proved the concept by using Viv to order pizza, without ever needing to search on Google, make a phone call, or even open an app. The company has already had buyout offers from Google and Facebook, but after selling Siri to Apple in 2010, creators Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer are biding their time to continue development, in the hopes that Viv will be more than just a chatbot or an assistant – it will revolutionise mobile commerce, posing a threat to both Google and dedicated commerce apps.