Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Google said Thursday it will start making "page experience," or how user-friendly a web page is, a ranking factor in Google Search, as well as in the "Top Stories" feature in mobile Search. Factors like load time and interactivity will be included in the evaluation.

Why it matters: It's part of a long list of actions Google has taken to force web publishers to deliver better experiences for users. For example, Google has in the past banned traffic to publishers with annoying pop-up ads.

Details: The company is also removing the requirement that a publisher needs to use its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) infrastructure to be eligible as a featured top story in Search.

  • Google used to require that publishers use AMP in order to ensure that top results had a great user experience, but the company now says that its "Top Stories" feature will be open to any page.
  • For publishers that currently publish pages as AMP, or with an AMP version, Google said they will see no change in behavior and that the AMP version will be the one linked from "Top Stories."

What's next: Google said that because of the pandemic, these changes will be implemented slowly and that there is no need for web publishers to take immediate action.

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Google cracks down on deceptive ads ahead of election

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Google is updating its ads policies to prohibit domestic advertisers that use spammy tactics to conceal their identities and to ban international advertisers that use ads to promote illegally hacked or obtained political material — like stolen campaign emails.

Why it matters: Google alludes to the crackdowns in its existing ads policy, but the company is stating them more explicitly in an effort to rein in political and election misinformation ahead of the election.

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Big Tech's take grows as economy tanks

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The big picture: Thursday morning, government economists reported a 30% drop in GDP for the second quarter — the largest decline, by far, since the numbers have been reported.

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Alphabet sees first-ever revenue decline

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Alphabet revenue dropped 2% from last year, the company announced in second-quarter earnings Thursday, beating Wall Street expectations a day after Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee to face allegations of anticompetitive behavior.

Yes, but: Despite beating expectations on revenue, the company still reported its first-ever decline, thanks to a reduction in the advertising growth rate thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Stock rose slightly in after-hours trading.