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theEweekly Wrap

Panda update due – Apple apps milestone – Facebook couples

Google Panda update due

Google has said this week that it will be updating its Panda algorithm at some time in the next seven to ten days, after the search engine was forced to deny reports that a refresh had occurred at the weekend.

Users became worried when they witnessed big drops in rankings, with many suggesting a Panda update was the reason. Google immediately refuted this, although it declined to say what had happened to cause the shift and would only release a vague, general statement when questioned by search news sites.

This only added to the speculation, with users circulating new rumours of Penguin or page layout updates. The gossip became so persistent that in the end Google did eventually indicate that while there had been no Panda update at the weekend, one was being planned imminently. This move will mark the 22nd version of Panda since it was released in February 2011 to combat low-quality sites.

Panda #1 affected 11.8 per cent of English language queries, prompting many site owners to completely reassess how they approached SEO. Since then, there have been regular updates to the algorithm which have usually affected around one per cent of queries.

The most recent Panda update was released on 5 November and influenced 0.4 per cent of English language queries, while the Penguin algorithm enjoyed a 'data refresh' last month.

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Apple approves one millionth app

Apple has passed one million approved apps since the launch of its App Store in 2008.

It is thought that nearly half of these were paid apps, while around 158,000 were games and the rest were free apps.

Apple has made no official mention of this landmark, reportedly because this figure is not related to how many apps are actually live and available today. Many have since been removed voluntarily or taken down by Apple for violating copyright notices.

The number does not include apps that were submitted and rejected, nor does it cover Mac apps, instead focusing only on iOS.

Currently, App Store has around 736,000 apps available, with the split between paid, free and game downloads roughly the same as that for approved titles. Around 45 per cent are paid, 39 per cent are free and 16 per cent are games.

In March, Apple revealed the most popular apps as it celebrated achieving 25 billion downloads. Games dominated the paid chart, with various versions of Angry Birds making the top ten. Other popular games such as Fruit Ninja (said to be a favourite of David Cameron), Scrabble and Words With Friends also featured, while Facebook was the most popular free iPhone app.

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Facebook couples pages receive negative response

Facebook users have widely derided a new initiative from the social network that sees couples given their own page dedicated to their relationship.

Those who are listed on their profile as 'in a relationship' or 'married' have had their details merged to create a combined page featuring photos of the pair together and a timeline of all their status updates between each other.

However, the change has not gone down well with users, some of whom have branded the pages "creepy", "intrusive" and "smug".

Strength of opinion regarding the page content is varied, with some pointing out that a similar feature was already in place for 'friendships', and others suggesting it could prove upsetting for single users to see constant reminders of their friends' relationship happiness.

However, what all seem to agree on is that Facebook should have asked before using people's information in this way. A similar issue was raised last week after Facebook was challenged on privacy by an Austrian student.

As it stands, the profiles are created automatically, meaning you need to update your privacy settings if you don't want others to see your couple page. It has also been suggested that the only way to truly rid yourself of the page is to 'break up' with your partner, albeit only in a Facebook context.

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Written by James Riches

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