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Local Memo: OpenAI Launches GPT-4 Turbo, Custom Agents


In this week’s post, learn about several new updates from OpenAI; the launch of Google’s SGE in 120 countries; new GBP features for hotels and gyms; a severe penalty for suspected review fraud; the November reviews update; and Google’s vision for a post-cookie future.


OpenAI Launches GPT-4 Turbo, Custom Agents


OpenAI made several significant announcements at its DevDay event on November 6, including:


  • The launch of GPT-4 Turbo, the company’s latest iteration of the large language model that powers ChatGPT. The new version will be more powerful, less expensive to use via API, and able to ingest 128K worth of prompt content.


  • A new Assistants API that will allow developers to build custom chatbot agents, called assistants, for specialized purposes.


  • A no-code interface that allows users to build their own custom agents, called GPTs, as well as a GPT Store, launching later this month, where users can browse and try out GPTs built by others. 


  • An “All Tools” mode in ChatGPT Plus whereby the chatbot can use the web browsing, image generation, and analytics plugins concurrently. Previously, only one plugin could be used at a time.


  • Further moves toward multimodality, including text-to-speech capability with six preset voices.



Some of the new agents or “GPTs” now available in the ChatGPT interface


Some of the new agents or “GPTs” now available in the ChatGPT interface


Google Launches SGE Experiment in 120 Countries


Google has launched its Search Generative Experience (SGE) experimental search interface in 120 countries and territories, the “largest international expansion yet” for the tool according to a company statement. Previously, SGE was available in the U.S., India, and Japan. SGE will also now support four new languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and Indonesian. An updated SGE interface will permit users to ask followup questions directly from the AI result window, rather than starting on a new screen. 


Google Business Profiles Adds Activities Section for Hotels, Attributes for Gyms


Some Google hotel listings are showing a new Activities section where users can specify activities offered by the hotel, such as bicycle tours. For listings where the feature is enabled, a new Activities button appears in the NMX interface, launching a window where details can be specified such as the name of the activity, the price, the visitor type (such as adults or children), a booking URL, and special features such as mobile tickets or free cancellation. 


Gyms are also seeing some changes in their Google listings, with a new set of attributes that resemble the level of detail in hotel listings. New options in a section called Amenities include “Has basketball court,” “Has gender-neutral restroom,” “Has a tennis court,” and several others. 


A list of new attributes on Google Business Profile for gyms


New GBP attributes for gyms


Google Turning New Reviews Off for Restricted Accounts


Users of Sterling Sky’s Local Search Forum, particularly those in the UK, are reporting a new action taken against listings that are said to be in violation of Google’s fake engagement policy. Listing owners are receiving email notifications from Google, stating that due to policy violations, the listing will be unable to receive new ratings and reviews for 30 days. Users are given the option to appeal the decision.


At least one user reported that the notification from Google did not specify which listing was in violation, and in further correspondence, a Google rep stated that they were unable to provide that information. Those reporting the issue claim that none of the affected businesses were engaged in any suspicious review activity.


Notification from Google of policy violation


Notification from Google of policy violation, courtesy Local Search Forum


New Reviews Algorithm Update Rolling Out


Google announced the launch of the November 2023 Reviews Update on November 8. This algorithm update, according to the company, is the last reviews update that will be officially announced. In the future, the Google system that promotes high-quality reviews will be updated and improved on an ongoing basis. The November update is designed to reward sites that publish high-quality reviews of “products, services, destinations, games, movies, or other topics,” according to Barry Schwartz. Local business reviews are not impacted by the update.


How Google Will Target Ads Post-Cookie


As we’ve previously reported, Google will finally remove Chrome support for third-party tracking cookies in 2024, in a phased rollback beginning in January and concluding sometime in Q3. Now the company is communicating its vision for how advertising will operate in a post-cookie world.


Previously, third-party cookies allowed advertisers to track users and serve them ads as they visited various websites. Google is now encouraging advertisers to make greater use of first-party data, to utilize new technologies that allow for targeting while protecting user privacy, and to use AI to improve targeting with less reliance on specific user data. 


Google says that its research shows 89% of internet users will place greater trust in brands that utilize technologies to protect their privacy.

Damian Rollison

With over a decade of local search experience, Damian Rollison, SOCI's Director of Market Insights, has focused his career on discovering innovative ways to help businesses large and small get noticed online. Damian's columns appear frequently at Street Fight, Search Engine Land, and other publications, and he is a frequent speaker at industry conferences such as Localogy, Brand Innovators, State of Search, SMX, and more.

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