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Rebecca Jenkins

Rebecca Jenkins

With numerous high profile security breaches and hacks in the news, privacy and security are at top of mind for many. It's not just about emails either, all of your data is at risk including photos, text messages, files, and browser history. It's more important than ever to keep your personal data safe from would-be hackers and prying eyes. With many of us managing our lives via smartphone, that one device holds a lot of power and it's essential to stay on top of mobile security.

Here are mobile apps you should consider downloading in order to keep your communication, financial data, and other private information safe and secure. As always, it's important that you download these apps from a reputable source. I've linked to the Google Play Store below and included the company name so you can be confident that you're downloading the correct app if you choose another app store.

 

Messaging and Email

For the utmost security when texting and emailing, end-to-end encryption is key. This means that only the message sender and receiver can read the messages; not even the messaging company itself can decrypt them. With end-to-end encryption, you don't have to worry about private messages getting forwarded to other parties or law enforcement getting access to your data by subpoena. Your device is still susceptible to hack or theft though, so it's important to take other precautions such as installing a VPN (see the next section), keeping a close eye on your belongings, and using the Android Device Manager to track or brick your phone in case of loss or theft.

Signal Private Messenger by Open Whisper Systems

Signal Private Messenger was endorsed on Twitter by none other than Edward Snowden, which isn't a surprise considering it's a free app with no ads that uses end-to-end encryption to keep your personal messages and voice chats private. It doesn't even require an account; you can activate the app via text message.

Once you're set up, you can import the messages stored on your phone into the app. You can also use Signal to send unencrypted messages to non-Signal users, this way you don't have to toggle between apps. Likewise, you can make encrypted and unencrypted voice calls from Signal. Keep in mind that texts and calls made using Signal use data, so be mindful of your data limits and use Wi-Fi (with a VPN; see below) when possible.

Telegram by Telegram Messenger LLP

Telegram works similarly to Signal, but offers some extra features including stickers and GIFs. Like Signal, there are no ads in the apps and it's completely free. It differs in that you can use Telegram on multiple devices (though only one phone) and you can't send messages to non-Telegram users. All messages on Telegram are encrypted, but you can choose between messages that are stored in the cloud and those that are accessible only on the device that sent or received the messages. The latter is called Secret Chats, which can also be programmed to self-destruct.

Wickr Me – Secure Messenger by Wickr

Finally, Wickr Me also offers end-to-end encrypted text, video, and picture messaging, as well as voice chat. It also has a shredder feature that permanently removes all deleted messages, images, and video from your device.

Like Signal and Telegram, Wickr Me is free of cost and ads. Like Telegram, it also has stickers, as well as graffiti and photo filters.

ProtonMail – Encrypted Email by ProtonMail

An email service based in Switzerland, ProtonMail requires two passwords, one to log into your account and the other to encrypt and decrypt your messages. Encrypted data is stored on the company's servers, which are housed under 1,000 meters of granite rock in a bunker in Switzerland. The free version of ProtonMail includes 500 MB of storage and 150 messages per day. The ProtonPlus plan ($5/month or $48/year) bumps up the storage to 5 GB, and the message allotment to 300 per hour and 1000 per day while the ProtonMail Visionary plan ($30/month or $288/year) offers 20 GB of storage and unlimited messages.

Browsers and VPN

DuckDuckGo Search & Stories by DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a search engine with a mascot and a twist: it doesn't track your search activity or target ads to you based on your personal data. The downside to the search engine not collecting information about you is that the search results aren't as tailored as Google's. It comes down to customization versus privacy.

You can also enable Tor, a private browser, within DuckDuckgo. Tor protects your privacy by preventing websites from identifying your location and individuals from tracking the website you visit. However, you'll need an accompanying app, such as OrBot: Proxy with Tor by The Tor Project, to encrypt your Internet traffic.

Ghostery Privacy Browser by Ghostery

Ever notice something you searched for, such as a pair of sneakers, show up as an ad on another website? Ghostery helps you minimize access to your data by ad trackers and other tools. You can view all of the trackers on a website and block any with which you're not comfortable. It also lets you easily clear your cookies and cache and you can choose between eight different search engines including the aforementioned DuckDuckGo.

 

Avira Phantom VPN by AVIRA and NordVPN by NordVPN

If you use Wi-Fi often to save on data consumption, your security may be at risk. Open Wi-Fi connections, such as those offered at coffee shops and public places are vulnerable to hackers who can tunnel in and capture your private information. A Virtual Private Connection (VPN), such as Avira Phantom VPN and NordVPN, encrypts your connection and your location to keep snoops out. Both also enable you to choose a location so you can view content that's regionally restricted, such as a sporting event or TV show. Avira Phantom VPN offers up to 500 MB of data monthly and ups that to 1 GB if you register; you can get unlimited data for $10 per month. NordVPN is a paid app with unlimited data. There are three plan options: $11.95 for one month; $7 per month for six months; or $5.75 per month for one year. It offers a 30-day money back guarantee.

Adblock Browser for Android by Eyeo GmbH

While ads help many websites and apps pay the bills, they're often intrusive, covering over something you're trying to read or generally getting in the way of a good user experience. This can be especially frustrating on a smaller screen. Worse, some ads contain tracking or even malware. As with its desktop counterpart, you can choose to block all ads and whitelist sites you'd like to support.

Phone Calls

Hushed Anonymous Phone Number by AffinityClick Inc.

Is there anything more annoying than persistent calls from telemarketers? Unwanted calls can verge on harassment. The Hushed app lets you create disposable numbers anytime you're not comfortable sharing your digits; it's like having burner phones without having to buy an actual burner phone. It will also block your number from displaying on Caller ID. Hushed is a great tool to have when buying or selling things online, dating or any interactions with strangers, or when you sign up for a website that requires a phone number. Hushed is free for the first few days, after which you can sign up for a paid plan and either pay by the minute or opt for an unlimited plan.

Silent Phone – private calls by Silent Circle, Inc.

We've talked about encrypting your text messages, emails, and voice chats, but if you actually use your phone as a phone, you'll want to do the same for your calls. Silent Phone not only encrypts your phone calls, but it also offers secure file sharing and has a self-destruct feature for text messages. Unlimited calls and messaging are included in the $9.95 per month subscription.

 

Files and Apps

SpiderOakONE by SpiderOak, Inc.

Cloud storage is a huge convenience, but as with everything online, susceptible to hacks. SpiderOakONE touts itself as 100 percent zero knowledge, which means that your data is readable only by you. Other cloud storage services can read your data, which means if there's a data breach, your information is compromised. Plans start at $5 per month for 100 GB and top out at $12 per month for 1 TB. The company offers a 21-day trial and doesn't require a credit card on file so you don't have to worry about unwanted charges if you forget to cancel.

AppLock by DoMobile Lab

When you pass your phone around to share pictures or let your child play a game on it, you've probably had that sinking feeling that they might see something on there that you don't want them to. Applock lets you keep would-be snoops out by letting you lock apps with a password, PIN, pattern, or fingerprint. This also adds a layer of security if your phone is lost or stolen and someone is able to unlock it. You can also lock images and videos from your gallery app. It uses a random keyboard and invisible pattern lock so you can avoid giving away your password or pattern. You can also prevent others from killing or uninstalling AppLock. Foiled again! Applock has a free option that's ad-supported or you can pay to get rid of ads.

Author : Molly McLaughlin

Source : https://www.lifewire.com/privacy-and-security-apps-for-android-4116583

The Deep Web is not The Dark Web. The Dark Web is the encrypted network that exists between Tor servers and their clients. The Deep Web is simply the content of databases and other web services that cannot be indexed by conventional search engines. You can only access 0.03% of the Internet via search engines; the rest is what makes up The Deep Web used mostly by pedophiles.

Cracked’s source, “Pam”, spent months undercover in an online community of child molesters, learning their lingo and studying their ways as part of an undergrad research project. She shares some of her horrifying experiences of visiting the dark side of the Internet …

 

#5. The Dark Web Has A Whole Pedophile “Community”

Child pornographers have their own Wikipedia, which is accessible through Tor, named “Hard Candy”. There is also a discussion forum called 3DBoys, which is full of erotic art; however, there isn’t any actual po*rn on 3DBoys. There is also a site called 7axxn, essentially the Mos Eisley Cantina for child pornographers. Since its membership was heavily restricted, the only way to get into 7axxn was to get an invitation from a current member and gaining their trust would require breaking the law. This whole “incriminate yourself to get inside” attitude was common among pedophiles of The Deep Web. Pam got lucky though; someone invited her on the third day and she was in. The further in she got, the more terrifying the implications of her research became.

#4. There Are “Child Lovers” And Then There Are “Child Molesters”

7axxn is a community of over 90,000 registered users, filled with gigabyte after gigabyte of child pornography. Most users are just there for the po*rn, but hundreds of them also contribute to a lively set of discussion forums. There are even polls, breaking down the popularity of things such as “Hurtcore”, which is the charming shorthand term for pornography featuring the violent physical abuse of children. Within the “community” there are people who are sexually assaulting victims who were incapable of giving consent (real rape), and those who are having ‘mutual’ sexual relationships with children (real se*x).

 

#3. It’s A Family Business

Pam found a moderator on 7axxn with the moniker sarahthecunt, who claims to have been molested by her dad as a young girl and enjoyed it so much that she grew up taking pride in her identity as a pedophile. She has three children that she and her husband are “bringing up pedo” (her husband is a member, too). This is another way of saying they rape their children and convince them that they’re enjoying it. She posts videos she and husband make; according to her, the kids are willing participants (obviously they can’t be). Here, in sarahthecunt’s own words, are the rules they set for their children:

#2. Child Molesters Have A Handbook

How does she manage to stay hidden from the eyes of the law for so long? Because people like her have a handbook that includes bits on argumentative justifications for pedophilia. Among other things, it advises buyers of child po*rn to do their business in Bitcoin and teaches readers “… how to have se*x with children, and hide it from a significant other”. The handbook also keys newbie pedophiles in on helpful hints such as using the shorthand acronym CP, instead of actually typing “child pornography”. Another term the community uses to avoid suspicion is “young friends”, which refers to the children they’ve either abused or wanted to abuse. The community further protects itself by carrying out all their communication anonymously on Tor and keeping vigilant moderators.

#1. They Are Very Good At Staying incognito

One day, Pam discovered a thread about the best way to drug children (one quote: “[Drug name removed] does wonders. Very mild and relaxes muscles too … Btw [removed] only make them tired and lethargic. Not a good choice for a light sleeper unless mixed with etoh (alcohol). Be careful.”). Disgustingly, those posts were right alongside those insisting that kids just love se*x.

Pam looked for any court admissible evidence, location data, ID information… but she found nothing. People in The Deep Web are very open about what they want to do to children, but also very careful about not mentioning where they are located. And the credit goes to Tor – that’s why it is next to impossible to stop the spread of child p*rn across the hidden reaches of the Internet.

Source : http://www.anonews.co/undercover-researcher-web/

Jared Grusd, the CEO of The Huffington Post, spoke at the Dublin Tech summit this week discussing the future of digital content and technology.

Appearing alongside former CNN anchor Gina London, Grusd discussed the development of HuffPo as a brand, how digital content creators develop, and the future of technology. Discussing the Huffington Post brand development, Grusd said, “I think one thing to think about is the human experience. All of us are people, but when you run a company or run product you start ascribing labels: audience, consumers, customers. And all of a sudden you start referring to actual living, breathing human beings in these generic terms, and the truth is all of us as people have multiple interests.”

“I can be serious and I can have fun; I can be funny, my wife says not enough, but my daughters think enough,” he elaborated. “I think it’s really important to have that balance, and one of the things that I think the best digital publishers have done over the past ten years has been to think about the way in which they publish content differently than historically.”

“What we’ve heard all day in many forms,” continued Grusd, “is the power of data, to understand your audiences, and I think the best publishers really look at the data of what their people, their audience, their consumers are actually doing on their properties and are learning from that, adapting from that. What you realize is that if you’re serious all the time, at some point it’s too much; if you’re funny all the time then you’re not serious, and so getting that blend is really part of the magic and math that’s required to be successful.”

When asked about the Huffington Post’s success, Grusd said, “I think in every era in the history of media there have been giant waves that have formed, and I think that like all good surfers you have to sort of understand the break, get your board, paddle, and surf it just at the right time. And to Arianna Huffington’s credit, who is the founder and obviously the namesake of the Huffington Post, what she realized is there were few trends that were all converging at the same time.”

“The first is that there was a huge change in media landscape that was really produced by Google, because Google search essentially opened up the Internet, the world wide web, to all of us to then go discover stuff and in that process of discovery, very sophisticated content producers could actually create content that Google’s algorithms and spiders would crawl to serve us that content,” he noted. “And one of the things that I think we did really well was create content that was very Google friendly.”

Author : LUCAS NOLAN

Source : http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/16/huffpo-ceo-google-search-essentially-opened-up-the-internet-for-digital-publishers/

If you’re reading this right now, it means you’re invested in search engine optimization.

Maybe you’ve been doing it for decades since Google was nascent. Or maybe you’re stumbling into SEJ for the first time as someone who’s brand new to SEO.

Either way, you’re here to learn how to use search engines to drive targeted traffic to your website and convert visitors into new customers, client, patients, readers, or loyal fans.

One of the hardest aspects of SEO is stay on top of all the updates Google announces, and especially the ones that it doesn’t.

Oh No

 

If you didn’t take a good hard look at your content before Panda came out, you might have felt the pain of a Panda slap and a big rankings drop.

If you didn’t clean up your trashy backlink profile before Penguin was released, that Penguin slap and rankings loss probably didn’t do you any favors.

You get it. A huge part of optimizing your website correctly for search engines is staying on top of algorithm changes in real-time.

But with so many resources to choose from in 2017, which bring you the most accurate information? And more importantly, which can you really trust?

Why Does Google Make Changes So Often?

First things first – why does Google make so many changes to its search algorithm?

In 2012 alone, Google launched 665 improvements to search. That number was probably even higher in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Google’s mission with search is pretty straightforward: to give users the most valuable solution to their query. It sounds simple, but with almost five billion web pages on the web, Google search is taking on a massive undertaking. The constant changes in search algorithm are attempting to improve results for 40,000 searches every second and 1.2 trillion every year (not to mention ensure AdWords it improving their bottom line).

How Do I Stay Updated?

While Google makes hundreds of updates to search every year, knowing them all isn’t necessary for even the most skilled SEO. Remember that it’s much more important to stay up-to-date with the biggest updates and the most well-known changes in search results.

The most important updates are:

  1. Major algorithm updates like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc.
  2. Major click-biasing changes like knowledge graph, Google answer box, image carousel, etc.
  3. Major user behavior changes like mobile search, load speed expectations, CTR curve changes, etc.

These are the biggest updates that will affect the visibility of your website in search engine results. Here are the resources that will help you track these changes effectively.

1. Google Webmaster Tools Blog

The best place to start when it comes to Google updates is the source. While there are many trusted resources out there that report on Google search changes, it’s best to hear about major updates straight from the horse’s mouth.

The Google Webmaster Central Blog offers official news on crawling and indexing sites for the Google index.

Want to learn about the new mobile-friendly test API? Here’s a good place to start.

Google Webmaster Central Blog

The Google Webmasters YouTube Channel is another official Google source. This is a good option if you like to digest information via video and can be a nice change-of-pace from the nonstop onslaught of articles on new Google updates. 

Webmasters record videos from around the world, so the channel has a real international flavor. Subscribe to the channel and you’ll receive video updates via emails every once in a while from YouTube. Set it and forget it!

2. Search Engine Roundtable

Search Engine Roundtable is probably the best source outside of Google to find out about the most recent Google updates. They exclusively cover Google and publish five to ten articles or updates daily. They send out a daily recap daily so you can get all the news in your inbox without having to go searching.

Search Engine Roundtable

3. Moz

Moz is one of the companies at the forefront of SEO and inbound marketing, as it has been for years now. Their approach to making SEO accessible for everyone is their hallmark, and it makes them a must-bookmark source for SEO knowledge.

The Moz Blog is a great place not only to learn about Google’s most recent updates but to really dive deep into what they mean for you and your website. Knowing when and how updates affect websites in general is one thing, but learning exactly how they work and what you need to do to continue optimizing correctly and avoid penalties is going to be the difference-maker.

 

Join the email newsletter as well as the Moz Top 10 Newsletter to get updates right in your inbox.

Mozcast is another helpful Moz product. It’s a weather report showing turbulence in Google’s search algorithm for any given day. The stormier and hotter the weather, the more Google’s rankings changed.

Mozcast 100

4. Search Engine Journal

That’s right. There’s a reason most posts on SEJ receive hundreds or thousands of reads and shares – you’ve already arrived at a premier destination for SEO.

While most posts here go into real depth about a specific topic related to search engine marketing, Search Engine Journal offers a lot with regards to Google’s algorithm updates.

Matt Southern is the Lead Newswriter here and regularly publishes shorter articles that will give you the rundown on something happening right now.

For example, if you wanted to know what 200 sites were banned from Google search results for promoting fake news recently, Matt’s your guy.

5. Search Engine Land

Search Engine Land is another daily publication that covers all aspects of the search marketing industry. They have a section specifically to help you track Google’s updates, and you can of course subscribe to said updates via email.

6. Twitter

There are a few key figures in the SEO community you should follow. You can even activate mobile notifications so you’re the first one to see their tweets and learn about Google’s most recent updates.

The Real Trick

Now that you have all these great resources to stay up-to-date on Google’s changes, you need to set up a system that helps you keep track. Going to each of these websites every day isn’t sustainable, so let’s get you set up with a better system.

  1. Subscribe to each of the above periodicals above via email. That way, all your updates will flow directly into your inbox.
  2. Sign up for unroll.me and get all those updates in one, clean email every morning, afternoon or evening.

Now you’ll receive a daily update about Google algorithm changes without leaving your computer. Magic!

Knowing about the changes Google makes to its algorithm is essential to keeping your website’s content visible in search results. Staying vigilant, continuing to learn and setting up a system that will autonomously deliver you news are the keys towards maintaining an SEO-friendly website.

Author : Joe Howard

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/communication-overload-keeping-google-searchs-constant-updates/185168/

Last year was a transformative and exciting year for the Internet of Things as we saw almost every industry invest in the IoT.

Consumer products -- such as wearables and connected electronics -- make up a large part of the market, but IDC estimates that more than 80 percent of IoT spending through 2020 will be on such things as B2B applications.

The Internet of Things will also create a self-learning environment that will drive digital disruption in the physical world. The IoT will allow new business models to emerge, along with new work processes, productivity improvements, cost containment and better customer experiences.

Here are the top five trends in the IoT in 2017:

1) Cognitive Computing: Connecting things with unique IP addresses has been possible for over a decade, but the commoditization of sensors, processors and memory now makes it viable to make everyday things not only connected, but also intelligent.

Cognitive computing is increasing the amount of data to enable sensors to diagnose and adapt to their environment without the need for human intervention. Another huge advantage of cognitive IoT is the ability to combine multiple data streams that can identify patterns and give much more context than would be otherwise available.

Although making sense out of dark data is paving the way to revolutionary ideas and technologies, it requires a cognitive approach that can effectively handle increasingly large inputs, while generating meaningful output. Programmable systems thrive on prescribed scenarios using predictable data, and their rigidity can limit their usefulness when addressing the ambiguity and uncertainty of IoT data.

Cognitive systems, however, are not explicitly programmed. Rather, they learn from interactions with people and from experiences with their environment. In doing so, they become able to keep pace with the complexity of the Internet of things, identifying data correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed.

2) Security: As we rely on connected devices, security must be considered. All participants in IoT ecosystems have a responsibility for the security of their devices, data and solutions. This includes device manufacturers, application developers, consumers and businesses.

According to our latest POV on cognitive security for the Internet of Things, IoT security requires a multi-layered approach. From a device point of view, security should be considered at the blueprint level that starts with design and development and keeps hardware, software and data secure through their entire life.

The same approach applies to any security analyst or operations personnel responsible for IoT solutions. To enable the full potential of the IoT, security challenges must be addressed through a combination of interoperability and good design. Take a proactive, not reactive approach in designing security features that will result in better products and solutions.

 

3) Blockchain is playing a major part in the IoT by enhancing security, making transactions more seamless and creating efficiencies in the supply chain by building trust, reducing costs and accelerating transactions.

Blockchain for IoT can transform the way business transactions are conducted globally through a trustworthy environment to automate and encode business transactions, while preserving privacy and security for all parties in the transaction. IBM Watson IoT Blockchain uses blockchain capabilities and enables information from the IoT devices to be used in transactions.

4) APIs, or application programming interfaces, serve as a bridge to connect useful information and plentiful data to the Internet of Things, making the IoT useful by connecting many disparate things into a powerful network.

Internet of Things devices would be useless without APIs. By exposing data that enables multiple devices to be connected, APIs provide an interface between the "Internet" and the "things" to reveal previously unseen possibilities. In the year to come, APIs will play a key role in monetizing the Internet of Things.

5) Platforms that have the right elements can provide tremendous value by linking the IoT endpoints to the applications and analytics needed to generate business outcomes.

An IoT platform must connect devices, collect data, handle thousands of vendors, dozens of standards and must be able to scale to millions of devices sending billions of messages. To deliver value beyond the basics, it must add cognitive computing, security, privacy and insight, among other things. With these capabilities and the supporting technology advancements, an IoT platform becomes the means for a company to transform its business.

The recently published report, "The Forrester Wave™: IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016" assesses how the leading IoT platforms stack up based on current offerings, strategy and market presence.

While these five trends may play a major role in IoT in 2017 and beyond, new developments that we aren’t currently thinking about will likely emerge in the next year: the IoT is evolving so rapidly that there is always something new.

A version of this story ran on IBM's Internet of Things blog on Jan. 3rd.

Author : Chris O'Connor

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/ibm/2017/01/23/here-are-the-top-five-trends-to-watch-for-in-the-internet-of-things-during-2017/#79662fb928ae

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 05:57

AI: Silicon Valley’s next frontier

Virtually everywhere you look, Bay Area tech businesses are running into walls.

Smartphones were revolutionary and lucrative, but the U.S. market is saturated, and Apple’s iPhone sales have fallen for three quarters. The “app economy” has matured, with more people using existing apps than downloading new ones. And Facebook, which has filled users’ news feeds with so many ads it can barely add more, is predicting its revenue growth will slump next year.

ai-intelligence-wave-121816x.gif

Silicon Valley needs its next big thing, a focus for the concentrated brain power and innovation infrastructure that have made this region the world leader in transformative technology. Just as the valley’s mobile era is peaking, the next frontier of growth and innovation has arrived: It’s Siri in an Apple iPhone, Alexa in an Amazon Echo, the software brain in Google’s self-driving cars, Amazon’s product recommendations and, someday, maybe the robot surgeon that saves your life.

It’s artificial intelligence, software that can “learn” and “think,” the latest revolution in tech.

“It’s going to be embedded in everything,” said startup guru Steve Blank, an adjunct professor at Stanford. “We’ve been talking about artificial intelligence for 30 years, maybe longer, in Silicon Valley. It’s only in the last five years, or maybe even the last two years, that this stuff has become useful.”

FILE - In this Monday, March 2, 2015 file photo, Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, talks during a conference during the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain. Google is creating a new company, called Alphabet, to oversee its highly lucrative Internet business and a growing flock of other ventures, including some â like building self-driving cars and researching ways to prolong human life â that are known more for their ambition than for turning an immediate profit. Pichai will become CEO of Google's core business, including its search engine, online advertising operation and YouTube video service. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

Achievements that were “unthinkable only a few years ago” are being made possible by artificial intelligence, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post. “The last 10 years have been about building a world that is mobile-first, turning our phones into remote controls for our lives,” Pichai said. “But in the next 10 years, we will shift to a world that is AI-first.”

Experts say AI will play an increasingly large role in our lives, transforming how we work, how we live — and even, perhaps, whether we work or whether we live. Inclusion of AI into virtually every area of computing — and life — will bring both progress and upheaval to the Bay Area tech industry, Blank said.

“The valley has gone through waves of innovation,” Blank said. “We were the semiconductor valley, then we were the PC valley, then we were the web 1.0 valley. Each of those waves was built on a new set of technology and created a whole new set of companies.”

Already, entire new industries are arising from AI technology, while robot-aided manufacturing surges, opening up opportunities in nearly every area of business, said Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

“It’s going to be completely transformative, but at the same time it’s going to take time,” he said.

Major industry players are betting big on “bots,” interactive virtual assistants that learn from user inputs. Among the ever-expanding bot army we find Siri and Alexa, Google’s Assistant and the many “chatbots” created by companies to facilitate customer transactions, such as Taco Bell’s “TacoBot” which understands spoken language to take customer orders via smartphones.

“People are suckers for a more efficient way to do things,” Etzioni said. “We will see rapid advances in the usefulness of bots.”

As consumers see AI creep into their devices, the technology is also beginning to play an increasingly expansive role in business. Amazon and Google both offer AI-powered services that can be applied to the data that firms store on those companies’ storage clouds. On Wednesday, the Washington Post announced it will use Amazon’s AI-based “Polly” text-to-speech software — which can produce 47 different voices and convert 24 languages — to create audio versions of articles.  And in September, San Francisco’s Salesforce unveiled “Einstein,” artificially intelligent software that can ingest all of a client company’s data and offer solutions for a given problem, such as predicting which sales leads are likely to pan out.

Pursuit of AI technology has fueled acquisitions, with established firms globally buying almost 140 AI-focused companies since 2011 — with 40 deals last year alone — according to market research firm CB Insights. Intel has rapidly built up its AI offerings through the purchase of Saffron, Movidius and Nervana, which Intel CEO Brian Krzanich referred to in a blog post as “leading-edge accelerants required for the growth and widespread adoption of AI.”

Although AI has been around since the 1950s, its trajectory started angling upward with the advent of “big data,” the enormous information sets made possible by storage technology, large-scale data collection and advances in computing power.

This year AI got a poster boy, of sorts. Google’s AlphaGo AI software ingested 30 million moves from world-class games of Go, the ancient Chinese strategy board game, and laid waste to 18-time world champion Lee Sedol in three straight games.

 

Teaching software to play games advances technology that can be applied to more serious endeavors. On Tuesday, another Google division, Verily, published results of its successful use of an AI image-analysis algorithm to identify a diabetes-related eye disorder.

Verily in 2015 announced a partnership with Johnson & Johnson to develop AI-guided surgical robots, an enterprise spun off into Mountain View-based Verb Surgical. The startup has 200 engineers, some from Verily, working on the software and devices, training the AI by having it “watch” videos from hundreds of surgeries.

AI’s burgeoning ability to make and learn from decisions is accelerating its impact, said UC Berkeley computer sciences professor Sergey Levine.

It is decision-making that sets sophisticated AI programs apart from pattern-recognition AI software, which gets trained to perform tasks on a specific data set, as with photo-identification processes, but then remains “static” without learning on its own, he said.

“That’s the part that’s going to change,” Levine said. “It’s going to be something that continuously interacts with the environment it’s deployed in, and continuously improves itself through its own experience.”

AI-based products such as household-chores robots or self-driving cars can be networked together, so that what each device learns can be applied across all the devices through “collective learning,” Levine said. He foresees “systems that interact with humans using natural language.”

As AI improves and spreads, it will increasingly replace human labor, taking on tasks and jobs previously done by people, experts say. “I’m very worried about jobs,” Etzioni said. “Of all the concerns that float around about AI, AI and jobs is the one to focus on.”

Lisa Spelman, vice president of Intel’s data center group, takes a more optimistic view, noting that AI-powered image recognition, for example, has created many jobs for software engineers.

“I see this as similar to many other innovation cycles and technological transformations where there has been that concern,” she said. “In the end, it has turned into more opportunities, just different ones.”

Author : ETHAN BARON

Source : http://www.siliconvalley.com/2016/12/18/silicon-valleys-savior-and-next-revolution-artificial-intelligence/

The bright Google Fiber future got a lot murkier in 2016, with national rollbackstesty litigious fights over utility pole policies in Nashville and Louisville and local contractor layoffs. It's no surprise, then, that the tech press' 2017 speculation includes ample talk of who might buy the gigabit service from its parent company, Alphabet Inc.

According to The Information, internet provider CenturyLink makes sense as a potential buyer. Fortune magazine, in its coverage of The Information story, notes that "the likelihood of the speculated sale would depend heavily on the fiber business's financials as there is no obvious reason the unit would be appealing to any buyer," especially given the expense of stringing fiber and the stiff competition from legacy cable and telephone operators. (For more on that competition, check out our profile of AT&T Tennessee President Joelle Phillips, our 2016 Newsmaker of the Year.)

Google Fiber's bright future got a lot murkier in 2016.

Google Fiber's bright future got a lot murkier in 2016.

Google Fiber, now up and running in a handful of Nashville apartment and condo buildings, has long been eagerly awaited by many in Nashville's tech, entrepreneurial and broader business communities, who see the service as a huge boon to the city's branding, attractiveness and capabilities. That vision has been somewhat complicated by the slow, controversial rollout of the service and questions about its long-term future.

TheStreet also got in on the speculation game, quoting analysts to push back on the likelihood of a deal because Google Fiber's relatively low broadband subscriber base and video customer totals would drive down a potential valuation.

Google Fiber did not comment in any of these media reports. Check out The Information's hereFortune's here and TheStreet's right here.

Author : Eleanor Kennedy

Source : http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/news/2016/12/30/tech-industry-watchers-weigh-in-will-google-fiber.html

With 688 million Internet users and growing, China has become a compelling market for Western companies looking to expand globally. What makes it this market even more enticing is the number of Chinese Internet users is growing at a rate that far surpasses that of most countries, which speaks to the business growth potential in the marketplace.

Despite the incredible potential, China is a unique market, and many companies lack the knowledge and expertise necessary to succeed in online marketing in China. In fact, most marketers have no idea where to start.

As a digital marketing agency providing international services, we often suggest our clients start with the search engine. It’s the ideal entry place to begin gaining visibility and traction in a new marketplace.

The goal of this article is to give B2B marketers an idea of why search engine marketing is important in China and why Chinese search engines are different from Google or Bing, or other Western search engines.

A Great User Base and a Broad Business Adoption

First, let me offer a few statistics to illustrate the breadth and depth of the online marketplace in China. According to the data from CNNIC (Chinese Internet Network Information Center), as of December 2015, there were 566 million people using search engines, which accounts for the majority of Chinese Internet users (82.3 percent) and it’s an increase of 44 million users year-over-year.

In comparison, there are an estimated 219 million search engine users in the United States in 2016, which was only 4 million more than 2015.

Users are not only conducting personal searches, but search engines are also being used in business settings. As of December 2015, 33.8% of enterprises had launched Internet-based marketing activities and about half (47.4 percent) had invested in search engine marketing.

Online sales and marketing efforts in China are still in the early stages of development, but their use is growing quickly with the growth of technology and e-commerce.

A study from Nielson shows, online sales currently comprise 11 percent of total retail sales in China, but it’s growing at a significant rate – 53 percent! – year-over-year.

Not Google, But Baidu, Qihoo 360 & Sogou

When Western marketers talk about search engine marketing, Google is the big player. However, it is a different story in China. Google left Mainland China in 2010 due to censorship.

Since then, when users type Google.cn, they will be redirected to Google.hk, which is Google’s Hong Kong presence. Even like this, only a few Chinese people use Google.hk; right now, Google only accounts for 0.34% market share by usage in China.

In China, the top three search engine players are Baidu, Qihoo360 (also known as Haosou), and Sogou. Baidu has 54.3 percent of the market share of usage, Qihoo 360 accounts for 29.24 percent, and Sogou holds 14.71 percent.

In 2015, total search engine advertising revenue reached 68.26 billion RMB (US$10.55 billion) – an increase of 32.2.7 percent YoY, according to iResearch. In terms of revenue, Baidu continues to be the leader of the Chinese search engine market (80 percent) followed by Google, Qihoo360, and Sogou.

China Search Engine Market Share

Let’s take a closer look at each of the big three Chinese search engines:

Baidu

Overview of Baidu

Established in 2000, Baidu is the number one search engine in China. It is ranked as the fourth most visited website in the world by Alexa.com and holds the second largest share of the global desktop search engine market (behind Google).

Every day, 6 billion searches are performed on Baidu. It’s as familiar to the Chinese as Google is to Americans. When you have a question in China, Chinese would tell you, “Ask Mother Du.”

Unique Features

Baidu claims that it is the best Chinese search not only because they know Chinese better, but also because they know Chinese audiences better.

A Baidu company profile explains the technology this way, “Just to cite one example, we believe there are at least 38 ways of saying “I” in the Chinese language. It is important that we recognize these nuances to effectively address our users’ requests.”

 

To complement its search engine, Baidu has dozens of featured products. One of the major differences between Google and Baidu is that Baidu favors its own platforms/products in its search results.

For example, when users search for “search engine optimization,” the first three positions of the organic search results are Baidu Baike (Baidu Encyclopedia), Baidu TieBa (Baidu PostBar) and Baidu Baike (Baidu Encyclopedia). Then, the sixth result is Baidu Zhidao (Baidu Knows), and the eighth result is Baidu Wenku (Baidu Articles).

Organic Search Results in Baidu

B2B Marketing Takeaway

From a B2B marketing perspective, many of these free Baidu products offer an integrated way to enhance SEO efforts. In addition, Baidu’s free analytics tools can help webmasters analyze their efforts.

Qihoo 360

Overview of Qihoo 360

Qihoo 360 started from an Internet security company with a broad product line. Their antivirus software has a good reputation in China and it’s free to use. By pairing with the security products, Qihoo 360 search adopted a broad audience when it launched in 2012.

It is the default search engine used in the 360 Internet browsers, which is helping to sustain its continuing growth. Within a short period, Qihoo 360 has become the second largest search engine in China and the fastest rising competitor to Baidu.

China Serach Engine Market Share

Unique Features

Qihoo 360 search claims that it is the most secure search engine. Relying on the advanced cyber security technology of the parent company, Qihoo 360 search can block fake or malicious sites and provide a more secure search environment.

Also, because of its broad product line, which includes security products, an Internet browser, and apps, Qihoo 360 search has positioned itself as the biggest native advertising platform in China.

Meanwhile, Qihoo 360 search targets small and medium businesses for their advertising platform. This strategy may be mainly to attract businesses that probably could not afford the more expensive ad spend on Baidu.

Another benefit of Qihoo 360 is its search results page only has a few advertisements. This gives advertisers an opportunity to avoid the tense competition on Baidu and grab niche traffic at a much lower cost-per-click.

B2B Marketing Takeaway

While Qihoo 360’s lower CPC may be attractive, it still cannot compete with the Baidu’s technology and reach in the search space. It is better to use it as an extra testing channel to supplement a company’s Baidu program and leverage the ROI, rather than to start with it exclusively.

Sogou

Overview of Sogou

Sogou was launched in 2004, but its use was not widespread until more recently. After developing the most popular Chinese input software in China, people started to get familiar with this brand. Also, Tencent, the fourth largest Internet company in the world, invested in Sogou in 2013. This investment fast-tracked Sogou’s growth.

Unique Features

As a rising star of the Chinese search engine market, Sogou has sought out a niche position. With the strong support from Tencent, Sogou exclusively provides the search results of Wechat content (Wechat, the most popular social media in China, is owned by Tencent).

Seeing the success from its Wechat integration, Sogou partnered with Zhihu (a popular question-and-answer site) to integrate more content search results.

More recently, in May 2016, Sogou announced a collaboration with Microsoft Bing and launched two new products: Sogou English Search and Sogou Scholar Search.
Sogou Screen

B2B Marketing Takeaway

Gradually, Sogou has taken the unique position as a content searching provider in order to attract users and expand market share. With the growth of content marketing overall, B2B marketers should keep an eye on Sogou’s growth and development.

Final Thoughts

Chinese search engines play a significant role in the population’s life every day for both personal and professional purposes. B2B companies looking to leverage China’s large and growing online market need to develop visibility on China’s biggest search engines.

However, in order to have any chance at success in the marketplace, a strong understanding of the Chinese search engine space is necessary. Search engine marketing that works for Google and other Western search engines doesn’t always translate to China’s search engines or resonate with Chinese customers.

Due diligence research into the marketplace is the first step toward developing a China-specific marketing strategy.

Author : REBECCA LI

Source : http://www.komarketingassociates.com/blog/top-3-chinese-search-engines/

Wednesday, 28 December 2016 07:13

The Top Tech Disasters of 2016

Technology is truly wonderful, and it keeps evolving at a very fast pace. However, not every technology is fated to be successful. Some technologies which are overhyped during its launch simply fizzle out, while others seem to be growing popular initially but later they flame out. 
Since 2016 is almost over, let’s take a look at the top tech disasters of this year. 
 
Samsung Note 7 fiasco
Samsung Note 7 fiascoWhat was launched as a competitor against Apple iPhone 7, turned out to be the biggest tech disaster for Samsung. As soon as it was launched, Samsung Note 7 received several positive reviews for its water resistant design and wireless charging.

However, it was only a week later that several users started experiencing overheating problems. Some Note 7 smartphones actually exploded. Samsung has stopped the production of Note 7 and recalled all the devices from the market. Samsung has lost somewhere around $10 billion because of this tech disaster!

Smartwatch sale tumble
There was a time when each and every tech giant was making smartwatches. The prospects for smartwatches don’t look too great because almost no one seems to be buying them.
Even though Apple Watch is the most popular choice, the number of smartwatches shipped this year is way lower, when compared to the last. 
 
Yahoo data breach
Yahoo data breach
One of the wrost data breach cases of the year where over 500 million user accounts were hacked, it took years before Yahoo! could alert its users of the breach.
(Image Credits: Indiatimes)

 


Apple Charging Ports are complex
Apple Charging Ports are complexApple recently launched iPhone 7 without the typical headphone jack. You will now need to use headphones with type-C USB ports to listen to music on the latest iPhone. Apple didn’t just stop there, they also launched new Mac laptops with only USB Type-C ports. Suddenly, you could no longer connect your iPhone or charge it using Mac.
You can use dongle adapters to connect your laptop to your iPhone, however, it is a roundabout way to do something that was so simple before.
 

The biggest polls failure ever

The biggest polls failure ever
 
Probably the biggest tech disaster of 2016 was the online polls that predicted Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States. These online polls assured that Clinton was going to beat Trump in the 2016 elections. But boy, wasn’t that an epic fail? Donald Trump won the Presidential elections and that too by a large margin!
(Image Credits: Thinkstock)

The hoaxes, fake news & misinformation

The hoaxes, fake news & misinformation
 
A day after US President Barack Obama criticised Facebook for spreading fake news that favored Donald Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced new steps to counter fake news on the platform. Buzzfeed found that top-performing fake stories performed better on Facebook than accurate stories shared by traditional media sites during the US presidential election campaign.

Technology is for good, but you never know when it blows in your face. As Neil Postman, an American author, aptly said, “The effects of technology are always unpredictable. But they are not always inevitable”.
Author : Ashwini Gaikwad

With the amount of published research, patents, white papers and other written knowledge out there, it’s hard to be even reasonably sure you’re aware of the goings-on around a certain topic or field. Omnity is a search engine made to make it easier by extracting the gist of documents you give it and finding related ones from a library of millions — and now supports more than a hundred languages.

The process is simple and free, at least for the public-facing databases Omnity has assembled, comprising U.S. patents, SEC filings, PubMed papers, clinical trials, Library of Congress collections and more.

You upload a document or text snippet and the system scans it, looking for the least common words and phrases — which generally indicate things like topic, experiment type, equipment used, that sort of thing. It then looks through its own libraries to find documents with similar or related phrases that appear in a manner that suggests relevance.

omnity-languages-image-final

For example, say you put in the results of your clinical trial testing a food additive on a certain strain of mice, and found it resulted in a certain condition. Omnity would return documents describing other tests of that additive, on mice or other animals, or unrelated tests that produced that condition, with no need for you to specify the important aspects or drill down. The similarities and connections between your document and the results are presented in a nice pretty graph, as well.

This portion of Omnity has been operational for some time, but yesterday the company announced that it was expanding its system to encompass more than a hundred languages. So you can put in research papers or filings in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, etc. — and it will conduct the same process in a cross-lingual way and return relevant results.

 

The process works the same for documents in other languages, but Omnity knows that a phrase in French is the equivalent of a phrase in English, even though it may not grasp the subtleties of the translation process. It still knows, and it still comes back with the right docs.

For now the database is focused on English-language repositories, but CEO Brian Sager told TechCrunch in an email that the company is “in the process of international expansion. Enabling individual foreign language documents is the first step in that process, and we will be adding non-English documents over time.”

omnity_japanese

The service is free, so you may be wondering how these people make money. As with so many other companies, private customers pay the bills. The public website is the lure, showing that the system works with a large — 15 terabytes, at present — database. But the system can also be deployed internally at a company, for example at a law firm that must track millions of documents and court cases and have them ready for instant recall.

“A single enterprise customer may have hundreds of terabytes to tens of petabytes, a scale 1000X or 10000X greater than all public documents combined,” Sager wrote. “This is where our revenue model is focused, cross-connecting and auto-classifying custom ingested documents at scale.”

The method is similar in some ways to Semantic Scholar, another machine learning-powered search engine that extracts meaning from text to make documents more easily searchable and categorizable, but Omnity’s approach is a little more abstract.

“Omnity makes mathematical equations that describe statistical patterns of rare words in discrete documents, without regard to work proximity, and without regard to grammar or grammatical content,” wrote Sager. Semantic Scholar, on the other hand, understands grammar the way we do and uses it to draw meaning out of the text.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition: two AI-powered search engines that, despite similarities, are still very distinct. Perhaps it’s a look into the next generation of search.

Source: This article was published on techcrunch.com by Devin Coldewey

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