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Search is integral to our experience of the internet. It answers our questions, satisfies our curiosities, and with an estimated 4.7 billion people actively using the internet, it’s no coincidence that one of the biggest companies in the world controls search. In fact, Google holds 92% of the global search engine market and derives 57% of its revenue – over $100 billion a year – directly from search advertising. Just the act of trying to improve your search engine ranking page for a particular search term – Search Engine Optimisation – is a multi-billion dollar industry in its own right.

With this in mind, Apple’s recent moves towards establishing its own search technology are hardly unusual, but the real reasons behind it might surprise you – because it’s not about monetization.

Apple’s rival to Google Search

In the latest version of iOS, Apple has begun to show its own web search results. If you have an iPhone, you’ll see them described as “Siri Suggested Websites” when searching from the home screen. It’s been well documented that the AppleBot search crawler is increasingly appearing on weblogs as Apple seeks to index the internet – Apple has a page describing its purpose – and it’s clear that Apple means business when it comes to its own search engine.

But why does Apple feel the need to invest in its own search engine? The status quo is a good deal for Apple – it’s thought that Google currently pays Apple anything between $8 and $12 billion dollars a year in order to be the default search engine on Apple products, and most people are reasonably happy to default to Google. The issue bubbling up is this agreement could be forced to change – not by Apple or Google, but by the US Government.

The internet search giant faces an antitrust lawsuit from the US Department of Justice over claims they are fostering a ‘continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization’. There are clear similarities with the Microsoft Internet Explorer antitrust action of the late ‘90s, and if a similar conclusion is reached, then Apple will be forced to go cap-in-hand to another search engine or reveal its own search engine. Either way, there’s no possibility that Apple will leave its users without the ability to search the internet, it’s too critical to the experience of its products.

What does this mean for enterprise search?

For many years there’s been a gulf between the tools we use as consumers and the tools we use as knowledge workers. It’s often a source of frustration: why is it that at an internet search console, we can find the answer to the most obtuse and bizarre question we can possibly imagine in seconds through a couple of clicks of the mouse, yet it takes me ten minutes to find the document that Jack from Accounts sent me two weeks ago?

The answer lies in the complexity of enterprise search as a function. Behind the veil of the easily accessible user interface, enterprise search is more complex than it appears and there are much greater technological challenges to be overcome, despite the visual similarities with an internet search. For example, content online can easily be categorized by the number of clicks and views a page has received, in order for relevancy to be established, as traffic volumes are incredibly high. However, the document that Jack from Accounts sent is unlikely to have been opened anywhere near as much, so other technologies, such as natural language processing, need to be relied upon in order to understand the content of documents and recommend relevancy.

So, if Apple is spending (most likely) billions of dollars recreating a tool that effortlessly finds us the global sum of human knowledge, then isn’t it about time we improve the tools that knowledge workers have to do their jobs?

Why now for enterprise search?

It’s fair to say Google is doing a good job at keeping up with indexing the internet, but the good news for Google is the internet’s growth of searchable data has slowed significantly since the early 2000s, and it’s currently growing by about 10% a year.

On the other hand, the growth of enterprise data is on another trajectory. According to an IDC whitepaper called “Data Age 2025”, its analysts calculate that enterprise data is growing by around 40% a year, and will account for over 80% of installed bytes by 2025. Under this deluge of data, how will we ever find the document sent to us by Jack from Accounts?

The complication is that enterprise data is more heterogeneous in nature than internet data, which is homogeneous by comparison. As a result, enterprise data tends to reside in silos, so if we need to find a document, we can narrow down where we look to a couple of places – for instance, in our email or on a particular SharePoint. However. a further complication arises when we don’t know where to look – or worse still, we don’t know what we’re looking for. A siloed approach works fairly well but at some point, we start to lose track of where to look. According to recent Sinequa research, knowledge workers currently have to access an average of around six different systems when looking for information – that’s potentially six individual searches you need to make to find something.

Compounding the issue, we’re increasingly making use of unstructured or semi-structured data and mining it for information. In these cases we need context; we need metadata. Finding data is getting more complicated.

The issue at hand is time. The same Sinequa research found that, on average, 44 minutes a day is spent searching for information. Just by cutting this in half, we’d get back 11 working days in a year. Better enterprise search tools would enable this, returning more time to employees so they are able to be more productive and deliver value to their organization.

Existential threat, or an opportunity to differentiate?

Whether Apple considers a potential lack of access to internet search an existential threat or simply another opportunity to differentiate its products versus its biggest competitor, it’s clear that Apple sees search as a fundamental part of its offering. That’s why it’s investing vast sums in building its own search engine.

It’s only a matter of time before enterprise search reaches a similar tipping point. There will be a time when the silos become too many or the time is taken to search them becomes too great. The question is whether the reason for enterprise to take search seriously is because a lack of search is seen as an existential threat, or an opportunity to differentiate.

[Source: This article was published in information-age.com By Stéphane Kirchacker - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank] 
Categorized in Search Engine

The Financial Times says Apple has likely been working for some time on its own search engine in a bid to steal quota from Google, which in many countries has market shares of over 90%, giving it an alternative as its arrangements with the Mountain View company to make its search engine the default option on Apple devices comes under antitrust scrutiny, and backed by the idea of a search option that respects user privacy.

The latest version of the iPhone operating system, iOS 14, displays its own search results by linking directly to web pages when the user types in queries. Add to the equation the hiring, two years ago, of Google’s executive John Giannandrea, and heavy activity recently of the company’s search agent, Applebot, so it could be the rumors, in the midst of an extremely secretive company like Apple, could be well-founded.

Apple has long been committed to privacy as a fundamental human right and as one its products’ differential value. On numerous occasions, CEO Tim Cook has declared his commitment to privacy, attacking what he calls “the industrial data complex”, without specifically mentioning companies such as Google, Facebook and other data brokers, and placing provocative advertisements at industry conventions such as the Las Vegas CES, as well as going so far as to challenge the FBI itself by refusing to provide a back door to obtain information from its devices when investigating terrorism and other major crimes.

What chance would an Apple search engine have in an environment monopolized by Google? Creating a search engine is an extremely complex task: in addition to generating a huge database with an updated copy of all the pages to be indexed, something Google has been constantly innovating for more than 20 years, it is necessary to create an algorithm that develops the concept of relevance. In this case, Google has already been moving away for some time from its original algorithms — which above all, valued social components such as inbound links — to criteria based on the quality of information and the use of machine learning to try to understand what users are really looking for, but undoubtedly has also travelled more road and accumulated data than anyone in the industry.

On the other hand, and in spite of Google’s efforts to offer greater transparency, many people are suspicious of the amount of information the company has about them as a result not only of the use of its search tools, but of others, such as its email, documents, maps, etc.

In previous attempts to compete with Google products, Apple has experienced difficult moments, for example, the disastrous launch of Apple Maps, which led to the departure from the company of one of its vice presidents, Scott Forstall. After that episode, the company’s mapping product was significantly improved with successive redesigns, and it has positioned itself as the third most used mapping application after Google Maps and Waze. However, we should remember that we are talking about a product conditioned by the use of Apple devices, which in many countries is relatively limited, something that would not necessarily be the case with a search engine.

A search engine that respects user privacy could be attractive to a significant part of the market. However, we are talking about deeply rooted use that depends fundamentally on the quality of the results obtained with its use. It could be argued that Google is capable of providing users with better results precisely because of the information it has about us, which wouldn’t apply to Apple. And although the rise of Google in the late 1990s clearly demonstrated the scarce value of loyalty in this area, there is no doubt that it would be difficult to beat the incumbent precisely in the area that it considers the most strategic and definitive.

That said, were Apple to launch its own search engine and take on a giant like Google, there would be huge interest in watching the ensuing fight.

[Source: This article was published in forbes.com By Enrique Dans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Categorized in Search Engine

Apple made a significant update to its web crawler Applebot, fueling speculation that the tech giant wants to swoop in and grab search market share from rival Google with its own web-based search engine. Let’s dig in a little bit deeper to find out how this strategic move will benefit the Cupertino-based tech behemoth. 

Apple is planning to dip its toes into the search engine market. Coywolf’s report hints that “there are several signs that Apple may be doing just that.” Speculations have also been triggered by recent updates to improve Siri and Spotlight search results, which indicate that Apple is doubling down on search. 

Apple’s Ambitious Project: A Search Engine

Since 2015, the Cupertino tech giant has been hard at work to blunt Google’s dominance in search. First came the web crawler Applebot —  used in products like Siri and Spotlight Suggestions, Apple confirmed. Applebot is pegged as a springboard that will enable Apple to rapidly expand its search.  Evidently, in July this year, Apple updated its Applebot support page, and since then, several developers have noticed more frequent Applebot crawls on their site. Michael James Field, a digital marketing consultant, tweeted about massive spikes in crawls.  

Then, in 2018, Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Google paid Apple $9.5 billion in traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to be the default search engine on iOS devices. This accounted for 23% of Apple’s service group’s total revenue. In 2019, Google paid Apple $1.5 billion to remain the default iOS search option in the U.K alone. 

This massive deal has come under the radar of the U.K. regulators. Upon reviewing the agreement, The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority observed that this arrangement stifled competition in the search engine market populated with Microsoft Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo. 

The report stated, “Given the impact of pre installations and defaults on mobile devices and Apple’s significant market share, it is our view that Apple’s existing arrangements with Google create a significant barrier to entry and expansion for rivals affecting competition between search engines on mobiles.”

Apple is also busy building an engineering team to drive search engine operations, the jobs page reveals.  

Search Engine: A Big Boost to Apple’s Business

If Apple launches its search engine, it might just diminish Google’s stranglehold in the search engine market and eat into its ad revenue, which amounted to $134.81 billion in 2019.  Jon Henshaw, founder and managing editor of Coywolf says, “A search engine from Apple will likely look and function slightly different from modern search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. That’s because Apple historically likes to do things differently, and their search engine will serve a different purpose than showing ads and data mining. an Apple search engine will likely function as a highly personalized data hub. It will be similar to Google Assistant on Android, but different since it (initially) won’t have ads, will be completely private, and have significantly deeper integrations with the OS.”

In August 2020, Apple introduced the AI/ML residency program to gather niche experts to build AI products and experiences. With this program, Apple aims to leverage AI and ML expertise to strengthen its search engine platform and beef up AI-driven search results based on users’ email, messages, photos, contacts, and events.

Apple search engine will be a big boost for iOS developers who could promote their apps in the search engine, adding value to Apple’s digital ad revenue. And if Apple does launch its own universal search engine, it would be more personalized, privacy-focused, and feature deeper integrations with the OS. 

 

 

[Source: This article was published in toolbox.com By Priya Jha - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in News & Politics

Apple plans to introduce its own search engine, to compete with Google. There are a number of indicators suggesting that the Cupertino-based tech giant company may be planning for its own search engine.

Every year Google spends billions of dollars to maintain as the default search engine for all Apple devices such as the iPhone, MacBooks, and the iPad on its Safari browser. This means the search results would be collected from Google while you check on the web Safari. Although users may adjust the search settings by default.

It seems, though, that this arrangement will come to an end, as Apple plans to develop its own web-based search engine to compete with Google. according to marketing insights by Coywolf,  Extending the searches for Siri and Spotlight searches in iOS 14 beta, increase crawling from AppleBot’s and substantial changes to About AppleBot support reveal that Apple is soon ready to introduce.

Apple Might Be Working On its Own Search Engine to Take on Google

In the UK, Apple was forced by the regulator to remove Google as the default search engine for Safari. Coywolf has claimed government constraints and a controversial relationship with Google provide the technology giant with a chance to introduce it’s own. In addition, because Apple is still the world’s leading company, even the billions of dollars Google pays, but Apple does not want them.oneplus-n-1.jpg

There are many indicators to confirm a switch –from search engineer job ads to its spotlight search bypassing Google search using iOS 14 beta, according to an online report. All of these factors tend to believe that the giant tech will eventually develop its own search engine. Yet not sure but maybe the search engine of Apple will look and function quite differently than current engines because the company prefers to do things differently in the past. The company has a great deal to gain by developing its own search engine.

A number of website developers have seen Apple’s apple Bot activity in its website logs. In general, Applebot is a web crawler, which means that it scans the web to determine how search results would be ranked. This depends on a number of factors such as relevance and user involvement. The latest action of Applebot thus constitutes a major indication of Apple’s intentions to enter the search engine market.

A recent report by MacRumors supports this observation and indicates that Applebot has recently been even more involved than normal. Jon Henshaw, Coywolf’s founder, is one of the developers who has been noticing Applebot a lot in his website logs.

 [Source: This article was published in phoneworld.com.pk By Sehrish Kayani - Uploaded by the Association Member: Deborah Tannen]

Categorized in News & Politics

By building contact-tracing into their operating systems, the companies could make a difference in the global pandemic response

Last week, Apple and Google surprised us with an announcement that the companies are spinning up a system to enable widespread contact tracing in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort is barely two and a half weeks old, the companies said, and so there are many open questions about how it will work. On Monday afternoon, the companies invited us to call in and ask some questions, and I joined the group and did.

The basic idea is that as jurisdictions flatten the curve of infection and begin to consider re-opening parts of society, they need to implement a comprehensive “test and trace” scheme. You want to test people widely and thoroughly for the disease, as this article by Umair Irfan from Monday explains. And then, as you discover new cases, you want to see who those people may have come in contact with during the time that they were infectious.

Historically, this has been a manual process. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, some countries have turned to technological means in an effort to enable public health authorities to find more people who may have been exposed and do so more efficiently. So far, it’s not clear that tech-enabled contact tracing has been all that effective. The system relies on voluntary participation, which has generally been weak. And the Bluetooth technology on which the system depends carries with it a high potential for false positives: it’s just not powerful enough to distinguish between cases where people were in very close proximity from ones in which they were 15 or more feet away.

My primary interest in this story — beyond the highly unusual nature of the collaboration between Apple and Google — is how effective it could be. But there are lots of other questions about how it will work that strike me as just as interesting. Let’s take a look at what people are saying, and what we learned today.

The biggest concern most people have expressed about the collaboration is that it will lead to damaging privacy violations. Democratic senators have led the charge here, sending an open letter to the companies expressing their fears. I’m less worried. For one thing, Apple and Google’s system is cleverly designed to maximize individual privacy; it avoids capturing location data and instead records only the proximity of your smartphone to someone else’s. And for another, I value my own privacy less during a public health emergency. I trust Apple and Google to prevent my personal health information from being identified as mine and shared with others, but given the design of the system, I fail to see how a breach would be catastrophic even if it did somehow materialize.

Still, if you’re the sort of person who likes to think through worst-case scenarios, my colleague Russell Brandom walks through some ideas about how data collected as part of this scheme could theoretically be de-identified. The schemes are generally so elaborate that it’s hard for me to imagine even a nation-state undertaking them, though it’s something to keep an eye on.

The second set of concerns has to do with how the system will work in practice. Apple and Google answered a lot of questions about that subject today; here are what I took to be the most consequential.

First, the companies said that by phase two of their effort, when contact tracing is enabled at the level of the operating system, they will notify people who have opted in to their potential exposure to COVID-19 even if they have not downloaded the relevant app from their public health authority. My understanding is that the operating system itself will alert people that they may have been exposed and direct them to download the relevant public health app. This is significant because it can be hard to get people to install software; Singapore saw only 12 percent adoption of its national contact-tracing app. Putting notifications at the system level represents a major step forward for this effort, even if still requires people to opt in.

Second, Google said it would distribute the operating system update through Google Play services, a part of Android controlled by the company that allows it to reach the majority of active devices. (Google says it will be available to everyone running Android 6.0, also known as Marshmallow, and higher on devices that have the Google Play store.) This is highly preferable than relying on carriers, which have historically been slow to distribute updates. It remains to be seen exactly which devices will be eligible for the update, on Android as well as on iOS. But it seems likely that the companies will be able to reach most active devices in the world — a significant feat. (Related: someone asked the companies what percentage of the population we need to use the system to get it to work. No one knows.)

Third, the companies said they would prevent abuse of the system by routing alerts through public health agencies. (They are also helping those agencies, such as Britain’s National Health Service, build apps to do just that.) While the details are still being worked out, and may vary from agency to agency, Apple and Google said they recognized the importance of not allowing people to trigger alerts based on unverified claims of a COVID-19 infection. Instead, they said, people who are diagnosed will be given a one-time code by the public health agency, which the newly diagnosed will have to enter to trigger the alert.

Fourth, the companies promised to use the system only for contact tracing, and to dismantle the network when it becomes appropriate. Some readers have asked me whether the system might be put to other uses, such as targeted advertising, or whether non-governmental organizations might be given access to it. Today Apple and Google explicitly said no.

Fifth, I’ve heard conflicting claims about the ability of Bluetooth-based tracking to measure distances. Last week I told you that Bluetooth could not distinguish between phones that were within six feet of one another, in contradiction of advice from public health agencies, and those that might be 20 or even 30 feet away. One reader pointed me to a part of the Bluetooth standard known as received signal strength indication, or RSSI, that is meant to offer fine-grained location detail.

Apple told me that the effectiveness of RSSI is blunted by various confounding factors: the orientation of the devices relative to one another, whether a phone is in a backpack or otherwise shielded from the signal, and so on. Taken together, those factors undermine the confidence of the system in how close two phones might be to one another. But it continues to be a subject of exploration.

So, to wrap up: do we feel more or less optimistic today about tech-enabled contact tracing than we did before? This post from security researcher Ross Anderson from over the weekend lays out a lot of the concerns I first shared here last week, plus some extra ones. “ I suspect the tracing apps are really just do-something-itis,” Anderson writes. “Most countries now seem past the point where contact tracing is a high priority; even Singapore has had to go into lockdown.”

On the flip side, argues Ben Thompson, there could be value in laying the technological groundwork now for expanded efforts later. He writes:

“They are creating optionality. When and if society decides that this sort of surveillance is acceptable (and, critically, builds up the other components — like testing — of an effective response) the technology will be ready; it is only a flip of a switch for Apple and Google to centralize this data (or, perhaps as a middle ground, enable mobile device management software used by enterprises, centralize this capability). This is no small thing considering that software is not built in a day.”

I still think that digital contact tracing is unlikely to be one of the two or three most important aspects of a country’s coronavirus response plan. Experts have told me that social distancing, wide-scale testing, and isolating sick individuals are significantly more important. And when it comes to contact tracing, we know that human beings often do a better job than smartphones — and some have argued that we need to hire hundreds of thousands of them to do the job.

At the same time, it’s possible to see how digital contact tracing could at least complement other, related efforts, including manual contact tracing. Compared to what, say Hong Kong is doing to test and trace, distributing digital tracking bracelets to everyone getting off the plane at the airport, what Apple and Google have proposed can only be described as a half measure. But in the United States at least, it may be the case that a series of half measures are all we will have to rely on.

THE RATIO

Today in news that could affect public perception of the big tech platforms.

⬆️Trending up: Oncologists say they are getting some of their best information lately on Twitter, and some are even crowdsourcing answers to difficult questions from other doctors.

⬇️ Trending down: Quarantined Amazon workers say they have not yet been paid, despite the company’s new policy about quarantine sick leave. The company says the workers will eventually get paid.

PANDEMIC

⭐ Amazon is hiring 75,000 additional workers after it filled more than 100,000 positions in the last month. The hiring spree is meant to help the company meet a surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Annie Palmer at CNBC:

As it continues to hire more workers, Amazon has also raised employees’ hourly pay and doubled overtime pay for warehouse workers. Through the end of April, warehouse and delivery workers can earn an additional $2 per hour in the U.S., 2 pounds per hour in the U.K., and approximately 2 euros per hour in many EU countries. Amazon currently pays $15 per hour or more in some areas of the U.S. for warehouse and delivery jobs.

Amazon has announced several benefits changes on top of the pay increases. The company has allowed workers to take unlimited unpaid time off and provides two weeks of paid leave for workers who tested positive for the virus or are in quarantine.

Amazon is going to start waitlisting new grocery delivery customers and curtail shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores. The move is meant to prioritize orders from existing customers buying food online during the coronavirus outbreak. (Meanwhile, people have resorted to using scripts downloaded from Github to scrounge for available delivery slots.) (Krystal Hu / Reuters)

After the Staten Island walkout, Amazon finally started checking workers’ temperatures at the warehouse entrance, enforcing social distancing rules, and piloting fog disinfectant. But some people say the roll out of the new safety measures has been uneven. Often, changes are made only after workers exert pressure. (Josh Dzieza / The Verge)

Here’s what nine Amazon workers have to say about working during the pandemic. “I feel like this job is essential because people need deliveries, but it’s also essential for me because I need the money to feed my family,” one said. (Louise Matsakis / Wired)

Amazon was already powerful. But with 250,000 US stores closed due to the pandemic, the company is poised to become even more dominant whenever the economy returns to normal. (Jason Del Rey / Recode)

Coronavirus is driving new surveillance systems in at least 28 countries around the world. OneZero is tracking the expansion of these programs, some of which undermine personal privacy. (And some of which are fairly ho-hum projects that aggregate anonymized data.) (Dave Gershgorn / OneZero)

The Supreme Court will start conducting oral arguments over teleconference, a major change spurred by the novel coronavirus pandemic. It will also stream a live audio feed — another first for the court. (Adi Robertson / The Verge)

The US economy isn’t going back to normal anytime soon, according to public policy think tanks and research centers. The groups have been putting together plans on how to reopen the US economy, and all say that without a vaccine, ending social distancing will be incredibly difficult. (Ezra Klein / Vox)

President Donald Trump has been promoting the antimalarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as treatments for the novel coronavirus. So far, there’s not enough evidence to say if they actually work. (And a study into their effectiveness was halted on Monday over the risk of fatal heart complications.) Trump’s comments, which have been covered by the mainstream press, show misinformation isn’t just a problem for social media. (Adi Robertson / The Verge)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has played a principal role in spreading false information about the origins of the novel coronavirus. The move is part of his wider effort to discredit the West and destroy his enemies from within. (William J. Broad / The New York Times)

In China, state media and influential diplomats are also pushing misinformation about the origins of COVID-19. In doing so, they’re legitimizing rumors from the recesses of the internet — and ensuring mass awareness of those ideas. (Renée DiResta / The Atlantic)

The Senate sergeant at arms warned offices that Zoom poses a high risk to privacy and could leave their data and systems exposed. The law enforcement chief urged lawmakers and their staff to use Skype instead. (Cristiano M.Lima / Politico)

Google is making changes to search results to make it easier for people to find virtual health care options. Virtual health care providers have seen a surge in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jay Peters / The Verge)

Google launched a website dedicated to coronavirus updates in India. The company also tweaked its search engine and YouTube to prominently display trustworthy information about the pandemic. (Manish Singh / TechCrunch)

Google created an application portal to help the state of New York deal with a historic surge in unemployment filings. The company said it could potentially bring a similar service to other states as well. This is cool! (Jennifer Elias / CNBC)

The coronavirus pandemic has allowed Google to pull far ahead of its competitors in getting its tech into classrooms. Google Classroom, a free service teachers use to send out assignments and communicate with students, has doubled active users to more than 100 million since the beginning of March. (Gerrit De Vynck and Mark Bergen / Bloomberg)

Apple Maps will soon display COVID-19 testing locations as part of the company’s broader efforts to fight the novel coronavirus. (Benjamin Mayo / 9To5Mac)

WhatsApp rolled out its change to message forwarding to stop misinformation from spreading. Now, viral messages can only be forwarded to one person at a time. (Rita El Khoury / Android Police)

YouTube traffic is skyrocketing, but creators are still struggling. That’s because advertising rates have dropped significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. (Chris Stokel-Walker / OneZero)

Related: The audience for esports is soaring, but coronavirus has slowed down the ad market and made capitalizing on those viewers very difficult. (Seb Joseph / Digiday)

Coronavirus has ravaged the American job market, but big tech companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook, are still hiring. Facebook is planning to fill more than 10,000 product and engineering roles to help keep up with surging traffic. (Chip Cutter and Patrick Thomas / The Wall Street Journal)

More people are watching streamed sexual performances online due to the coronavirus quarantine. But models still aren’t earning more They say new viewers aren’t tipping as well, and there’s a lot of competition. (Gabrielle Drolet / The New York Times)

People are getting dumped over Zoom. And yes, we’re apparently calling the trend “Zumping.” (The Guardian)

[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Casey Newton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was published in computerworld.com By Jonny Evans - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

Apple users who care about privacy are moving to DuckDuckGo for search. These tips will get you started with it.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance, and that’s why Apple users who care about those things are moving to DuckDuckGo for search.

Why use DuckDuckGo?

Privacy is under attack.

It doesn’t take much effort to prove this truth. At the time of writing, recent news is full of creeping privacy erosion: 

And then there’s Duck Duck Go. 

With Duck Duck Go, you are the searcher, not the searched

I think most Apple users know about DuckDuckGo. It is an independent search engine designed from the ground up to maintain your privacy.

It means the search service doesn’t collect information about you, doesn’t gather your search queries, and doesn’t install cookies or tracking code on your systems.

It now also provides highly accurate maps thanks to a deal with Apple that lets it use the also private-by-design Apple Maps service. To do this, the search engine is using Apple’s MapKit JS framework, which Apple created so website owners could embed maps in their sites.

Maps on DuckDuckGo are quite satisfying and will only improve as Apple introduces more detailed maps, better local business listings, and additional feature. You should see this service in action here.

How Apple Maps works on DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo added Apple Maps support at the beginning of 2019.

Since then, it has introduced a set of compelling improvements to how it works, thanks to Apple’s framework. You now get the better implementation of Maps in your search, including the benefit of local search results. Additional enhancements include:

  • Map re-querying: You can now refine search queries within the expanded maps view. You can also zoom in and out or move around the map to find other results that match your search.
  • Local autocomplete: You will be provided with search suggestions as you type based on the local region visible on your map. Type fuel in a map of the Arizona desert, and you can see how many miles you’ll need to walk if your fuel runs out.
  • Dedicated Maps tag: Look at the top of a search result, and you’ll find a Maps tab, which joins the images, videos, news, and meanings tabs.

There’s even a Dark Mode that is enabled when you switch to DuckDuckGo’s dark theme – when you switch, you’ll see the embedded Apple Maps also do so.

(Switch to the dark theme in the search engine’s settings, which you’ll find here. You can also discover much more information on how the search engine protects your privacy, primarily by not collecting it in the first place.)

How do they ensure your privacy when running map and address-related searches? DuckDuck Go explains:

“With Apple, as with all other third parties we work with, we do not share any personally identifiable information such as IP address. And for local searches in particular, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use.”

How to set DuckDuckGo as default search on Apple devices

There are two ways to use DuckDuckGo rather than Google for search:

1. You can visit the DuckDuckGo.com website and use search in your browser there.

2. You can also change your Mac, iPhone or iPad’s default search service in order to use the far more private alternative. I think most readers know about this, but just in case:

  • On a Mac: Safari Preferences>choose the Search tab and choose DuckDuckGo in the drop-down list of search engine choices.
  • On iOS/iPad OS: Settings>Safari and select DuckDuckGo from the options provided in the Search Engine section. You need to do this for all your devices individually.

Once you change your default search engine, all the searches you make in the future will be made using the more private service. You may even want to switch to using MeWe as a social network to replace Facebook while you’re at it.

Up next…

“We believe there should be no trade-off for people wanting to protect their personal data while searching,” the search engine explains. “Working with Apple Maps to enhance DuckDuckGo Search is an example of how we do this and pushes us further in our vision of setting a new standard of trust online.”

This is all well and good, but how do they see this experience extending itself in the future?

I am not currently in possession of a working crystal ball, but here are two realistic and possible ways the service could be extended:

  1. Imagine how cool this would be with the addition of Apple’s delightfully lag-free Look Around Street View-killer.
  2. Imagine how embedded AR experiences could also become part of what’s on offer through the search service.

Why not? We know Apple takes this stuff seriously. It is surely only a matter of time until it declines Google for search.

Like liberty for all, privacy demands vigilance. Be vigilant.

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in zdnet.com written by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

For less than a $100, you can have an open-source powered, easy-to-use server, which enables you -- and not Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft -- to control your view of the internet.

On today's internet, most of us find ourselves locked into one service provider or the other. We find ourselves tied down to Apple, Facebook, Google, or Microsoft for our e-mail, social networking, calendaring -- you name it. It doesn't have to be that way. The FreedomBox Foundation has just released its first commercially available FreedomBox: The Pioneer Edition FreedomBox Home Server Kit. With it, you -- not some company -- control over your internet-based services.

The Olimex Pioneer FreedomBox costs less than $100 and is powered by a single-board computer (SBC), the open source hardware-based Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 board. This SBC is powered by a 1GHz A20/T2 dual-core Cortex-A7 processor and dual-core Mali 400 GPU. It also comes with a Gigabyte of RAM, a high-speed 32GB micro SD card for storage with the FreedomBox software pre-installed, two USB ports, SATA-drive support, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a backup battery.

Doesn't sounds like much does it? But, here's the thing: You don't need much to run a personal server.

Sure, some of us have been running our own servers at home, the office, or at a hosting site for ages. I'm one of those people. But, it's hard to do. What the FreedomBox brings to the table is the power to let almost anyone run their own server without being a Linux expert.

The supplied FreedomBox software is based on Debian Linux. It's designed from the ground up to make it as hard as possible for anyone to exploit your data. It does this by putting you in control of your own corner of the internet at home. Its simple user interface lets you host your own internet services with little expertise.

You can also just download the FreedomBox software and run it on your own SBC. The Foundation recommends using the CubietruckCubieboard2BeagleBone BlackA20 OLinuXino Lime2A20 OLinuXino MICRO, and PC Engines APU. It will also run on most newer Raspberry Pi models.

Want an encrypted chat server to replace WhatsApp? It's got that. A VoIP server? Sure. A personal website? Of course! Web-based file sharing à la Dropbox? You bet. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) server of your own? Yes, that's essential for its mission.

The software stack isn't perfect. This is still a work in progress. So, for example, it still doesn't have a personal email server or federated social networking, such as GNU Social and Diaspora, to provide a privacy-respecting alternative to Facebook. That's not because they won't run on a FreedomBox; they will. What they haven't been able to do yet is to make it easy enough for anyone to do and not someone with Linux sysadmin chops. That will come in time.

As the Foundation stated, "The word 'Pioneer' was included in the name of these kits in order to emphasize the leadership required to run a FreedomBox in 2019. Users will be pioneers both because they have the initiative to define this new frontier and because their feedback will make FreedomBox better for its next generation of users."

To help you get up to speed the FreedomBox community will be offering free technical support for owners of the Pioneer Edition FreedomBox servers on its support forum. The Foundation also welcomes new developers to help it perfect the FreedomBox platform. 

Why do this?  Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, saw the mess we were heading toward almost 10 years ago: "Mr. Zuckerberg has attained an unenviable record: he has done more harm to the human race than anybody else his age." That was before Facebook proved itself to be totally incompetent with security and sold off your data to Cambridge Analytica to scam 50 million US Facebook users with personalized anti-Clinton and pro-Trump propaganda in the 2016 election.

It didn't have to be that way. In an interview, Moglen told me this: "Concentration of technology is a surprising outcome of cheap hardware and free software. We could have had a world of peers. Instead, the net we built is the net we didn't want. We're in an age of surveillance with centralized control. We're in a world, which encourages swiping, clicking, and flame throwing."

With FreedomBox, "We can undo this. We can make it possible for ordinary people to provide internet services. You can have your own private messaging, services without a man in the middle watching your every move." 

We can, in short, rebuild the internet so that we, and not multi-billion dollar companies, are in charge.

I like this plan

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Wearable technology has been around just as long as the portable listening device, but originally in the form of a wristband that only told you how many steps you had taken that day; but not very accurately.

With the invention of the smartphone, we now have Bluetooth enabled bands that can monitor our heart, calories burned, and how well we’ve slept. As of last month, Apple celebrated their second anniversary since developing their groundbreaking wearable product, the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch wasn’t a completely brand new invention but it was a convenient way to have your pedometer, iPhone, and heart rate monitor in one device. With the third series of Apple watches just on the horizon, it is fortuitous that Stanford has conducted a smartwatch study to test the accuracy of seven of the “best” products on the market.

Among the competitors are the likes of Fitbit, Samsung, Microsoft, and of course, the Apple Smartwatch (to name a few).

The findings

The test was conducted by 60 participants wearing said devices and undergoing 80 physical activities on your basic exercise equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals. When it came to heart rate monitoring, the Apple was the best of the best with a mere 2% error while other top shelf devices, such as Samsung, tested in 6.8%.

As a person just working out, you would think this is negligible but it means a lot when you consider the potential benefits to the healthcare world.

The other main focus of the study was the always obsessed over calorie burn measurements. This is always a tricky test because everyone burns calories differently because we all breath at different rates, our hearts pump differently based on height and weight, and of course, it’s nearly impossible for a wristband to know what the rest of our body is doing on that workout mat. The results varied from 20% all the way up to 92.6% in error with Apple falling right in the middle at 40%. 

What this means for the future

The fact that Apple is already at a 2% error rate with their heart rate monitoring in their second attempt tells us that they are only going to improve with each series. This could mean that the medical world could take their superb technology and use it to proactively predict a heart attack before it even happens.

This just could save someone’s life who is just sitting at home as an elder. The watch could warn the old man/woman about an impending attack and then have the time to either pop a pill or call 911 and state “I’m about to have a heart attack.”

Apple has also recently released a sleep monitor called the Beddit. It is a thin strip of cloth that you place under your bed sheet that monitors the activity in your chest while you doze. This could be combined with the watch and iPhone for a full laboratory’s worth of information at a much lower cost. 

The Apple Watch 3

The third series of Apple watches is due to be released in just three short months. The price will undoubtedly be substantial; likely $459 for the base model. It is currently rumored that this new generation will feature a big change called the smart band, which will move the center of measurement from the actual device to around the entire wrist for even more accuracy.

It will be going through big changes as seen here in a style sense as it will be lighter, look more like a traditional sports watch (rumored), and offer better water proofing which is essential for people actually using the watch for more than just apps.

All-in-all, it appears that Apple is trying to focus most of their upcoming technology to not only entertain but to improve the quality of life as well. 

Source: This article was published techdigg.com By John Pond

Categorized in Internet Technology

We already know the iPhone will change significantly in 2017, but now a new report has shed light on another radical alteration - and it comes from one of Apple AAPL -0.59%’s largest manufacturing partners…

In short: the iPhone 8 will not look like any previous iPhone because it will not be the same shape as any previous iPhone.

Categorized in Others

As we edge closer to the expected introduction of the iPhone 8, two big and interrelated questions have come to the fore.

First, has Apple figured out how to embed its Touch ID fingerprint scanner into the phone's display? And second, can the company (and its suppliers) implement this new technology in time to deliver the 10th anniversary edition model on schedule in early September?

1

Opposing viewpoints are driving a blitz of rumors on this topic. In the optimist camp, there is Chinese site Economic Daily News (whose reports are often publicized by DigiTimes). EDN says Apple and its suppliers have resolved any potential Touch ID issues and are right where they want to be -- preparing to ramp up production in June, with every intention of delivering millions of new iPhones in early September. (Since the debut of the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple has delivered all major introductions of its flagship product in September.)

And in the other, more crowded, corner -- the naysayers. These include veteran Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a handful of analyst firms, and the blog Mac Otakara, all of whom are reporting variations on one theme: Apple has been working to integrate this technology into the next iPhone; the process been more difficult than was anticipated; and, as a result, the usual September rollout is in doubt.

The theories about Apple's potential contingency plans, including a delayed or phased release, are detailed below. For now, there's one thing we feel very confident about: the iPhone updates made in March were not the main event for 2017. All the signs point to a major redesign coming later this year. And as we move ever closer to the introduction of the iPhone 8, we'll be assembling the most significant rumors below.

Specs we might see on the iPhone 8

 

  • Three new models including two incremental "S" upgrades plus an all-new iPhone 8
  • Home button/Touch ID embedded in display or located on back
  • New Touch ID featuring face or iris scanning
  • Curved, edge-to-edge OLED display with True Tone technology, possibly with Ion-X glass
  • Facial recognition via LG's new 3D sensor technology
  • AirPods come included
  • Wireless charging
  • Dual-lens camera, possibly in a vertical configuration and/or with AR capabilities
  • Support for the Apple Pencil
  • USB-C replacing Apple's Lightning connector
  • Enhanced water resistance
  • Higher quality earpiece for louder, clearer audio
  • Apple's next-generation processor (the A10X or A11)
  • Stainless steel and glass body
  • Upgraded storage starting at 64GB and 3GB of RAM
  • Intel or Qualcomm modem
  • Priced between $850 and $1,099

 

The iPhone... when?

We've grown accustomed to seeing a new iPhone every fall. But an expanding chorus of sources is casting doubt on Apple's ability to deliver this September. In recent weeks, there has been a steady stream of reports about manufacturing issues in Apple's supply chain related to the "significant hardware upgrades" the company has planned for the iPhone 8.

These rumors are driving multiple theories. Some of the scenarios in play include a October or November launch, an announcement in September followed by "severe shortages" of product, and deliveries delayed until later in the fall. There's also a credible story circulating that Apple will make a phased rollout -- that is, a launch of the "S" series editions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in September, with the big iPhone 8 debut coming a month or two later.

It's worth restating that that there are also reports that suggest that Apple is right on schedule. And, of course, officially, we have no idea when Apple will drop the iPhone 8. Could the company shock us with an introduction at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference in a few weeks? Unlikely -- though it sounds like we could see new MacBooks and MacBook Pros and even a new iPad there.

The iPhone... what?

For now, we're calling it the iPhone 8, though we don't know officially what the company will call it. As seen most recently with the new iPad -- with the iPad Air 2 succeeded by the iPad -- Apple may take a freewheeling approach to nomenclature.

It does seem likely that the company will offer up an iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus -- updated versions of the current models -- as less expensive alternatives to the next generation flagship. For the 10th anniversary model itself, however, anything is possible. The iPhone 8 is the conservative bet but we've seen rumors about an iPhone 10; an iPhone X; and the offbeat iPhone Edition, seemingly inspired by the premium Apple Watch Edition.

Lots of potential changes to the display

After months of debate and conflicting reports, there appears to be one area of consensus: at least one new iPhone model will have an OLED display. (The iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, according to the rumors, are more likely to stick with current LCD technology.)

The Wall Street Journal and Nikkei Asian Review are predicting that Apple will give the iPhone 8 a curved OLED panel manufactured by Samsung. Purported documentation published by /LEAKS appears to suggest that the display could be made of Ion-X glass, like the Apple Watch.

And it's this new display technology -- new for Apple, Samsung has been using it for years -- that could be one of the major factors potentially pushing back the release of the iPhone. Bloomberg (and others) have published reports that Apple is testing a version of the iPhone 8 that features a screen that "covers almost the entire front of the device." Which leads one to wonder...

2

What's up with the home button?

The nature and location of the iPhone 8's home button and optical fingerprint scanner is a hot topic. The latest buzz is that Apple could move it to the back of the phone, as shown in alleged render images leaked on Chinese site Weibo (via /LEAKS) and on Twitter by Apple leaker Sonny Dickson. Analyst firm CLSA has also gotten in on the action, suggesting that there is a "high chance" that Apple will locate the scanner on the back of the iPhone, according to its supply chain sources.

3

It's also possible that Apple could ditch the home button altogether, following in the footsteps of Samsung with its Galaxy S8. But the most interesting scenario is that Apple has figured out some way to embed or integrate it directly into the display. Which brings us to...

Touch ID 2.0

Today, Apple's Touch ID authentication protocol uses a fingerprint reader embedded in the home button. Over the past few months, there have been multiple reports that Apple has been working to integrate Touch ID into the iPhone 8's new OLED display -- and is running into big problems. According to analysts, the crux of the issue involves embedding a virtual home button and optical fingerprint sensor into the new full-screen OLED panel.

Economic Daily News reports (via MacRumors) that Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company says the company has "finalized a solution." That noted, there are several interesting theories about what Apple might do if this manufacturing process doesn't coalesce.

These range from relocating Touch ID to the back of the phone to eliminating Touch ID to, again, delaying the iPhone 8 launch altogether. But there's also another possibility: that the phone could leverage an entirely new (for Apple) paradigm for authentication that's rumored to be in development.

Benjamin Geskin's render of the iPhone 8

A render of the iPhone 8 with a pair of front-facing cameras and sensors.Benjamin Geskin

Face ID?

According to a report from The Korea Economic Daily, LG will provide 3D facial recognition technology for the iPhone 8. The article suggests that the new technology could be used for "biometric" identification. So it's plausible that Apple could use this new capability, which would ostensibly use the iPhone 8's new front lens array, to replace the fingerprint sensor as the primary interface for user authentication.

New body

The majority of images of cases, renders, and molds that have appeared so far show an iPhone 8 that, size-wise, sits between the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It's worth noting that the iPhone 8's display, rumored to extend from edge to edge, would likely be more comparable with that of the 7 Plus.

In terms of materials, one of Apple's prototypes features a combination of curved glass and stainless steel, according to Bloomberg. This corroborates earlier rumors (reported by DigiTimes and Nikkei Asian Review) suggesting that the company might replace the traditional aluminum iPhone design with a glass and steel body. Previous rumors about the possibility of a ceramic body seem to have faded out.

Enhanced audio

According to JPMorgan (as reported by MacRumors), Apple may equip the iPhone 8 with an "enhanced receiver," which is housed within the slit on the front of the phone where you put your ear during calls. This upgrade would ostensibly deliver louder, clearer audio as well as superior water-proofing (more on that below).

airpods-classic-sticker.jpg

Today, the AirPods are a $159 accessory. Could Apple included them for free with the iPhone 8?Apple

AirPods included

JPMorgan has also postulated that the iPhone 8 will come with AirPods included. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones currently sell as a $159 accessory. And so this one is a stretch. But if Apple prices the new phone high enough, there could be margin enough to make it happen. Which brings us to...

Price Point

This remains way up in the air. Sources ranging from Morgan Stanley to Fast Company to, most recently, Goldman Sachs are talking about an iPhone 8 that could cost more than $1,000. A UBS analyst has theorizedthat the 64GB entry-level model would start at $850 -- just like the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ -- and that the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus would cost $649 and $749, respectively.

Gigabit LTE

One area in which the iPhone 8 may end up trailing the Galaxy S8 is cellular network speed. The Samsung phone features Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor or, in some markets, Samsung's own Exynos 8895 chip -- both of which support Gigabit LTE. According to CNET's Roger Cheng, Apple uses Qualcomm and Intel modems -- and, at the moment, the Intel version can't deliver Gigabit LTE speed. This could force Apple to slow down the Qualcomm version to ensure all iPhones are on the same footing.

USB-C vs. Lightning

Countering a Wall Street Journal report that Apple would go with a USB-C port for the iPhone 8, a Barclays analyst (reported by MacRumors) has suggested that Apple will stick with its Lightning connector -- and include a 3.5mm headphone jack adapter -- for the next phone.

Wireless charging

4

 Reuters reports that there are multiple groups at Apple working on technology for an iPhone that supports wireless charging. And we are seeing more leaked schematic drawings that seem to suggest that wireless charging could be a real thing.

In the past, The Verge has reported that Apple has been staffing up on wireless-charging experts. The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Foxconn, one of Apple's main manufacturing partners, is making wireless charging modules. Though Apple would likely make this feature available on the premium iPhone 8, MacRumors reports that Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that all new iPhone models -- that would include the "S" series, presumably -- will get it.

Enhanced waterproofing

Apple could walk away from the Lightning port and not add a USB-C connection, of course, which would make the iPhone more resistant to water. On that note, the Korea Herald reports that the next iPhone will have a higher water resistance rating -- IP68 compared with the current generation's IP67, for those keeping score.

Vertical cameras and AR

Nearly every "leaked" image, including the one here published by OnLeaks, shows the iPhone 8 with two cameras in a vertical configuration; this one appears to show an LED flash in the middle. And if the iPhone does come with those LG 3D sensors, they would almost certainly also support augmented reality applications.

More storage

Apple may dump its 32GB model and offer a 64GB and 256GB model, according to TrendForce; the report also suggests that the company will boost the amount of RAM to 3GB. This incremental bump would follow the recent precedent of Apple ditching its dreaded entry-level model (formerly 16GB) when it released the iPhone 7.

ipad-truetone.jpg

Is True Tone coming to the iPhone?Apple

Mood lighting

And Barclays analysts have predicted that all three forthcoming iPhones -- the 7S, 7S Plus, and iPhone 8 -- will come equipped with Apple's True Tone technology, which adjusts display settings for ambient lighting conditions, and which is currently featured on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. (The next edition of the iPad Pro is also rumored to have a True Tone display.)

Bringing the GPU in house

Apple is developing its own graphics chips to be used in future versions of products including the iPhone. But the timeframe for phasing out its current supplier is 15 to 24 months, so it's unlikely that an Apple-manufactured GPU will make it into the next iPhone. We're probably looking at 2018 or 2019 for this one.

And what about the iPhone 9?

From the outer frontier of the iPhone hype cycle, The Bell (via Korean site The Investor) reports that Apple will supersize the next generation, with the iPhone 9 featuring two variations with an OLED display -- a 5.28-inch model and a 6.46-inch model.

Source: This article was published cnet.com

Categorized in Others
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