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Privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo's year was productive in 2020. The search engine managed to increase daily search queries significantly in 2020 and 2021 is already looking to become another record year as the search engine broke the 100 million search queries mark on a single day for the first time on January 11, 2021.

Looking back at 2019, the search engine recorded over 15 billion search queries in that year. In 2020, the number of queries rose to more than 23 billion search queries. These two years alone make up the queries for more than one-third of the company's entire existence, and the company was founded in 2008. In 2015 for example, DuckDuckGo managed to cross the 12 million queries per day mark for the first time.

In 2020, DuckDuckGo's daily average searches increased by 62%.

DuckDuckGo received more than 100 million search queries in January 2021 for the first time. The first week of the year saw growth from less than 80 million queries to stable mid-80 million queries, and the past week saw that number jump to mid-90 million queries, with the record-breaking day on Monday last week.

Queries have gone down under 100 million again in the past days -- DuckDuckGo does not display data for the past couple of days -- and it is possible that numbers will remain under 100 million for a time.

One of the search engine's main focuses is privacy. It promises that searches are anonymous and that no records of user activity are kept; major search engines like Google track users to increase money from advertising.

DuckDuckGo does benefit whenever privacy is discussed in the news, and it is quite possible that the Facebook-WhatsApp data-sharing change was the main driver for the rise in the search engine's number of queries.

DuckDuckGo's search market share has risen to 1.94% in the United States according to Statcounter. Google is still leading with 89.19% of all searches, followed by Bing and Yahoo following respectively with 5.86% and 2.64% of all searches.

Statcounter data is not 100% accurate as it is based on tracking code that is installed on over 2 million sites globally.

Closing Words

DuckDuckGo's traffic is rising year over year, and there does not seem to be an end in sight. If the trend continues, it could eventually surpass Yahoo and then Bing in the United States to become the second most used search engine in the country.

Privacy concerns and scandals will happen in 2020 -- they have happened every year -- and each will contribute its share to the continued rise of DuckDuckGo's market share.

Now You: do you use DuckDuckGo? What is your take on this development? (via Bleeping Computer)

[Source: This article was published in ghacks.net By Martin Brinkmann - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]
Categorized in Search Engine

Surely it often happens to you that in your searches on Google you do not find results as useful as you expected. So today I bring you something that I think you will like. These are advanced search operators that will make your life easier when it comes to finding valuable resources.

The Internet has exponentially multiplied the information that we can access with a single click. Thanks to the processing of large volumes of data (Big Data), we can obtain an instant response to a complex query in search engines such as Google. We can even find what we need without having to navigate through different websites.

 

However, the Google BERT algorithm has improved the accuracy of search results.  A large amount of accessible content bombards us and sometimes makes it difficult to find valuable information. We live in the age of information or “infoxication”.

But do not despair, the method that I show you today will help you to carry out your searches effectively. Eliminating all the noise to get to the content you really want. What you are going to learn is how to get better-filtered results using tools at your fingertips, such as Google’s advanced search operators.

How To Do advanced searches on Google

An advanced search utility is available on Google. This search is carried out from a small, very easy to use form where you can fill in various search fields to specify what you want to find.  In this article, I will show you the most popular and basic search commands. If you want to learn more, you can check this list of Google search operators (50+ operators) prepared by Olga Zarzeczna.

The basic Google operators

I assume that you are already familiar with some of the main search operators, also called commands or footprints, that can be used in Google. For example, the exact match operator, enclosed in quotation marks (” “). This operator offers you precision by returning the results that contain the exact phrase.

But I bet you didn’t know these others: Asterisk operator.

This operator is very useful when you do not remember or do not know part of the search terms. So that you understand it better, it is a wild card. Maybe you are looking for an expression that you only remember part of. Well, you could add the Asterisk in the part that you don’t remember. You can also combine it with quotation marks to further narrow the search.

Search word exclusion

If you add the symbol “-” in front of a specific word in your search, you can exclude that keyword from the results that are presented to you.

Search by number range

Google gives you the option to search for a range of numbers. This is done by writing the lower and upper values ​​and adding a colon between them. This operator is especially useful when looking for price ranges.

Boolean operators

Also known as logical operators, Boolean operators are commands based on Boolean algebra. They allow you to logically connect the concepts or groups of terms that you are looking for to expand, limit or define your searches quickly. As well as being very simple, they will notably improve the efficiency of your searches.

AND operator

It is a presence operator. Finds results that include all of the search terms that have been specified regardless of their relative position and order. The greater the number of terms joined by the operator, the fewer the results and the more accurate will be your query to Google.

OR operator

It is useful for indicating associations between words or synonyms in your search. We can say that it is used to make several queries in the same search since you will obtain results that respond to the term or group of terms that is on one side of the OR as well as the one that is on the other side.

NOT operator

It is also known as an exclusion operator. Finds results that do not contain the term written after the operator. For example, if you query SEO NOT sem, the result will only return the contents where SEO appears but not sem.

Site: operator

With this operator, searches are limited to that particular website or domain. It is very good to search for a specific topic indexed by Google within a specific website.

Inanchor operator

This operator is key if you want, it will help you find links to resources of interest. When you use it, Google will return the search results that contain the keywords as text in a link. It is also very useful for SEO because you can find websites where you are already linking to a specific type of resource like the one you have on your blog. So you can get them to link you easily.

Filetype operator

This command will be useful to you to find documentation according to the type of file: pdf, docx, xlx, ppt, etc. All you have to do is do a normal search and add the filetype operator “filetype” at the end.

 [Source: This article was published in southfloridareporter.com By Mark Jonson - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]
Categorized in Search Engine

The dark web is full of dangerous stuff, but how does it affect your security directly?

The dark web is a mysterious place with a crazy reputation. Contrary to belief, finding the dark web isn't difficult. However, learning how to navigate it safely can be, especially if you don't know what you're doing or what to expect.

Hackers and scammers use the anonymity the dark web gives them to launch attacks on a wide range of targets, including consumers and businesses.

MakeUseOf spoke to Echosec Systems James Villeneuve about dark web threats, intelligence gathering, and security planning.

How Do Dark Web Threats Affect Corporate Security Planning?

The dark web is an ever-present backdrop for security planning. Just as cybersecurity firms do not underestimate the power of the dark web—that is, the users, forums, and organizations lurking there—corporate security planning is increasingly weighing those threats into their security planning.

James Villeneuve says:

Corporate security teams can no longer turn a blind eye to the growing threat landscape across the deep web and the dark web. With large corporations likely to experience, on average, one crisis per year, security planning has to identify where these crises are originating from online and begin developing a more proactive approach to monitoring.

Can Security Teams Actively Search the Dark Web for Threats?

One of the biggest draws of the dark web is privacy and anonymity. First, you can only access the dark web using specialized software, such as the Tor Browser. This software comes equipped with the special routing and privacy add-ons required to access the Tor network.

 

The structure of the dark web is meant to keep the sites, services, and users anonymous. When you use Tor to access the darknet, your internet traffic moves through several anonymous nodes from your computer to the site you want to visit.

Furthermore, the dark web isn't indexed in the same way as the regular internet. Websites on the Tor network don't use the DNS system that the normal internet uses.

Scanning the dark web for threats, then, requires special tools. For example, Echosec Beacon is a specialized threat intelligence tool that scans darknet marketplaces for stolen credentials, leaked data, and illicit goods, detects data breaches, and can provide early warning and insight into conversations relating to specific organizations on dark web forums.

Villeneuve explains:

Monitoring the communities that are discussing, planning, and propagating these threats, organizations are beginning to value and prioritize more proactive security strategies. With the average cost of a data breach now equalling over $3.86 million (IBM, 2019), the ability to prevent such breaches can save an organization millions in damages.

Does the Dark Web Provide a False Sense of Security?

As the dark web carries a strong reputation for privacy, it is no surprise that attackers and criminal organizations gather there to plan and launch attacks. The idea of a hidden service operating on a highly secure anonymous network provides users with a strong sense of privacy and security.

However, this feeling can lead users to make mistakes in their personal security. Furthermore, that sense of privacy and security provides the platform for people to discuss and plan "a great deal of nefarious activity... illegal goods sales, money laundering, and human exploitation" all happen on the dark web.

When users feel more comfortable in their surroundings, discussing plans for a cyber attack or details of their employer, they might give away more information than they realize.

In terms of "regular" dark web users, who are perhaps simply visiting the dark web version of Facebook or the BBC News website, these privacy issues aren't of a similar concern. The examples provided involve users interacting with and posting on dark web forums.

Posting to these forums can create traceability, especially if the users' operational security is poor (such as using the same username on multiple sites, revealing personal information, etc.).

Can Users Do More to Protect Themselves on the Dark Web?

When asked about security experience and responsibility, James Villeneuve says:

Your IT team simply cannot be the only team with security training. Security awareness training is paramount for all employees, in large corporations as well as SMEs. Empowering your staff with this knowledge can allow them to identify and prevent social engineering, spear-phishing, and ransomware attacks.

Security extends into all areas of life. So many of our important services are online. Learning how to use them safely is becoming a necessity, in that learning how to spot and detect phishing emails goes a long way in securing your online accounts. You should also consider how to create and use strong passwords.

But in terms of the dark web, the basics remain the same, with some extra tweaks. For example, aimlessly browsing the dark web isn't a good idea. You might click a link that takes you somewhere you don't want to go, with dangerous content at the other end.

Secondly, the dark web isn't really made for browsing in the same way as the regular internet.

Finally, there are hoaxes everywhere on the dark web. You'll almost certainly encounter sites offering services that simply don't exist.

Is the Dark Web Illegal?

The dark web itself isn't illegal. The dark web is an overlay network, which is a network that runs on top of another network. So, the network itself is completely legal.

However, there is illegal content on the dark web, some of which could land you in prison for a very long time if caught accessing it.

Then there is the exposure to other dangerous content, such as the darknet marketplaces and so on. Browsing a darknet marketplace isn't itself illegal, but purchasing the illicit goods on there is very likely to be, depending on your locale.

The other consideration goes to local laws regarding encryption. In some countries, the use of strong encryption is illegal as it makes government snooping much harder. Which, of course, they don't like.

You cannot access the dark web without using some form of encryption. The Tor network has strong encryption at its core. Accessing the dark web in a country with anti-encryption laws could see you fall foul of the government, so it pays to check before accessing the dark web.

Stay Safe on the Dark Web

You can access and use the dark web securely, but businesses and other organizations should be aware of the threats that can lurk there. Unfortunately, many of these threats are unseen, which is where dark web monitoring tools such as the Echosec System Platform can make a difference.

 [Source: This article was published in makeuseof.com By Gavin Phillips - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]
Categorized in Deep Web

As you scroll through the local listings in Google Maps, Google may show you web results at the bottom.

Brian Barwig spotted Google displaying web search results in the Google Maps local search results listings for an individual business. Brian, a local SEO, said “we are noticing a new section, “Web Results”.  We, at Search Engine Land, were able to replicate this.

Where to see it. Go to a business listing in Google Maps and scroll past the business information and towards the bottom, you will see “Web Results.”

What it looks like. Here is a screenshot from my business listing:

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Web results in local. Google tends to try to keep local search and web search results separate but there has been overlapping before. Google did show web site mentions in the local results before. Google also leverages algorithms used in web searches for local searches, such as neutral matching and others.

Why we care. If potential customers scroll down your local listing in Google Maps and the web results do not look appropriate for your business, that can end up being a turn off for those customers. Do your best to make sure those web results are accurate, the snippets and content in the results look good, just in case someone does scroll down to look at them.

 [Source: This article was published in searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Categorized in Search Engine

As a brand or business, it’s not enough for you to intimately know your products and services. You also have to know your industry and customers inside and out if you want to achieve the highest level of success. To help you gain these insights, there are sites for market research that can offer a deeper look at your business and uncover ways to win over your audience.

What Is Market Research and Why Does It Matter?

Market research is the act of gathering and analyzing data about the position of a product or service in a market. It looks at information regarding current customer interest and potential growth.

The market analysis also gathers information about the people who are and might be interested in a product or service. It interprets data as they relate to customer spending habits, geographic locations, industry competitors, and economic conditions.

These insights help you find out:

  • How many people are likely to become your customers
  • Who your customers are
  • Why they buy
  • How they buy
  • How much they buy
  • Why they buy from you
  • Why they buy from a competitor
  • Where there might be opportunities for niche marketing

To find answers to these questions, there are many sites for market research that can help you uncover insights about your customers and industry.

The Best Sites for Market Research

Some of the best sites for market research include the following tools, platforms, and research methods. Use these free marketing research websites to gain insights into your industry, customer base, and potential for growth.

U.S. Census Data Tools

A vital part of marketing research is determining your market size or the potential reach of your products or service. Research to see how many people you could reasonably expect to become your customers. For this type of research, there are U.S. Census data tools. The site has more than a dozen online market research tools and free industry research reports that help you gain insight into demographics and geographic locations of populations who might be interested in your offerings.

US Census online market research tool

SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources

Another one of the best sites for market research as it relates to customer demographics and economic statistics is the U.S. Small Business Administration website. Their Office of Entrepreneurship Education has a variety of market research analysis tools, resources, and reports that provide information useful for learning about customer statistics, product production, economic factors, and data you can use for your marketing intelligence.

 

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Pew Research Center

For more reports and datasets to use in your market research, search the Pew Research Center. The company conducts “public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis, and other data-driven social science research,” all of which offer insights into social, industry, and media trends. The varied and in-depth reports help businesses get a data-focused perspective on the topics shaping industries and geographic areas.

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Statista

For researching data and stats, Statista is another one of the best sites for market research. The site includes datasets on topics in over 600 industries. In addition to providing hard data, Statista also provides many supporting charts and infographics that make the data easy to consume, understand, and use in your market analysis.

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Google Surveys

One of the most powerful ways to learn about your target market is to ask questions. Creating surveys and distributing them to people who match the characteristics of your ideal audience allows you to get direct insight into the minds of your target customers. One of the best sites for market research like this is Google Surveys. You create a survey, describe who you want to take the survey, and Google pools people who match your criteria, and provides you with the results.

free sites for marketing research

SurveyMonkey

Getting information from people who match the criteria of your ideal customer is useful and so is gathering data from the people who actually do business with you. A part of your market research should include surveying your current customers to gain insight into their buying decision process and information that can help you create buyer personas. To perform this type of research, use SurveyMonkey to create surveys that you can distribute to your list of current customers.

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Alexa Tools

Researching your audience is a powerful way to gain insights to use in your marketing intelligence, which is why Alexa is one of the best sites for market research. Using Alexa, you can uncover a variety of details about your audience’s demographics, interests, and habits.

 

Audience Overlap Tool

The Audience Overlap Tool allows you to enter your website or up to 10 competitors to see a list of other websites that the audience regularly frequents.

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This helps you get to know what other interests your audience has as you can see what other types of websites they use. Demo the tool for free and find similar sites now.

Competitive Keyword Matrix

Using Alexa to create a competitive website analysis is another way to conduct market research. One such tool for performing this analysis is the Competitive Keyword Matrix tool. The Competitive Keyword Matrix helps you get a look at the terms your ideal audience is using in search to find your website and your competitors’ websites. You can use this report to see which terms are leading your target audience to competitors and create a plan to target those similar keywords.

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Site Overview

The Site Overview Tool allows you to enter a website and receive a report on the website’s top keywords, traffic sources, audience geography, and other sites with an overlapping audience.

City Town Info

To get more detailed demographic information as it relates to careers and geographic areas, use City Town Info. The site allows you to search by region and explore details about what types of jobs and college experience residents of those areas have. The data helps businesses get to know the people living in specific areas around the U.S. and gather insights into what they do, how much they earn, how much education they have, and more.

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Google Trends

Google offers another one of the best sites for market research with Google Trends. It allows you to get insight into the minds of consumers and audiences. The tool helps you see what topics and stories are popular by displaying reports on the top, most searched for terms. You can use filter functions to see trending stories based on region and category to gain more insight into the areas that are most relevant to your audience and industry.

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Social Mention

Another tool that helps you get a radar on industry trends and hot topics is Social Mention. The tool curates social posts that mention a target search term. It also provides details about the search term such as audience sentiment (how users feel about the term) and reaches (how much influence the term has). To gain insight into your business or industry, you can search both your brand name and related terms to get an idea of how audiences feel about the topic.

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Start Your Market Research Today

When it comes to understanding and winning over more customers, don’t rely on guesses, estimates, or feelings. Get the facts. Do a detailed competitive analysis of your industry using these sites for market research and discover new growth potential for your business and the path you need to take to get there.

To get help with your market research, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. It includes the Audience Overlap, Site Overview, and Competitive Keyword Matrix Tools mentioned in this post along with dozens of other tools that help you learn about your customers, competitors, and industry.

 [Source: This article was published in blog.alexa.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw] 
Categorized in Business Research

We all probably did a lot more online shopping this year during the pandemic than ever before. After online shopping, you will notice that pop-up ads are constant, and continue to pop up even if you continue to “x” them out. Or you might check the weather, and find that the site you access knows exactly which town and state you are in.

That’s because of cookies and your browser. Here are some tips to minimize the use of your browsing history by third parties.

First, when you use a computer and Wi-Fi in a public place, your browsing history can be accessed and stored. Even if you are browsing using your own Wi-Fi, you can do it privately. All you have to do is go to the far right side of the browser toolbar, click on the three little dots and select private or incognito.

Next, you can delete your browsing history by going to those same little three dots and clicking on “More Tools;” when the menu comes down, click on “Clear browsing data.”

When visiting websites, be wary of any pop-up that asks you to click on “I agree.” Usually, it is asking you to agree to allow cookies. If it gives you an option to say “no,” say “no.” If a pop-up asks you if you want to delete cookies or “do-not-track,” say “yes.”

To restrict browsers from sending your location-based data, refuse to provide consent if asked when you visit a site.  Depending on the browser you use, you can go into “preference” in settings and choose the option of disallowing or asking for the request of location when you visit a site.

Use other browsers that have advanced privacy settings, such as DuckDuckGo.

To restrict Google from creating an ad profile on you, you may wish to consider downloading Google Analytic Browser Add-on so your tracking activity is restricted.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also track our online activities. To limit these platforms from tracking, go to “Settings” in each site, and click on the choices that allow you to limit targeted ads, tailor ads, or managing advertising preferences.

All websites track users. Controlling cookies and browsing history to limit this tracking will reduce the number of pop-up ads you receive, and the sharing of information about your browsing without your knowledge.

 [Source: This article was published in natlawreview.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dorothy Allen]
Categorized in Internet Privacy

The news of Google’s recent firing of Timnit Gebru has taken the online world by storm. Gebru was the lead researcher for Gender Shades, a project that “evaluates the accuracy of AI-powered gender classification products.” In other words, her work was to see if artificial intelligence and machine learning could correctly predict a person’s gender, based on a photo of their face. And for the most part, it did.

Google, Microsoft, and the other big tech companies are investing a lot in machine learning and artificial intelligence. It’s improving search engine performance quite a bit.

Self-Updating Algorithms

thisisengineering raeng

Google engineers used to have to roll out big and little algorithm updates manually. But now, artificial intelligence capabilities empower the algorithm to update itself.

Enter Rankbrain.

Rankbrain is Google’s machine learning algorithm. Based on changes in all of the hundreds of contextual variables Google reads, the algorithm changes itself based on the shifts in the search landscape.

Of the trillions of queries, Google sees every year, 15 percent of them are entirely new. New words and phrases get created. The world is a vast place, so new songs, movies, books, political events, social trends, people, products, and ideas surface every year.

Rankbrain has the ability to read the contextual clues and serve users relevant results based on those clues.

Consider the following example. You just performed a search query with the words “orange soda”. This happens to represent all of the following things; A new, imaginary show entitled Orange Soda just came out on Netflix, The drink Orange Soda is gaining in popularity, There’s a restaurant in your city named Orange Soda, and There’s a town in Illinois called Orange Soda.

Which should Google show you information for? RankBrain is going to calculate the variables to see which contextual data points to emphasize. In our first example, you’re on your laptop in your house, logged into your Google Chrome account. It’s 8:30 pm, and you just searched for TV shows to watch. Based on all of these clues, Google’s going to guess that you’re looking up the new show. It will give you search results accordingly.

In another example, you just left work at 5 pm. Then you used voice search on your phone to ask, “What time does Orange Soda close?” Given these factors and the fact that you’re only 2 miles from the Orange Soda restaurant, Google will serve up results about the restaurant, and not the TV show or drink.

Similarly, if you Google, “directions to orange soda” or “orange soda in bulk”, those keyword phrases will indicate which search results in Google needs to show you.

Natural Language Processing

In the examples above, a person would instantly understand what’s being said by the context. Search engines are still learning this.

Even with contextual clues, search engines often struggle. The most recent search engine advances use analytics feedback and voice search data to train themselves on what people mean.

Voice search has been increasing steadily over the past few years. This gives Google and Bing larger data sets to train their machine learning models on. It gives the search engines practice with responding to human language phrases like, “What time is it in Miami?” and “Is there a lot of traffic on the I-5 right now?”

As the “natural language” database expands, search engines know how to better respond to these types of queries. This is because people speak differently than they write, and user feedback trains the models.

Customer journey analytics techniques enable the software to react to people’s choices. Oftentimes a user’s intent doesn’t become clear until after a series of different strings, which helps to train the search engine on what people mean. For example, when users search a general string like, “seafood restaurants”, they may not like the results that they see.

If the search results are unsatisfactory, they may follow up with searches like, “seafood restaurants near me” or “restaurants with clam chowder near me”.

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It’s these sequences of human language queries that give the search engines the data they need. After 100 times of seeing the search phrase “seafood restaurants” result in a subsequent search of “restaurants with clam chowder near me”, they will start to show one as an autosuggest phrase for the other.

 

And perhaps they will even start to show similar search results for both because user data has indicated that the underlying search intent is the same, even if the wording is completely different.

The real-time, context-based nature of communication is what makes search technology so difficult, complex, and fascinating.

One of the biggest machine learning challenges in search right now is figuring out this “natural language processing”.

Images and Multimedia

Despite the advances that projects like Gender Shades bring, search engines still struggle to read images and other non-text media formats like video and audio. Computers still can’t consistently recognize images anywhere close to the level that humans can, and video is even more difficult for them to understand.

If and when artificial intelligence capabilities improve to a level comparable to the human brain, then the search engines can incorporate multimedia more fully into their search results.

Until then, the written word will continue to dominate search platforms.

[Source: This article was published in innotechtoday.com By Garit Boothe - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anna K. Sasaki] 
Categorized in Internet Technology

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

(Sponsored Content) When your system is connected to a network, you cannot always guarantee the integrity of the person at the far end of a network connection. If your system is connected to the Internet, ethics go out the window altogether. You have to assume that the person at the far end is a bad guy, then proceed from there. With this tip, we’ll outline an approach to this problem that may help you to focus on how to deal with the bad guys wherever they may be.

Internet bad guys generally fall into two categories, sneaks, and bullies. The bullies you can probably identify easiest, are the ones who go after your system with active attacks. They will try to break into your system, trying just about everything in the book. On our test IBM I server in the office recently, we had a bully come by who tried to log on using over 700 different user profiles in a period of five minutes. Each logon attempt was met by our SafeNet/i exit point software and tossed out right at the point of entry with a security warning message to our security officer for each try. The user profiles were all different and all “typical” of what you might expect to see in just about any shop in the country. When bullies come after you, they do it with brute force. They can try to spoof your system, guess your passwords, deny others from using your system by keeping it overly busy dealing with their break-in attempt, and much more.

 

The sneaks are a lot more passive. Sneaks will sit back and monitor network traffic to your system and try to uncover secret information that will then give them what they need to gain access to your system “normally.” Sneaks are very hard to identify and they have insidious tools at their disposal to get the information they want. This can even include Trojan horses that gather the information for them. Since sneaks are so hard to identify, you should plan your security strategy assuming that someone is always watching your system.

To guard your system against both sneaks and bullies, you need to think about how to layer your system defenses to guard against anything and anyone. If your system is connected to the Internet, you must assume that a sneak or a bully is going to attempt to gain access and plan accordingly. The best defense is always a good offense and you should consider the various layers of your system and have a plan to deal with intruders at every level. This layered approach will help you develop a good defense. The layers you should give consideration to including:

  • System security – including your system-level use of user-profiles and regularly rotated passwords. For most IBM I shops, this will be your last line of defense, so plan it well. Consider using longer passwords or passphrases that are now supported by the IBM I OS.
  • Network security – this commonly involves the implementation of a firewall between your network and the Internet but can also include services available from your ISP. On the IBM I there are also things that can be done at the IBM I OS server-level via exit programs that can address network security issues.
  • Application security – your applications should be designed to integrate with your security policies. Application software can easily be misused and abused and your applications should be designed with this in mind, especially those applications that are open to network and Internet users.
  • Transmission security – when you use an uncontrolled network like the Internet, your data will be open to anyone while it is in transit from one place to another. To protect your data, you need to consider encryption techniques and the use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on your IBM I along with encryption. Encryption should be required for all 5250 terminal connections.

In your plan for network and Internet security, you need to have a plan for each of these layers of control in order to safeguard your system. And, even then, a bully or a sneak might still get past you, so watch out.

[Source: This article was published in itjungle.com By Rich Loeber - Uploaded by the Association Member: Juan Kyser]
Categorized in Internet Ethics

Ecosia does more than an average search engine. With each click, you can plant a tree and save Earth. Here are the reasons to start using it today.

Although Ecosia is not one of the oldest search engines on the internet, it’s certainly old enough to persist and improve. This Berlin-based search engine has even made a name for itself in recent years.

Sure, Google is considered the top-dog among web browsers, but it doesn’t do everything, nor does it protect your privacy. On the contrary, Ecosia offers several things that no other browser has.

It might be time to switch to Ecosia, especially if you care about the environment. Here are ten reasons why you should use Ecosia rather than putting more money in Google’s wallet:

1. Ecosia Plants Trees as You Surf the Internet

Like other search engines, Ecosia generates revenue from the clicks on advertisements that appear beside and above the search results. Each search query also has a fixed rate.

What makes Ecosia different from Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo is that Ecosia uses 80 percent of its revenue to plant trees.

One of the goals of this not-for-profit search engine is to fight climate change. That is why for every 45 searches that you do in Ecosia, they will plant a tree where people need them most.

They only work with tree-planting partners who use various trees that are native to the area to create a biodiverse forest. Ecosia also ensures that the site is protected after the trees are planted, unlike other organizations.

2. You Can Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint

Data centers use a lot of energy to send you results. The carbon footprint generated and released into the atmosphere is usually around 0.2 grams of carbon per search query.

Internet Live Stats reported that Google processes over 1.2 trillion searches per year, which would result in 240 billion grams of carbon a year.

You can fight against the climate crisis by reducing your digital carbon footprint with Ecosia. They built their own solar plants in Germany to power their servers using 100% renewable energy so that every search will be carbon-free.

Moreover, each tree that they plant from your 45 search queries will remove 50 kilograms of carbon in the atmosphere in its whole lifetime. It means that each search would have a carbon footprint of negative 1.1 kilograms.

3. It’s Completely Free and Offers the Same Browsing Experience

Like other search engines, Ecosia is free. It also works the same way, so you won’t have a hard time using it. They partnered with Microsoft’s search engine Bing so you’ll see the same reliable results, images, news, and maps.

The only difference is that Ecosia puts a green leaf or fossil fuel icon beside some of the websites in the search results to help you make better decisions. The former symbol signifies that the website or organization is planet-friendly, while the latter would mean that they are one of the world’s biggest polluters.

4. Ecosia Is Available on Mobile Devices

This browser extension has also made its way to mobile devices, as more people are making the switch to greener internet usage. Ecosia even became a default search option for iOS phones.

Apple users alone generated enough ad revenue to plant over seven million trees in 2020. Meanwhile, Ecosia recorded over five million downloads on Google Play Store.

It has several nifty features on the mobile app, such as Safe Browsing, Quick Search, Adblock, Autofill, Add Cards, and Save Passwords. Like other mobile web browsers, it has tabs, incognito mode, bookmarks, history, downloads, and more. Results also load faster than other mobile search engines.

5. Ecosia Is a Privacy-Friendly Search Engine

Unlike Google, which collects your data and uses it in more ways than you can imagine, Ecosia is a privacy-friendly search engine. They don’t store your searches for more than a week, nor do they create personal profiles based on your data.

While Ecosia uses a tracking tool to collect a small amount of data to optimize their services, they don’t use any external or third parties. This way, they can prevent others from accessing your searches and using the data. But if you don’t want to be tracked by Ecosia, you can use their “Do Not Track” feature.

6. They Won’t Sell Your Data to Advertisers

Each of your search queries in Ecosia is securely encrypted to protect you from potential eavesdroppers. Ecosia ensures that nobody between you, them, and services directly involved can spy on your searches.

Also, you can rest easy that the little data they collect to improve their services won’t be sold to any advertisers.

7. Transparent Financial Reports

Ecosia knows that transparency is essential to earn your trust, so they publish their monthly financial reports in full online. Since they pledged 80 percent of their profit to plant trees, they also make sure to be transparent with the budgeting.

 

The report shows how much they spend on their tree planting project, so you can check whether they fulfilled their promise. You can also see how much money Ecosia generated from your searches and how much they used for marketing and employee salaries.

8. You Can Create Sustainable Jobs

As you continue to use Ecosia and help them earn more profit, you’ll also help Ecosia support more tree planting projects in different countries. This would create more sustainable jobs, which would employ people and help them earn income.

In one of their tree-planting projects in Madagascar, Ecosia hired 160 full-time employees to plant mangroves on the island. They also employed firefighters in Brazil to protect existing forest patches.

9. Help Protect Endangered Animal Habitats

With the money that Ecosia makes from your search queries, they can restore forest corridors in Uganda, replace trees that have been illegally cut on Sumatra, and connect existing forest patches in Madagascar.

These areas are home to endangered animals such as chimpanzees, orangutans, lemurs, and more. Planting more trees would support these animals and provide them with shelter and a source of food and water.

10. They Gamified Searching, Which Makes it Fun

Ecosia gamified their web browser by adding a search counter on the top right of their display. That way, you can track your impact and see how many trees you’ve planted.

This feature makes internet browsing amusing and even teases your gamer instincts to push the numbers as high as possible. It’s fun to watch it go up and can even be addicting.

Save the Earth While Searching the Web

Like any other web browsers, you can search for keywords and keyphrases in Ecosia. But there is more to it than just surfing the web since you can save the Earth and support good causes with each click.

Use Ecosia and make it your default search engine now so you can contribute to a greener Earth.

[Source: This article was published in makeuseof.com By Emma Collins - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]
Categorized in Search Engine
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