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If your website is not receiving enough organic traffic, launching a Google search campaign can give you more visits. Google Ads are commonly the first links listed in the search results. It can be tricky trying to understand how Google’s algorithm ranks ads, but luckily there are experts who have spent years studying this very topic.  

Google Ads can be in Display, Video, or Shopping formats as well. Depending on your business, one campaign may be a better fit than another. Search tends to be the most successful because people are using searching on computers and phones more than ever. If you perfect your search campaign, you’ll receive higher traffic and more customers!

Read on to learn tried-and-true tips to improve your Google search campaigns.  

Research Keywords First 

First off, you need to do the legwork and research your keywords before you even start a new Google Ads account. Along with your website’s quality score, the bids on your keywords determine where Google will rank your advertisement in the search results. Bidding on the best keywords for your business will lead to a higher Clickthrough Rate (CTR) and conversion rate.   

This is why extensively researching your keywords is crucial to a successful search campaign. You can create a broad and generic list of keywords based on your brand, but using research tools will help refine the list to be more specific.

Below are three tools experts use to determine which keywords work best:

  • Google’s Keyword Planner: This is a free tool that comes with your Google Ads account. The Keyword Planner displays the average number of times a term is searched every month. It also shows the competition level for each term, which helps you gauge whether to bid high or low. It’s best to bid on a relevant search term with a low competition level and a high average search. This can be a cheap keyword that will generate clicks and conversions. 
  • Google Trends: Another free tool, Google Trends can help you decide which keywords will perform better than others. You can see the popularity of a search term over time and by subregion. Google Trends also provides popular related topics and queries, which can give you some more ideas. If you’re stuck between two keywords and don’t know which to bid higher on, Google Trends also has an option to compare search terms.   
  • 3rd Party Tools: These are mostly used for SEO, but 3rd Party Tools can be valuable towards a search campaign. These tools expose the keywords your competitors are bidding on. This can help you decide how much to bid on and what keywords to use or not use. Spyfu and Ahrefs are reliable and expert-trusted options.  

Adapt Quickly 

There is no sure-fire way of predicting the traffic levels of your keywords before you launch. Google provides traffic estimates, but estimations aren’t always right. When you first launch your new Google Ads campaign, trust your research and be ready to adapt quickly.  

In the beginning, monitor your campaigns hourly. Tracking your CTR, conversion rate, and additional metrics will help you determine which keywords and ads are working well. You also need to monitor new campaigns to ensure you’re within your budget and the money is allocated properly.  

Create a Sensible Account Structure 

Account structure refers to how campaigns and keywords are grouped. If the structure of your account doesn’t make sense for your business, your search campaign will get messy very fast.  

To make account structures easier to understand, think of them as umbrellas. First is your Google Ads account, where you may have multiple campaigns (Search, Display, Shopping, etc.). Within each search campaign, you should have multiple ad groups. And lastly, an ad group consists of a keyword list and your ads.

Ad groups create the connection between keywords and ads. The ads in one ad group are of similar themes, so the same keywords are related to them. This organizes ideas and can help you see which ads and keywords perform better than others.  

Once you determine the best account structure for your business, don’t think of it as set-in-stone. Over time, different keywords may have higher conversion rates or a higher volume of traffic than others. Leaving room for your campaigns to grow as you receive more traffic allows you to add in keywords. 

 The last step is to write your ad copy, which I’ll talk more about below.  

Carefully Craft Headlines and Descriptions 

Your ad copy is the headline and description people read when they see your advertisement. You can have all the right keywords and bids, but if your headline is sloppy, people won’t click on it.  

To create a great headline, you need to think about the customer’s intent:

  • What are they searching for? 
  • Why are they clicking on your ad? 

The answers to these questions can help you write your headlines and descriptions.  

You also want to stand out from similar ads. If you run a cleaning service, your ad can blend in with all the other local cleaning services. Figure out what distinguishes your business from similar ones, and find a way to include it into your ad copy.  

If your ad receives more clicks, the chance of a conversion occurring is higher. Even better, if you have a high CTR, you will have a lower Cost per Click (CPC) and a higher quality score. Google ranks ads with higher quality scores above others, which will lead to more clicks and conversions. If you craft a great headline, everything else can improve along with it.   

Test different headlines and descriptions to see which works best for your audience. Sometimes the headline should be creative and attention-grabbing, while other times a more straightforward and informative ad copy is better. You won’t know unless you monitor your ads and adapt along the way.  

Read Through Search Terms Frequently 

Search terms are the words people type directly into the Google Search bar. When you first create your keyword list, you may be unsure which should be Exact, Broad, and Phrase match types. If you monitor search terms that lead to clicks on your ads, you can improve your keyword list and consequently increase your clicks. 

If you notice a specific search term is high in volume and causes a high conversion rate, you may want to make it an exact match type keyword. Sometimes, you may not think of search terms relevant to your ad until you start reading through a search term list. Checking the search terms often can help you refine your keyword list and rank your ads higher. 

Alternatively, if there are search terms you do not want to show up for, you can add these in as negative keywords. Once a search term is added as a negative keyword, your ad will no longer show for this term.

Final Thoughts 

Understanding Google’s algorithm and figuring out how to improve your ads’ performance can be confusing, but hopefully, these expert tips can help lead you in the right direction. A Google AdWords Consultant can help get your search campaign started or fix a messy campaign. If you’re creating a search campaign on your own, just be sure to do your research first and be prepared to monitor data and adapt along the way!  

[Source: This article was published in smallbiztrends.com By Lior Krolewicz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]
Categorized in Search Techniques

Boolean search query makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag, etc. We’ve compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.

Selecting a term

Start searching for tweets, articles, titles, and bios with some suggested searches:

  • Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhoneMicrosoft)
  • Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
  • Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to given user
  • Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
  • Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw#london2012)
  • Bio details (e.g. veganOlympicsfather)

Advanced terms

Advanced Boolean Search operators:

AND

Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or +. This is the default behavior of our search when no operators are used. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by searching Musk AND Zuckerberg or Musk + Zuckerberg.

OR

Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you’d like either of multiple terms to appear in results. For example, results will contain either cake or cookie by searching cake OR cookie or cake,cookie

NOT

Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney NOT World.

Phrases

When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can find results about smartphones excluding Apple’s iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone 4s".

Exact match

Searches automatically have common suffixes like -s, -ed, -ing added and removed to increase the number of results returned (even when terms are enclosed in quotation marks). To avoid having suffixes added or removed to your terms, add strict: and enclose your term in quotes. For example, find results with iPhone 4S by searching strict:"iPhone 4s".

Case matching or punctuation

If you’re searching for a brand name or keyword that relies on specific punctuation marks or capitalization, you can find results that match your exact query by adding matchcase: before the keyword, you’re searching for, like matchcase:E*TRADE .

Combining operators

Use parentheses to separate multiple boolean phrases. For example, to find people talking about having fun in Disney World or Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.

Asterisk

An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administratoradministrationadministeradministered, etc.

Near

near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of “whipped cream”.

[Source: This article was published in adigitalboom.com By Ahmed Maher - Uploaded by the Association Member: Juan Kyser] 
Categorized in Search Techniques

With Google threatening to pull out of Australia, the founder of a search engine that plants trees when people search believes his platform can help fill this potential void as an ethical alternative.

Ecosia is a search engine based in Germany that uses ad revenue from searches to fund reforestation projects around the world.

The social business was founded by Christian Kroll in 2009 and has so far helped plant more than 119 million trees.

Kroll told Pro Bono News he first became interested in social business models when he was travelling through Nepal and tried starting a search engine that would finance development projects. 

While this was unsuccessful, he said he learnt a lot and it helped renew his focus on using tech for good. 

“After Nepal I travelled through South America, where I saw the devastation caused by massive deforestation and learnt the critical role of trees in reducing carbon, combating hunger and poverty, and restoring biodiversity,” Kroll said.

“When I returned to Berlin in 2009, I started Ecosia with my sister and a couple of friends. We knew from the start that we wanted to put our profits into ecological conservation projects and tree-planting was a natural choice.” 

Today, Ecosia – which uses Bing’s search technology – has around 15 million active users.

In Australia, it makes up just 0.22 per cent of the search engine market.

Google meanwhile holds more than 94 per cent of the market share.

But with the company threatening to pull out of the Australian market due to proposed media bargaining code laws, Kroll believes Ecosia could help fill the search engine void.

“Ecosia already has a strong base in Australia – we’re seeing over 7 million searches made on Ecosia by Australians each month, and users is up 30 per cent year-on-year,” he said.

“[But] there’s still plenty of room to grow. If a large number of [internet] users switched over, it would make a huge difference to the number of trees we’d be able to plant.

“It’s now in the hands of ordinary Australians who can help plant change through their everyday internet searches.”    

Ecosia was the first German company to become a B Corporation and has consistently been rated among the top-performing B Corps in the world.

Kroll said meeting the highest standards of verified social impact performance was incredibly important given Ecosia’s mission to centre people before profit.

He said transparency was central to this, noting that Ecosia has been publishing its financial reports since 2014 to keep it accountable to users.

“Social impact is a thread that runs through everything we do,” he said.

“Whether it’s releasing a new product, considering green investments, or sharing content on our platforms, we aim to cultivate a more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable world.” 

Ecosia funded the planting of 26,000 trees in the Byron Bay region last year with local partner ReForest Now and has just signed a contract to double this figure.

Kroll said Ecosia was more than 350 per cent renewable in 2020, producing enough renewable energy through the seven solar power plants it has built to power its searches and help to push dirty energy out of the grid.

He also said the company has strong privacy protections.

“We’re privacy-friendly, searches are never stored permanently, no personal profiles are created based on search history, and all searches are securely encrypted and anonymised within days,” he said. 

“Ecosia also never uses external tracking tools and never sells data to advertisers.

“Hopefully that’s enough to convince all Australians to use Ecosia and help us to regenerate the planet.”

[Source: This article was published in probonoaustralia.com.au By Luke Michael - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff]
Categorized in Search Engine

With working from home comes a good set of hindrances, though productivity steals the show

Working from home is the new normal, but it is not that normal as it seems. It can be challenging to adopt a new culture that has no office culture or a definite time of 9 to 5. The concept has largely been followed this year, thanks to the coronavirus, but it has its root back in the ’90s as well. AT&T is one such example. As per an article by HBR (Harvard Business Review), in September 1994, 32,000 AT&T employees stayed home to convey their work through telecommunication in search of an alternative workplace. It worked well for them, and now in 2020, it is no longer an option but a necessity.

With working from home comes a good set of hindrances, though productivity steals the show. According to my experience, the following techniques can help one stay optimally productive in a work from home set up.

Wake Up on Time and Exercise Daily

In a work from home set up, there are higher chances of a messed up morning schedule as you no longer have to catch a bus/train or spend time in traffic. The probability is high that you may wake up just before a Zoom meeting at 10 AM while your working hours start at 9 AM. Well, occasionally that works, but on a daily basis, you need to have a morning routine.

The best way to do it is to wake up early or at least at the same time around every day. Do exercise or go for a walk, and boost your day with your favourite drink. It will make you feel refreshed and energetic for the entire day.

Get Dressed Like You are at Work

This is pretty basic, but basics are always good. Take a bath, comb your hair, and wear comfortable yet presentable clothes.

Getting dressed up as you go to the office doesn’t mean you have to wear a tie or tuck your shirt in. But wear clothes that don’t make you feel mentally lazy. It is better to wear bright coloured clothes than wearing a grey T-shirt and pajama. Bright colours will keep you mentally energetic.

Follow Your Working Schedule

For increasing productivity, it is of at most importance that you make a work schedule. It can be challenging to follow a work schedule as you are no longer alone, you might have your family members or roommates to indulge you in a conversation every now and then. But stick up to your schedule and convey the same schedule to your family members or roommates. It will save you time and you would be able to deliver better performance.

Differentiate Your Work and Personal Time

Well, being productive doesn’t mean that you have to work more, but work smarter. Start your workday on time, and wind it up on time. If your office hours are 10 AM to 7 PM, stick to it.

As much as it is important to complete your tasks, it is important to have some personal time. If you will overwork, considering that it is work from home, or if you will entertain after working hours tasks on a regular basis, it will frustrate you in the long run. So, learn to say ‘No’ when needed and have a healthy balance between your work and personal life.

Have a Separate Office Space

To have the feel of working in an office, and avoid distractions, it is important to have a separate working space. Just have one of the peaceful corners of your home dedicated to your work, and you are done. This will also help you mentally as your mind would automatically shift to work mode if you work from a particular place rather than wandering in every room or working while lying on a sofa or a bed.

Have a Refreshing Break for 5 Minutes Every Hour

Taking small breaks every hour is essential. It can be eye-straining to look at the screen for a long time. Also, taking a five-minute break every hour will keep you away from taking irregular long breaks and losing interest in your work because you started binging your favourite show to “get refreshed”. It will keep you relaxed and concentrated. You can have a small walk, have chai/coffee, or talk to your family members to feel refreshed in your break. Doing eye exercises will also make you feel better.

These simple tricks won’t ask much time or effort from you. They are simple lifestyle changes as in the end, being productive comes with changing the way you act every day. Following these simple techniques have worked well for me and I hope you feel the same after implementing them.

 [Source: This article was published in entrepreneur.com By Amit Kumar - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Categorized in Work from Home

For many folks, Google is the front page of the internet. You don’t type Facebook.com into your browser. You just type “Facebook,” and then click the first Google result. Or you do a basic search by tapping in what you’re looking for.

But Google is way more powerful than that. You just have to learn a few of its secret code words, and then you can slice and dice your searches like a pro. No more wading through pages of results to find what you want. Use these tricks, and you’ll almost always get what you want on the first page. You can even ask Google to show you the weather.

Google search operators

These tips use Google’s search operators. These are commands that you add to your search terms in order to narrow the scope of the search. To use one, you just type your search as usual, then type the operator afterwards.

For instance, this is how you tell Google to limit your search to one particular website

Apple site:cultofmac.com

Type that into Google (or alternatives like DuckDuckGo), and it will search Cult of Mac for the term “Apple.”

For a complete list of Google’s search operators, check out Joshua Hardwicks’s comprehensive post on the subject at the Hrefs blog. For a sampling of the most useful operators, keep reading!

cache:

This one is great. If you click in the URL bar, and add cache: to the beginning of the URL and hit return, then Google will show you the most recent cached version of a site. This is super handy if a page is down due to excess traffic, or censorship, for example.

intitle:

Add intitle: to your search, and Google will search only the titles of web pages. Great to narrow down searches where you remember a few words from a title.

“search term in quotes”

This is a different kind of operator. If you put a word or words in quote, then Google will search for that exact phrase or word. This also works with ambiguous words, where Google might be confused what you actually mean. It’s also a good way to search for known misspellings.

OR

Type OR or | between terms, and Google will search for either of those terms. This is a rear way to combine search results from two parallel searches. For instance, dock iPhone OR iPad will return a search of both iPad docks and iPhone docks.

related:

This is an odd but very handy operator. You use it without an actual search term. So, if you type related:cultofmac.com, then Google will show you a list of sites which are related to this one. I like this when researching a subject I don’t know much about. If you find one good source, you can quickly discover more.

Quick hits

And finally, a few quick tricks. Try any of the following to get info about a specific thing:

movie:

map:

stocks:

weather:

 [Source: This article was published in cultofmac.com By CHARLIE SORREL - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Internet Search

Anonymous calls could be a real headache if you do not address them effectively. Hiding behind a phone screen is an easy way to harass and stalk people. Not only that, but it’s also one of the most popular means for scams and frauds. According to one study, Americans lost nearly $20 billion during 2019 because of call scams. And let’s not forget the robocalls from advertisers that could become a never-ending nuisance. Last year, Americans received 54.6 spam calls. That’s a 108% growth from 2018.

In moments like these, a reverse phone lookup could be a real lifesaver. Finding out who’s behind an unknown number can help you evade unwanted calls and even take action if they become a threat to your safety.

So, how exactly can you do a reverse phone search? There are several methods to do this, each with its own merits and limitations. And the best option for you will depend on your particular situation and purpose. Here are the top reverse phone lookup solutions to help you select the best tool so you can take effective action.  

1. In-depth search

There are moments when you would want to do an in-depth search of who’s behind a number. These are often situations where your safety would be at risk, for example, if you keep getting inappropriate calls in the middle of the night or fear you’ve become a victim of a phone scam.

The best tools for times like these are people search sites. These are websites that have curated databases with millions of profiles. And the information they carry is impressively comprehensive. This is because they’re in the business of collating profiles of everyone and anyone by using data from various publicly accessible sources. 

And there are several reputed websites that manage large-scale databases. Nuwber is a good example. It allows users to access not just names and contact details behind an unfamiliar number, but can even let you know if there are any evictions, felonies, arrest warrants and other criminal records related to its owner. And best of all, your search requests will remain confidential. 

2. Quick anonymous search

If you’ve got a missed call from an unknown number or have just answered a call that you’re feeling uneasy about, then you need a quick reverse search without digging deep into details. In instances like these, search engines such as Google and Bing will do the trick. They are the best tools for a quick and painless reverse phone lookup.

Search engines crawl trillions of online pages all the time to index and provide search results that are the most relevant to you. And this process is completely free and anonymous.

So, type in the number within quotation marks and click search. Your search engine will instantly display any related online information such as social media profiles, online news reports, and any other web content bearing the number.

Having said that, keep in mind that there are limitations to this type of reverse searches. For instance, there could be related web pages that are not crawled by the search engine due to various reasons. Or there might be content that can only be accessed with a payment. And search engines will not provide you access to any of these.

3. Automatic search

If you’re generally worried about your safety because of some previous bad experiences and would like to find a hassle-free tool to avoid unnecessary calls, then you should consider a caller identification app.

They can automatically scan all your incoming calls to provide caller IDs. This will save you the hassle of doing reverse phone lookups every time you receive a call from an unfamiliar number. They’re able to do this by scanning massive user-generated databases of phone numbers. And some caller ID apps also provide additional features such as call recording and call blocking. 

While these apps will not offer you any detailed information about the caller, they are a very useful and reliable tool for everyday safety.

4. Social search

You can also use popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for a reverse phone lookup. These searches could sometimes retrieve a profile related to the number. However, it’s quite rare since many users keep personal details private, which would prevent profiles from turning up during a search.

But the advantage of a social media search is that it could lead you to more details through communities and forums. People often share unpleasant experiences so they could alert others and seek support. So, if the number you want to lookup is attached to criminal activities, there is a good chance that it’s already shared and discussed by others in social communities. This makes social media sites a great source for a reverse phone lookup.

While it most likely will not get you information about the number’s owner, it can provide the opportunity to identify and reach out to possible victims who have had similar experiences.

5. Official search

If you’re being particularly harassed by prank calls, for instance, the best option is to call the directory assistance services of your mobile network operator.

These are available around the clock and are often free. While mobile phone operators most likely will not divulge personal contact details attached to a number, they will take down your complaint and can monitor future activities. They can also block and even escalate if the harassment persists. This will especially help in the event you need to officially lodge a complaint with the police.

However, keep in mind that the unknown caller should also be registered with the same network operator for you to use this option.

The bottom line is, you no longer need to worry about unknown calls. Technology has provided plenty of tools to help you separate the genuine callers from the unwanted ones so you can take effective action for your safety.

[Source: This article was published in bocaratontribune.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Internet Search

“I just want search to work like it does on Amazon and Google.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that lament from friends, clients and other search folks. Frustration and dissatisfaction are common emotions when it comes to enterprise search — that is, search within the firewall.

Google on the web makes search look easy: you type in a word or two, and you get a list of dozens, if not hundreds of relevant pages. We’d all like search like that for our web and internal repositories too.

But remember that at one point, Google offered an enterprise solution in a box: the Google Search Appliance (GSA). It was a large yellow Google-branded Dell server that would crawl and index internal content, respect security and deliver pretty good results quickly. And the Google logo was available on every page to remind users they were using Google search.

The GSA was marketed to partners and corporations from 2004 through early 2019, when it was removed from the market. The GSA showed decent results, but they never lived up user expectations. What went wrong?

Several IT managers have told me users had anticipated the quality of results to be “just like Google” — but the GSA just didn’t live up to their expectations. One search manager told me that simply adding the GSA logo to their existing non-Google search platform reduced user complaints by 40%.

I’m not proposing that you find a ‘Powered by Google’ graphic and simply add it to your search form. First, that’s misleading; and probably a violation of Google’s intellectual property. And secondly, your users will react to the quality of the results, not the search page logo.

One school of thought was that Google simply decided to focus on their primary business, delivering high quality on the web. In fact, the GSA just didn’t have access to the magic that makes its web search so good: Metadata.

It turns out that internal enterprise search is hard.

Upgrade Your User Search Experience

Partly because of its size and popularity, Google on the web takes advantage of the context available to it. That means the results you see may include queries used and pages that you have viewed in the past. But what really adds value is that Google will also include post-query behavior of other Google users who performed the same query.

The good news is you can likely improve your internal search results by implementing the same approach Google uses on the public web.

Your internal content brings some challenges of its own. On the web, there are sometimes thousands of pages that are nearly identical: if Google web shows you any one of those near duplicates, you’ll probably be satisfied. But behind the firewall, people are typically looking for a single page; and if search can’t find it, users complain.

Internal search comes with its own challenges; but it also has metadata that can be used to improve results. 

Almost all of the internal content we’ve seen with clients is secure. While parts of some repositories — think HR — are available across the organization, HR does have secure content such as payroll data, employee reviews, etc. that must not be available to all.

The Solution: Use the Context!

One of the differences between internet and intranet content is security. And repositories fall into one of two general areas: users and content. Security should come into play for both types of content.

User Level Security

In a lot of enterprise environments, many, if not most, repositories apply user or content level security. And typically there are a number of elements here. The fields can be used to add useful metadata. Fields that are available and make sense to be included as user-level metadata may include the following:

Location: Office, Department, Time Zone

Office location, department and time zone

Direct phone & email

List of active clients

User Level Security

Location, role, title, office, department

Role & title

Manager name & contact info

Key accounts

Content Level Security

Access level

Content including queries, viewed results pages, and saved and/or rejected-ignored

Actually, this is really a starting data point; examine, experiment, and dive in!

[Source: This article was published in cmswire.co By Miles Kehoe - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dana W. Jimenez]

Categorized in Internet Search

We all live in a digital world in which being in constant touch with technology is not just an option, but it is a necessity. This definitely has had a number of positive effects on society, but it also comes with its fair share of drawbacks. And one such drawback is in terms of the whole host of privacy issues.

When you are surfing on the internet, you are leaving a number of carbon footprints. And if you are not diligent about protecting your privacy, then somebody could very well track those footprints and steal your personal information. This sounds scary. But the good thing is that if you just a follow few steps, then you can avoid this entire scenario. In this article, we’ll be looking at the top 6 tips that you can follow to protect your privacy while using the internet. The list is mentioned below.

  1. Looking at Social Media Privacy Settings

According to current statistics, millions of people use various social media applications every single day. And the chances are that you are also one of those people. This is why it is important for you to take the necessary steps and protect all your private information that might be present on your social media handle. If someone hires the best detective agency in Delhi, they will surely look into your social media.

Most social medial applications come equipped with a strong privacy setting that you can activate to protect yourself and your information from total strangers on the internet. Also, you can select the people who can view what you post or share on your social media profile. This goes a long way in keeping your information safe.

  1. Avoid Using Public Storage

When we think of sharing information, then the first thing that comes to our mind is social media. But that is not where the privacy issue ends. Instead, there are also many other ways through which you might be sharing your information. And one such way is to use online sharing platforms for storing private information.

For example, there are many people who save their passwords, videos, photographs, and other documents on Google Drive. And while it is fine to upload some stuff to Google Drive that you mean to share but when it comes to saving your private information, then applications like Google Drive and Dropbox should not be the ideal choice.

  1. Evade Trackers

Surfing the internet is not possible without visiting various websites. And every single time that you visit a website, your browser is disclosing a bunch of information about you. This information is often used by marketers to target you with ads. But this information can also be misused. So, it is suggested that ideally, people should use private browsing services. This option is definitely better than browsing in incognito mode.

  1. Secure Everything

Let’s consider a scenario in which you lost your device or a situation in which a hacker is trying to hack your device. In both of these situations, the only tactic or weapon that can protect your private information is your password.

This is why you must make sure that all of your devices are password protected. You also need to ensure that you have a strong password. It is suggested that you should use a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters. When it comes to privacy, you can not let anything slip through the cracks. The biggest reason why I’m saying this is because even a small mistake can make such a big hole in your privacy.

  1. Keeping Your Electronic Devices Safe

Sometimes you can follow all the precautions, but a hacker might still find a way to try and steal your private information. And it is vital for you to also be prepared for a situation like that. This means that you should make sure to install an antivirus program in all of your devices irrespective of whether you are using those devices at your home or outside. You should also set up a firewall on your computer. It is very important to protect your electronic devices safe as a whistle. In today’s day and world, the biggest threat to your privacy is through electronic devices.

  1. Check Your Wi-Fi Connection

Do you remember the last time you were in a coffee shop or you were traveling, and you decided to connect to the internet through the public Wi-Fi network? This is something that most people do daily without giving it much thought. And this is not the right attitude.

The chances are that there are many people connected on the same public Wi-Fi network, and if you connect to that public Wi-Fi, then somebody could decide to snoop on you. So, it is suggested that you should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. If that is not possible, then you should make it a point not to enter any of your private information while you are connected through a public Wi-Fi network.

[Source: This article was published in newspatrolling.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Annotation of a doctored image shared by Rep. Paul A. Gosar on Twitter. (Original 2011 photo of President Barack Obama with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Charles Dharapak/AP)

To a trained eye, the photo shared by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Monday was obviously fake.

pual gosar

At a glance, nothing necessarily seems amiss. It appears to be one of a thousand (a million?) photos of a president shaking a foreign leader’s hand in front of a phalanx of flags. It’s easy to imagine that, at some point, former president Barack Obama encountered this particular official and posed for a photo.

Except that the photo at issue is of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, someone Obama never met. Had he done so, it would have been significant news, nearly as significant as President Trump’s various meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Casual observers would be forgiven for not knowing all of this, much less who the person standing next to Obama happened to be. Most Americans couldn’t identify the current prime minister of India in a New York Times survey; the odds they would recognize the president of Iran seem low.

Again, though, there are obvious problems with the photo that should jump out quickly. There’s that odd, smeared star on the left-most American flag (identified as A in the graphic above). There’s Rouhani’s oddly short forearm (B). And then that big blotch of color between the two presidents (C), a weird pinkish-brown blob of unexpected uniformity.

Each of those glitches reflects where the original image — a 2011 photo of Obama with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — was modified. The truncated star was obscured by Singh’s turban. The blotch of color is an attempt to remove the circle from the middle of the Indian flag behind the leaders. The weird forearm is a function of the slightly different postures and sizes of the Indian and Iranian leaders.

Screenshot 1

President Barack Obama meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 18, 2011. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Compared with the original, the difference is obvious. What it takes, of course, is looking.

Tools exist to determine whether a photo has been altered. It’s often more art than science, involving a range of probability more than a certain final answer. The University of California at Berkeley professor Hany Farid has written a book about detecting fake images and shared quick tips with The Washington Post.

  • Reverse image search. Save the photo to your computer and then drop it into Google Image Search. You’ll quickly see where it might have appeared before, useful if an image purports to be over a breaking news event. Or it might show sites that have debunked it.
  • Check fact-checking sites. This can be a useful tool by itself. Images of political significance have a habit of floating around for a while, deployed for various purposes. The fake Obama-Rouhani image, for example, has been around since at least 2015 — when it appeared in a video created by a political action committee supporting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
  • Know what’s hard to fake. In an article for Fast Company, Farid noted that some things, like complicated physical interactions, are harder to fake than photos of people standing side by side. Backgrounds are also often tricky; it’s hard to remove something from an image while accurately re-creating what the scene behind them would have looked like. (It’s not a coincidence that both the physical interaction and background of the “Rouhani” photo were clues that it was fake.)

But, again, you have to care that you’re passing along a fake photo. Gosar didn’t. Presented with the image’s inaccuracy by a reporter from the Intercept, Gosar replied via tweet that “no one said this wasn’t photoshopped.”

“No one said the president of Iran was dead. No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person,” Gosar wrote to the “dim-witted reporter.” “The point remains to all but the dimmest: Obama coddled, appeased, nurtured and protected the worlds No. 1 sponsor of terror.”

As an argument, that may be evaluated on the merits. It is clearly the case, though, that Gosar had no qualms about sharing an edited image. He recognizes, in fact, that the photo is a lure for the point he wanted to make: Obama is bad.

That brings us to a more important point, one that demands a large-type introduction.

The Big Problem with social media

There exists a concept in social psychology called the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” You’ve probably heard of it; it’s a remarkable lens through which to consider a lot of what happens in American culture, including, specifically, politics and social media.

The idea is this: People who don’t know much about a subject necessarily don’t know how little they know. How could they? So after learning a little bit about the topic, there’s sudden confidence that arises. Now knowing more than nothing and not knowing how little of the subject they know, people can feel as though they have some expertise. And then they offer it, even while dismissing actual experts.

“Their deficits leave them with a double burden,” David Dunning wrote in 2011 about the effect, named in part after his research. “Not only does their incomplete and misguided knowledge lead them to make mistakes, but those exact same deficits also prevent them from recognizing when they are making mistakes and other people choosing more wisely.”

The effect is often depicted in a graph like this. You learn a bit and feel more confident talking about it — and that increases and increases until, in a flash, you realize that there’s a lot more to it than you thought. Call it the “oh, wait” moment. Confidence plunges, slowly rebuilding as you learn more, and learn more about what you don’t know. This affects all of us, myself included.

Screenshot 2(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

Dunning’s effect is apparent on Twitter all the time. Here’s an example from this week, in which the “oh, wait” moment comes at the hands of an actual expert.

Screenshot 3

One value proposition for social media (and the Internet more broadly) is that this sort of Marshall-McLuhan-in-“Annie-Hall” moment can happen. People can inform themselves about reality, challenge themselves by accessing the vast scope of human knowledge and even be confronted directly by those in positions of expertise.

In reality, though, the effect of social media is often to create a chorus of people who are at a similar, overconfident point in the Dunning-Kruger curve. Another value of the Internet is in its ability to create ad hoc like-minded communities, but that also means it can convene like-minded groups of wrong-minded opinions. It’s awfully hard to feel chastened or uninformed when there is any number of other people who vocally share your view. (Why one could fill hours on a major cable-news network simply by filling panels with people on the dashed-line part of the graph above!)

The Internet facilitates ignorance as readily as it does knowledge. It allows us to build reinforcements around our errors. It allows us to share a fake image and wave away concerns because the target of the image is a shared enemy for your in-group. Or, simply, to accept a faked image as real because you’re either unaware of obvious signs of fakery or unaware of the unlikely geopolitics that surrounds its implications.

I asked Farid, the fake-photo expert, how normal people lingering at the edge of an “oh, wait” moment might avoid sharing altered images.

“Slow down!” he replied. “Understand that most fake news/images/videos are designed to be sensational or outrageous and get you to respond quickly before you’ve had time to think. When you find yourself reacting viscerally, take a breath, slow down, and don’t be so quick to share/like/retweet.”

Unless, of course, your goals are both to be sensational and to get retweets. In that case, go ahead and share the image. You can always rationalize it later.

[Source: This article was published in washingtonpost.com By Philip Bump - Uploaded by the Association Member: Alex Gray]

Categorized in Investigative Research

Overview | Do Internet search engines point us to the information that we need or confuse us with irrelevant or questionable information? How can Internet users improve their searches to find reliable information? What are some ways to perform effective searches? In this lesson, students conduct Web searches on open-ended questions and draw on their experiences to develop guides to searching effectively and finding reliable information online.

Materials | Computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Invite students to share anecdotes about times when they used an Internet search engine to look for information and found something they were not expecting, or when they could not find what they were looking for.

After several students have shared, ask for a show of hands of students who have experienced frustration using an Internet search engine. Then ask: How often do you use search engines? Which ones do you use most? Why? What are the most common problems you face when searching? Do you consider yourself a skilled searcher? Do you have any search strategies? Do you search the Internet more for personal reasons and entertainment, or more for school? Do you believe that improving your Internet searching skills will benefit you academically? Socially? Personally?

Give students the following search assignment, from The New York Times article “Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet”: “Which day [will] the vice president’s birthday falls on the next year?” (Alternatively, give students a multistep question that relates to your subject matter. For example, a geography teacher might ask “How many miles away is Shanghai?”) Tell students to type this question into Google, Bing or any other favorite search engine, and have them share the top results in real-time. Did the answer appear? If not, what’s the next step to take to get this question answered?

Ask: What information do you need to be able to answer the question? Ideas might include the name of the vice president, the date of his birthday, and a copy of next year’s calendar. Have them try to find this information and keep working until they can answer the question. (You may want to add a competitive component to this activity, rewarding the student who finds out the right answer the fastest.)

When one or more students have found the answer, have one student take the class through the steps he or she took to find the answer; if possible, do this on a screen so that everyone can watch. Along the way, ask probing questions. What keywords did you type into the search engine? Why did you choose these words? Which results did you click on? Why did you choose those sources over the others on the page? How many steps did it take? Are you sure the sources are reliable and that the answers are correct? How can you tell? How would you verify the information? If time permits, play around by using different keywords and clicking on different results, to see how the search for the answer to the question changes.

To end this activity, ask: What did you notice about the search to find the answer to this question? Did this exercise give help you understand something new about Internet searching? If so, what?

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Search engines are typically developed to be easy for everyone to use. Google, for example, uses the Arial typeface because it considers it more legible than other typefaces. But advocates for children and researchers say that more can be done technologically to make it easier for young people to retrieve information. What is at stake, they say, are the means to succeed in a new digital age.

Read the article with your class, using the questions below.

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. What problems does the article mention that children run into when they use search engines?
  2. What suggestions have been offered for how search engines can improve their product to lessen children’s problems searching?
  3. Do you search using keywords or questions? How does the article characterize these two types of searching?
  4. Have you tried using images or videos to search? How does the article characterize this type of searching?
  5. What advice would you give to Internet search engine developers for how they should improve their product? Do you think any of the improvements mentioned in the article are particularly promising? Why?

Activity | Before class, ask teachers of several different subjects for questions that they have asked or will ask students to research on the Internet. Alternatively, collect from students their own research questions – for another class or for a personal project, like I-Search. Be sure that the questions are sufficiently open-ended so that they cannot be answered definitively with a quick, simple search – they might contain an element of opinion or interpretation, rather than just be a matter of simple fact.

Put the class into pairs, and provide each pair with the following multipart task:

  • Seek to answer your assigned question by conducting an Internet search.
  • You must use different search engines and strategies, and keep track of how the search “goes” using the various resources and methods.
  • Once you find an answer that you are confident in, do another search to verify the information.
  • When you are finished, evaluate the reliability of all of the Internet resources that you used.
  • Prepare to tell the story of your search, including what worked and what didn’t, anything surprising that happened, things that would be good for other searchers to know, “lessons learned,” etc.

Provide pairs with the following resources to research their assigned topics. Let them know that these are starting points and that they may use additional resources.

Search Engines, Metasearch Engines, and Subject Directories:

Choosing Effective Search Words:

Evaluating Source Reliability:

When pairs have completed their research, bring the class together and invite pairs to share their stories. Then tell them that they will use their notes to create a page for a class guide, in booklet or wiki form, on how to use Internet search engines effectively for research, to be made available to the school community to help other students. As much as possible, the tips and guidance in the guide should be illustrated with the students’ stories and examples.

Tell students that their booklet/wiki entries should or might include the following, among other types of guidance and insight:

  • Ways and examples of using keywords and Boolean logic effectively.
  • Ineffective examples of keyword searches that result in too much, too little or useless information.
  • Examples of how to sequence searches and why.
  • Sites they find that answer their question and how they can tell whether these pages are reliable.
  • Any information they found that was questionable or incorrect, where they found it, and how they discovered that it was wrong.
  • Why it is important to scroll past the top result to pages listed farther down the page or on a later page in order to find complete answers to the question.
  • How using different search engines yielded different results.

In addition to the handbook or wiki, you might also have students make their own videos, à la the Google ad “Parisian Love,” chronicling their search.

Going Further | Students read the New York Times Magazine article “The Google Alphabet,” by Virginia Heffernan, who writes the column “The Medium,” and keep a tally of the number of advertisements and commercial sites that they see while doing schoolwork on the Internet for one or two days.

Then hold a class discussion on advertising and commercial interests on the Internet. If students are using the Internet to complete their homework, are schools requiring students to expose themselves to corporate advertisements in order to succeed academically? Do any ethical questions arise around the prevalence of corporate advertising in Web searching for academic purposes?

Alternatively or additionally, students develop ideas for the search engines of the future, like ways to use and find images, audio and video, rank results and so on, and “pitch” their ideas to classmates acting as search engine developers.

And for fun, students might try to come up with “Googlewhacks.”

Standards | From McREL, for Grades 6-12:

Technology
2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs.
3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual.

Language Arts
1. Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
4. Gathers and uses the information for research purposes.
7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Life Work
2. Uses various information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By Sarah Kavanagh And Holly Epstein Ojalvo - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]

Categorized in Search Engine
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