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INDIANAPOLIS -- Analyzing millions of internet searches tied to major societal events offers a new way to understand public reaction to those events, according to new research from the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

In what's believed to be the first study to examine the issue, the IUPUI researchers focused on the public's reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, to test their approach.

Nir Menachemi, a professor and the department chair of health policy and management in the School of Public Health, and researchers Saurabh Rahurkar and Mandar Rahurkar analyzed 5.6 million firearm-related search queries from the Yahoo search engine that occurred two weeks before and two weeks after the shootings.

"We wanted to understand how firearm-related information-seeking, such as looking up relevant laws and learning about advocacy, and web-based behavior, such as visits to firearm retailers, changed immediately after the event," Menachemi said.

Given the amount of data involved, this approach was unimaginable in the past. The researchers went through the 5.6 million firearm-related searches several times to get to the queries used in the study.

"This data is a hidden gem to be added to the arsenal of public health," Menachemi said.

One of the key findings of the analysis was that firearm-related searches more than doubled immediately after the Sandy Hook shooting incident.

Overall, retail websites were the most visited sites, followed by searches for gun types and ammunition. Gun type and ammunition searches had a two- to threefold increase after the shooting incident.

The researchers discovered that most people were getting information from entities that advocate -- either pro-gun or pro-gun control -- rather than from more neutral entities like government or educational websites.

Understanding firearm-related search trends to gain insight into how Americans responded to the Sandy Hook incident can enhance societal debates and inform policy development related to firearms, Menachemi said.

 

"Now that we have this information, the question is, what can we do with it?" he said.

In the Sandy Hook study, queries can be matched with particular states or smaller geographic areas to see whether searches from politically conservative, or "red," states differ from searches from "blue" states.

"That creates an opportunity to better understand what might be influencing behavior, allowing advocates to intervene with appropriate education content or be better able to react to what information people need," Menachemi said.

Menachemi noted that there are many different areas in which this type of information may improve public health and public health education.

"When we had fears around Ebola, understanding what people worried about could have been extremely helpful to a public health response," Menachemi said. "More recently with Zika, this type of data would give valuable information about what doctors, nurses and front-line clinical staff -- and policymakers -- could do or use to improve their responses to what people are experiencing."

The study, "Using Web-Based Search Data to Study the Public's Reactions to Societal Events: The Case of the Sandy Hook Shooting," was published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

Source: This article was published on eurekalert.org by INDIANA UNIVERSITY

Categorized in Search Engine

OULOUSE, France — Before talking about the future of search, one of Google’s top researchers wants you to understand just how dramatically search has changed in the past two years.

Speaking at the Futurapolis conference in Toulouse, Behshad Behzadi, director of search innovation at Google’s Zurich lab, pointed out that the majority of searches now happen on mobile devices.

And with Google’s cloud auto-tagging photos, searching images has become more effective. In addition, Google’s search will now even look into other apps on your smartphone for answers, he said, and open those apps that have the best info.

However, all of this is moving toward a larger goal.

“The future of search is to try to build the ultimate personal assistant,” he said.

To that end, there are four aspects of search that, according to Behzadi, will continue to be dramatically changed and reinvented in the coming years:

 

Voice: Google’s natural language processing has taken major leaps forward. Just two years ago, Google was noting a one-in-four error rate on spoken-word queries. Now that’s down to one in sixteen, Behzadi said. That, in turn, is driving voice searches that can sound as natural as most conversations with other people. It’s not quite “Her” quality, but Behzadi said that the kind of natural back-and-forth between human and computer seen in that movie is not as far away as we might think.

Context: Increasingly, Google’s search engine is linking your searches to understand what you’re trying to find or figure out. So, if you search using the word “castle,” for instance, you could get an infinite number of hits from around the world. But if you search first for “London,” and then for “castle,” the search engine remembers that you’re looking at London and automatically narrows the search field for you.

Also, on Android phones, if you’re looking at a Facebook post, for instance, and hold down the home button while making a voice query, Google will scan the contents of that app (or other apps) and find relevant information without your having to copy and paste things between apps to do a search.

Location: You can argue that this is also a type of context. But of course, location-based searches can also be quite specific to mobile. If you’re out and about taking a hike, you can ask Google, “What’s that lake” or “What’s that store?” and it will give you results just based on knowing where you are at that moment. Behzadi said this location awareness is growing more powerful and will become more proactive in alerting you to things that are nearby that might be of interest.

Personal information: Potentially transformative, but also potentially the most controversial, especially in Europe where privacy is a hot-button issue. As Google learns more about you, it continues to provide more and more reminders, or suggestions. If you’re using Gmail and Google Calendar, you’ve seen this feature gradually develop, as more of your info triggers alerts. Google has been tailoring search results to users for years. But as it collects more data, expect those results to become even more specialized, Behzadi said.

Finally, here’s a short clip of Behzadi being interviewed by Le Point, the news organization that hosted Futurapolis:

Author:  CHRIS O'BRIEN

Source:  http://venturebeat.com/

Categorized in News & Politics

A new year is around the corner and we might see some new things in 2017. Four CEOs of leading Nordic ecommerce companies share their thoughts on what they think will be the key ecommerce trends in 2017.

According to Marcus Fredricsson from Swedish car service portal Mekster, dropshipping is over. Customers have stronger demands, which makes convenient shipping options more important. “Today more customers disqualify online retailers who send goods directly from suppliers, particularly in cases when the goods come from different suppliers since they then need to spend far too much time to collect the goods in different batches”, he says.

Focus more on logistics

The CEO also thinks smaller online retailers must be prepared to partially loosen the customer relationship and focus even more on the logistics so they can successfully offer their products through international marketplaces like Google Shopping and Amazon. “You need a tremendous control of the supply chain logistics to satisfy customers.”

 

Fredricsson also thinks highly of virtual reality. “Although the ecommerce industry hasn’t found a way yet to utilize the technology, I think they will take on VR in a big way in 2017.”

Cut out the middleman

Cut out the middleman

Christoffer Tyrefors from Cykelkraft, Sweden’s largest online bicycle shop, thinks online retailers can do more themselves and only pay for actual delivery and thus cut out the middlemen. “Ecommerce players should find fundamental profitabilities of their core businesses and therefore needs to stop paying money to intermediaries.”

Rely less on Google and don’t get eaten

He also thinks Google has become way too powerful and online retailers are more dependent on the search engine than ever. “The ecommerce industry is feverishly looking for ways to reduce the importance of search, which in practice means to build brands. To build a brand requires something which happens to be the third major ecommerce trend in 2017 and that is: eat or get eaten”, he says, referring to large online market places that are being rolled out globally and the dominance of Google in the entire purchase process funnel. “Volume will become even more important. It translates to economies of scale, and with economies of scale it is easier to build the brand.”

 

Performance and sales will align more in 2017

Sven Hammer, CEO of monitoring platform Apica System thinks the B2B shopping experience will become more like B2C, as business-to-business retailers take advantage of all the actions the business-to-consumer industry took to improve their business models and shopping experiences. In less positive news, he thinks DDoS will continue to flood ecommerce website with disruptions and targeted. His third predicted trend is focused on analytics. “A platform that performs faster will lead to higher sales – a 100ms increase in page load can increase sales by 1 percent. Performance and sales will align more in 2017 as organizations establish KPIs like web/cloud/app performance to increase profits”, he says.

Salesman

The last CEO, Torkel Hallander from ‘ecommerce factory’ Nordic Etail, thinks SMR, “Sales Man Replication”, will become the new buzzword. “When ecommerce websites start acting like the world’s best salesman, shoppers will get a better experience and spread the world, but retailers will also increase their conversion rates and higher margins as result.”

Mobile engagement will increase influence over ecommerce

He also predicts mobile engagement will increase its influence over ecommerce. “Functionality for shopping mobile will reach new heights, selecting and choosing products, moving between devices, payments will be easier etc… but more importantly, the critical-mass hurdle for people to start realize they can do it in their phone has been passed: once you have purchased one thing in your phone, you will start wanting to do it all in the phone.”

Lastly, he thinks online stores and digital marketing will become even more targeted. In order to satisfy the customer and as a result maximize sales, online retailers will design their website presentation and their offering more for individual customer preferences, behaviors and purchasing power.

Author:  Ecommerce News

Source:  https://ecommercenews.eu

Categorized in Market Research

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