Every company, regardless of size, requires multiple tools to understand the performance of its website, the happiness of its customers, and gain key context from competitors. Here are 11 tools to help you gather that important data

When considering the different web analytics tools that your business requires, the plethora of available options can be overwhelming for businesses that may not understand how to use them. And that's where hiring someone to really dig into all of the reports can be vital.

The rule that is often referenced in this regard is the 90/10 rule, so if you have $100 to spend on analytics, spend $10 on reports and data, and $90 on paying someone to filter through all of that information. Because without a proper understanding of the information these services will provide you with, it remains just raw data.

"Investing in people and the tools that those people need to be successful is key," notes Bryan Eisenberg, author, and marketing consultant. "But it's the people who can understand that data that really matters."

You obviously won't use all of these tools all of the time, but it's beneficial to know about some of the top options and how they fit into your overall web strategy. And using multiple tools only gives you further levels of insight into your customers and your success rate.

For larger businesses, the more robust analytics tools can be great to really dig in, but for small and mid-sized companies, there are many free or relatively cheap offerings to help you understand this information. 

We interviewed Eisenberg, Christopher Penn of Blue Sky Factory, Caleb Whitmore of Analytics Pros, June Dershewitz of Semphonic, Eric Peterson of Web Analytics Demystified, Linda Bustos of Elastic Path Software, Jamie Steven, Rand Fishkin, and Joanna Lord of SEOMoz.org, Trevor Peters of Critical Mass and Justin Levy of New Marketing Labs. These experts know the tools inside and out and this guide contains their recommendations on the best services for you to use.

What is Web Analytics?

But before digging into the tools themselves, let's start with exactly what web analytics is? As Kaushik states in his book with the same title, Web Analytics 2.0 is defined as: 

  1. The analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition
  2. To drive a continual improvement of the online experience of your customers and prospects
  3. Which translates into your desired outcomes (online and offline)

Web analytics 2.0 is a three-tiered data delivery and analysis service for small and big businesses. The first is the data itself, as it measures the traffic, page views, clicks, and more for both your website and for your direct competition. The second is what you do with that data, or how you are able to take the information gathered via these services and apply it to your customers, whether new or existing, to make their experience meaningful and better. And the final tier is how it all circles back together to meet your overarching business objectives, not just online but offline as well. Data by itself is a great way to see how you are performing, but without applying what you've learned, it has little use.

Clickstream Analysis Tools 

A completely free service that generates detailed statistics about visitors to your website, Google Analytics is the simplest and most robust web analytics offering. Currently used by over 50% of the top 10,000 websites in the world, according to the site's usage statistics, you can find out where your visitors are coming from, what they're doing while on your site and how often they come back, among many other things.  As you get more involved in the site's analytics, you can receive more detailed reports, but it's that ease of use that makes it one of the most popular services.

"There's really only one tool for small businesses need and that's Google Analytics," notes Penn. "It's so incredibly robust in terms of what it offers and if someone tells you that Google Analytics isn't enough for a small business, then frankly they have no idea how to use it properly."

Google Analytics was the unanimous favorite of all the web analytics experts we talked to.
-Recommended by all experts

Once you've mastered Google Analytics, Yahoo's similar offering gives you a little more depth in your surveying. It offers better access control options and a simpler approach to multi-site analytics, raw and real-time data collection (unlike Google, you can import cost of goods data), visitor behavior and demographics reports, and customized options as well. Yahoo Analytics is a bit of a step up from Google in terms of profiling, filtering, and customization, so for those looking to dig a little deeper, it's a great option.
-Recommended by Whitmore, Bustos, Eisenberg

Crazy Egg (crazyegg.com) 

- $9-$99/month

In short, Crazy Egg allows you to build heat maps and track your visitors every click based on where they are specifically clicking within your website which is a long way of saying that you're exploring your website's usability. It allows you to really see what parts of your site users are finding most interesting and clicking on the most.  It can help you to improve your website design and in essence conversion. Setup is quite simple as well, and their 30-day money-back guarantee on all accounts is a nice touch.
-Recommended by Whitmore and Dershewitz 

Competitive Intelligence Tools 

Compete (compete.com) 

- Prices vary

Perhaps best known for publishing the approximate number of global visitors to the web's top one million websites, Compete is a great complementary tool to clickstream analytics offerings. Compete gives you creative intelligence on what your competitors are doing or how your users ended up on your website in the first place (what their clicks were both before and after). There is a free offering that includes traffic volume data.  But where Compete is different is in their search analytics, a paid service that lets you track what keywords are sending users both to your website and to your competitors.

"The deeper digital insights you have, the better understanding you have of your customer," says Aaron Smolick, senior director of marketing at Compete. "By using Compete products, you will have all of the information that you need to make educated decisions to optimize your online campaign, increase market share and dominate the competition.
-Recommended by Dershewitz, Eisenberg and Levy

Experimentation and Testing Tools 

Another free tool from the folks at Google, their Website Optimizer is a complex testing service that allows you to rotate different segments of content on your website to see which sections and placement convert into the most clicks, and at the end of the day, the most sales. You can choose what parts of your page you want to test, from the headline to images to text, and run experiments to see what users respond best to. And of course, with GWO being free (you don't even need Google Analytics to use it), it could be the only A/B (a technical term for multiple versions of the site running at once) and Multivariate (MVT) or complex testing solution.

"While not web analytics proper, Google's Web Site Optimizer is the perfect companion to measurement and allows small business owners to test simple (A/B) and complex (multivariate) variations of their site, content, and landing pages using powerful statistical methodologies," says Peterson. "While the set-up is somewhat involved, the user interface is delightfully easy to learn and, of course, the service is available at the best of all prices --- free.

Google Website Optimizer was another unanimous favorite from our panel of web analytics experts.
-Recommended by all

Optimizely (optimizely.com) 

- $19-$399/month

A relatively new service (launched in June 2010), Optimizely is simple to use but its results can be quite powerful. In essence, it's an easy way to measure and improve your website through A/B testing. As a business, you can create experiments with the site's very easy-to-use visual interface. The beautiful thing about this service is that you need absolutely zero coding or programming background, as the tools are easy for anyone to use.
-Recommended by Whitmore and Eisenberg

Voice of Customer Tools

Kissinsights from Kiss Metrics (kissinsights.com) 

- Free to $29/month

One of the easiest tools you can implement (it literally takes a one-time Javascript install), the idea behind Kissinsights is to provide businesses with an easily implemented and customized feedback form for website visitors. On the businesses end, you can manage all of the questions you're asking customers through a single and simple dashboard. The best part of Kissinsights is that your customer feedback comes in via very simplified and short comments.
-Recommended by Whitmore, Eisenberg, Levy, Steven, Fishkin, and Lord

4Q by iPerceptions (4qsurvey.com) - Free

A 100% free online survey solution that allows you to truly understand the "Why" around your website's visitors, the premise behind 4Q is basically to learn what people are doing while on your website. Surveys are a powerful way to glean important insight from your customer's actual experiences on your site, and they offer short and simple surveys that answer the four key questions you want every customer to answer:

"¢ What are my visitors to my website to do?

"¢ Are they completing what they set out to do?

"¢ If not, why not?

"¢ How satisfied are my visitors?
-Recommended by Whitmore, Dershewitz, Bustos and Eisenberg 

ClickTale (clicktale.com) 

- Free to $990 (3 months free on paid plans)

A qualitative customer analysis, Clicktale records every action of your website's visitors from their first click to the last. It uses Meta statistics to create visual heat maps and reports on customer behavior, as well as providing traditional conversion analytics.

"One of the things that Google Analytics doesn't do particularly well tells you what visitors are paying attention to on a page and highlighting where those visitors are getting stuck during their visit," says Peterson. " Clicktale is essentially a video recorder for website visits and provides great detail about mouse movement, scrolling, and dozens of other critical visitor behaviors."
-Recommended by Whitmore, Peterson, Eisenberg, Steven, Fishkin, and Lord

Social Analytics

Facebook Insights - Free

If you're using Facebook for any part of your business, this is the simplest free offering from Mark Zuckerberg's team in terms of analytics. It provides very detailed information about your follower counts, likes, comments on posts, and more. There are two different types of Facebook Insights, based around both users and interactions with your content. Really, this is the best and only tool you'll need if you're using Facebook content to help engage with your customers.
-Recommended by Dershewitz, Peterson, and Bustos

Twitalyzer (twitalyzer.com) - Free

The most complete application for measuring impact, engagement, and influence on your Twitter usage, Twitalyzer is a free analytics dashboard with detailed metrics. Similar to Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer gives a higher view of your account's impact on customers, based on followers, retweet level, how often an account replies and engages in conversation, and more. Simplicity is key here, as you can just look up a Twitter username and get instant information.


-Recommended by Peterson and Bustos

There are plenty of additional analytics options out there, including Piwik, Feedburner, Percent Mobile, Mongoose Metrics, AdWords, Klout, Topsy and plenty more. It really depends on what you want to focus on most with your business and that's what you need to analyze before digging into this process, but these cheap tools are a great place to start.

According to Avinash Kaushik, author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day, "the quest for a single tool/source to answer all your questions will ensure that your business will end up in a ditch, and additionally ensure that your career (from the Analyst to the web CMO) will be short-lived." So in short, it's of extreme importance to focus on multiplicity.

[Source: This article was published in inc.com By Lou Dubois - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara larson] 
Published in Internet Technology

Auto deletes are also rolling out to Google Accounts now.

Google is rolling out new privacy-focused features for those who sign into search with a Google Account.

Now, in the Google Account Menu, there's a new "quick delete" option on the Google mobile app that deletes the last 15 minutes of search history with a tap of a button. The option is viewable by tapping the avatar icon and selecting "Delete last 15 minutes".

Google announced the feature at its IO 2021 conference this May. It's a mobile-only option and is available now in the Google iOS app and is coming to the Android Google app "later this year", says Google

It offers users a simple two-click option to get rid of anything in their search history that a person might want to delete as soon as the mobile search has been completed. 

Google Search web users, meanwhile, are gaining "auto-delete" controls that let people choose to automatically and continuously delete their search history at specified intervals. Users can instruct Google to purge Web & App Activity from an account after three, 18, or 36 months. 

Google says that enabling Web & App Activity allows it to tailor the experience across Google services by saving search history. This history can be deleted from the My Activity section of user settings. 

Catering to people who share a device with family or friends, Google now lets users lock their My Activity page. Protecting this section of the account requires a password or two-factor authentication to view the records of a user's search history.

Another key privacy feature Google announced at I/O was the ability to passcode-protect a Locked Folder in the Photos app. 

This lets phone owners hand a device to a friend to show a photo on the camera roll without having to worry the person scrolls down to a sensitive pic. This rolled out to Pixel devices in August and is coming to other Android devices this year. 

quick delete max

[Source: This article was published in zdnet.com By Liam Tung - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]
Published in Search Engine

WHEN IT COMES to looking something up on the web, most of us default to Googling it—the search engine has become so dominant that it's now a verb, in the same way that Photoshop is. But using Google for your searches comes with a privacy trade-off.

Google's business is, of course, based on advertising, and every search you make feeds into the profile of you that it uses to target the ads you see around the web. While Google isn't telling marketing firms what searches you're running, it is using those queries to build up a picture of you that ads can be sold against.

While Google has made moves to limit this data collection—introducing tools for auto-deleting your web history after a certain time period, for example—you might want to switch to a different search provider that doesn't log your queries. And if you want to stick with Google, there are ways to limit the amount of data that gets recorded.

Brave Search

braveBrave isn't going to keep track of what you're looking for. SCREENSHOT: DAVID NIELD VIA BRAVE

Having previously been known for a privacy-focused browser, Brave has now launched its own search engine—albeit one that's labeled as a beta product, so expect the occasional bug and technical issue to appear. Even at this early stage, it's impressively comprehensive, and of course, you're trying it as much for its security and privacy as for the results you get.

Simply put, no logs of your queries are kept by the search engine. While that might make for a slightly less convenient user experience—Google might automatically know you're more interested in the Miami Dolphins than actual dolphins, for instance—it does mean that you can search without worrying that you're going to see any related advertising.

"It's impossible for us to share, sell, or lose your data because we don’t collect it in the first place," says Brave. While the service might eventually become ad-supported, those adverts won't know anything about you or what you've been looking for on the web, making it distinctly different from Google's offering.

You can access the Brave search engine from any web browser and any device (you don't have to use the Brave browser to use it). Getting around the interface is as simple and straightforward as you would expect: Simply type out your query, hit Enter, and wait for the results to show up. You can look for Images, News, or Videos as well as websites using the buttons at the top of the results page.

You'll also see drop-down menus above your search results that let you filter them by location and time. Depending on what keywords you've used, you might also see a Local results tab—this will temporarily make use of your IP address to find results from regional sites, but this IP address isn't saved. As soon as you close down the Brave search tab, everything is forgotten.

DuckDuckGo Search

duckduckgo searchDuckDuckGo is simple, secure, and private. SCREENSHOT: DAVID NIELD VIA DUCKDUCKGO
 

DuckDuckGo has been around for much longer than the Brave search engine, and so it has more in the way of features and options. Its focus is the same: to help you search the web privately, without your queries being registered. It pulls data from hundreds of different sources, including the Microsoft Bing search engine and Apple Maps.

As with the Brave search engine, your searches are never logged or recorded—every time you turn up at the DuckDuckGo portal, you're seen as a new user. You will notice advertising alongside the search results that you get through DuckDuckGo, but these ads aren't targeted, and the advertising networks behind them don't know anything about you.

"Our privacy policy is simple: we don’t collect or share any of your personal information," says DuckDuckGo, which also develops a browser extension and mobile apps for Android and iOS. You don't need to register an account with the service, and you won't find a history of your searches anywhere in DuckDuckGo, making it impossible for the company to monetize them. The portal is now handling about 80 million searches a day.

DuckDuckGo is very straightforward to use: Just type your query into the main search box and hit the Enter key to get started. For certain queries, like celebrity names or places that can be found on a map, you might see pop-out boxes alongside your main search results. For topical searches, a few recent news updates might be included too.

Along the top of the search results list, you'll see ways of filtering the matches that you're seeing. You can focus on Images, Videos, News, Maps, or Shopping for example, as well as set filters based on location or the time that a page was last updated. Use the Settings link on the right to change the appearance of the results page and to change various other DuckDuckGo options.

Limiting Google

google
You can break the connection between Google Chrome and your Google account. SCREENSHOT: DAVID NIELD VIA GOOGLE

It's worth bearing in mind that if you're using Google Chrome and you're signed into Google, you may well be syncing your DuckDuckGo or Brave searches back to your Google account. Your Google web history and your Chrome browsing history (if you're signed into Google) will match up most of the time because Google keeps them in sync by default, partly to make it easier to use Google across multiple devices.

To stop this from happening in Chrome, click the three dots in the top right-hand corner, then choose Settings. If you see that you're signed in to your Google account at the very top, click Turn off—this will break the connection between Google and your browser, and you'll be given the option to delete all the data that's stored locally on your device (including your browsing history, bookmarks, and stored passwords).

Perhaps an easier option is to simply switch to another browser altogether—as we've already mentioned, Brave has one. Other good cross-platform alternatives to Chrome are Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Safari from Apple—but whichever one you switch to, be sure to check out the settings for deleting your browsing history as you go. (All of these browsers have simple-to-use options for this.)

Whichever browser you decide to use, opening up a private or incognito window while you're searching will prevent those searches from being logged inside the browser—as soon as you close the window, the search is gone forever. Bear in mind that these modes don't necessarily stop online companies from tracking your queries though. (If you sign into your Google account while in private mode, Google will still be able to track you.)

If you can't bring yourself to be parted from the search results that Google serves up, you can at least make sure that they're not remembered for too long. Open up your Google account settings page on the web, then click Data & personalization and Web & App Activity: You can choose either Manage activity to remove history and searches manually, or select the Auto-delete option to have this data wiped automatically once it's been stored for a certain amount of time.

[Source: This article was published in wired.com By David Nield - Uploaded by the Association Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Published in How to

Even just to remind the world there's life beyond Google and DuckDuckGo

Having rebelled against Google's web hegemony with a privacy-focused browser and a crypto token-based monetization system, Brave Software opened a second competitive front on Tuesday with the beta launch of Brave Search.

Brave has managed to attract more than 32 million monthly active users to its alternative browser that's similar to Google Chrome – is based on its open-source Chromium foundation – but is still distant enough on the privacy continuum to avoid being overshadowed.

"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO, and co-founder of Brave, in a statement. 

"Unlike older search engines that track and profile users and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy."

Brave Search isn't intended to replace Google Search, at least at this point, but it does represent an attempt to convince internet users that search can function well without surrendering data.

Eich is throwing down the gauntlet not just to Google, but also to the likes of DuckDuckGo, another company that's made headway against the search giant by promoting privacy.

DuckDuckGo says it uses some 400 different sources to inform its search index, though its reliance on Microsoft Bing became evident when the disappearance of a politically sensitive image in Redmond's product earlier this month was reflected in DuckDuckGo and other alternative search engines.

Brave Search uses on its own community-generated index, based on the Tailcat search engine acquired from unsuccessful Chrome-challenger Cliqz. But it also provides a way to make queries through Google, Bing, and other search services in the form of a "Find elsewhere" section below its homegrown search results list.

In its current form, Brave Search works pretty well. The Register has not had the opportunity to test it thoroughly but we found it returned useful results for most queries we tried.

In one case where we felt motivated to take our query elsewhere, the Brave Search results page's "Find elsewhere" link presented the following prompt seeking permission to submit the keywords to Google: "For queries where Brave Search is not yet refined, your browser will anonymously check Google for the same query, mix the results for you and send the query data back to us so we can improve Brave Search for everyone."

Brave presents its independent index as a point of differentiation with DuckDuckGo, though it may not be 100 percent independent. The company explains that it relies on anonymized contributions from its community to improve its search results.

"However, there are types of queries, as well as certain areas such as image search, for which our results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, we are using APIs until we are able to expand our index," the company said in its Brave Search announcement. "The Brave Search independence metric is a progress bar, and our goal is to achieve greater independence and better quality without compromising the privacy of our users."

Get paid for watching ads soon

And to distinguish itself from Google Search, Brave claims to provide privacy and anonymity when searching, and transparency in how its search results are ranked. Presently, Brave offers a Transparency Report, though the page does not yet provide a way to review its "community-curated open ranking models" [PDF], said to be coming soon.

In time, however, the distance between the two companies may dwindle – Brave isn't currently serving ads in its search results but the plan is to offer both ad-free paid search and free ad-supported search that will include private ads that share revenue with ad viewers via Brave Attention Tokens (BAT).

Asked how Brave intends to deal with efforts to manipulate its search results – a persistent issue for Google – Josep Pujol, chief of Search at Brave, told The Register in an email that abuse hasn't been a problem yet.

"But we do expect bad actors to try to alter rankings, from SEO game players to censors," he said. "We do have some tech in the pipeline based on prior work at Cliqz to prevent data pollution [PDF]. Also, it is worth noting that Brave is already solving this kind of problem effectively in the form of anti-fraud for our private ad ecosystem."

Pujol, however, did acknowledge that Brave has to deal with index pollution, just like everyone else.

"We try to have the cleanest index possible, where only Web content that people engage with is indexed," he said. "However, objectionable content is also present in our index, including child sexual abuse material. For such problematic content, we scrub at query-time via filters, and we are working hard to strengthen them."

At this point, it's still too early to tell how Brave Search will be received, but Pujol promised there will be queries per month (QPM) statistics added to Brave's transparency page in the future.

"Right now we are in the first day of public beta and in heavy building mode, but we were pleased to see over 100,000 people join our waitlist for the preview release and testing phase leading up to the beta," he said. ®

[Source: This article was published in theregister.com By Thomas Claburn - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]
Published in Search Engine

Google Discover has a dedicated web stories carousel, but Search Advocate John Mueller says not all web stories get shown.

Google’s John Mueller advises site owners not to expect every web story they publish to get displayed in Discover.

Google Discover has its own web stories carousel, which was added last October, but only select content makes its way in.

The addition of a web story carousel leads some people to assume publishing one would automatically lead to visibility in Google Discover.

That’s at least true of a site owner who submitted a question answered by Mueller during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on February 19.

The site owner asks: “How long does it usually take to show a web story in Discover after creating it?”

The short answer is – it depends.

For the full answer, see the section below.

Google’s John Mueller on Web Stories in Discover

When it comes to any piece of content, whether it’s a web story or any other type of web page, the speed at which it gets indexed can vary.

Content can sometimes get indexed quickly, and sometimes it can take a while.

On top of that, not everything in Google’s search index gets displayed in Discover.

Google Discover is a different thing from web search altogether.

Mueller refers to Discover as “another level” above web search where Google is more selective about what gets shown.

In his words, Google is “extra careful” about what gets shown in Discover because users are not looking for anything specific. The idea is to recommend the most appropriate content for each user based on what their interests are at that time.

It may take longer for some web stories to get recommended in Discover. But, unlike stories on other sites, there’s no shelf life for web stories. A web story will remain published for as long as a site owner chooses to keep it up.

However, it can also happen that a web story is never shown in Discover, Mueller says:

“The answer is: it depends. Unfortunately. It’s something where sometimes we can pick up content very quickly after it was created, and crawl it very quickly, and index it very quickly. Sometimes all of that takes a lot longer.

Discover in particular is yet another level on top of that, because for Discover we want to make sure we recommend something that is really appropriate for users. Because users are not searching for something specifically, so we have to be extra careful with regards to the content that we show in Discover.

So there in particular it could happen that it takes a little bit longer for it to start showing up in Discover. It can also happen that it’s never shown in Discover.”

Site owners cannot optimize a web story to get recommended in Discover any more than they can optimize a web page to do the same.

Impressions and traffic from Google Discover are known to be unpredictable. It’s great if you’re getting steady traffic from Discover, but it’s not something that should be depended on.

With that said, if your web stories are not being shown in Google Discover or Google Search, there may be a problem you need to fix.

Use Google’s AMP testing tool to check if your web story is valid. The tool will identify any issues preventing the content from being shown in Google’s web stories carousel.

Hear Mueller’s response in the video below:

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Published in Search Engine

The largest-ever study of facial-recognition data shows how much the rise of deep learning has fueled a loss of privacy.

In 1964, mathematician and computer scientist Woodrow Bledsoe first attempted the task of matching suspects’ faces to mugshots. He measured out the distances between different facial features in printed photographs and fed them into a computer program. His rudimentary successes would set off decades of research into teaching machines to recognize human faces.

Now a new study shows just how much this enterprise has eroded our privacy. It hasn’t just fueled an increasingly powerful tool of surveillance. The latest generation of deep-learning-based facial recognition has completely disrupted our norms of consent.

Deborah Raji, a fellow at nonprofit Mozilla, and Genevieve Fried, who advises members of the US Congress on algorithmic accountability, examined over 130 facial-recognition data sets compiled over 43 years. They found that researchers, driven by the exploding data requirements of deep learning, gradually abandoned asking for people’s consent. This has led more and more of people’s personal photos to be incorporated into systems of surveillance without their knowledge.

It has also led to far messier data sets: they may unintentionally include photos of minors, use racist and sexist labels, or have inconsistent quality and lighting. The trend could help explain the growing number of cases in which facial-recognition systems have failed with troubling consequences, such as the false arrests of two Black men in the Detroit area last year.

People were extremely cautious about collecting, documenting, and verifying face data in the early days, says Raji. “Now we don’t care anymore. All of that has been abandoned,” she says. “You just can’t keep track of a million faces. After a certain point, you can’t even pretend that you have control.”

A history of facial-recognition data

The researchers identified four major eras of facial recognition, each driven by an increasing desire to improve the technology. The first phase, which ran until the 1990s, was largely characterized by manually intensive and computationally slow methods.

But then, spurred by the realization that facial recognition could track and identify individuals more effectively than fingerprints, the US Department of Defense pumped $6.5 million into creating the first large-scale face data set. Over 15 photography sessions in three years, the project captured 14,126 images of 1,199 individuals. The Face Recognition Technology (FERET) database was released in 1996.

The four eras of facial recognition

download.png

The following decade saw an uptick in academic and commercial facial-recognition research, and many more data sets were created. The vast majority were sourced through photoshoots like FERET’s and had full participant consent. Many also included meticulous metadata, Raji says, such as the age and ethnicity of subjects, or illumination information. But these early systems struggled in real-world settings, which drove researchers to seek larger and more diverse data sets.

In 2007, the release of the Labeled Faces in the Wild (LFW) data set opened the floodgates to data collection through a web search. Researchers began downloading images directly from Google, Flickr, and Yahoo without concern for consent. LFW also relaxed standards around the inclusion of minors, using photos found with search terms like “baby,” “juvenile,” and “teen” to increase diversity. This process made it possible to create significantly larger data sets in a short time, but facial recognition still faced many of the same challenges as before. This pushed researchers to seek yet more methods and data to overcome the technology’s poor performance.

Then, in 2014, Facebook used its user photos to train a deep-learning model called DeepFace. While the company never released the data set, the system’s superhuman performance elevated deep learning to the de facto method for analyzing faces. This is when manual verification and labeling became nearly impossible as data sets grew to tens of millions of photos, says Raji. It’s also when really strange phenomena start appearing, like auto-generated labels that include offensive terminology.

The way the data sets were used began to change around this time, too. Instead of trying to match individuals, new models began focusing more on classification. “Instead of saying, ‘Is this a photo of Karen? Yes or no,’ it turned into ‘Let’s predict Karen’s internal personality or her ethnicity,’ and boxing people into these categories,” Raji says.

Amba Kak, the global policy director at AI Now, who did not participate in the research, says the paper offers a stark picture of how the biometrics industry has evolved. Deep learning may have rescued the technology from some of its struggles, but “that technological advance also has come at a cost,” she says. “It’s thrown up all these issues that we now are quite familiar with: consent, extraction, IP issues, privacy.”

Harm that begets harm

Raji says her investigation into the data has made her gravely concerned about deep-learning-based facial recognition.

“It’s so much more dangerous,” she says. “The data requirement forces you to collect incredibly sensitive information about, at minimum, tens of thousands of people. It forces you to violate their privacy. That in itself is a basis of harm. And then we’re hoarding all this information that you can’t control to build something that likely will function in ways you can’t even predict. That’s really the nature of where we’re at.”

She hopes the paper will provoke researchers to reflect on the trade-off between the performance gains derived from deep learning and the loss of consent, meticulous data verification, and thorough documentation. “Was it worth abandoning all of these practices in order to do deep learning?” she says.

She urges those who want to continue building facial recognition to consider developing different techniques: “For us to really try to use this tool without hurting people will require re-envisioning everything we know about it.”

[Source: This article was published in technologyreview.com By Karen Haoarchive - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]
Published in Internet Privacy

has become a platform for most people to find answers to their everyday queries. Whenever one needs or wants to know something, they google. However, many of the times, one does not get specific or relevant answers to the queries.

Nevertheless, this problem can be sorted by conducting some smart Google search tips. Here are a few of them:

1. Search using Google Scholar

Search using Google Scholar.png

 

If you are into academic research, you need to go to Google Scholar and enter your queries in the search tab so that you find more scholarly and reliable sources of information.

2. Search using ‘+’ sign

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When one uses the ‘+’ sign (plus sign) before the keyword, this indicator firmly directs Google that s/he requires that keyword in every search result.

3. Search using ‘-‘ sign

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The use of ‘-‘ sign (minus) with some words commands Google that it is not required in the search results. For example, if one wants to search for the recipe of gluten-free bread, they can type ‘bread recipe-gluten’.

4. Search using quotation marks

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By the use of quotation marks (”  “), one directs Google to find the webpages which have those words written with quotation marks in the exact order of words and spelling of the words. One can use this tip while searching for books, lyrics of the songs, writers, etc.

5. Search using file type

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If one is looking for a particular file type, be it pdf or Word or PowerPoint or Excel, one can simply type ‘filetype:’ and mention the file type and search for the results. By being specific about the file type, you can find about 10 times fewer search results.

6. Search using an asterisk

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While searching, if one is confused about the spelling or does not know the particular word in a phrase or partly remembers something, one can use ‘*’  (asterisk sign) instead of that word. This way, Google will try to find that word and shows the search results accordingly.

7. Search using specific websites

website.png

Some of the information one looks for can be found on a particular website only. For example, one has to go the official website of Nepal Rastra Bank to know the official forex rate in Nepal. In such case or in the case where one wants to find out about that word/phrase on one specific website, one can type ‘site:sitename.com’ along with the keyword.

8. Search using specific tabs

tools-tabs.png

There lie eight tabs (All, Images, News, Videos, Maps, More, Settings, and Tools) just below the Google search bar. One can narrow down their search result by using these tools. For example, if you are searching for some image, click on the ‘Images’ tab.

[Source: This article was published in english.onlinekhabar.com By Chaim Gartenberg - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dana W. Jimenez]
Published in Search Engine

Most of us use Google every day, but many have likely only scratched the surface of the search engine's power. Here's how to get better results from a Google search.

A product so ubiquitous that it spawned its own verb. Google accounts for 86 percent of the world's web searches, and thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, anyone can search for anything from anywhere—all you need is an internet connection. That means Google serves several billion searches a day.

It's easy to take for granted what a modern web search can do for you, but it's truly amazing how seamless Google has made the internet. Google can tell you the weather, translate languages, define words, give you directions, and do so much more. When was the last time you argued with friends over something and didn't check Google for the answer? 

23 Google Search Tips You'll Want to Learn

Even if you use Google multiple times a day, there's probably a lot you don't know about the search engine. If you've ever struggled to get the results you want, or just want to know a few inside tricks, the tips below will improve your Googling skills.

Google's search algorithm is remarkably adept at returning the information you are looking for—even when you aren't exactly sure yourself. But for those times when Google doesn't seem to be giving you exactly what you need, there are a few ways you can refine your search results.

Exclude terms with a minus (-) symbol: Want to exclude certain terms from your search results? Use the minus symbol to exclude all the terms you don't want, e.g. best apps -android for results that omit roundups of top Android apps.

Use quotations to search for the exact order: If you search for Patrick Stewart young, you will get results that have all those words, but not necessarily in the order you search. By adding quotations and searching "Patrick Stewart young" you will get only results that include all those words in that order.

Find one result or the other: If you're looking for results that are about one topic or another, but nothing else, use the OR modifier to get more accurate results. For example, searching apple microsoft will surface results relating to either term, but searching "apple OR microsoft" provides you with separate links about Apple and links about Microsoft.

Search operators change where Google searches. Instead of crawling the web at large, you'll find results from specific websites, web headings, and file types.

Search titles only: Use the search intitle: to look for words in the webpage title. For example Microsoft Bing intitle:bad will only return results about Microsoft Bing that have "bad" in the title. Conversely, allintitle: will only return links with multiple words in the title, i.e. allintitle: Google is faster than Bing.

Search File Types: If you're looking for a specific kind of file on the internet, use filetype: to search only for uploaded files that match your query. For example, use filetype:pdf to find a PDF or filetype:doc to locate a Microsoft Office document. You can find a comprehensive list of (occasionally obscure) searchable file types here.

For a comprehensive set of search modifiers and qualifiers, check out this guide.

Learn Google's Search Operators

Learn Google

Search operators change where Google searches. Instead of crawling the web at large, you'll find results from specific websites, web headings, and file types.

A single website: If you want results from one specific website, use site: followed directly by the site URL you wish to use. You must include the site's domain, e.g. Google Photos tips site:pcmag.com, and not Google Photos tips site:pcmag.

Search titles only: Use the search intitle: to look for words in the webpage title. For example Microsoft Bing intitle:bad will only return results about Microsoft Bing that have "bad" in the title. Conversely, allintitle: will only return links with multiple words in the title, i.e. allintitle: Google is faster than Bing.

Search text only: intext: or allintext: allows you to only search in the text of a site, as opposed to the title and URL, which the search algorithm usually takes into consideration.

Search File Types: If you're looking for a specific kind of file on the internet, use filetype: to search only for uploaded files that match your query. For example, use filetype:pdf to find a PDF or filetype:doc to locate a Microsoft Office document. You can find a comprehensive list of (occasionally obscure) searchable file types here.

Search Related Websites: Search for similar websites by using the related: qualifier to show related results. Searching related:amazon.com brings up results including Walmart and Overstock. Searching related:google.com shows Yahoo and Bing. 

For a comprehensive set of search modifiers and qualifiers, check out this guide.

Set Google Search Result Time Restraints

Set Google Search Result Time Restraints.jpg

Looking for only the latest news about a subject or trying to find information relevant to a specific time frame? Use Google's search tools on desktop and mobile to filter your search results. After you conduct a search, click Tools on the top right and select Any time to open a drop-down menu to narrow results to hours, week, months, or a custom date range.

Perform an Advanced Google Image Search

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Google supports "backward" image searches on most browsers. This function allows you to upload an image file and find information on that image. For example, if you uploaded a picture of the Eiffel Tower, Google will recognize it and give you information on the Paris monument. It also works with faces, and can direct you to websites where the image appears, identify a work of art, or show you images that are "visually similar." 

Go to Google Images, where you can drag and drop an image into the image search bar, or click the camera icon to upload an image or enter an image's URL. (Here's how to do a reverse image search on your phone.)

Do Math in Your Google Search Box

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Whether you want to figure out a tip on a meal, or create a complex geographical rendering, Google search has you covered.

You can do basic calculations directly in the search bar. For example, searching 34+7 will prompt a calculator below the bar with the correct answer already filled in. You can also search 3 times 7 or 20% of $67.42 and receive the answer.

Super math nerds can create interactive 3D virtual objects (on desktop browsers that support WebGL) by plugging in an equation that uses "x" and "y" as free variables. Or plug in different numbers along with some cos(x)s, sin(y)s, and tan(x)s and see what renders.

If these more advanced math functions are something you can use for your everyday activities, Google has an in-depth, mathlete-level explainer here.

Use Google Search as a Converter

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Google will help you convert just about anything. You can search 38 Celsius in Fahrenheit, 10 ounces in pounds, and even 17.5 millimeters in light years. Not only will Google provide you with the answer, it will also provide an interactive conversion calculator for further converting.

Additionally, you can find up-to-date currency conversion rates with just a few keystrokes without needing to know the official currency symbol ($, €, etc.) or ISO designator (i.e. USD for the US dollar or GBP for the British pound). Google's algorithm is able to discern sentence-style queries to provide an answer, interactive chart, and a calculator for further conversions. 

For example, a search for 38 dollars in Iceland returns the answer that (as of Sept. 11, 2020) $38 was equal to 5,176.36 Icelandic króna. You can even search 1 bitcoin in dollars to find out it is worth $10,312.20.

Define Words in Google Search

Define Words in Google Search.png

Ask Google search to define unfamiliar words (or two-word phrases) just by typing the word and define/definition. This will prompt Google to return a card with the definition, pronunciation, and—when available—a detailed etymology. Sometimes Google will define the word inside the autocomplete box before you press Search.

Track Packages in Google Search

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Google Voice Search

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To search by voice in your desktop browser, click the little microphone in the search box. This feature works much better on mobile devices, where the "OK, Google" trigger is more intuitive. If you ask basic questions, Google Assistant will even answer for you. This function is only supported in the Chrome browser at this time.

Search for the Time

Search for the Time.jpg

Calculating time difference is hard, so why not let Google do the work for you? Type time [any location], which could be the name of a country, city or (if it's in the US) a ZIP code, to return a card with the up-to-date local time of your search. It beats having to manually figure out how many hours ahead or behind you are.

Search for Sunrise and Sunset

Search for Sunrise and Sunset.png

Want to know when the sun will rise or set in your neck of the woods? Search sunrise or sunset. You can also search for the sunrise/set times for other locations, as well.

Search for the Weather

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You can find out the weather in your area by simply searching weather—Google Autocomplete will even give you today's current forecast as you type. Conduct a search and Google will present an interactive card with weather information courtesy of The Weather Channel. 

By default, a search for weather will prompt an info card for the location of your IP address. However, you can also search weather [any location] to get the weather report for just about anywhere in the world, e.g. weather Toledo, OH or weather Kabul Afghanistan.

Real-Time Stock Quotes

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Type in any publicly traded company's ticker symbol and Google will present real-time price information on that company, e.g. GOOG (for Alphabet), AAPL (for Apple), or AMZN (for Amazon). Most of the larger exchanges are in real time, though Google offers a comprehensive disclaimer for which exchanges are on a delay.

Check Flight Times

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People may be flying less these days, but if you're headed to the airport or picking up a loved one, type in a flight number and Google will return a card with up-to-date times and terminal/gate information. If you're looking to book a flight, check out Google Flights to find the cheapest flights online.

Find Local Attractions

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If you're thinking about taking a trip, Google can help you find some interesting sights to see. Google any city or country you're thinking about visiting, and Google should include a series of Top Sights cards near the top of the search results. If you're searching for a city, click "More things to do." If you're searching for a country, click the travel guide button that Google provides. 

You will be taken to Google's travel page for that city or country, allowing you to see places to visit, popular food to try, suggested trips, and relevant travel articles. Additional tabs allow you to see flights, hotels, and rentals.

Shop With Google

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If you hate shopping and searching through several different websites to find what you need, use Google instead. Type in your search and click the Shopping tab to find images of what you want from different stores across the internet. Filter results further, if necessary, and when you're ready to make a purchase, click a listing to be taken directly to the store's webpage.

Track Google Results With Google Trends

Track Google Results With Google Trends.png

Ever wonder what other people are searching for? Google Trends allows anyone to see trending Google results and compare search terms. While it's primarily used by professionals, it can also be fun to see what topics are the most popular in your area. View search data, compare trending topics, view visualization maps, explore trending topics, review results from past years, and subscribe to specific search results.

Play Games in Google Search

Play Games in Google Search.png

Google has a host of built-in games and tools you can access by Googling them, including Pac-Man, tic tac toe, Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Snake. Search flip a coin and Google will do it for you; same thing with a die or spinner. Google also has a built-in calculator, metronome, breathing exercise, and a color picker that provides the Hex Code and Decimal Code for any shade. 

Filter Explicit Content

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Have a kid using the computer? Protect them from explicit content with Google's SafeSearch feature. By opening Settings and selecting Turn on SafeSearch, you can filter out any explicit links, images, or video that may be deemed inappropriate for an all-ages audience. While Google admits it is not a 100 percent fix, it's a good start. (For a more robust solution, check out our picks for the Best Parental Control Software.)

Let Google Search for You

Let Google Search for You.jpg

With Google Alerts, you can create custom alerts that will notify you any time a new page is published containing your selected keywords. Create an Alert by first selecting an email address where these results will be sent, then add topics to track. Type in what you're looking for and Google will show you what the alert will look like with existing stories already indexed by the search engine. Choose how often you receive an update, the sources included, and a few other limitations.

I'm Feeling Something Else

I

Remember Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" button? Type in a search term and click I'm Feeling Lucky to be immediately taken to the first search result. It's a good way to save time when you know exactly what you're looking for. However, Google has added a new wrinkle that can help you find something else. 

Before you type anything into Google, hover over the I'm Feeling Lucky button and the wording will change. It may change to "I'm Feeling Adventurous," which will provide you with a coin to flip. "I'm Feeling Hungry" will Google nearby restaurants. "I'm Feeling Trendy" will show you recent Google trends. Every day there are new suggestions with different results.

Google Search Easter Eggs

Google Search Easter Eggs.png

As we've detailed in the past, Google's engineers apparently have a lot of extra time on their hands with which to implement all manner of Easter eggs and April Fool's pranks. And why should Google's main raison d'etre be left out of the fun? Here are just a few cool Easter Eggs you can uncover through search.

  • "askew" will tilt your screen 
  •  Festivus" adds a Festivus pole to the left side of the screen
  • "do a barrel roll" or "z or r twice" will cause the screen to do a 360
  • "Google in 1998" will make the page appear as Google did in 1998

 [Source: This article was published in pcmag.com By Jason Cohen- Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]
Published in Search Engine

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]
Published 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 “intoxication”.

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 are 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]
Published in Search Engine
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