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Issac Avila

Issac Avila

Advances in search engines make it seem like they can read your mind. But as a marketer, how can you read the minds of search engines – to know what they like, what they don’t, and how they’re working?

Well, you can’t read the mind of Google, but you can read seven insights from the Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, which he shared in his presentation, The Absolute Most Up-to-Date Presentation on What the Heck is Going on With Search Engines, at Content Marketing World 2016.

Rand likes to count down so I’ll honor his approach in this post.

7. Google is still growing but others are too

Sure, Google has become ubiquitous – and even a verb. It consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in North America, according to Gs.StatCounter.

[email protected] consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in NA via @statcountergs. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

While it remains king, it isn’t the only site where people search. Though still used by less than 1% of searchers, DuckDuckGo is the fastest-growing search engine, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t track searches or users.

But don’t think of search simply in the framework of search-engine platforms. YouTube, actually, is the No. 2 search engine. Facebook, for example, is eager to keep visitors on its site and has become a growing resource used by searchers.

And don’t forget one of, if not the, largest commercial search “engine” of all – Amazon.com.

The largest commercial search engine is @amazon, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

AmazonvWebSearch

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Don’t ignore a search channel because it’s not Google.
  • See where your competitors get their search traffic (SimilarWeb PRO is a resource for this).
  • Apply different tactics in your content to reach audiences on different sites. (For example, this article shares Amazon’s ranking factors.)
  • Deliver content for multiple search engines. (For example, Moz uploads a video to its own website because it wants to rank for it on Google. Three months later, it publishes the same video to YouTube to gain traction there.)
 

6. Google now answers simple queries – users don’t need to click

If your site is the top resource to answer a simple question, Google is taking your information and sharing it directly on the search page (featured snippet). You don’t even get a click.

FeaturedSnippetSunglassesExample

Now a site with the premium No. 1 position on the results page appears twice (in the published answer from Google [Rand refers to this as the “0” position] and in the No. 1 position).

Moz thought it would lose traffic as Google revealed the answers, but traffic grew. In contrast, some sites have lost by some estimates up to 50% of their traffic – half of their search volume is now satisfied by the featured snippets, visual carousel results, and Google Maps pages that show up in results before organic links.

VisualCarouselMapExample

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Research your keywords to pick ones with higher click-through rates. (You can estimate CTRs in Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner or use Moz’s Keyword Explorer for specific numbers.)
  • Focus on structuring your content to be a featured snippet in search engines. (Learn more about structuring for snippets in this article.)

Focus on structuring your #content to be a featured snippet in search engines, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

 

5. Keyword data is more obfuscated, less reliable, and less accessible

When you peruse your keywords in AdWords’ Keyword Planner, do you wonder how the same number of searches occurs for several phrases? What are the chances two keywords will be searched for the same number of times? Well, the number in the Keyword Planner is only an estimate and is based on an overlapping range.

As Rand shares, those keyword volume search numbers don’t mean what you think they do. And when it has no related suggestions for high-volume queries, don’t believe it. Interpret the available data using other resources and research.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • View AdWords’ keyword volumes as relative comparisons and ranges.
  • Use Google Trends for more accurate volume comparison.
  • Bid (and pay) for Google ads incorporating your keywords to discover the best data about volume, conversions, and trends (Google shows the total impressions to customers).
  • Don’t rely exclusively on suggested related keywords in AdWords.
  • Use these research extensions (1) search, (2) people also search, (3) similar page ranks, (4) semantically connected, (5) topically related, (6) questions concerning these.

TIP: Suggested free tools (some have paid versions too) for some or all of those research extensions include SEMRushKeywordTool.ioMoz Keyword ExplorerUbersuggest, and Answer the Public.

 

4. Twitter is Google’s primary platform for social results

Even Google doesn’t like GooglePlus anymore. Content from Twitter now shows up more than any other social media platform. MozCast research reveals that content from Twitter shows up in 6.6% of Google searches. And more than one in 20 searches include results from Twitter.

[email protected] #content shows up in 6.6% of @Google searches, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Search for your keywords on Twitter and see which people (handles) are talking about it.
  • Remember engagement and recency govern display of tweets.
  • Develop a strategy to reach influencers on Twitter who are using your keywords, including hashtags, trending topics, news.
  • If you share in Google+ now, keep doing it as it still has some benefits. If you don’t use Google+, continue to ignore it.
 

3. There are more nontraditional ways to get into Google than ever before

Only 3% of search results reflect the “classic 10 blue links,” according to Moz’s research.  Focusing only on securing those classic results dramatically reduces organic click-through rates.

As such, various content search types – knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets, knowledge cards, etc. – are attractive to Google.

Knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets are attractive to @Google. @randfishCLICK TO TWEET

However, it isn’t as easy as adding more video to your site. Google restricts what sites can get into certain types of content listings. For example, video snippets only appear from YouTube and Vimeo. On mobile, more kinds of searches are limited to particular networks, such as apps from Google Play and the iPhone App Store.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Analyze which types of SERPs appear for the keywords you care most about.
  • Determine what verticals and SERP types you should optimize for. (For example, if you see images in the SERP, you might want to add some visual charts to text-only content.)
  • If you can’t break into a particular SERP format, consider alternative ways. (For example, instead of “Seattle sights,” you could optimize for “Seattle sightseeing map.”)
  • Be on the right platforms for keyword search.

PlatformsforSEO

 

2. Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords

Google strongly seeks to deliver content that the searcher wants to find. Keyword targeting is still needed, but it’s no longer a competitive advantage. Marketers must consider search intent more than they ever have.

Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

SearcherIntentonGoogle2

Your content’s SEO must be more sophisticated, incorporating not just raw keywords but also related keywords and addressing related topics.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Use keywords in page title, meta description, URL, and first few paragraphs.
  • Incorporate related topics – as identified on search results pages – into your content to indicate its relevance to the primary keyword/topic.
  • Serve keywords with matching intent together on one page.
  • Provide thorough answers to a searcher’s query.
  • Offer unique value over what other sites provide – not just unique content but value searchers can’t get from other answers in search results.
 

1. Machine learning and engagement are Google’s future

RankBrain, one component of Google’s artificial intelligence, enables queries to be interpreted better. For example, it interprets a search for “highest quality mobile phones” by returning results with phrases such as “best smart phones,” “best mobile devices,“ “best phones.”

Google also evaluates users, usage, and engagement rates. If a site ranks high for a topic but gets only a few clicks – or lots of clicks but quick returns to the search results page, Google will push the site down in the rankings, and move up content that better satisfies searchers.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
  • Don’t let bad pages drag down your rankings. Your overall site’s search engagement reputation influences all your pages. (Eliminate bad search-engagement pages and you could see your rankings on other pages rise.)
  • Serve multiple searcher intents, not just your brand’s intent.
  • Avoid features that dissuade or annoy.
  • Ensure that your site loads as fast as possible.
  • Deliver an easy, enjoyable experience on any device.

Eliminate bad search-engagement pages to see your rankings on other pages rise, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

Conclusion

Now you know the seven things about what’s going on with search engines. More importantly, you now have 25-plus tips to help your company evolve in this ever-changing world of SEO. And if you only can take away one thing from Rand’s advice, I vote for this one, “Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.”

Please note: All tools included in this blog post are suggested by the Content Marketing World presenter, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Source: This article was published contentmarketinginstitute.com By ANN GYNN

Advances in search engines make it seem like they can read your mind. But as a marketer, how can you read the minds of search engines – to know what they like, what they don’t, and how they’re working?

Well, you can’t read the mind of Google, but you can read seven insights from the Wizard of Moz, Rand Fishkin, which he shared in his presentation, The Absolute Most Up-to-Date Presentation on What the Heck is Going on With Search Engines, at Content Marketing World 2016.

Rand likes to count down so I’ll honor his approach in this post.

7. Google is still growing but others are too

Sure, Google has become ubiquitous – and even a verb. It consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in North America, according to Gs.StatCounter.

[email protected] consistently receives over 85% of all search engine traffic in NA via @statcountergs. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

While it remains king, it isn’t the only site where people search. Though still used by less than 1% of searchers, DuckDuckGo is the fastest-growing search engine, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t track searches or users.

But don’t think of search simply in the framework of search-engine platforms. YouTube, actually, is the No. 2 search engine. Facebook, for example, is eager to keep visitors on its site and has become a growing resource used by searchers.

And don’t forget one of, if not the, largest commercial search “engine” of all – Amazon.com.

The largest commercial search engine is @amazon, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

AmazonvWebSearch

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Don’t ignore a search channel because it’s not Google.
  • See where your competitors get their search traffic (SimilarWeb PRO is a resource for this).
  • Apply different tactics in your content to reach audiences on different sites. (For example, this article shares Amazon’s ranking factors.)
  • Deliver content for multiple search engines. (For example, Moz uploads a video to its own website because it wants to rank for it on Google. Three months later, it publishes the same video to YouTube to gain traction there.)

6. Google now answers simple queries – users don’t need to click

If your site is the top resource to answer a simple question, Google is taking your information and sharing it directly on the search page (featured snippet). You don’t even get a click.

FeaturedSnippetSunglassesExample

Now a site with the premium No. 1 position on the results page appears twice (in the published answer from Google [Rand refers to this as the “0” position] and in the No. 1 position).

Moz thought it would lose traffic as Google revealed the answers, but traffic grew. In contrast, some sites have lost by some estimates up to 50% of their traffic – half of their search volume is now satisfied by the featured snippets, visual carousel results, and Google Maps pages that show up in results before organic links.

VisualCarouselMapExample

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Research your keywords to pick ones with higher click-through rates. (You can estimate CTRs in Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner or use Moz’s Keyword Explorer for specific numbers.)
  • Focus on structuring your content to be a featured snippet in search engines. (Learn more about structuring for snippets in this article.)
Focus on structuring your #content to be a featured snippet in search engines, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

5. Keyword data is more obfuscated, less reliable, and less accessible

When you peruse your keywords in AdWords’ Keyword Planner, do you wonder how the same number of searches occurs for several phrases? What are the chances two keywords will be searched for the same number of times? Well, the number in the Keyword Planner is only an estimate and is based on an overlapping range.

As Rand shares, those keyword volume search numbers don’t mean what you think they do. And when it has no related suggestions for high-volume queries, don’t believe it. Interpret the available data using other resources and research.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • View AdWords’ keyword volumes as relative comparisons and ranges.
  • Use Google Trends for more accurate volume comparison.
  • Bid (and pay) for Google ads incorporating your keywords to discover the best data about volume, conversions, and trends (Google shows the total impressions to customers).
  • Don’t rely exclusively on suggested related keywords in AdWords.
  • Use these research extensions (1) search, (2) people also search, (3) similar page ranks, (4) semantically connected, (5) topically related, (6) questions concerning these.

TIP: Suggested free tools (some have paid versions too) for some or all of those research extensions include SEMRushKeywordTool.ioMoz Keyword ExplorerUbersuggest, and Answer the Public.

4. Twitter is Google’s primary platform for social results

Even Google doesn’t like GooglePlus anymore. Content from Twitter now shows up more than any other social media platform. MozCast research reveals that content from Twitter shows up in 6.6% of Google searches. And more than one in 20 searches include results from Twitter.

[email protected] #content shows up in 6.6% of @Google searches, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Search for your keywords on Twitter and see which people (handles) are talking about it.
  • Remember engagement and recency govern display of tweets.
  • Develop a strategy to reach influencers on Twitter who are using your keywords, including hashtags, trending topics, news.
  • If you share in Google+ now, keep doing it as it still has some benefits. If you don’t use Google+, continue to ignore it.

3. There are more nontraditional ways to get into Google than ever before

Only 3% of search results reflect the “classic 10 blue links,” according to Moz’s research.  Focusing only on securing those classic results dramatically reduces organic click-through rates.

As such, various content search types – knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets, knowledge cards, etc. – are attractive to Google.

Knowledge panels, images, related questions, videos, featured snippets are attractive to @Google. @randfishCLICK TO TWEET

However, it isn’t as easy as adding more video to your site. Google restricts what sites can get into certain types of content listings. For example, video snippets only appear from YouTube and Vimeo. On mobile, more kinds of searches are limited to particular networks, such as apps from Google Play and the iPhone App Store.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Analyze which types of SERPs appear for the keywords you care most about.
  • Determine what verticals and SERP types you should optimize for. (For example, if you see images in the SERP, you might want to add some visual charts to text-only content.)
  • If you can’t break into a particular SERP format, consider alternative ways. (For example, instead of “Seattle sights,” you could optimize for “Seattle sightseeing map.”)
  • Be on the right platforms for keyword search.

PlatformsforSEO

2. Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords

Google strongly seeks to deliver content that the searcher wants to find. Keyword targeting is still needed, but it’s no longer a competitive advantage. Marketers must consider search intent more than they ever have.

Matching searcher intent is more important than matching searcher keywords, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

SearcherIntentonGoogle2

Your content’s SEO must be more sophisticated, incorporating not just raw keywords but also related keywords and addressing related topics.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Use keywords in page title, meta description, URL, and first few paragraphs.
  • Incorporate related topics – as identified on search results pages – into your content to indicate its relevance to the primary keyword/topic.
  • Serve keywords with matching intent together on one page.
  • Provide thorough answers to a searcher’s query.
  • Offer unique value over what other sites provide – not just unique content but value searchers can’t get from other answers in search results.

1. Machine learning and engagement are Google’s future

RankBrain, one component of Google’s artificial intelligence, enables queries to be interpreted better. For example, it interprets a search for “highest quality mobile phones” by returning results with phrases such as “best smart phones,” “best mobile devices,“ “best phones.”

Google also evaluates users, usage, and engagement rates. If a site ranks high for a topic but gets only a few clicks – or lots of clicks but quick returns to the search results page, Google will push the site down in the rankings, and move up content that better satisfies searchers.

HOW YOU CAN REACT:

  • Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.
  • Don’t let bad pages drag down your rankings. Your overall site’s search engagement reputation influences all your pages. (Eliminate bad search-engagement pages and you could see your rankings on other pages rise.)
  • Serve multiple searcher intents, not just your brand’s intent.
  • Avoid features that dissuade or annoy.
  • Ensure that your site loads as fast as possible.
  • Deliver an easy, enjoyable experience on any device.
Eliminate bad search-engagement pages to see your rankings on other pages rise, says @randfish. #SEOCLICK TO TWEET

Conclusion

Now you know the seven things about what’s going on with search engines. More importantly, you now have 25-plus tips to help your company evolve in this ever-changing world of SEO. And if you only can take away one thing from Rand’s advice, I vote for this one, “Make the user experience the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.”

Please note: All tools included in this blog post are suggested by the Content Marketing World presenter, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WAND) - When you need to find information or get an answer to a question what do you do?  Most people google it. Or, use another search engine, but are search engines changing how children learn?

"If Google is your only source then you're going to struggle,” says Dr. John Bickford an early education professor at Eastern Illinois University.

Educators say technology is changing how they teach, and how students learn.

"Google is a search engine and it's very limited,” added Dr. Bickford. “It also provides a wonderful world of opportunities. I mean it's like Pandora’s Box you can find just about anything on there."

"I've told teachers all along, with technology if you are giving a test that they can Google all the answers to why give that test.” says Ken Hatcher Principal at Warrensburg Lathem High School.  “We want them testing the how and why so kids are applying the things they learn in class."

Dr. John Bickford says it’s important teachers show students the proper way to use Google.

"I teach future teachers how to examine the source not just the information, but also the source of information," added Dr. Bickford.

 Some students admit they use Google more then they should.

"I'm always like well Google it if you don't know the answer," says Katie Wiseman an education student at Eastern Illinois University.

However, some claim they only use the search engine for frivolous answers, and any time they have a question regarding class work for their future profession, they ask their professors.

"It's usually just like little odds and ends questions that I will have that I would go to Google for the like the definition of a word I've never heard."-

Educators say if students are Googling answers then they aren't doing their job.

"In a way, it's a red flag maybe there is something you could do better to hook or engage the student,” added Dr. Bickford.

While some students like getting the answers with the click of a button, teachers say that Google shouldn't replace libraries as a resource.

"Instead of having to go through 500 websites there is probably three books in the library that you can go through and find the information that you need,” says Wendy Maa Technology Coach at Kenwood Elementary in Champaign.  

Kenwood Elementary school teaches children not only how to scrutinize the sources they use for projects, but also how to code websites and be producers of what they see online as well.

 "I think I am an advocate for Google,” added Wendy. “I think it's the way that we teach it and how we are going to teach our kids to use it.  Also, not just consume it but how are we going to be a part of producing what we see.”

"Think of your information as Venn Diagram if you have two or three sources where do they all converge where do they diverge,” added Dr. Bickford. Don't read to comprehend, scrutinize your source.”

Educators say it’s their job to continue developing how they teach students, as technology continues to improve.

"How are we going to ask questions better, how are we going to find out what our kids know the right way and that they're not just googling it, and are we teaching them how the process works, the problem solving behind it how the collaborating works behind it,” added Wendy.

So, the next time you "Google something" don't just read the answer, make sure to check out the source.

Source: This article was published wandtv.com By Meredith Hackler

 

What does fast food have to do with interstellar travel? At first blush, not much. But halfway through the film, “The Founder,” on a grueling, recent ten hour flight, it hit me that aerospace, even NASA, might learn something from McDonald’s corporation founding CEO Ray Kroc.

Three years before Sputnik, Kroc was a frustrated milkshake mixer salesman eating at a never-ending string of low-rent drive-ins. The fact that none of them appeared interested in his mixers was secondary to the fact that even with waitresses on roller skates, the food was slow to appear. Likewise, in our quest to send humans and massive payloads over interplanetary distances and beyond, aerospace is arguably still stuck in what in food service terms might be seen as the drive-in era, circa 1954.

Then in a change of fate, that would forever revolutionize the way the world eats, Kroc made the long drive from Illinois to San Bernardino, California to see why a small hamburger joint would need ten of his mixers. What Kroc found spurred the kind of eureka moment that would enable him to franchise the McDonald’s ‘Speedee’ delivery system in a way that would create what the world now commonly terms fast food.

The RS-25 engine, which successfully powered the space shuttle, is being modified for NASA’s Space Launch System. Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne via NASA

Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne via NASA

The RS-25 engine, which successfully powered the space shuttle, is being modified for NASA’s Space Launch System. Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne via NASA

Likewise, we need to ask ourselves where are the breakthroughs that will make hypersonic spaceplanes and crewed interplanetary transfer vehicles as common as fast food outlets at an interstate interchange?

Maybe the answer lies in rethinking chemical propulsion altogether and investing time and more energy into nuclear, ion, or laser propulsion.

But what aerospace really needs is a Ray Kroc McDonald’s moment that will allow for revolutionary propulsion mechanics to be economically replicated en masse. It wasn’t until Kroc and associates found a way to fundamentally change the way he thought about his business model that the brand became the behemoth that we know today.

Funding independent initiatives such as the Tau Zero Foundation will help. Its goal is dedicated to finding breakthrough propulsion technologies for interstellar flight, in particular. The Foundation recently reported that NASA awarded it a $500,000 grant for a three year “interstellar propulsion review.” The aim, says the Foundation, is to “create an interstellar work breakdown structure tailored to the divergent challenges and potentially disruptive prospects of interstellar flight.”

To date, however, the three biggest problems with crewed interplanetary space flight remain:

--- The cost of getting beyond Earth. That’s one reason the Saturn V launcher, which ferried the Apollo astronauts to the Moon and back, and NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) remain so few and far between.

--- How to efficiently shield the crew from lethal radiation without adding onerous payload mass to the spacecraft.

--- How to speed up interplanetary transfer to make travel within our own solar system and beyond tenable over human lifetimes.

This last one is a known unknown and if solved, there would be more of a clamor to adequately address the first two.

Bottom line?

Although in the film, Kroc attributes his success to tireless persistence, he appears to also have been obsessed with the idea that it was his patriotic duty to provide America and the world with reasonably-priced hamburgers at unheard of speeds. With all due respect to this new crop of space entrepreneurs, the current aerospace community needs to find and nurture a generation of Ray Krocs.

Here’s hoping someone credible out there among us is thinking about how to dramatically democratize breakthrough propulsion technologies.

Source: This article was published forbes.com By Bruce Dorminey

OKLAHOMA - Historians are calling it a win for transparency in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health ensuring Oklahomans have easy access to a treasure trove of old vital records, including birth and death certificates, often used to track your family history.

Genealogist Mike Birdsong was filling in some holes in his family tree a few years ago, searching for a birth certificate for his grandmother, Annie Birdsong.

Mike paid for an OSDH search for the document, but the vital records department turned up nothing.

"My grandmother was born in 1899, before birth records," Mike said.

He paid $15 and some change for the search and then waited for results that never came.

Now, thanks to a new online tool, the state is offering online confirmation for free.

For Mike, he thought that meant he could now confirm Annie did not have a birth certificate on file.

But, to his surprise, he searched for her record and found confirmation.

"I looked online and found she filed for a delayed birth certificate in 1935," Mike said. "Now, I'm able to get her birth certificate as part of my family history."

Turns out, the online search was more accurate than the human search done years ago.

"Culture and history is just so valuable to our community, because we are such a diverse state," said Kelly Baker, OSDH Registrar of Vital Records.

A quick peak inside the vital records vault reveals eight million issuable records.

With such volumes maintained by the State Health Department, you can understand why sometimes record's like Annie's fell through the cracks and why many people don't even try - because of the hassle.

"In order to have access to the records search, people would have to apply, and we would have to do the search for them and they really wouldn't know if there was a record," Baker said.

Now, you can search online for death certificates more than 50 years old and birth certificates more than 125 years old.

Those documents are open record in Oklahoma.

Their existence can now easily be confirmed online.

To view the document or request a copy, the customary $15 fee remains.

Historians and genealogists are thrilled the state has unlocked the first hurdle in every search.

The vital records site just launched.

CLICK: OK2Explore to search the OSDH vital record database.

The site officially went live during the monthly meeting of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society meeting.

Source: This article was published kfor.com By ALI MEYER

If you’ve ever tried to write in a language that isn’t your own, you are probably well aware of at least two things: first, writing requires much more time than usual and, second, even online translation services are often wrong.

Italian researcher Antonio Rotolo faced these issues early in his academic endeavors. To pursue an international career, he was required to publish his papers in English. After six months at MIT, he came up with the idea of a new kind of online translator — one that could not be wrong (unless The New York Times, BBC or other generally reliable sources made a grammatical error).

Online since February 2016, Ludwig is a linguistic search engine designed to help people write correct English sentences. The company, headquartered in Catania, Italy, was started by a group of researchers and engineers from Sicily who have worked in a number of universities in the U.S., Norway, Germany and Spain. In July 2014, Ludwig received a €25,000 ($27,880) grant from Telecom Italia, a $15.29 billion telecommunications company.

The first thing to know about Ludwig is that users must take an active role. “Our final goal is making people independent,” said co-founder Federico Papa, who has a PhD in Public Management. “We firmly think that learning a language is an active process.”

To use Ludwig, people should type into the Ludwig bar not the sentence they want to translate (as they would do on Google Translate), but their best guess of the English translation they need. Then, an algorithm compares this sentence with a database of contextualized examples, all coming from reliable sources, such as The New York Times, PLOS ONE, BBC and scientific publications. Ludwig then shows a list of results, allowing users to check their sentences and learn the correct one.

“We don’t think of us as a competitor of Google Translate,” said CEO Rotolo. “People can get their translations on Google Translate, and then check on Ludwig whether or not their translations are correct.”

The startup was named after one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, who focused on philosophy of language, among many other things. “Wittgenstein came to a conclusion: the meaning is determined by context,” explained Roberta Pellegrino, Ludwig co-founder and a cognitive scientist doing a PhD in Business at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Context is exactly what only Ludwig provides, by searching a database of millions reliable sources.”

Another free online translation tool, Reverso, has a huge database of examples from multilingual texts. “To be included in Reverso, each text must have a twin text in another language,” said Rotolo. “Ludwig works differently: We check any sentence written in English with reliable English texts.”

In at least one case, Ludwig might lead users to reach an impasse. Let’s say, for example, that I need to check if “data” is singular or plural. Ludwig shows examples for both forms, “data are” and “data is.” In this case, engineers Francesco Aronica and Salvatore Monello explained, users can verify which form has more results, but also do additional research on the web.

The team of Ludwig is composed by eight people: Antonio Rotolo (CEO and co-founder), Roberta Pellegrino (design manager and co-founder), Federico Papa (legal expert and co-founder), Francesco Giacalone (designer and designer and developer), Daniele Tagliavia (communication manager), Antonino Randazzo (head software developer), Francesco Aronica (database expert) and Salvatore Monello (algorithm expert).

The team of Ludwig is composed of eight people. From left to right: Francesco Aronica (database expert), Salvatore Monello (algorithm expert), Francesco Giacalone (designer and developer), Antonio Rotolo (CEO and co-founder), Roberta Pellegrino (design manager and co-founder) and Federico Papa (legal expert and co-founder). Not pictured: Daniele Tagliavia (communication manager) and Antonino Randazzo (head software developer). Photo credits: Ludwig.

According to the company, Ludwig has an average of 10,000 page views a day and 75,000 users on a daily basis from 168 countries.

International students are some of Ludwig’s target users. Nearly 1 million foreign students studied at U.S. colleges and universities in 2014/2015, according to the Institute for International Education, and a large part of them (44 percent) enrolled in a STEM program, creating a pipeline of talent for jobs related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

The online version of Ludwig is now free to use, but the company is working on four ways to generate revenue. Adding ads to the online version is the first. The second revenue stream is an API version of Ludwig that could be integrated in the online platforms of language schools. Also, the company will launch an ads-free desktop app in the fall. Lastly, the company would like to sign partnerships with reliable sources by offering them the opportunity to drive traffic to their online archives.

For the future, the company hopes to find an angel investor who is also a mentor. As for leaving Sicily for the Silicon Valley, Pellegrino said: “We are open to the option, but our dream is living and working in Sicily with an international team.”

Full disclosure: This article was written using Ludwig to check several sentences and, sometimes, prepositions. The author of this post is a non-native speaker of English.

Source: This article was published techcrunch.com By Lucia Maffei

Artificial Intelligence, gamification, interactive wearables, home medical testing – the latest innovations push the boundaries of health tech. From virtual reality pain relief to a finger prick blood test monitor that helps chemotherapy patients manage their treatment, these groundbreaking technologies make a genuine difference to people’s lives – and can even save lives.

As well as creating digital tools and devices to support specific needs and help people get better, there are also radical concepts to keep them healthy in the first place. It begs the question, will we stop needing doctors one day? We’re not quite there yet, but here’s a roundup of some of the most impressive I-can’t-believe-it advancements in the health tech world.

The first contraceptive app

Nordic nuclear physicist Elina Berglund has developed the first app in the world to be approved as a contraceptive. Called Natural Cycles, it calculates daily fertility with an algorithm. Women measure the temperature underneath their tongue every morning and enter the measurement into the app, which then determines whether you’re fertile or not that day, so that you know if you risk pregnancy by having unprotected sex. Natural Cycles has over 150,000 users in 161 countries and a clinical study has proved that using the app is as effective a method of birth control as being on the pill.

Gamifying physio

MIRA Rehab is a platform which turns physical and cognitive exercises, such as the kind you’d receive from a physiotherapist, into video games, making therapy easier to follow at home. It asks patients to complete the recommended movements to progress through each game level – think Candy Crush but you’re actually recovering as you play. The patient’s performance data is tracked, storing all the repetitions, improvements or issues for therapists to adapt and progress treatment accordingly.

Come to your sensewear

The primary purpose of this collection of clothes and accessories is to stimulate and improve awareness of our senses, while training us to use them better. Some sensewear items are designed to mute physical sensations, some to sharpen them. The collection is inspired by the therapies used to assist people affected with autism, who experience symptoms including anxiety, stress and panic attacks. But as many other people also suffer from these conditions, the collection is aimed not only at people with disabilities but also at people with busy, stressful lives. And before you start picturing unflattering scrubs, the project’s designs are attractive and not obviously medical, so they can be worn by anyone and don’t stigmatise a person with a disorder.

The Video Doctor will see you now

Very often the most practical problem for a doctor and patient is one of location: can people actually get to their doctors, or vice versa? And when they do, how much is the cost of that effort? Germany’s health economy has taken a major step towards solving this problem with "Videosprechstunden" (video consultations). As a part of the new e-health law which came into effect in January this year, the video consultation innovation is just one of many measures set to help more people get the help they need when they need it, thus saving lives.

VR pain relief

A Swedish pharmacy chain has created the first virtual reality app that can help patients with pain relief. Happy Place, created by agency Wenderfalck as a joint venture between Sweden's largest private pharmacy, Apotek Hjärtat and VR therapy startup Mimerse, aims to distract patients from their pain with a peaceful, interactive environment. Using a VR headset, a patient is 'transported' to a serene lakeside campground, with optional guided relaxation and soothing music. It’s currently being tested by the public (for example, when getting vaccinations), with the potential to be rolled out further. Who said playing video games is bad for you?

MyAsthma

This app is designed to help people living with asthma understand more about themselves and their condition, and to help to manage it. The asthma control test (ACT) helps people understand how well controlled their asthma is, tracking medicine usage and asthma attacks to help communication between themselves and their healthcare professional. It also connects to the user’s everyday life, learning what triggers their asthma – from location to weather and air quality – and offering useful advice in these situations to help prevent attacks.

Affinity

Low blood counts are a common side-effect of chemotherapy. White blood cells defend the body from infection and low white blood cell counts can result in serious infection and problematic delays to chemotherapy treatment. Affinity is a connected device for people with cancer to monitor their blood cell counts from home in between chemotherapy cycles using a simple finger prick test, automatically sharing results with their clinician. This can help avoid infection and keep treatment on track, and saves patients some of the time and effort of going into hospital for check-ups.

HealthUnlocked

The largest social network for health in the world, HealthUnlocked supports millions of people to improve their health every month through peer support and self-management in over 600 health and wellbeing online communities. HealthUnlocked partners with hundreds of patient advocacy organisations and charities within these communities, providing them with support, expertise and moderation, and offers a range of unique solutions to organisations and businesses, specialising in access to an active health-focused audience. Making Facebook look like a glorious time-waster.

Source: This article was published refinery29.uk By Emma Ledger

According to new data out from SearchDex, retailers aren't serving up what customers want on the search front. Researchers found that more than half (58%) of Americans are now using search engines to research shopping trips, but that targeted ads and outdated search results are frustrating them.

"An online search is the first conversation a consumer will have with a brand or retailer--it's potentially the beginning of the relationship. And if that brand or retailer comes up in an irrelevant search, the relationship has already been damaged. Winning the SEO game is not about getting in front of the consumer whenever and however possible but about using sophisticated SEO to get in front of consumers who are looking for what you have to offer," said Dave Chaplin, CEO of SearchDex.

According to the SearchDex report most US adults have a search strategy for finding the right information - 41% use a particular set of keywords and 31% use full/complete sentences when creating a search query. The problem is that they aren't getting the information they want or need. In fact, 21% say they are stymied by outdated search results. Other interesting findings include:

  •  39% of shoppers are annoyed by targeted ads
  •  44% worry that retailers will sell their search histories, thus increasing the amount of targeted ads they would see
  •  58% start a search at a search engine, not a retailer or shopping portal

As to what shoppers are searching for, 27% are searching for product reviews, 25% are comparing prices, and 15% are looking for coupon codes.

Source: This article was published bizreport.com By Kristina Knight

Today marks 28 years since I submitted my original proposal for the worldwide web. I imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But over the past 12 months, I’ve become increasingly worried about three new trends, which I believe we must tackle in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity.

1) We’ve lost control of our personal data

The current business model for many websites offers free content in exchange for personal data. Many of us agree to this – albeit often by accepting long and confusing terms and conditions documents – but fundamentally we do not mind some information being collected in exchange for free services. But, we’re missing a trick. As our data is then held in proprietary silos, out of sight to us, we lose out on the benefits we could realise if we had direct control over this data and chose when and with whom to share it. What’s more, we often do not have any way of feeding back to companies what data we’d rather not share – especially with third parties – the T&Cs are all or nothing.

This widespread data collection by companies also has other impacts. Through collaboration with – or coercion of – companies, governments are also increasingly watching our every move online and passing extreme laws that trample on our rights to privacy. In repressive regimes, it’s easy to see the harm that can be caused – bloggers can be arrested or killed, and political opponents can be monitored. But even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, such as sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.

2) It’s too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Today, most people find news and information on the web through just a handful of social media sites and search engines. These sites make more money when we click on the links they show us. And they choose what to show us based on algorithms that learn from our personal data that they are constantly harvesting. The net result is that these sites show us content they think we’ll click on – meaning that misinformation, or fake news, which is surprising, shocking, or designed to appeal to our biases, can spread like wildfire. And through the use of data science and armies of bots, those with bad intentions can game the system to spread misinformation for financial or political gain.

3) Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

Political advertising online has rapidly become a sophisticated industry. The fact that most people get their information from just a few platforms and the increasing sophistication of algorithms drawing upon rich pools of personal data mean that political campaigns are now building individual adverts targeted directly at users. One source suggests that in the 2016 US election, as many as 50,000 variations of adverts were being served every single day on Facebook, a near-impossible situation to monitor. And there are suggestions that some political adverts – in the US and around the world – are being used in unethical ways – to point voters to fake news sites, for instance, or to keep others away from the polls. Targeted advertising allows a campaign to say completely different, possibly conflicting things to different groups. Is that democratic?

These are complex problems, and the solutions will not be simple. But a few broad paths to progress are already clear. We must work together with web companies to strike a balance that puts a fair level of data control back in the hands of people, including the development of new technology such as personal “data pods” if needed and exploring alternative revenue models such as subscriptions and micropayments. We must fight against government overreach in surveillance laws, including through the courts if necessary. We must push back against misinformation by encouraging gatekeepers such as Google and Facebook to continue their efforts to combat the problem, while avoiding the creation of any central bodies to decide what is “true” or not. We need more algorithmic transparency to understand how important decisions that affect our lives are being made, and perhaps a set of common principles to be followed. We urgently need to close the “internet blind spot” in the regulation of political campaigning.

Our team at the Web Foundation will be working on many of these issues as part of our new five-year strategy – researching the problems in more detail, coming up with proactive policy solutions and bringing together coalitions to drive progress towards a web that gives equal power and opportunity to all.

I may have invented the web, but all of you have helped to create what it is today. All the blogs, posts, tweets, photos, videos, applications, web pages and more represent the contributions of millions of you around the world building our online community. All kinds of people have helped, from politicians fighting to keep the web open, standards organisations like W3C enhancing the poweraccessibility and security of the technology, and people who have protested in the streets. In the past year, we have seen Nigerians stand up to a social media bill that would have hampered free expression online, popular outcry and protests at regional internet shutdowns in Cameroon and great public support for net neutrality in both India and the European Union.

It has taken all of us to build the web we have, and now it is up to all of us to build the web we want – for everyone.

The Web Foundation is at the forefront of the fight to advance and protect the web for everyone. We believe doing so is essential to reverse growing inequality and empower citizens. You can follow our work by signing up to our newsletter, and find a local digital rights organisation to support here on this list. Additions to the list are welcome and may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Click here to make a donation.

Source: This article was published theguardian.com By Tim Berners-Lee

Communicating and dealing with people can be hard for everyone at one point or another. Whether it’s work related or if it’s pleasure, it’s important to learn these psychological tricks to make things run much more smoothly. These are not to be confused with ways to maliciously manipulate others into getting what you want, but to simply improve overall communication and relationships with others.

1. Look into someone’s eyes when you get a dissatisfactory answer

Sometimes we don’t like the answer to a question that we receive and sometimes we don’t understand it. Instead of repeating the question or asking another, look into the eyes of the person. This will make the person feel under pressure or cornered, and this will force them to further elaborate their thoughts.

2. Stay calm when someone raises their voice to you

Make a strong effort to remain calm. When a loudmouth acts out it’s usually in anger, and our behaviors can sometimes unintentionally provoke that. The feelings of anger usually quickly subside and guilt will set in and usually this person is first to ask for forgiveness.

3. Sit close to the aggressor to avoid attack

If you’re heading into a meeting and you know you’ll be in the room with an aggressive person, you know the discussion may become heated, or you may be subjected to negative criticism, make a point to sit next to that person. You may feel uncomfortable and awkward, but you won’t be the only one. Close proximity is known to make people uncomfortable which will lessen the level of aggression they plan to exercise.

4. Remember everyone’s names if you want to be popular

If you want to be popular with your peers and colleagues, make it a habit to start calling people by their first names when speaking with them. A person feels instantaneously special when you call him or her by their first name.

5. Write down your thoughts when you feel stressed or anxious

We all feel some level of mental stress or anxiety at some point. Write down your thoughts in a journal and then close it up. Believe it or not, you’ll be able to focus on your work more easily because you have now shared your thoughts with someone. When you share them, you will then feel the burden on your mind reduced.

6. Give yourself fewer choices when you can’t make the decision

Some people believe that it’s better to have more choices and more information and actually, they prefer to have more. However, it is actually paralyzing to have too many. There is evidence that shows that having four options at a time is the maximum number we can consider and still make a choice. In order to be an effective decision maker, you should only give yourself a few options at a time. This will allow you time to consider each one while giving you enough space between looking at a new set of options.

7. Right posture can boost confidence

This psychological trick applies to both work and pleasure. It can drastically improve your dating life and help you move up the ladder at work. How can you become confident do you ask? The best way to do this is through your posture. If you allow yourself to take up more space, you’re more likely to feel more confident. This is referred to power language.

8. Surefire way to win in ‘rock, paper, scissors’

This one is definitely intriguing. When you’re about to play this famous game, ask your opponent a random question right before. This typically will throw your confused opponent off and more often than not they will throw up ‘scissors’.

9. Make people feel needed when you ask for help

If you need someone’s help start off with the phrase, ‘I need your help…’ People like to feel needed and they hate feeling guilty. By starting off the conversation with that phrase, you’re more likely to receive the help you need.

10. Warm your hands before shaking hands with others

Did you know that cold hands are linked to distrust? When you’re about to touch someone or shake their hand, make sure that your hands are warm. Warm hands promote a friendly atmosphere.

Other psychological tricks

  • If you think someone doesn’t care for you, ask him or her to borrow their pen or pencil.
  • If you can’t seem to get a song out of your head try remembering the end of it.
  • If you need help carrying something, try talking to the person while handing them whatever it is. They will most likely not even realize you’re handing them something and they will just take it.
  • During an introduction, make a note of someone’s eye color. You’re not going to use this information it’s just important to take note of it. It’s a technique to achieve optimum eye contact. People find this friendly and confident.

Source : This article was published lifehack.org By Erica Wagner

Microsoft researchers are working on "machine reading" technology that would advance the way search engines work. In theory, instead of typing in a query and getting a list of links, an advanced machine reading system would respond in the same way that a knowledgeable person would when asked a question.

The technology ultimately will have the ability to read passages of text and answer questions about the context of the written or verbal statement or comment.

"That’s something that most search engines can only do for very basic queries right now, and it’s not something any human could ever be expected to replicate for all the world’s information," Allison Linn, editor and multimedia storyteller at Microsoft, wrote in a post.

Perhaps one day the person conducting the voice search or the text search would ask why, and the machine would provide an answer.  In Monday's SearchBlog post, I wrote about how artificial intelligence should provide answers to questions. This would become an extension of that concept.

If successful, the technology would also help people who need to search through a very large amount of information find that one specific piece of data they need. For instance, it could help people more quickly find information hidden in car manuals or tax regulations.

The technology comes from Quebec-based deep learning startup Maluuba, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year. 

Maluuba founder Kaheer Suleman calls it a literate machine -- a machine that can read and understand text and then learn how to communicate, whether through written or verbal means.

It's about getting machines to reason, make decisions and communicate with humans.  

How would that influence the way Bing serves advertisements to those searching on engines?  It would increasingly become a one-to-one conversation between the person searching and the engine or the brand serving up the information. Think of it as a more advanced chat bot.

Chat bots as we know them today are advanced AOL message apps, the type we used in the early days of dial-up Internet access. The next version of the chat bot will seamlessly integrate with the search engine, in my opinion.

Source: This article was published on mediapost.com by  , Staff Writer @lauriesullivan

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