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Daniel K. Henry

Daniel K. Henry

  • Apple's ecosystem is key to its success
  • iTunes, the App Store iOS, macOS, Apple TV, Siri and Home all tie together
  • Once a consumer invests in the ecosystem, it's harder to switch out of it

There's one big reason people buy Apple products: the ecosystem.

People don't buy iPhones by the tens of millions just because they like the hardware, though that's a huge part of it, but because they're tied into an ever-growing, sprawling ecosystem of software and services that allow you to do more with the products if you continue to invest in that ecosystem.

Let me explain.

When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, iPod users who were already using iTunes saw something familiar and much more consumer-friendly than BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Palm devices offered at the time. iTunes was the seed of an ecosystem that, in the past ten years, has grown into a towering elm.

The App Store launched in 2008. After that, when people bought apps and games they were also continuing to buy into Apple. As they shelled out $0.99 here and $1.99 there for new software that only ran on their Apple devices, they were digging deeper into Apple's offering and further away from BlackBerry and a new operating system that was on the horizon: Android.

Apple continued to build out this ecosystem by changing the way its products interacted with one another. Apple added the ability to use iMessage and FaceTime from an iPad, for example, allowing you to carry on your iPhone conversations on a tablet. Then it introduced a similar feature to Macs, also adding in support for full phone calls. The more Apple devices you used, the better they worked together.

Siri launched on iPhone and iPad and eventually on Mac and Apple TV and even the Apple Watch. It became a familiar voice to answer your questions, no matter where you were.

Apple TV grew from what Apple CEO Tim Cook once referred to as a "hobby" to a real home streaming device with its own app store. And if you have an iPhone or iPad, all of your pictures through Apple's Photos app are available across devices, even on the TV in your living room.

Home, an app in iOS, lets you control light bulbs, window shades, door locks and more, so long as they're build using Apple's HomeKit set of developer tools. As consumers buy these products, they're making a decision to stick with Apple.

Customers are more likely to know about them, too, because Apple has a huge retail presence.

Walk into an Apple Store and trained employees will show you exactly how to use any of the Apple products you own. Or browse the shelves and purchase any number of products that'll work seamlessly with your iPhone or iPad.

The Apple Store is also the company's support hub, where you can go in with any questions, damaged products and more for assistance. If you have AppleCare+, the company's premium warranty plan, it often costs very little to repair your expensive Apple products, sometimes in the same day.

Competitors aren't as good at ecosystems

Apple's competitors are trying to do something similar. But they're going about it in a much more chaotic way that will confuse most consumers, who don't spend their lives following the ins and outs of the tech industry.

Google is making parallel moves to integrate products like the Google Home, the Pixel smartphone, the Chromecast smart TV and more, and that's a step in the right direction.

But Google relies mostly on partners to build and maintain its ecosystem of products, and that can be incredibly confusing.

How does the owner of an LG Android smartphone know what smart home products it works with? If that same customer buys an Android TV box built by NVIDIA and a smartwatch made by Huawei, who do they go to for support? (Answer: NVIDIA and Huawei, not Google.)

Samsung is getting better at creating an ecosystem like Apple's. It sells smartphones, tablets, TVs, wearables, and laptops in the U.S., and it has apps such as SideSync that allow you to interact with your smartphone from a Samsung tablet or laptop. It has services like Samsung Pay, which is arguably better than Apple Pay because it's accepted in more locations.

Samsung also owns SmartThings, a smart home technology company that it acquired in 2014 for $200 million. SmartThings is more open than Apple HomeKit, allowing it to support Android and iOS smartphones and a large variety of smart home products ranging from power outlets to door locks and cameras.

The difference between SmartThings and Apple Home is that people have heard of Apple Home — you can hardly miss the yellow icon staring at your from your new iPhone — and can manage it easily through a single app on their smartphone. But SmartThings can be controlled by any number of apps and gadgets, including Google Assistant and the Amazon Echo. While it's versatile, it's also a lot more for a consumer to digest, and a lot harder for a consumer to get started. There's no glaring yellow app begging you to dive in on your new smartphone.CNBC: Apple Home

CNBC: Apple Home
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Samsung doesn't have an big app store. Samsung doesn't have a place to buy music, movies and TV shows. And Samsung doesn't provide as seamless an experience across all of its products (though it's becoming better at it with apps like Samsung Connect, which provide a one-stop destination for viewing and interacting with your Samsung gadgets.)

Nor do Samsung or Google have hundreds of high-profile stores around the world. Instead, they rely on small flagship viewing-only locations, pop-up events or dedicated corners in Best Buy, as places to better understand the products.

This doesn't help. As product ecosystems become more powerful, consumers need a single easy place to go to learn more about how they can be used.

Consumers also need a place to go for support. If you break your Samsung smartphone, you're going to be on the phone with your smartphone insurance provider -- if you bought insurance at all. If you have an iPhone, just walk into an Apple Store. Apple may charge you a premium depending on your warranty status, but you'll have some sort of solution from the company you bought your phone from. That's a big deal.

Competitors may be able to build a better smartphone, or better laptop, or better augmented reality device than Apple. But Apple has a years-long head start in building an ecosystem of products that leverage each other's strengths. That's why its services business now is almost the size of a Fortune 100 company alone. That will take a long time for any competitor to equal.

And that's why people will keep buying Apple products.

This article was  published in cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

A new approach to government tech, inspired by venture capital

As President Trump maps out plans for a border wall with Mexico, Customs and Border Protection is looking at a more mobile way to monitor the border: consumer drones. The agency is currently soliciting proposals for small unmanned aerial systems, similar to consumer drones manufactured by DJI and Parrot, to be deployed by US Border Patrol agents in the field.

First described in a contractor solicitation notice last summer, the proposed aircraft would be small enough to be carried in a truck and simple enough to be deployed by a single border agent in less than five minutes. The crafts would also be outfitted with sophisticated sensors, which may include infrared cameras and facial-recognition capabilities. The solicitation specifically asks for “sUAS,” a term typically used for consumer-grade drones under 55 pounds, and a significant contrast from the Predator B drones that have patrolled the border in the past.

One technical document included with the solicitation imagined a drone that could “distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range.” The drone would also include “facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.” The scenario meant as a hypothetical, illustrating the type of capability CBP is looking for rather than indicating a specific requirement. Still, those facial-recognition capabilities would work well with Homeland Security’s IDENT database, which currently contains more than 170 million fingerprints and facial images collected from non-citizens as they enter the United States. The FBI’s facial-recognition checks reach even further, scanning across 411 million photos in state and federal databases.

A technical document written by Customs and Border Protection describes a hypothetical scenario for using the drones:A USBP agent deploys a sUAS to make observations beyond a nearby obstacle in the terrain blocking the agent’s line of sight. The sUAS is equipped with one or more sensors that will allow for day or night operation and would distinguish between natural and artificial features, and between animals, humans, and vehicles at long range. Once objects of interest are determined and then acquired, the sensor can continue to track multiple moving targets and provide laser illumination. At closer range, the sUAS on-board sensors would detect target attributes such as backpacks and unconcealed weapons on humans. Finally, the sensor technology would have facial recognition capabilities that allow it cross-reference any persons identified with relevant law enforcement databases.

CBP officials said that kind of in-the-field identification could be immensely valuable to agents in the future, particularly crossed referenced with criminal records. “When a Border Patrol agent is out in the field, they may be very far from backup, they may not have great comms coverage,” said Ari Schuler, co-lead of CBP’s Silicon Valley office, which is managing the project. “If they encounter an armed group of human traffickers, for instance, they need to know whether those traffickers have a criminal record or are known to have assaulted an officer.”

The interface of the drones may also differ significantly from consumer drones. The solicitation expressed interest in Siri-style voice commands, since border agents may be carrying heavy equipment or need to maintain freedom of movement while operating the drone. Officials also expressed interest in multi-spectral sensors that could detect distress in plants, sometimes a result of off-road border crossings or drug meetings.

The greatest challenge facing contractors is how to stream data from the devices, since much of the border lacks conventional cellular service. Consumer drones typically broadcast video through Wi-Fi-connected hubs like a laptop or phone, but without cell service, a traditional hot spot would be unable to function. Maintaining a connection to the broader network could be crucial if agents need to share video documentation of an event with the rest of the patrol.

“THE BIG QUESTION IS, HOW QUICKLY CAN THEY GET SOMETHING?”

The solicitation has already drawn significant interest from companies. Last week, the CBP announced it was moving up the submission deadline due to a flood of interest: companies will now have until April 27th to submit proposals for the project. Three companies have already received Phase One awards for prototyping, with projects for drone-mounted millimeter wave scanning and lightweight radar systems announced in December. Customs officials say there are more awards in the pipeline.

According to one contractor, CBP’s focus has been on devices that can document an incident and alert other agents without being vulnerable to hacking or signal interception. “Anybody that can do all those things in a short period of time is going to get the money,” said Derek Lyons, a technology scout at Beyond the Drone who has talked with Customs on behalf of BirdsEyeView Aerobotics. “The big question is, how quickly can they get something? Small companies can have a hard time estimating how far along they are.”

MODELED AFTER A SERIES B FUNDING ROUND

The solicitation is part of a larger initiative within the Department of Homeland Security that looks to drum up new agency tools through venture capital tactics. Launched in 2014, DHS’s Silicon Valley office was designed to get new technology into government hands faster by operating as a venture capital firm, following the lead of the CIA’s controversial In-Q-Tel investment arm. Modeled after a Series B funding round, that process requires companies to submit formal proposals, then undergo a venture capital-style pitch round with executives from DHS’s Silicon Valley office. If the prototype meets agency needs, DHS will invest as much as $200,000 to help put it into production, with a final product to be provided within two years of the first award. The agency has already invested in a string of cybersecurity companies, as well as enhancements to the Global Travel Assessments system. CBP is also soliciting ideas for a new kind of videoconferencing system and health-tracking units to monitor dogs in the agency’s canine program.

CBP’s move to smaller drones comes after the agency’s struggles with Predator drones, which have proven both more expensive and less effective than anticipated. An Inspector General report in 2014 found that the program had spent at least $62.5 million to operate its fleet of 10 drones over the course of a year. Despite early hopes, the program failed to lower the cost of border surveillance or lead to a significant increase in apprehensions. The drones were also the target of significant spoofing and GPS jamming efforts.

The personal drone project is particularly relevant as Customs and Border Patrol moves toward the construction of a physical wall at the Mexican border. In a congressional hearing yesterday, Homeland Security secretary John Kelly said the wall is unlikely to cover every portion of the border, and would need to be supplemented with surveillance equipment and other technology.

CBP officials say technological support will be crucial even in areas where a physical wall is built. “Even where you see physical barriers or infrastructure today, it’s in conjunction with agents and surveillance technology,” said CBP assistant chief Chris Pietrzak. “There are alternative mechanisms by which we can establish surveillance, and sUAS is one of them.”

This article was published in theverge.com by  Russell Brandom

It’s funny how months of leaks and rumors can paint what appears to be a complete picture of an upcoming smartphone. But then, once the device is finally announced, a different picture forms. All of the components and details that leak never quite seem to accurately portray the finished product, and this was exactly the case with Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Months of leaks and rumors left precious few surprises when Samsung finally unveiled its new flagship phones last month, yet we were all still completely blown away.

If you’ve read my in-depth Galaxy S8 review, then you know just how impressed I am with these new phones. And if you bought one yourself over the weekend, you’ve now experienced firsthand what the future of smartphone design feels like. But as incredible as Samsung’s new design is, and as impressive as its hardware has become, I still can’t call the Galaxy S8 the world’s best smartphone.

As I explained in my review, the Galaxy S8 is vastly superior to Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in terms of hardware design. Vastly. Samsung’s curved edges on the front and back combined with incredibly narrow bezels result in a design that really looks and feels like the future of smartphones. As I also explained in a separate article, going back to my iPhone 7 Plus after using the Galaxy S8 feels like going back to an old tube TV after having used a flat-screen TV.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 looks better than the iPhone. It feels better than the iPhone. The display is much, much better than the screens on Apple’s iPhones. But overall, it’s still not the better device.

Now, I’m not suggesting that the Galaxy S8’s beauty is only skin deep. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are by far the smoothest and most powerful Android phones the world has ever seen. What’s more, Samsung’s latest version of TouchWiz (now called Samsung Experience) is its best yet, and Samsung’s own Android apps have improved as well on Android 7.0 Nougat. But still, Nougat is no iOS and the Galaxy S8 is no iPhone.

Now that I’ve been using the Galaxy S8+ for nearly two weeks, I can safely say Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus is still the best smartphone on the planet. While the Galaxy S8+ beats (nay, destroys) the iPhone 7 Plus where design and display quality are concerned, the phone’s meaningful advantages end there, for the most part.

Here are five key areas where the iPhone 7 Plus still has the edge:

  1. Software is important, and iOS is still better and smoother than Android. Even with Samsung’s new and improved Samsung Experience, the iPhone still has a clear advantage. Samsung Connect is also a nice start, but Apple’s Continuity features are miles ahead of Samsung in terms of carrying the user experience across devices and platforms. Some might argue that software is the most important thing on a smartphone, and Apple has a huge edge here.
  2. Apps are important, and iOS apps are still better and smoother than Android apps. Perhaps it’s Google’s loose third-party developer guidelines, or perhaps the company’s developer tools aren’t on par with Apple’s. Whatever the case, the Android app experience remains terribly inconsistent, and iOS versions of apps are always more refined and simpler, even when the same app is available on both platforms.
  3. Performance is important, and the iPhone 7 Plus still outperforms the Galaxy S8+. Take one look at this real-world performance test and you’ll see that Android still can’t keep up with iOS, even when it’s being propelled by next-generation processors like the Snapdragon 835.
  4. Battery life is important, and there’s still nothing else out there that can touch the iPhone 7 Plus. I wasn’t able to get a good feel for the Galaxy S8+’s battery life for my review since Samsung sent my review unit late, but I’ve now spent more time with the phone. It’ll carry most people through a full day, but Apple’s phablet outlasts the S8+ by a healthy margin.
  5. Customer care is important, and there isn’t a consumer electronics company in the world that can even approach Apple in this key area. The company continues to invest heavily in after-sales service, and that investment will always pay off big time. Samsung has gotten better and its on-device customer service feature is a nice addition, but it’s still nothing like dealing with Apple support.

Many people are tied to Android and Google’s ecosystem, which is perfectly fine. For these people, the Galaxy S8 is as good as it gets. Google’s services are the best in the world, and they’re free. While most Google products are available on iOS these days, they’ll never be as deeply integrated on the iPhone as they are on Android phones. But if you want the best overall user experience from top to bottom, there’s only one place to turn. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is impressive, but the reigning king hasn’t yet been dethroned.

Source : BGR News by Zach Epstein

The drivers need to pass seven different tests before they are fully trained with the autonomous cars, according to a leaked document.

Apple's Stephen Chick displays the CarPlay program at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California June 2, 2014.REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
 
Apple has developed an Automated System for its self-driving car project, and has also put in place a special training programme to teach employees how to regain manual control of autonomous cars.According to Apple's "Development Platform Specific Training" document, obtained byBusiness Insider, the company is working on an autonomous driving technology, dubbed the "Apple Autonomous System." The latest report came a week after the Cupertino tech giant obtained permission to test self driving cars in California.The leaked documents also revealed that drivers need to clear seven tests including low speed driving, high speed driving, tight U-turn, sudden steering input, sudden acceleration, sudden breaking and conflicting turn signal and action. To pass each test, every driver must complete two practice runs and three trials.
 
The documents also suggest that Apple's "Autonomous System" is controlled electronically during safety testing, which requires drivers to know how to manually control the vehicle when needed.
According to the training packet, Apple's self-driving car uses a Logitech wheel and pedals to actuate drive by wire, and it supports one person at a time.Pressing the brake pedal or grabbing the steering wheel in Apple's test vehicles will disengage the electronic driving mode, but drivers can accelerate without overriding the "drive by wire" mode.
Last week, Apple was granted a permit to test autonomous vehicles on public roads in the state of California. According to the California DMV website, the iPhone-maker was added to a list of permit holders that includes giants like Google, Tesla, BMW, Honda, Ford and Nissan.Earlier reports said that Apple had applied for a permit to use three 2015 Lexus RX450h SUVs, which will be driven by six drivers who are experts in areas like machine learning.The newly leaked document also has names of six Apple employees who have passed the company's autonomous vehicle test. Therefore, it's likely that these six drivers will get the opportunity to operate the self-driving platform.
Source : ibtimes.co.in

According to a survey from Fivesight Research, Siri had a larger share of mobile search than Bing or Yahoo.

A new study from Fivesight Research, “US Consumer Search Preferences Smartphone & Desktop: Q1 2017,” finds that Siri is the mobile “search engine” of choice after Google. The study was based on a survey of 800 US adults split roughly evenly between iOS and Android users.

Google was by far the dominant mobile search engine, with an 84 percent aggregate share among respondents. Among Android users, Google’s search share was 90 percent. Among iPhone owners Google had a 78 percent share. After Google, however, Siri was named by more respondents as their “primary search engine” than Bing or Yahoo. (However, this doesn’t reflect query volume, just identification as the primary engine of choice.)

Siri was the primary search engine of 13 percent of iPhone owners. This finding is significant because it suggests the long-term, potentially disruptive impact of voice and virtual assistants on traditional “query in a box” results. It’s important to point out, however, that these responses reflect self-reported data and many not line up one-to-one with behavior.

Siri was also the most widely adopted virtual assistant among the available choices, used by a higher number of iOS users than “Google Now” was by Android users. Google Assistant wasn’t one of the available choices on the survey.

A very large percentage of respondents (72 percent) said they were using virtual assistants to “supplement” more traditional mobile search.

Only 16 percent of iPhone owners did not use a virtual assistant, while just under 40 percent of Android users did not. Among iPhone owners who used assistants other than Siri, 10 percent used Google Now, and 4 percent cited Cortana. Among Android users, 24 percent were using virtual assistants other than Google’s own, with 10 percent using Cortana and the remainder distributed across several others, including Viv.

The survey also found that Chrome was the dominant mobile browser, with a 48 percent share, followed by Safari, with 37 percent. Roughly 14 percent of iPhone owners used Chrome as their primary browser. However, Android owners reported a higher level of non-Google browser use, with 11 percent choosing a Microsoft browser and another 10 percent using “other.”

Source : searchengineland.com

Have you ever Google'd a company and found a number of front page results that were negative to the brand in question?

That happened to me a couple of years ago when I put Walmart into the search engine. It came back with the main site, but also People of Walmart (a photo site showing unflattering photos of unique customers at the chain of stores), and Walmart Sucks, (a website dedicated to exposing bad business practices and complaints about the company) in the second and third spots.

Since then the bad results have been purged a bit. They have retained better front page results, though damaging news stories still do exist.

Even a company as massive as Walmart had to learn the hard way about the importance of brand search ownership.

How this could impact you

You may be wondering what this has to do with your own business. After all, Walmart is huge, and it has a visibility that makes it more likely to gather scorn. A small or medium business wouldn't be as likely to gain so much vitriol that it could lead to a hate site in its name!

That's true, but the rules have changed. Social media, review sites like Yelp, blogs and forums mean small- and medium-sized brands are fair game. Whether your brand is on behalf of a company, or you are your brand, you might have a lot out there you don't want found.

In most cases, a bad reputation affects your business the most when it shows up in Google when someone searches for your brand. Having a negative article on the first page when someone searches for your brand name can literally 'break' your business outright.

A great way to put this in perspective for your business is to reference an old icon himself, Warren Buffet, who once said:

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.

Work on your own assets

The first step is to start working towards controling more search results that come up for your brand name.

Your website should obviously rank #1 for your name search results. This is your top priority. If you don't have a business website yet, wait no longer. You should set up your online presence now. Here's a good guide to get you started.

Use content marketing strategies that help fill your Google search results with your own content. This will also improve your overall visibility, which is a great side benefit that could lead to better traffic, more lead generation, and potential conversions.

Work on your SEO to improve your rankings. An SEO diagnostics tool Serpstat can be a big help when it comes to fixing SEO errors and monitoring your positions. Netpeak spider is another solid tool helping you easily diagnose your site SEO health by crawling its pages and discovering broken links, images, pages with too little content and more.

Another tried and tested strategy to build solid site assets is a good PR campaign. Press releases are done on high authority news websites that have the ability to easily rank for targeted keywords. Do a press release campaign to publicize some news about your brand, and you might be able to push the negative search results to the second page. 

Lessening the risk

Of course, you can't literally own a search result. But you can begin putting in an effort to monitor and change your place on Google, giving yourself a better chance of combating problems.

Start by setting up a series of Google Alerts. Brand names, your name, related search terms or website names, Twitter handles... these should each be set up. Get an email alert daily for your more direct searches (Twitter handle, brand name, your name, etc.), and weekly ones for wider search terms. A more advanced alternative to monitor your brand online is Brandmentions.com

Along with Google alerts you might want to try Knowem.com to see how your business is listed across the Internet. This will be helpful for you to find inconsistencies in your online business listings and fix them to avoid them from harming your rank or online reputation. 

Next, set up a social media dashboard that handles all of your social accounts, personal and business. Set monitoring alerts on there that watch for the same things, as well as competitors and high profile people in your industry. Keep an eye on influencers and customers, and see if you can get them talking about your brand in a positive light. Hoostuite and Tweetdeck are two good options here.

Be professional when dealing with online mentions

Check all review sites regularly, and address any complaints or other forms of feedback promptly. That includes complaints posted on forums and blogs. Be polite and professional at all times, and never argue.

You can ask the complainer what they'd do if they were in your shoes. Ask them how they would solve the problem. You instantly deflated all arguments. Good job!

Besides helping you monitor conversations about your brand online, the great advantage of tracking brand mentions is that it helps you uncover link building opportunities that are difficult to find otherwise. You can easily reach our to bloggers/journalists who talk about your brand as politely ask for a link (so that it'll be easier for the users) to your website.

Source : cio.com

Bing Ads Editor has been updated with support for Review Extensions. In addition, Bing Ads Editor v11.10 also comes with better keyword import, and an improved ability to create audience associations for Remarketing in Paid Search campaigns.

 

YouTube might be getting a lot more social and conversational in the near future.

TechCrunch reports the Google-owned video platform is currently testing a new in-app messaging feature on iOS and Android that will allow users to exchange clips, texts and links without ever having to leave the app.

But there’s one catch: The functionality is solely available in Canada for the time being. Google product manager Shimrit Ben Yair told Canada’s Financial Post the decision to run trials on Canadian soil has to do with the fact that it’s the country that shares videos more than anyone else in the world.

The messaging platform is pretty straightforward and has no specific video-centric features. Still, the move towards in-app messaging could have much larger implications for the future of YouTube.

A few months back, Google toyed around with the idea of giving certain channels the option to send direct messages to their audience. It also briefly tested with in-app messaging last year in May.

As our own Justin Pot remarked back then, the move was likely aimed at encouraging creators and fans to interact more on YouTube itself, rather than resorting to other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

While it’s unclear whether Google has any plans to roll out the feature to all users in the future, the experiment is a strong indication that the company hasn’t quite given up on turning YouTube into more of a social network.

In case you want to sneak a peek at YouTube’s new messaging feature, get one of your Canadian friends to add you to a conversation – that should give you an early preview.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of how the messaging platform looks like.

Source : thenextweb.com

 

Hanover, PA - Setting up a website is only the first step in today’s digital marketing world for businesses that want to stand a better chance of reaching their target audience through the internet. One of the many key aspects to helping a business succeed on the internet is helping them to create a powerful online presence that search engines like Google recognize. A Google My Business Page, or GMB for short, is the jumping point for several search engine optimization features that help businesses rank higher in Google Maps listings. Web 20 Ranker, an online wholesale provider of SEO services, has recently released a powerful case study that can help businesses learn the key factors to ranking their Google My Business listing through the new Possum Filter.

“Google is always changing their best ranking practices and added more filters to sift out spammy websites,” says company founder and brain behind the new case study, Chaz Edwards. “With Google reducing the radius that local businesses can be found, and with cities showing multiple packs based on searcher proximity, every effort should be made to understand the top local ranking factors and which factors we can influence directly through local search optimization. Through our latest Google My Business case study, we review some of the factors specific to the Possum filter, and what your business can do in order to combat those changes.”

Google’s Possum filter was a major game-changer for local searches, which saw many verified GMB listings simply disappearing from Google Maps. The new filter comes into effect in four scenarios: similar businesses sharing the same address, similar businesses sharing the same owner, similar businesses sharing the same affiliation, and similar businesses located very close to one another. Thankfully, checking for the Possum filter is easy. Simply perform a local search that brings up a Snack Pack (Google Maps 3 Pack), and select the ‘more places’ option. Note the number of listings that appear on the left hand side of the screen. However, zooming in closer on the map will now reveal several pages of results that Possum has filtered.

In order to create such a powerful case study, the company utilized ranking data from across their more than 200 active GMB SEO campaigns, the Google ‘Proximity Ranking’ Patent, the Proximity To Searcher blog article from Darren Shaw, Google local search rankings guide, local SEO ranking factors, and Think with Google Micro-Moments. Compiled together, these resources paint a clear picture of what Google is looking for when ranking businesses through the new Possum filter. In addition to these, Web 20 Ranker also takes into account the four main types of keyword variations, which they optimize for in each of their GMB optimization packages.

The new GMB case study from Chaz Edwards is available from the Web 20 Ranker website, through their blog section. Web 20 Ranker is located at 1 Center Square, Suite 200 in Hanover, Pennsylvania (17331).

The company can be reached directly from their website, http://web20ranker.com/, or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Contact
Company Name: Web 20 Ranker
Contact Person: Chaz Edwards
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: (855) 896-6657
Address:1 Center Square, Suite 200 
City: Hanover
State: Pennsylvania
Country: United States
Website: http://web20ranker.com/

Source : digitaljournal.com

A communications test was performed in 1975 between Stanford and University College London for what was to become arguably the most important communication innovation of the 20th century: The Internet Protocol (IP). At its core, IP was focused on speed and simplicity. This required decentralization of ownership of the “web” and resulted in no one owning the Internet, nor the controls and routes used to transmit it.

While there are 75 million servers running the global Internet, there are 1.2 billion cars driving global transportation, with 253 million in the United States alone (the highest per capita rate of any large country). Personal vehicle ownership is grossly inefficient: Cars are estimated to be parked 95 percent of the time. And even with all of the advancement in logistics software, there’s still plenty of unused cargo capacity being moved around on land, sea and air.

There’s a reason the leading global Internet companies are looking at automated driving; they understand the key issue underlying the next web of transportation technology protocol is based on the same decentralization of ownership that created the Internet decades ago.

According to a 2015 McKinsey study, by 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 50 percent today. Some automotive analysts have gone as far as predicting that on the existing trajectory, there will be 2.4 billion cars by 2030. Traffic and population growth will demand more transportation infrastructure, but many jurisdictions don’t have the funding, or the space, to build additional roads and rail. Connected and autonomous vehicle technologies offer a wiser solution, intended to optimize roadway and resource utilization, potentially saving billions in future infrastructure expansion.

These new modes of transit will be able to route cars via the Internet, reducing overall vehicle ownership, altering urban development patterns, limiting car crashes, increasing fossil fuel efficiency and saving consumers time and money.

Make your investments in smart transportation now, and big returns will come along for the ride.

Leading the charge is Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) which recently claimed that its fleet of self-driving vehicles logs about 3 million simulated miles every day. Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Autopilot service propelled the company past others in the industry, leading Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, to claim his company will have self-driving cars in two years (plus a few years for the approval process).

The combination of increased urbanization (where car ownership is drastically lower per capita) and innovations in car sharing and autonomous driving will have a powerful impact on the way Americans look at car ownership. A recent study from KPMG predicts that in about 25 years, fewer than half of U.S. households will own more than one vehicle, a drop of around 15 percent. The report further claims that for each car-sharing vehicle in use, there are around 10 fewer cars on the road as drivers sell a car or postpone buying one.

And households using car-sharing services reduce emissions by up to 41 percent a year, according to a UC Berkeley study. While these services appear to only be disrupting the traditional taxi model, their true aim is exactly the same as the original goal of the Internet protocol: increased productivity through speed and simplicity. The kicker is that the current crop of drivers won’t be necessary, as they are simply mimicking the eventual autonomous car fleets that these companies will be deploying.

As one of the largest corporate operating costs is moving things cheaply and efficiently from point A to point B, cargo transportation is another arena about to be disrupted by autonomous vehicles. On land, freight trucks dwarf all other modes of transportation in terms of both value and total weight of goods transported. Although versatile, freight trucks come with many problems, including labor shortages and frequent accidents. Plus, many trucks are carrying little to no product as they move across the country.

However, with an Uber-style delivery network, mimicking Internet protocol, all of these problems could be history when each box or container is merely a packet moving along a cable. Companies will be able to place a shipping order online to a delivery service, schedule a driverless truck, fill it with their product and track it as it makes its way to its final destination while making perfectly calculated pick-ups and drop-offs in conjunction with the rest of the fleet.

Individuals in the future will no longer need to own a car; instead, they’ll just micro-rent shared driverless vehicles; and companies will enjoy the same convenience. In a driverless world, corporations will seamlessly and optimally share transport resources with other companies.

Moreover, the fatal and financial costs of human error will be noticeably diminished, if not entirely removed. The invention and implementation of autonomous mass transport protocol will have the same impact on transportation that the Internet protocol has had on communication.

This technology will fundamentally redesign our urban environment in ways we cannot yet imagine, change the way we use raw materials and share finite resources and enable a more efficient future. Make your investments in smart transportation now, and big returns will come along for the ride.

Source : techcrunch.com

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