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Paul L.

Paul L.

Thursday, 15 December 2016 12:28

11 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Welcome to another edition of our series on paid iPhone and iPad apps that go on sale for free for a limited time. Today’s post is peppered with terrific apps, and the list once again includes the always entertaining game Goat Simulator. There’s plenty more than  just goats in Wednesday’s post though, so be sure to check out all of the apps below before these sales end.

These are paid iPhone and iPad apps that have been made available for free for a limited time by their developers. There is no way to tell how long they will be free. These sales could end an hour from now or a week from now — obviously, the only thing we can guarantee is that they were free at the time this post was written. If you click on a link and see a price listed next to an app instead of the word “get,” it is no longer free. The sale has ended. If you download the app, you will be charged.

MailTime Pro

mailtime-pro

Normally $2.99.

MailTime makes email as easy as text messaging. We reformat your cluttered email threads into clean chat bubbles!

*MailTime Pro connects with an unlimited number of email accounts. The default version of MailTime will always be free, but every additional account beyond the default two will be charged.

Email message anyone with an email address on MailTime and send photos, documents and assign tasks right from your phone. We sync all your desktop emails and smartly sort them into conversational emails and newsletters so you can deal with your inbox easily on the go.

MailTime works with your favorite email services: Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, Outlook, AOL, Microsoft Office 365, Hotmail, MSN, Mail.ru, QQ, 163, 126, and more! You can add multiple accounts on MailTime Pro for free!

Features

Email Messaging:

Our content parsing engine cuts out annoying metadata to display emails in clean bubbles. View your emails as conversations, not threads

!Communicate, Don’t Organize:
Our intelligent inbox sorts out the Important humans from the newsletters, discounts, and other machine-generated mail in All Mail. Talk to people you care about, not machines!

Group Chats:
Managing your conversations in MailTime is just like a group chat. To add, remove, or switch participants to ‘cc’ or ‘bcc’, just swipe left and change your participants’ status.

One Click To-dos:
Use the @ symbol to quickly assign tasks without leaving the inbox. For example, “@Charlie, Please download MailTime”, will put the rest of that sentence into Charlie’s Mentions list, next to the group status list.

TOO LONG; DIDN’T READ:
Just like Twitter prevents you from writing more than 140 characters, MailTime alerts you if your message is too long. You can still send them, but no guarantees that they’ll be read!

GIFs:
Now you can send GIFs in your emails from MailTime! Just type /giphy plus a keyword, and a random GIF will be sent to surprise you!

UPDATES:

Adding support for Multiple Select! Now users can search within MailTime from any screen using the Spotlight Search. Jump into a new email with 3D Touch, Peek into emails before opening, Swipe a quick reply, or Long Press to expand email bubbles, addresses, contacts and web links with ease.

Magic Launcher Pro

magic-launcher-pro

Normally $2.99.

Magic Launcher is the only Today Widget App Launcher you will ever need, with the ability to launch more than 100,000 apps and actions from the Today Widget in the Notification Center it makes using your iPhone or iPad even easier! Launch calls, texts and more with your friends in one swipe and tap with our Magic Contact launchers and our Quick Access actions allow you to manage your phone settings with a tap of a button.

Features Include:

  • Unlimited capabilities for launching apps and actions with more than 100,000 apps including all top apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all in your Notification Center

  • Design your own Launcher layout including modifications for icon size, text and shape

  • Magic Contact allows instant contact via Call, Messages (SMS), FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, Mail and Telegram!

  • A huge set of Magic Launchers including Google Search, Wiki Search, Weather, Clock, Clipboard search, Clipboard clear, automatic Tweet/Facebook post latest photo, Battery monitor and much more!

  • Manage Settings, quickly turn on/off WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, Location services and more

  • Widget Scheduling allows you to automatically show & hide widgets depending on time or location

  • Have multiple Launchers for various functions

  • Universal app works on iPhone and iPad with support for iOS 8, iOS 9 & 3D-Touch

  • iCloud Backup and Restore

  • Multiple language support

  • Request additional apps via our request form

  • And so much more…

Goat Simulator

goat-simulator

Normally $4.99.

Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology, bringing next-gen goat simulation to YOU. You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat, your mobile dreams have finally come true!

Gameplay-wise, Goat Simulator is all about causing as much destruction as you possibly can as a goat. It has been compared to an old-school skating game, except instead of being a skater, you’re a goat, and instead of doing tricks, you wreck stuff. more! When it comes to goats, not even the sky is the limit, as you can probably just bug through it and crash the game.

DISCLAIMER

Goat Simulator is a completely stupid game and, to be honest, you should probably spend your money on something else, such as a hula hoop, a pile of bricks, or maybe pool your money together with your friends and buy a real goat.

KEY FEATURES

  • You can be a goat

  • Get points for wrecking stuff – brag to your friends that you’re the alpha goat

  • MILLIONS OF BUGS! We’re only eliminating the crash-bugs, everything else is hilarious and we’re keeping it

  • In-game physics that bug out all the time

  • Seriously look at that goat’s neck

  • You can be a goat

Done & Done

done-and-done

Normally $0.99.

That thing you just did – nice job! Crossing it off your to-do list always feels good but we’re going to make it much better. Let’s take that pesky task, rig it with half a tonne of TNT and blow it sky high with an earth shattering explosion!

Done and Done – light a fire under your to-do list.

You’ll find yourself getting things done just so you can bring them to an explosive end. It’s immensely satisfying and slightly addictive. Goodbye procrastination, hello productivity.

As well as a never ending stock pile of cinematic explosives you’ll get a cutting edge task manager that’s been designed to be more gratifying at every turn.

With our unique carousel you arrange your to-do’s by color, perhaps blues for work, reds for urgent, greens for groceries – you decide. With all your tasks just a spin away it’s a highly visual and fun way to keep track.

Set reminders for any or all of them.

Then when you’ve finished something just hit the detonator and stand back. It’s big bang time!

The task may be done but it’s never forgotten. You’ll have a complete history of everything so you can admire how much you’ve achieved.

This is a universal app for iPhone and iPad.

Context Camera

context-camera

Normally $4.99.

Context Camera helps you to collect critical information by stamping your photos with direction, location, time and address information, as well as user comments. Never question where/when/why a photo was taken again.

HOW IT WORKS:

Open the app and take a photo – it’s that simple. The overlay shown on screen is exactly what will appear in the photo itself.

STAMP PHOTOS WITH CRITICAL INFO:

  • Capture photos using the built in camera of your device.

  • Focus,zoom and flash settings are supported on compatible devices.

  • Variety of photo overlays available, photos can be stamped with:

  1. location (latitude/longitude, UTM or MGRS)

  2. direction (degrees or mils)

  3. user comments

  4. date and time (variety of formats)

  5. address

  • Information is also written to the image file as metadata.

ANNOTATE PHOTOS FOR A CLEARER MESSAGE:

  • View photos taken with the app in the built in gallery

  • Draw arrows, rectangles, ellipses and lines on your photos

SHARE PHOTOS QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY:

  • Share photos via email/SMS/social media

  • Share multiple photos as zip files

  • Quick email feature lets you define email recipients for your photos in advance. When you choose a quick email option from the sharing menu, the recipients are automatically filled in.

Money Focus Pro

money-focus-pro

Normally $0.99.

A simple but comprehensive, brief and clear personal & business finance management app.
Be good at managing money matters will make your life relaxed and well-organized.

Check your Accounts transactions and balance;
Check Transactions under a Category;
Create Budgets and track transactions under them;
Track income and expense Bills and make sure they are paid on time.
View Transactions by date.

It supports multiple profiles; you can track yours, family members or business finance separately.
It can list your transaction by daily, weekly, monthly or yearly, and generate kinds of reports, so you can see clearly about your earnings and spending.

Key Features:

  • Add a transaction with photo of receipt, payees, account, category, budget, check number, and date.

  • Track total accounts balance and balance of each account.

  • Check transactions of each account.

  • Create categories and sub-categories.

  • Check transactions and amounts under a category.

  • Create budgets and transaction their transactions.

  • Calendar and list view of bills.

  • Mark bills as fully or partially paid.

  • Create bills reminders to make sure they are paid on time.

  • Calendar and list view of Bills.

  • Track income and expense bills with or without a repeat cycle.

  • Show all transactions by daily, weekly, monthly and yearly.

  • Copy transaction to quick add a new one.

  • Hide or show cleared transactions.

  • Add repeat and one time transactions.

  • Mark transaction as cleared or not.

  • Built-in calculator or default keyboard to enter amount.

  • Check total accounts balance chart view.

  • Supports multiple currencies.

  • Search transactions by payee, category, account, amount or note.

  • Over view of recently finance status.
  • Nine finance reports.

  • Supports multiple groups, manage your personal, family member and business finance separately.

  • Passcode protection.

  • Share data by email.

  • Supports AirPrint.

  • iCloud backup and restore.

  • Dropbox backup and restore.

  • Create multiple reminders.

  • Refresh exchange rate or change them manually.

Photone

photone

Normally $0.99.

Choose a photo, write a short maxim to create a world unique elegant photo card.The design is inspired by Pantone, which is a company provides colors.

Magical Objects

magical-objects

Normally $0.99.

A sticker pack containing magical objects – hats, wands, wizards. Now you can take your mysterious conversation to the next level!

SHAREit Pro

shareit-pro

Normally $0.99.

Transfer tool for sharing files without any mobile data, which is the choice of over 600 million users.

SHAREit is a cross platform sharing tool which requires no mobile data. It’s over 200 times faster than Bluetooth. Share the photos, videos, audios and files of any formats with your friends at any time on your phone or computer.

SHAREit Professional is the advanced SHAREit App. You will experience the purest form of SHAREit without ads by paying a tiny amount for this professional edition. Also, all new features developed by SHAREit team will first be available to experience in this edition

Features:

[No ads]

We provide you purest transfer experience without ads.

[No need for internet]

No need for a Wi-Fi network or a mobile data plan. Share at anytime and anywhere.

[10 seconds to transfer a film]

Over 200 times faster than Bluetooth. The fastest speed can exceed 20Mb/s.

[Enjoy music]

Enjoy the pleasant experience of listening music on SHAREit music player.
[SHAREit Vault]

Integrated tool for photos and videos helps you protect privacy.

[Cross platform sharing]

Transfer between laptops & mobiles of different kinds without obstacles.

[Powerful functions]

Support sending files of any format.

No more cables or internet needed to transfer. Easily sharing between various devices.

SomaFM Radio Player

somafm-radio-player

Normally $7.99.

SomaFM’s official app, giving you access to over 30 year-round channels of listener-supported, commercial-free, underground/alternative radio, with all music hand-picked our award-winning DJs and music directors.

Lifehacker.com calls SomaFM one of the “Five Best Internet Radio Services” and says “completely user and listener-supported, which means no ads or commercials during your broadcasts, and the channels and programs aired at SomaFM are rarely heard anywhere else.”

Features include:

  • No registration required; no additional purchases required!

  • View stations by Popularity, Genre or your favorites

  • Shows name and artist of currently playing song and history of songs played.

  • Bookmark, Share title and search iTunes for the playing song

  • Background streaming: use other apps while listening.

  • Stream to AppleTV & Airplay devices; Qualcomm® AllPlay™ compatible speakers; Chromecast

  • Integration with many car stereo units via Dock Connector or Bluetooth

  • Remote control: Pause and restart playing as well as skip between favorite channels from your headphone remote, lock screen controls.

  • High and low bandwidth streaming: 128k MP3 and 64-80kb AAC-HE (high); great-sounding 32kb AAC-HE and good-quality 40kb MP3 (low).

  • AAC-HE support for highest quality audio even at the lowest bitrates.

Never listened to SomaFM before? Here’s our lineup, which are all commercial free:

Groove Salad: A nicely chilled plate of ambient/downtempo beats and grooves.
Downtempo electronica, mostly instrumental. Great for work.

Secret Agent: The soundtrack for your stylish, mysterious, dangerous life. For Spies and P.I.s too!
An eclectic blend of cinematic downtempo, stylish lounge, sambas and easy-tempo with an adventurous flair.

Drone Zone: Served best chilled, safe with most medications. Atmospheric textures with minimal beats.

Fluid: Drown in the electronic sound of instrumental hiphop, future soul and liquid trap.

Indie Pop Rocks!: New and classic favorite indie pop tracks.

Left Coast 70s: NEW! Mellow album rock from the Seventies. Yacht friendly.
The mid/late 70s sound that blossomed out of Los Angeles and spread up and down the west coast.

cliqhop idm: Blips’n’beeps backed mostly w/beats. Intelligent Dance Music.

Beat Blender: A late night blend of deep-house and downtempo chill.

Dub Step Beyond: Dubstep, Dub and Deep Bass. The place for Bass Music!

The Trip: Progressive house / trance. Tip top tunes.

Illinois Street Lounge: Classic bachelor pad, playful exotica and vintage music of tomorrow.

Space Station Soma: Tune in, turn on, space out. Spaced-out ambient and mid-tempo electronica.

Doomed: Dark industrial/ambient music for tortured souls.

Boot Liquor: Americana Roots music for Cowhands, Cowpokes and Cowtippers

Lush: Sensuous and mellow vocals, mostly female, with an electronic influence.

Digitalis: Digitally affected analog rock to calm the agitated heart.

Suburbs of Goa: Desi-influenced Asian world beats and beyond.

ThistleRadio: Exploring music from Celtic roots and branches
Crafted by Fiona Ritchie, award-winning host and curator of NPR’s syndicated Thistle and Shamrock radio show.

Underground 80s: Early 80s UK Synthpop and a bit of New Wave, with rarities you forgot you remembered.

Sonic Universe: Transcending the world of jazz with eclectic, avant-garde takes on tradition.
NuJazz/Avant Garde/Euro-jazz.

PopTron: Electropop and indie dance rock with sparkle and pop.
Less guitars, more synths.

Metal Detector: From black to doom, prog to sludge, thrash to post, stoner to crossover, punk to industrial.

Mission Control: Ambient and experimental music mixed with the historical sounds of the space program.

SomaFM SF 10-33: Live San Francisco Fire and Police radio with an electronic music soundtrack.

Cloud Hub

cloud-hub

Normally $0.99.

Cloud Hub is a simple documents reader and manager for iOS platform.

It allows to download or upload files from clouds services like Box, Dropbox, OneDrive, Drive, iCloud. Built-in FTP client. Import media files from Photo Albums. Manage all local files stored in the app; change name, move, copy, delete, create directories, view the content of the most common file types like PDF, PNG, JPG, MP4, iWork, MS Office files. Share files using social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter etc.

Cloud Hub reads files:

  • PDF

  • MS Office: Word, Excel, Powerpoint (doc, docxxlsxlsxpptpptx)

  • iWork: Keynote, Pages, Numberstext (txtrtf)

  • images (jpg, png, gif, tiff)

  • MP3, WAV

  • MP4, H.264

  • html, css

Access Services (download/upload):

  • Dropbox

  • Box

  • OneDrive

  • Google Drive

  • iCloud

  • FTP

Local file operations:

  • Copy

  • Move

  • Delete

  • Change name

  • File details

  • Send via e-mail

  • Share using social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.)

  • Upload to server (Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Google Drive, FTP)

  • View the content of the most common file types

  • Image viewer

  • Video player (MP4, H.264)

  • Music player (MP3)

Local directory operations:

  • Create directory

  • Delete directory

  • List chosen directory

Author:  Zach Epstein

Source:  http://bgr.com/2016/12/14/best-free-iphone-apps-ipad-dec-14-ios/

Voice search has become popular in recent years. As of the end of 2014, 55% of US teens and 41% of adults used it more than twice a day.

The technology was a novelty when Siri first came on the market, but now we have Google Voice Search, Alexa, and many other voice recognition technologies to choose from. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that more than half of queries will be voice search by 2020.

If you want to stay ahead of the game and make the most of voice search for your search engine optimization, it’s time to start today.

Optimize Your Local Listings

Most people use voice search to get information about physical places they want to go.

They might say something specific, like “find pizza takeout in Austin.” In this case, it would be worthwhile to optimize your pages for the keyword “pizza takeout Austin.”

But more importantly, they might say something general, like “find pizza takeout near me.”

Voice Search can recognize “near me” and refer to the mobile user’s physical location to get results. And they’re not correlating that search with your on-page keywords.

For most of this information, the search engine is going to turn to Google My Business listings.

image01

Make sure yours is set up and accurate.

Add all your business information and select relevant categories. Try to be as specific as possible with your categories to increase the chances of appearing for the right voice search.

For example, if you have a pizza place that doesn’t offer on-premise dining, skip the “pizza restaurant” category and select “pizza takeout” instead.

You should also cross-check how your name, address, and phone number appear in listings across the web. Google uses this information to rank your pages in local search.

If you have three different addresses listed, Google will have less confidence in your business.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

People don’t use voice search the same way they do regular search.

If I’m typing something into Google on my phone, I’m not going to type “How to improve my on-page SEO.” That takes too much time. Instead, type the exact keyword “on-page SEO” and choose from results.

With voice search, though, it’s basically a conversation with your phone. Long-tail keywords are a given.

So here’s what you do:

Think How People Speak

Start brainstorming what kind of natural language spoken questions might bring people to your site.

This is a different kind of long-tail — it’s less about keyword variations and more about real speech. Move beyond regular long-tail keyword research tools that pull up every variation under the sun.

Answer the Public is a great tool for this. They append search terms with words like “for” or “with” to dig deeper into searcher intent:

image08

Another great way to do this is by using voice search yourself. Ask the questions you brainstormed and see what kind of content comes up.

Look for Opportunities in Your Analytics

Google’s Search Console reports will tell you what actual queries bring people to your site.

At the moment, there’s no way to tell if a query came from voice search or regular, although Google is hinting that might change.

Even as-is, this is a great opportunity to brainstorm long-tail keywords, so hopefully you’re already using it.

Create Q&A-style Content

Once you have some natural language keywords in your arsenal, put them into action on pages around your site.

A lot of people limit Q&A-style content to their FAQ pages, but it’s time to branch out. See how you can revamp your blog posts and product pages to optimize for these queries.

Beef up Your Microdata

Make it as easy as possible for Googlebot to crawl your site and understand what it’s about. This increases the chances the search engine will pull up your content to answer voice search questions.

To do this, make sure you submit a sitemap to Google. Also include any important information people may ask about using voice search, such as:

  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Store hours
  • Prices
  • Directions from major highways

Next, you should use microdata to help Google understand what these elements are.

You can create markups for all kinds of use cases. For example, here’s a rich snippet Google returned when I searched for: “What’s the population of Croatia?” by voice command:

image09

Google knew what to display here because of a microdata markup on the World Bank site.

Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and see the different kinds of content you can markup. It will also walk you through the process and help you create the right HTML.

Concentrate on Mobile

People use voice search almost exclusively on mobile. If they click on your site in search results and find it poorly optimized for mobile, they’ll probably head back to results and try again.

This can increase your bounce rate, and hurt your PageRank in the process.

According to Google’s own research, mobile bounce rates are 9.56% higher than desktop. So if you’re focusing on voice search optimization, mobile user experience should be a priority.

Google has already rolled out two Mobile Friendly algorithm updates. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see if your website makes the cut.

But mobile friendliness is a lot more than just a responsive design. You should also work on:

Improving Your Site Speed

Voice searchers are usually on the go, so the faster your site speed, the better. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find new ways to improve your mobile site speed.

image03

Make It Scannable

People using a mobile device are less inclined to read giant articles on such a tiny screen. Make sure it’s easy for them to get the gist of your content.

Use informative headers to break things up. Make your sentences simple and your paragraphs short.

If there’s a way to illustrate your point visually, do it.

The space “above the fold” on mobile is very small. So make the most of it.

Thinking in Thumbs

Most mobile users will navigate your site using a thumb. If you’re lucky, they’ll add an index finger.

Put elements (like buttons or links) on your page too close together and people can accidentally click the wrong thing. This frustrates site visitors and can increase your exit rate.

Use a tool like MobileTest.me to see how your site appears on different mobile devices.

image07

Or better yet, try navigating the site on your own phone, and take note of any user experience issues.

Monitoring Performance

Watch analytics closely to see if there are differences in performance for mobile versus desktop traffic. This could mean there’s a user experience problem you need to fix.

Google Analytics has some detailed mobile vs. desktop reports built right in to help you monitor your efforts.

Those are my current recommendations on how you should optimize for voice search. If analytics tools become more granular in the future, it will be interesting to see some real numbers on how well a site is optimized for voice search.

Author:  Aaron Agius

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/are-you-optimized-for-voice-search-heres-how-to-do-it/179562/

Google's search algorithm has been changed over the last year to increasingly reward search results based on how likely you are to click on them, multiple sources tell Business Insider.

As a result, fake news now often outranks accurate reports on higher quality websites.

The problem is so acute that Google's autocomplete suggestions now actually predict that you are searching for fake news even when you might not be, as Business Insider noted on December 5.

There is a common misconceptionthat the proliferation of fake news is all Facebook's fault. Although Facebook does have a fake news problem, Google's ranking algorithm does not take cues from social shares, likes, or comments when it is determining which result is the most relevant, search experts tell Business Insider. The changes at Google took place separately, experts say, to the fake news problem occurring on Facebook.

The changes to the algorithm now move links up Google's search results page if Google detects that more people are clicking on them, search experts tell Business Insider.

Joost De Valk, founder of Yoast, a search consultancy that has worked for The Guardian, told Business Insider: "All SEOs [search engine optimisation experts] agree that they include relative click-through rate (CTR) from the search results in their ranking patterns. For a given 10 results page, they would expect a certain CTR for position five, for instance. If you get more clicks than they’d expect, thus a higher CTR, they’ll usually give you a higher ranking and see if you still outperform the other ones," 

Search marketing consultant Rishi Lakhani said: "Though Google doesn't like to admit it, it does use CTR (click through rate) as a factor. Various tests I and my contemporaries have run indicate that. The hotter the subject line the better the clicks, right?"

It is well known that Google includes user-behaviour signals to evaluate its ranking algorithms. Google has an obvious interest in whether users like its search results. Its ranking engineers look at live traffic frequently to experiment with different algorithms. User behavior signals have the added advantage of being difficult to model, or reproduce, by unscrupulous web publishers who want to game the algorithm. 

The unfortunate side effect is that user-behaviour signals also reward fake news. Previously, Google's ranking relied more heavily on how authoritative a page is, and how authoritative the incoming links to that page are. If a page at Oxford University links to an article published by Harvard, Google would rank that information highly in its display of search results.

Now, the ranking of a page can also be boosted by how often it's clicked on even if it does not have incoming links from authoritative sources, according to Larry Kim, founder and chief technology officer of WordStream, a search marketing consultancy.

The result of all this is that "user engagement" has become a valuable currency in the world of fake news. And people who believe in conspiracy theories — the kind of person who spends hours searching for "proof" that Hillary Clinton is a child abuser, for instance — are likely to be highly engaged with the fake content they are clicking on.

Thus even months after a popular fake news story has been proven to be fake, it will still rank higher than the most relevant result showing that it's false, if a large enough volume of people are clicking on it and continuing to send engagement signals back to Google's algorithm.

Here some examples.

President Obama has never signed an order banning the US national anthem, and yet ...

Obama_signs_a_nationwide_order_ _Google_Search

And Hillary Clinton has never sold weapons to ISIS, but ...

Hillary_Clinton_sold_weapons_to_ISIS_ _Google_Search

De Valk says: "I think the reason fake news ranks is the same reason why it shows up in Google’s autocomplete: they’ve been taking more and more user signals into their algorithm. If something resonates with users, it’s more likely to get clicks. If you’re the number three result for a query, but you’re getting the most clicks, Google is quick to promote you to #1 ... Nothing in their algorithm checks facts."

Google never explains in full how its algorithm works but a spokesperson for the company said:

"When someone conducts a search, they want an answer, not trillions of webpages to scroll through. Algorithms are computer programs that look for clues to give you back exactly what you want. Depending on the query, there are thousands, if not millions, of web pages with helpful information. These algorithms are the computer processes and formulas that take your questions and turn them into answers. Today Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or 'clues' that make it possible to show what you might really be looking for and surface the best answers the web can offer."

Larry Kim, founder and chief technology officer of WordStream, a search marketing consultancy, tracks the changes to October 2015, when Google added a machine-learning program called "RankBrain" to the list of variables that control its central search algorithm. It deployed the system to all search results in June of this year.

Is this machine learning's fault? "I’m certain of this," Kim said. "This is the only thing that changed in the algorithm over the last year."

Rankbrain is now the third most-important variable in Google's search algorithm, according to Greg Corrado, a senior research scientist at Google.

The change was intended to help Google make more intelligent guesses about the 15% of new daily search queries that Google has never encountered before. RankBrain considers previous human behaviour, such as the historical popularity of similar searches, in its attempt to get the right answer.

Kim told us: "The reason why they did this was not to create fake news. They created this because links can be vulnerable, links can be gamed. In fact it is so valuable to have these number one listings for commercial listings that there’s a lot of link fraud. User-engagement [looking at how popular a search result is] sees through attempts to inflate the value of content." 

Kim's opinion is disputed by his peers. Lakhani doubts that RankBrain is the sole cause of the proliferation of fake news. "It's been tested on and off for a while," he says.

De Valk is not so sure either. "I'm not sure it's related to that. It might be, but I'm not sure. Google does hundreds of updates every year," he told Business Insider.

Naturally, the type of content that is more likely to get clicked on is also more likely to get shared, commented on, and liked on Facebook. And Facebook and Google both reward engagement (or popularity, which gives off similar signals). That pushes an item higher on the newsfeed in Facebook's case, and on the search results page in Google's case. The performance of fake news on Google is correlated to its performance on Facebook because they both deal in the same currency — user engagement. So what does well on Facebook often does well on Google. 

This is correlation, not causation.

But the fact that the two of them are occurring at the same time exacerbates the high-level presence of fake news generally. Google and Facebook dominate the amount of time people spend online and inside apps.

The changes at Google help explain why fake news has suddenly gone from circulating in a tiny corner of the internet to something that outperforms real newsinfluences Google's predictive search, and has real world consequences — such as the Comet Ping Pong shooting, done by a man who was convinced from his internet searches that Clinton was using the restaurant as a front for a child abuse ring. Nearly 50% of Trump voters believe the same thing, according to research by Public Policy Polling.

Author:  Hannah Roberts

Source:  http://www.businessinsider.com/

Over the past few months, Google has released some major updates to its search algorithm and Keyword Planner.

If you’ve noticed a shakeup in your Google Analytics during the past 4–8 weeks, it may have been because of September’s Penguin and Possum updates.

In this article, I’ll discuss changes made to the Google search algorithm, their Keyword Planner and how you should be reacting to these changes in 2017.

Before we begin, if this already sounds intimidating, take a look at Boostability’s free Google Training here: http://go.boostability.com/crowdreviews/boostu

Possum update

On September 1st, Google released an updated version of Possum which resulted in more positive movements than negative for small business owners.

google updates by boostability

The Possum update isn’t spam related like Penguin or Panda; its key focus is to improve the quality of search results for users making local searches. This means improved map listing for correctly set-up Google Plus accounts and greater visibility in local search.

The new update will give greater weight to businesses that have correctly created a strong, local SEO presence, seeing them rank above other websites that may not be useful to local searchers.

The update will provide a greater significance on the location of the user, showing businesses that are closer to his or her location than before. It wasn’t uncommon to search for a specific product or service and be presented with businesses in different towns or even cities, but the new Possum update aims to change all that.

Penguin update

On the September 23rd, Google announced the release of the newest and ‘last’ Penguin update. Google announced that Penguin is now part of Google’s core algorithm and all updates going forward are made in real-time.

Before this, changes would have had to be made manually and were only updated once or twice a year. These would be the times when Armageddon would break out as a small percentage of website owners would see their website completely disappear from Google.
With all future changes happening in real-time, businesses will have a better idea of what they did right or wrong when implementing their SEO going forward.

Penguin’s main focus is on devaluing low-quality backlinks and content, and aims to penalize a single page on a website rather than the entire site itself.

If you have noticed pages on your website are reaching fewer organic searches than before the Penguin update, then you can regain your page’s ranking by updating the content and creating high-quality, non-spammy backlinks.

Changes to Google Keywords

Arguably one of the biggest changes Google has made this year is to their Keyword Planner.

If you’ve used it recently, you may have noticed that the average monthly searchers are now grouped in much wider parameters.

Major Changes to Google Search Algorithm – Here's What You Need To Know

Google Keyword reports keywords in the following groups:

  • 0-10
  • 10-100
  • 100-1,000
  • 1,000-10,000
  • 10,000-100,000
  • 100,000-1 million
  • 1 million+

When targeting keywords that receive 1,000-10,000 searches per month, it will now become a lot more difficult to gauge whether they are worth targeting due to the huge spread.

Sources have been suggesting that Google is pooling search terms together, providing an even more skewed representation of what the search numbers really are.

For example, terms such as ‘social media marketing,’ ‘social networking’ and ‘social media platforms’ may all be grouped together, giving an un-realistic search amount if you were just looking to target the term ‘social media marketing.’

Major Changes to Google Search Algorithm – Here's What You Need To Know

In a nutshell, with the new changes you will not beable to segment keyword variations, plurals, acronyms, or words that have spaces or hyphens.

The clouds are falling – what should you do next?

Every time Google makes a change, as marketers and business owners we have a tendency to overreact and become worried. But each time Google makes a change, it’s to improve the experience for searchers and advertisers (after all, they make their revenue from us).

Here’s what you should be doing in the next few months in regard to the recent algorithm updates and Keyword Planner changes.

Don’t do anything crazy

First of all, don’t panic.

Keep a close eye on your analytics and monitor individual pages to see if any of your pages have been affected. If you have used white-hat SEO methods then there’s a good probability that you’ll experience no changes, or even an increase in traffic.

If you do notice that certain pages have dropped in rankings and page views, then it’s time to audit and see what is happening. Start by typing the page’s keyword into the search engine to see if newer, better content has taken its place. If so, a simple fix would be to improve the content on your own page to rank where you did before.

If your content has fallen several pages, then check your backlink profile for that page. You may have low-quality links pointing toward it which have been caught by the new Penguin update.

The key thing to note is that these updates are not permanent. You can rectify them and get your old rankings back with a proper SEO strategy.

Change is progress

Whether you’re new to SEO or have been using it for years, change is always around the corner.

Digital is one of the few industries where change is happening on a daily basis. Your mindset should be to embrace it and be ready for change, not to fear it or fall apart each time Google or Facebook releases a new update.

Google will release many more updates to its products throughout the year and even more in 2017. Change is good, and by adapting faster than your competitors it will give you a stronger online advantage.

Start grouping keywords together

With the changes to the Keyword Planner, Google is telling the world that it’s no longer necessary to create several individual pages when targeting terms such as ‘social media,’ ‘social media strategy,’ and ‘social media marketing.’

We’ve all come across websites in the past that use repeated verbiage to target specific keywords, often having several pages on their website that say the exact same thing. Google’s new algorithm changes have put this to bed.

Whereas before you would assign each page a single keyword, now the new changes would suggest that you would be better to assign a single page as many relevant and similar keyword variations as possible.

This may result in less pages for your website, but longer, more informative content that will now rank for several keyword variations rather than one.

Use third-party tools with caution

Certain third-party tools (such as WordStream) rely heavily on the Google Keyword Planner to provide you with keyword variations and relevant matches. With the recent changes, some tools may not have been updated yet and the data they output may not be accurate or as useful.

Both SEMrush and Ahrefs are two online keyword planning tools that don’t directly work from Google Keyword Planner data. Both of these tools could be a useful addition to your online toolkit.

W2ebsite reporting becomes more difficult 2

One of the easiest ways to measure your keyword progress was through looking at the reporting system in your Google Search Console or Google Analytics. Each tool would reveal the exact keywords users typed to find your page, giving you detailed information on which keywords to target for SEO and paid ads.

In the coming months, you’ll notice much fewer keywords being listed as they will be grouped together, making it much harder for you to know which keywords provided your business with the highest intent.

This is going to be one of the biggest drawbacks to the Google Keyword Planner changes. Going forward, you will need to pay attention to other metrics such as CTR and page views of individual pages than the keyword themselves.

Summary

It’s quite obvious that Google is making it more difficult for businesses to target a keyword and rank their business on the first page of the search by grouping together relevant search terms.

The goal for Google’s search engine is to provide users the most relevant queries based on their searched words. Will this make it harder for black-hat SEOers and low-quality websites to out-rank legitimate businesses and blogs? Only time will tell.

Have you been affected by either of Google’s two algorithm changes or bamboozled by their Keyword Planner updates? Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

[Source: This article was published in crowdreviews.com By Kelly Shelton - Uploaded by the Association Member: David J. Redcliff] 

It might not be tomorrow. It might not even be five years from now. But some day, Apple’s iOS platform will support home screen widgets. Apple’s unique iOS widget implementation is thought of by some as offering the best of both worlds. Widget support is there and it’s somewhat versatile, but widgets are buried off screen, forcing users to swipe to the right on either the lock screen or the first home screen in order to access the widget pane. On one hand, this allows iOS to support widgets without causing a big drain on the battery. On the other, it means zero-touch access to information, which is arguably the best thing about mobile widgets, is not possible.

Since iOS 10 widgets are hidden off screen, many people don’t even both using the feature. But we’re here to tell you that it’s time to give widgets another shot on your iPhone — and in this post, we’ll show you 10 iOS 10 widgets that should be installed on every iPhone.

recent thread on Reddit made me realize how often I actually do use widgets. I was pretty skeptical of how useful iOS widgets would be when Apple first introduced them, considering how limited their utility was (and still is). Though they are indeed limited compared to Android widgets, iOS 10 widgets can still be incredibly useful.

Whether or not you currently use any widgets on your iPhone, you’ll find links to 10 different iOS 10 widgets that you should definitely check out below.

AirLaunch Pro

This is easily one of my favorite iOS 10 widgets. It allows you to create a wide range of custom actions that are all accessible with a single tap from within an AirLaunch widget. Examples of how I use the widget include accessing the iPhone’s hotspot and VPN features each with a single touch, and copying my address to the clipboard so I can quickly and easily paste it into an email or elsewhere. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with this nifty app.

Nearby Traffic

Everyone uses the Google Maps app, but did you know there are a bunch of useful iOS 10 widgets baked in? The Nearby Traffic widget gives you instant access to information about traffic around your current location.

Nearby Transit

Another great iOS 10 widget baked into Google Maps is the Nearby Transit widget, which makes it insanely easy to find public transit nearby.

Fantastical 2

The best calendar widget in the App Store, hands down.

Copied

Copied is a great clipboard manager that saves things you copy to your clipboard so you can access more than just the last text you copied.

Workflow

Workflow is an endlessly useful automation app, and the widget is just as endlessly useful as the app itself.

Deliveries

This app makes it incredibly simple to track all of the packages en route to your home or office, and now you don’t even have to open the app to get updates.

Stocks Widget

This free widget lets you see what your entire portfolio is doing in near real time with a single swipe to your widget panel.

MiniStats

This nifty widget shows you information such as how much cellular data you’ve used in your current billing cycle.

Dark Sky

The best iOS weather app also packs one of the best iOS 10 weather widgets. Instead of blasting you with all kinds of weather data you don’t need, Dak Sky shows you the current weather conditions, the day’s high and low, and the likelihood of precipitation for the next hour.

BONUS

I didn’t list this among the 10 widgets above since not everyone has an August Smart Lock, but if you do have one, you absolutely must check out the widget. Instead of having to fumble with the app on your phone or your Apple Watch, the August widget lets you either lock or unlock your Smart Lock with a single tap.

Author:  Zach Epstein

Source:  http://bgr.com/

Having multiple streams of income is becoming more and more common as freelancers, work-from-home entrepreneurs, writers, and other types of flexible jobs are out there. With the laptop becoming more widely available, internet-only companies cropping up left and right, and internet access becoming available at almost every coffee and food show, it’s no surprise. Having multiple streams of income (some of which are even totally passive, meaning zero work involved) allows you to retire early.

 

Here’s how to make extra money:

 

1. Become a Freelancer

 

Over 15 million people are self-employed in the U.S. as of May 2015. Being self-employed is becoming less of a dream and more envied than ever, and people are doing it. You can find freelance work in these areas:

  • Writing
  • Web design
  • Graphic Design
  • Programming
  • App development
  • Customer service
  • Consulting

 

This list isn’t nearly extensive. There are tons of other ways you could freelance. To find work, check out:

 

Yup, even Craigslist. Poke around these sites and see if any of the work catches your fancy. You might like being a freelancer!

 

 

 

 

2. Become an Uber Driver

 

Uber is a taxi service ran entirely by “freelance” drivers – ordinary people with no formal taxi experience who have a car and are willing to drive people around for a fair rate. If you’re wondering how to make extra money, using your car, helping others get around could be the answer.

 

3. Rent Your House or Spare Room with AirBNB

 

AirBNB, if you haven’t heard of it, is a way for travelers to stay in people’s homes. If you have a spare bedroom or guest house, you can rent it out to people traveling in your area who can’t find a vacant hotel room or want something a little more homey. For bonus points, show them around the area, tell them about local cuisine and the best “secret” spots to go. They might give you a better tip!

 

4. Invest in a Rental Property

 

This strategy takes more time and money to commit to than the others, but it can be very rewarding if you do it well. Befriend a local real estate agent and get them to show you the ropes of purchasing a property. Once you have it set up well, renting can be passive income other than looking for tenants and fixing up the place every so often.

 

5. Rent Your Car on Turo

 

Turo is similar to AirBNB in that you’ll be renting to travelers. However, instead of renting a space to sleep, you’ll be renting them your vehicle. If you’re not using it, you may as well make extra money off of it – just be sure to have great insurance coverage and read the rules thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

6. Start an eCommerce Store

 

Opening an online shop is actually a lot easier than you might think. You can have one up-and-running in less than an hour using a tool like Shopify or BigCommerce. And, once you get it set up and running, it has the potential of being another passive stream to make money.

 

Don’t worry if you don’ have any experience, there are plenty of free resources to help you get started with your online store and marketing “hacks” to help you make your first sale.

 

7. Write a Blog

 

If eCommerce isn’t your cup of tea, you can still make money with your own website. Creating a blog has never been easier – you can even get started for free with tools like WordPress or Blogger. What are you passionate about? Cats? Computers? Backyard chicken coops?

 

Start writing about your passion in your blog. Writing high-quality content consistently on the same days every week will get you going in the right direction. There are other things to worry about, like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but you don’t need to know about that to get started.

 

Once you acquire a steady following, there are tons of ways to make money off your blog, like:

 

8. Teach Something

 

The final idea I have for you on how to make money is teaching. You don’t have to be a professional teacher or coach. Do you know a lot about basketball? Can you play the piano really well? How about math, English, science, or even video games? You can get paid to teach almost anything. To get started, sign up for a site like eCoachesUdemy, or Cogno.

 

I hope this article has taught you how to make extra money with multiple income streams. Good luck – and let me know if you find success in any of these methods, I love success stories!

 

Author:  Bill Widmer

Source:  http://www.lifehack.org/

We see a lot of buzz around the science of ‘being happy’. There are psychologists trying to find the secret key to happiness, meditation exponents teaching several different ways to maintain a steady state of the mind, and many wonderful books being written on the subject of ‘positivity’.

Yet, this state may elude the most positive-minded people for small or large stretches of time – sometimes in a seemingly unreasonable manner. While it is really okay to feel this way sometimes, there are some really quick ways to improve our moods and feel great instantly.

1. Talk to someone

When you are feeling the blues, it almost always helps to talk to someone – even if it is not about what’s eating you at the moment. Just getting out there and being with someone – talking, laughing and being in a different environment can do a great deal to alleviate the pain.

2. Do the act

Gretchen Rubin, in her book “The Happiness Project”, emphasises the need to “act like you want to feel.” Amy Cuddy, a Harvard psychologist recently made waves with her research on how body language affects how we feel. If you want to feel friendly, smile more. If you don’t yourself feeling sloppy, dress smartly. If you are short of confidence for an upcoming interview, follow this 2-minute bathroom routine.

3. Listen to music

Music has the power to influence your mind. Researchers say that music is a hotline to our emotions. Soothing music can influence your heart rate almost instantly.

4. Spend time with kids or pets

Love never fails to heal. When it is unconditional, it can seem like someone poured a magic potion for you. Science says that spending time with loving pets can make a big difference to our moods. As regards children, they are the only people who practice the art of forgiveness very deeply.

 

5. Unplug

This might seem hard, but sometimes the only thing we might need is to put a little distance between ourselves and the issue at hand. Sometimes this can give us a whole new perspective on the problem.

6. Go for a walk

Many geniuses have had their most important breakthroughs while taking long walks. Walking helps you get off your back, get some exercise while soaking in different scenes along the way. There are several attestations to the therapeutic effects of walking.

7. Nap for a bit

I remember a day when I felt like someone had to drag me to even take a tiny step forward. I was exhausted from the moment I woke up and all morning and even the afternoon. And then, I decided to take a short 20-minute nap before I took up my next chore. Believe it or not, I felt so recharged and energetic that I found it hard to believe that I had only dozed off for 20 minutes. Not surprisingly, many others use this trick to be immensely productive.

8. Hug someone

Touch can be a great healer. Humans are wired to have the ability to interpret the touch of another person. Even newborn babies can tell the touch of a stranger from their mother’s. The deep nurturing nature of a tight hug releases happy hormones in the brain, making us feel instantly better.

9. Accomplish something

“Eating that big frog” can leave you feeling satisfied for the rest of the day. Organize your day and utilize the best chunks of your time to accomplish the hardest task for the day. Feeling productive is one of the best rewards the human brain craves for. Keeping a list of the opposite, the not-to-do list is also recommended by experts as a wellness boosting exercise.

When all else fails, there’s always coffee. And wine!

Source : http://www.lifehack.org

Author : Devishobha Chandramouli

Sunday, 27 November 2016 07:54

How to Manage Apps on the iPhone Home Screen

How to Manage Apps on the iPhone Home Screen

Managing apps on your iPhone's Home Screen is one of the easiest and most effective ways to customize your iPhone. It's especially helpful because it allows you to put apps in the order that makes sense to you and how you use them.

There are two ways to manage your Home Screen: on the iPhone itself or in iTunes.

Managing Homescreen Apps on iPhone

The iPhone's multitouch screen makes it easy to move or delete apps, create and delete folders, and create new pages. If you've got an iPhone with a 3D Touch Screen (just the 6 and 6S series models, as of this writing) be sure not to press the screen too hard, since that will trigger the 3D Touch menus. Try a light tap and hold instead.

Rearranging Apps on iPhone

It makes sense to change the location of apps on your iPhone. You'll want something you use all the time on the first screen, for instance, while an app you only use occasionally might be hidden away in a folder on another page. To move apps, follow these steps:

  1. Tap and hold the app you want to move
  2. When all apps start wiggling, the app is ready to move
  3. Drag the app to the new location you want it to occupy
  4. When the app is where you want it, let go of the screen
  5. Click the Home button to save the new arrangement.

Deleting Apps on iPhone

If you want to get rid of an app, the process is almost simpler:

  1. Tap and hold the app you want to delete
  2. When the apps start wiggling, apps that you can delete have an X in the corner
  3. Tap the X
  4. A pop up will confirm that you want to delete the app and its data (for apps that store data in iCloud, you'll also be asked whether you want to delete that data, too)
  5. Make your choice and the app is deleted.

Creating and Deleting Folders on iPhone

Storing apps in folders is a great way to manage apps. After all, it just makes sense to put similar apps in the same place. To create a folder on your iPhone:

  1. Tap and hold the app you want to put into a folder
  2. When the apps are wiggling, drag the app
  3. Instead of dropping the app into a new location, drop it onto a second app (every folder needs at least two apps). The first app will appear to merge into the second app
  4. When you take your finger off the screen, the folder is created
  5. In the text bar above the folder, you can give the folder a custom name
  6. Repeat the process to add more apps to the folder if you want
  7. When you're done, click the Home button to save your changes.
  8. Deleting folders is easy. Just drag all the apps out of a folder and it will be deleted.

Creating Pages on iPhone

You can also organize your apps by putting them on different pages. Pages are the multiple screens of apps that get created when you have too many apps to fit on one screen. To create a new page:

  1. Tap and hold the app or folder you want to move to the new page
  2. When the apps are wiggling, drag the app or folder to the right edge of the screen
  3. Hold the app there until it moves to a new page (if that doesn't happen, you may need to move the app a little more to the right)
  4. When you're on the page where you want to leave the app or folder, remove your finger from the screen
  5. Click the Home button to save the change.
  6. Deleting Pages on iPhone
  7. Deleting pages is very similar to deleting folders. Just drag every app or folder off the page (by dragging it to the left edge of the screen) until the page is empty. When it's empty and you click the Home button, the page will be deleted. 

How to Manage iPhone Apps Using iTunes

How to Manage iPhone Apps Using iTunes

Managing apps directly on your iPhone isn't the only way to do it. If you prefer to control your iPhone primarily through iTunes, that's an option, too (assuming you're running iTunes 9 or higher, but most everyone is these days).

To do that, sync your iPhone to your computer. In iTunes, click the iPhone icon in the top left corner and then the Apps menu in the left-hand column.

This tab shows both a list of all the apps on your computer (whether they're installed on your iPhone or not) and all the apps already on your iPhone.

Install & Delete Apps in iTunes

There are two ways to install an app that's on your hard drive but not your phone:

  • Drag the icon from the list at the left onto the image of the iPhone screen. You can drag it to the first page or to any of the other pages shown
  • Click the Install button.

To delete an app, hover your mouse over the app and click the X that appears on it. You can also click the Remove button in the left-hand column of apps.

Rearrange Apps in iTunes

To rearrange apps, follow these steps:

  1. Double click the page in the Home Screens section that contains the app you want to move
  2. Drag and drop the app to a new location.

You can also drag apps between pages.

Create Folders of Apps in iTunes

You can create folders of apps on this screen by following these steps:

  1. Click on the app you want to add to a folder
  2. Drag and drop that app onto a second app you want in that folder
  3. You can then give the folder a name
  4. Add more apps to the folder in the same way, if you want
  5. Click anywhere else on the screen to close the folder.

To remove apps from folders, click on the folder to open it and drag the app out.

Create Pages of Apps in iTunes

The pages of apps you've already got configured are shown in a column on the right. To create a new page, click the + icon in the top right corner of the Home Screens section.

Pages are deleted when you drag all apps and folders off of them.

Applying Changes to Your iPhone

When you're done arranging your apps and are ready to make the changes on your iPhone, click the Apply button at the bottom right iTunes and your phone will sync.

Author:  Sam Costello

Source:  https://www.lifewire.com

The latest entry into the world of voice-activated assistants comes from a company you’ve probably heard of before: Google. The apt-titled Google Home functions in a similar way to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of Google services such as Google Calendar and Google Keep. This enables the speaker to not only be the center of your smart home, but the center of your life.

The Amazon Echo has Alexa and Apple has Siri, but the brain behind Google Home doesn’t really have a name. Instead, the company has decided to name its AI “Google Assistant.” While the company opted for a rather mundane name, Google Assistant has plenty of tricks up its sleeves. If you just bought a Google Home, or if you’re curious about what this little device can do, here are some tips to get you started with your new smart speake.

Get the morning report

What do you have to do today? Google Assistant knows. Simply ask Google Home to “tell me about my day” and you’ll get an audio report about future meetings, your morning commute, the weather, and any pertinent reminders you’ve set. This morning report is also easy to customize. You can choose to exclude any of the aforementioned categories, including info pertaining to your weather and morning commute, and can add items like a news report. Google Assistant also allows you to choose your preferred news sources, so you’ll only get the information that you care about. You’ll have to connect your calendar, and for now it only has the ability to share info from a single “main” calendar. That means your significant other’s events won’t get listed off, and neither will info from shared calendars.

Embrace the ecosystem

If you’re interested in Google Home, there’s a good chance that you already use several of Google’s other products. Google Home was designed to work within Google’s ecosystem, and as such, the product is most useful for people who frequently utilize services such as Google Calendar and Google Keep. With these services, Google Home can truly be your own personal assistant. You can have it check your schedule, set reminders, or add items to your shopping lists with a simple voice command.

google-home

Google Home can still be a useful tool if you don’t use the company’s other services, sure, but you won’t be using the device to its full potential.

Get connected

While Google Home can’t match Alexa in terms of connected apps — at least not yet — the personal assistant does play well with a few notable services. For music, you can connect your speaker to Pandora, TuneIn, Google Music, Spotify, or YouTube. If you use any of those services, it’s a good idea to link your accounts. You can also choose your preferred music service, so when you tell Google to “play music” it will automatically start playing from your favorite music provider. Google Home also works with a few smart home products, including Google Cast, Nest, Philips Hue lights, and Smart Things.

While most of Google’s connected services deal with products inside your house, you can also connect this speaker to your Uber account.

Name your devices

Google Home is meant to be the center of your smart home life. If you have a Google Chromecast connected to your TV, for example, you’ll be able to use Google Home to play a YouTube video or a song from Pandora from your television. This isn’t too complicated if you only have one connected device, but if you have multiple gadgets connected to your Google Home, you’ll want to personalize their names. You can change the name of your Chromecast to “TV,” for instance, or “Living Room.” You’ll want to pick a name that’s easier to say than “Chromecast,” and one that helps you remember the location of your device.

Turn off the mic and get some privacy

One of the reasons why Google Home is such a useful device is that it’s always listening. You can ask it a question or issue a command at any time with nothing more than your voice. However, this feature might be a little unnerving for some people. Do you really want Google, or any other company, to listen to everything you say? It’s also possible for Google Home to butt into your conversations even if you haven’t directly addressed it. Google’s four-syllable wake phrase, “OK Google,” will probably prevent this from happening too often, but we’ve had it perk up at very strange times.

google-home-3

Whatever the reason, disabling the microphone on Google Home is pretty simple. There’s a “mic mute” button on the back of the device, which allows you to quickly turn the microphone on or off.

Reset it

If you find that your better half gets way more use out of the Google Home than you, then you might want to bequeath the benefits, like the calendar and commute times, to them. If your account is already linked, you can do a factory reset by holding down the microphone button for about 15 seconds. That allows you to link a different Google account, until the speaker becomes smart enough to set up different user profiles.

Google it

Google bills its Google Assistant as “your own personal Google,” and you should use it as such. Think of all the ways that you use Google on a desktop. Well, you can pretty much do all of that with this speaker. Want to find the best brunch spots in Chicago? How about convert ounces to cups? Ever wonder what the capital of Finland is? While Google Home can play music, set an appointment, call a cab, or dim the lights, the heart of this speaker is its search engine.

In fact, Google Home’s search engine may even be better than its desktop counterpart. One interesting feature of the Google Assistant is that it remembers the context of your search. For instance, say you ask a question about President Barack Obama. You can ask follow-up questions using indirect terms, like the pronoun “he,” and Google Assistant will remember the topic of your question.

If you want to delete an embarrassing query from your history, you can do so in the app. Go to My Activity under the More Settings tab in the menu, and you can playback and remove your history.

The Google Home is learning all the time, so we’ll update this article as it learns more tricks.

Source : digitaltrends.com

Author : Dan Evon

Sunday, 20 November 2016 02:43

Is Search A Publisher’s Best Friend Again?

Time Inc., Thrillist and other publishers recently announced important hires for a hot growth strategy they’re betting on: search engine optimization. Is this 2006 or 2016?

It wasn’t so long ago when businesses such as Demand Media built their entire model around Google’s algorithm and took a big hit

when it changed. More recently, Facebook became the largest driver of traffic to publisher sites, and click-bait-focused companies like BuzzFeed seemed untouchable. Then Facebook tweaked its algorithm in favor of friends’ posts, drastically lowering referral traffic for many publishers.

Media companies feeling the pinch are once again investing in Google search. In the past few years, publishers have resembled a swarm of bees, willing to fly back and forth between these two platform giants for a small taste of consumer engagement.

It can be hard to resist peer pressure – just look at the volume of publishers trying to drive traffic on Facebook by posting everything Donald Trump has said during the past few months. This is not the way to succeed. The right publisher strategy requires a commitment to a core content identity and some clever search and social media maneuvers to move flexibly across the two platforms to create stability.

A balanced traffic strategy can act like a shelter in a storm when one platform makes a change. What’s more, if a trend doesn’t work for a strategy blessed by the executives, you’ll have an easier time avoiding it. Looking past the Demand Media and BuzzFeed outliers, some successful publishers that have done a great job sticking to their core identity, breaking their content into smaller pieces for a Facebook audience while also making their content as searchable as possible for Google.

One good strategy is to find a differentiator and double down on it. National Geographic, for example, sticks to science, nature and animals. Scripps focuses on home and decorating content. Both are everywhere on Facebook, but neither has had to sacrifice their core brand to do so. As an executive from Thrillist said recently, “There are a lot of people out there with a lot of different questions. So we focus on the ones where we have something distinctive to say. There are only so many tricks.”

A few months ago, Google made a few mysterious changes to its algorithm and suddenly publishers with a lot of rich, evergreen content found their results tanking. Google supposedly has a strategy called EAT – expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness – that guides its tweaks to content rankings, but freshness recently has become much more important.

Repurposing, updating or repackaging the content that used to get the most traffic might be worth it to regain lost status. The New York Times recently announced a major project to convert big old documents into a format that is friendlier for Google’s search engine.

A core brand identity can also help publishers determine what channels matter most for them. Some companies will care a lot more about Google News than organic search rankings, for example. These two elements of the platform have different guiding principles.

Publishers should do a cost-benefit analysis before investing in any new traffic driver that pops up. Instant page loads might be very important for Google and Facebook, which recently announced AMP and Instant Articles, respectively, but betting on both early might be too expensive and not yield immediate monetization at previous levels. Looking at mobile trends for a core audience and content category is a good way to determine which should be focused on first.

Not only does it pay to balance a strategy across both Facebook and Google, but also to make bets that fall completely outside of these two platforms’ domains. Publishers are eyeing everything from Snapchat to Pinterest for this purpose even as these companies tweak their advertising and content strategies.

It’s also necessary that publishers get their acts together to drive traffic and find revenue streams outside of the platform juggernauts. With the recent Panama Papers leak, The Washington Post got a boost to its subscriber affiliate network when many local news sites provided free access to relevant Post articles, generating traffic that doesn’t include a platform middleman. The benefit of The Washington Post’s network approach is that it creates a broad and stable foundation that doesn’t rely too heavily on a single partner.

The one thing a publisher can count on is change. Individual platforms change their rules, consumers change their usage patterns and new platforms emerge. Smart publishers will do all they can to stay nimble, diversify traffic sources accordingly and approach new opportunities with both short- and long-term goals in mind.

Author:  Christian Baesler

Source:  https://adexchanger.com

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