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Bridget Miller

Bridget Miller

Tuesday, 06 September 2016 14:47

Personal-Privacy Concerns Grip China

Chinese internet users have long been plagued by fraud and scams. Now national outrage over reports of a phone swindle is focusing new attention on lax privacy protections.

The scandal involves a recent high-school graduate in the eastern province of Shandong who was allegedly tricked, over the phone, into transferring the money her family had saved for her college tuition into the account of someone apparently claiming to be a local education official, according to Chinese media reports.

After she realized she had sent the 9,900 yuan ($1,480) to people she believed to be fraudsters, and filed a report with the police in the city of Linyi, her heart stopped beating and she later died in a hospital, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

The police have arrested six suspects, whom the police say pretended to be education officials offering financial aid. But the police didn’t say how the suspects might have obtained personal information including her name and phone number, or learned of her need for financial assistance. Media reports have speculated that someone hacked into the school or the local education department’s computer system, or paid for stolen information. The local education department has declined to comment to Chinese media outlets.

It couldn’t be confirmed whether authorities believe her death was directly caused by the scam. The young woman’s family couldn’t be reached for comment.

But the Chinese media, and many internet users, have seized on reports of the tragedy, in part because so many users themselves have encountered similar schemes.

 

Technology has given new tools to thieves world-wide. In China, security experts and lawyers say the sheer number of personal-data-theft cases in a society that traditionally doesn’t value privacy makes personal-information protection a serious challenge. And, as online users become more sophisticated about their privacy and rights, they are demanding, often via social media, better protection.

The size of China’s online population, with roughly 700 million users, makes it an attractive target. A national survey from the Internet Society of China, a semiofficial industry association, found that last year 76% of Chinese users had received fraudulent information from sources purporting to be banks, internet companies or television stations offering prizes. Some 55% reported receiving scam calls pretending to be from public-security, health or other government agencies. About one-third said they had lost money after receiving such calls, text messages or emails in 2015, the survey found.

A more recent survey, this one on Weibo, a Twitter-like social-media platform, asked users why scams are widespread. Of 6,077 people who had voted as of Monday, 55% said it is because the entities that collect personal information fail to protect it properly, and 36% blamed the police for failing to combat fraud effectively.

“There’s a heightening awareness in China about the need to protect privacy and an increasing outrage about what can happen when privacy is violated,” says Manuel E. Maisog, a partner at law firm Hunton & Williams LLP’s Beijing office.

Over the past year, the Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on internet fraud and established a nationwide campaign against the theft of personal data.

‘There’s a heightening awareness in China about the need to protect privacy and an increasing outrage about what can happen when privacy is violated.’
—Manuel E. Maisog, partner, Hunton & Williams law firm
Data leaks and breaches can happen anywhere and in many ways. In recent years, companies including Target, Home Depot and Japan Airlines have had serious data incidents. Some servers of Ctrip.com International, China’s largest online travel company, were hacked last year, causing disruptions to its website and mobile app services. The company said its customer-reservation data remained intact.

 

Like the U.S., China has no unified national privacy law, but China has at least 40 laws regarding personal-data protection, according Shu Hai, a partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm’s Shanghai office.

The big problem is a lack of enforcement, security and legal experts say. “Most businesses and organizations don’t spend much on personal-information protection because it’s very cheap to break the law and very expensive to comply with regulations,” says Mr. Shu.

China’s highest court, as well as its top prosecutors and police authorities, called the trading of stolen personal data “a huge underground industry” as early as 2013, Mr. Shu says. Yet, he adds, the number of cases that are prosecuted and result in convictions makes up a tiny fraction of the total offenses. And he says that penalties are often light, ranging from orders to correct a violation to fines of a couple thousand dollars.

A look at OpenLaw.cn, an open-source database of court verdicts in China, found that data leaks often stem from employees of the police, banks, schools, corporations and small businesses.

Mr. Shu says it is difficult to deter future crimes because many violators serve little jail time and pay small fines.

In Shandong, where the high-school graduate was from, the police department said last Saturday that it will crack down on telecommunications scams, according to the Xinhua News Agency. Complaints determined to have merit after initial investigations will be treated as criminal cases, according to the Xinhua report.

Source : http://www.wsj.com/articles/personal-privacy-concerns-grip-china-1472665341

Brands grapple daily with the best social media marketing strategy for their objectives. As technology and audience preferences change, achieving successful marketing transformation is like trying to hit a moving target.

Creating compelling and effective content for today’s social media landscape isn’t always easy, but Facebook and Google have been working hard lately to determine what audiences want in their news feeds, their search results, and even their advertisements. The brands’ research was aimed at increasing their own ad revenue, but enterprise marketers can also benefit tremendously from their findings. Here are the highlights

Learn the Meaning of Quality

Facebook launched a beta program that allowed some of its users to rate the quality of content in their News Feeds, and the criteria was how informative the content was. The aim of this metric and experiment was to eliminate misleading “clickbait” from the user experience—thus reducing the amount of times users clicked out of their News Feeds only to be disappointed by what they found. Facebook seeks to eliminate such content while focusing on posts shared by friends and family, as opposed to brands or celebrity personalities, which has only upped the ante for brands’ content teams. Now, more than ever, content must be compelling enough to stand on its own instead of relying on catchy headlines or brand status updates.

But what makes a piece of content compelling? To get to the bottom of that question, Facebook developed its Feed Quality program, which involves a huge panel of users who, according to USA Today, rate posts in their News Feeds on a scale of one (“really not informative”) to five (“really informative”). USA Today reported:

The Feed Quality Program surveys the opinions of tens of thousands of people a day, Facebook says. From there, Facebook developed a methodology—a ranking signal combined with how relevant the story might be to you personally—to predict which of the posts would most interest individual users, taking into account their relationship to the person or publisher and what they typically choose to click on, comment on, or share.

coffee ipad

Stay Relevant

Google recently released its Search Quality Rating Guidelines document in its entirety, which fully explains the methods behind the search giant’s madness. While poring through its 160 pages might not directly lead to marketing transformation within your business, the transparency and key takeaways both help us understand what it takes to remain relevant in News Feeds and search results alike.

As we already know, Google likes to see that websites are authoritative and trustworthy, and high-quality, frequently shared content goes a long way towards creating an internet “paper trail” that demonstrates those very things. Just like Facebook tweaked its algorithms to favor content that’s shared by friends, Google views cross-links and shares by real, active users as endorsements for a page’s quality.

To stay relevant, brands need to create high-quality, shareable content that real people find valuable and want to show their friends. That will show Google that your webpage is worth displaying when people are searching for a topic you’re an expert in. This might sound like SEO 101, but in the ever-changing landscape of social network algorithms, revamped search engines, and social media marketing strategies, it’s important to identify exactly how things are working today. The good news? It’s not as mysterious as it might seem.

Learn from the Best

We’re witnessing a major pivot in the internet marketing timeline. Buzzfeed built a billion-dollar business starting with clickbait titles and listicles, but it has since upgraded its business model to become a diverse and credible media outlet. Brands that once saw success by emulating the headline-heavy, substance-light content that Buzzfeed employed are now realizing that as algorithms and audiences alike get wise to their ways, the quality of their content is more important than ever. And even though Facebook and Google’s experiments were both aimed at making quotidian user experience better in hopes of keeping eyeballs on their pages longer (all the better to sell you ads, my reader), we also know how people really feel about interrupt advertising. If your social media marketing strategy still revolves around branded pages or purchased bandwidth, it may be time to reevaluate and take a hint from the internet’s heaviest hitters.

There’s no question that Facebook and Google influence the tides of the internet as powerfully as the moon moves our oceans—so learning from their revamped algorithms and rating systems is a great way to position your brand’s content for success. While that might sound like it requires an alchemical understanding of some computer hidden deep in Silicon Valley, it’s actually much simpler. Write high-quality content that people you know might like to read and share, and the results will follow.

If there’s anything we can learn from the Feed Quality program and Search Quality Rating Guidelines, it’s that Facebook and Google are just trying to make their computers better at understanding what people actually want to see. So don’t stress about pleasing computers—focus on pleasing people, and the results will speak for themselves.

Source : http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/creativity/the-latest-social-media-marketing-lessons-from-facebook-and-google-algorithms/

The new dashboard lets Rank Tracker users get strategic insights about their organic search competition, discover new competitors as they enter the top results, and spot crucial Google algorithm updates.

(PRWEB) September 13, 2016

Link-Assistant.Com, the industry leader in developing Internet Marketing tools, announced today the addition of competitive intelligence and SERP analytics to Rank Tracker. With the new feature, users get historical SERPs for every check and SERP fluctuations graph, aka the "SERP weather". The new feature is available to Rank Tracker users with paid licenses: Professional or Enterprise.

Keyword research and rank monitoring app, Rank Tracker is one of the four tools in SEO PowerSuite, a one-stop platform for all SEO jobs and analytics.

*Why analyzing SERP history and fluctuations*

Analyzing the search engine result pages (SERPs) is an advanced SEO approach, which is becoming popular among the seasoned SEO professionals. It lets one understand the SERP trends for specific keywords, instantaneously spot new organic search competitors and Google algo updates.

*How the SERP analysis is integrated into Rank Tracker*

From now on, webmasters can make use of a convenient SERP Analysis dashboard in Rank Tracker.

The dashboard will save the list of top 30 search engine results for every rank check one runs, across all keywords and search engines, however many.

In addition to that, Rank Tracker will also display a SERP Fluctuation graph, the "weather graph," which helps one understand search engine trends that matter for a specific business niche.

To see the powerful SERP analytics in action, Rank Tracker licensed users need to update the software to the latest version. New users can order the software licenses at the official site link-assistant.com.

More information about the new feature is available at the company's blog. To stay on top of Link-Assistant.Com news, sign up to the blog updates and follow the company in social media: Facebook fb.me/LinkAssistant, Twitter @LinkAssistant and Google Plus gplus.to/LinkAssistant.

About Link-Assistant.Com

Link-Assistant.Com is an industry-leading software house, with a focus on developing tools for smarter Internet Marketing. The company's range of products includes SEO PowerSuite (end-to-end Internet Marketing Tools), BuzzBundle (social media management software), and the recently-launched Awario (an online app for monitoring social and web mentions).

Source : http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/16/09/p8453586/serp-analysis-dashboard-is-introduced-to-link-assistant-coms-rank-track

There's few things more embarrassing in the days of social media than those dreaded 'flashback' reminders.

You may wake up each morning and check Facebook, and be dismayed to see a photo from five years ago at the top of your homepage, all because it was taken on the same date.

Most of us, naturally, don't want to be reminded of our past - but a new tool from Google is bound to make you curious.

The search engine giant is now giving you the chance to see every Google search you have ever made.

So, if you do fancy delving back through the embarrassing backlog of searches, you're in luck.

Google users can take a glance at some of the more bizarre things they had on their mind, before turning to Google for help.

Whether you've asked 'why is the sky blue?' or searched your ex-partner's name - all your searches will be there.

By clicking on history.google.com/history users can search for anything they searched for on a specific date while logged into to a Gmail or Google account.

The site's functions also lets you search for specific words as part of your history.

 

You can also see what Google images have previously been viewed on your account, or what areas on Google Maps you have explored

Thankfully, you are the only user able to see the information - so don't panic too much.

You can also opt out of being tracked by clicking on the 'Activity Controls' option and moving the 'web and app activity' slider to off.

 

Source : http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/whats-on/whats-on-news/fancy-seeing-every-google-search-11879954

 

The telescope at China's Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing has captured images of an asteroid approaching Earth. The asteroid, coded as 2009ES by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), was observed Wednesday night. This is the first time that a telescope in China has captured images of the asteroid, one of 1,640 minor bodies listed by MPC that could have a close encounter with the Earth.

Scientists estimate that should an asteroid measuring 10,000 meters collide with Earth, the impact would equal the explosion capacity of 3 billion atomic bombs. Astronomers widely believe that such an asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs.

The observatory's 1.2-meter Schmit is the largest telescope of its kind in Asia.
The observatory was notified by MPC on Sept. 5 to observe the asteroid. It passed Earth within a range 18.8 times of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Zhao Haibin with the observatory said minor planets' trajectories could be changed by stellar attraction from planets such as Mars. Continuous observation is needed to keep track of any changes.

"With the help of our images, astronomers across the globe have a more accurate moving trajectory of the asteroid," he said. Previously, eight other telescopes around the world had captured images of the asteroid.

The Daily Galaxy via Chinese Academy of Science and Xinhua

Source : http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2016/09/chinas-largest-telescope-sights-an-asteroid-approaching-earth.html

 

 

Life as we know it almost came to an end Wednesday when an asteroid narrowly missed Earth as it whizzed by, but fortunately close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Most humans across the planet went on with their day as usual, oblivious to the event which NASA discovered just two days before it happened.

The US space agency announced the asteroid named 2016 RB1 passed about 25,000 miles (40,000km) from our collective home, roughly one tenth the distance between the Earth and the moon.

Even if it had hit the Earth’s surface, its estimated size of 25 by 50 feet is much smaller than the one believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.


It also passed the Earth at the South Pole, so any destruction may have been limited to scientific researchers, cruise ship passengers, and penguins.

NASA claims it’s the closest an asteroid will come to Earth for “at least the next half century.”

The space rock was discovered by astronomers from the Catalina Sky Survey at the summit of Mount Lemmon north of Tucson, Arizona.

An asteroid of similar size left more than 1,200 people injured when it hit Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013.

Source : https://www.rt.com/viral/358666-asteroid-narrowly-misses-earth/

 

 

THE SAGA OF Facebook Trending Topics never seems to end—and it drives us nuts.

First, Gizmodo said that biased human curators hired by Facebook—not just automated algorithms—were deciding what news stories showed up as Trending Topics on the company’s social network, before sprucing them up with fresh headlines and descriptions. Then a US Senator demanded an explanation from Facebook because Gizmodo said those biased humans were suppressing conservative stories. So, eventually, Facebook jettisoned the human curators so that Trending Topics would be “more automated.” Then people complained that the more algorithmically driven system chose a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly as a Trending Topic.

Don’t get us wrong. The Facebook Trending Topics deserve scrutiny. They’re a prominent source of news on a social network that serves over 1.7 billion people. But one important issue was lost among all the weird twists and turns—and the weird way the tech press covered those twists and turns. What everyone seems incapable of realizing is that everything on the Internet is run by a mix of automation and humanity. That’s just how things work. And here’s the key problem: prior to Gizmodo’s piece, Facebook seemed to imply that Trending Topics was just a transparent looking glass into what was most popular on the social network.

Yes, everything on the Internet is a mix of the human and inhuman. Automated algorithms play a very big role in some services, like, say, the Google Search Engine. But humans play a role in these services too. Humans whitelist and blacklist sites on the Google Search Engine. They make what you might think of as manual decisions, in part because today’s algorithms are so flawed. What’s more—and this is just stating what should be obvious—humans write the algorithms. That’s not insignificant. What it means is that algorithms carry human biases. They carry the biases of the people who write them and the companies those people work for. Algorithms drive the Google Search Engine, but the European Union is still investigating whether Google—meaning: the humans at Google—instilled this search engine with a bias in favor of other Google services and against competing services.

“We have to let go of the idea that there are no humans,” says Tarleton Gillespie, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research who focuses on the impact of social media on public discourse. That’s worth remembering when you think about the Facebook Trending Topics. Heck, it’s worth repeating over and over and over again.

Facebook’s ‘Crappy’ Algorithm

Jonathan Koren worked on the technology behind the Facebook Trending Topics. The bottom line, says the former Facebook engineer, is that the algorithm is “crappy.” As he puts it, this automated system “finds ‘lunch’ every day at noon.” That’s not the indictment you may think it is. The truth is that so many of today’s computer algorithms are crappy—though companies and coders are always working to improve them. And because they’re crappy, they need help from humans.

That’s why Facebook hired those news curators. “Identifying true news versus satire and outright fabrication is hard—something computers don’t do well,” Koren says. “If you want to ship a product today, you hire some curators and the problem goes away. Otherwise, you fund a research project that may or may not meet human equivalence, and you don’t have a product until it does.” This is a natural thing for Facebook or any other Internet company to do. For years, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks used humans to remove or flag lewd and horrific content on their platforms.

So, Koren and about five or six other engineers ran a Trending Topics algorithm at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, and across the country in New York, news curators filtered and edited the algorithm’s output. According to Gizmodo, they also “injected” stories that in some cases weren’t trending at all. (A leaked document obtained by The Guardian, however, showed Facebook guidelines said a topic had to appear in at least one tool before it could be considered for the Trending module.) The setup made sense, though Koren says he privately thought that the humans involved were overqualified. “It always struck me as a waste to have people with real journalism degrees essentially surfing the web,” he says.

Trending versus ‘Trending’

When it looked like Gizmodo’s story was finally blowing over, Facebook got rid of its journalist news curators—then it promptly had to deal with the fake Megyn Kelly story. People blamed the more algorithmically driven system, but Facebook said all along that humans would still play a role—and they did. A human working for Facebook still approved the hoax topic over that weekend, something many people probably don’t realize. But they were outraged that Facebook’s review system, now without a single journalist employed, let a fake story slip through.

 

Koren says the whole thing was “a bit overblown.” And that’s an understatement. From where he was sitting, “there wasn’t someone within the company going ‘bwahaha’ and killing conservative news stories.” But even if there was an anti-conservative bias, this is the kind of thing that happens on any web service, whether it’s Google or Amazon or The New York Times or WIRED. That’s because humans are biased. And that means companies are biased too. Don’t buy the argument? Well, some people want fake stories about Megyn Kelly, just because they’re what everyone is talking about or just because they’re funny.

The issue is whether Facebook misrepresented Trending Topics. Prior to the Gizmodo article, a Facebook help page read: “Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked, and your location.” It didn’t mention curators or the possibility that the system allowed a story to be added manually. We could deconstruct the language on that help page. But that’s seems silly. Algorithms don’t exist in a vacuum. They require humans. Besides, Facebook has now changed the description. “Our team is responsible for reviewing trending topics to ensure that they reflect real world events,” it says.

What we will say is that Facebook—like everyone else—needs to be more aware of the realities at work here. Koren says that Facebook’s relationship to the broader issues behind Trending Topics was characterized by a kind of “benign obliviousness.” It was just focused on making its product better. The folks building the algorithm didn’t really talk to the curators in New York. Well, however benign its obliviousness may be, Facebook shouldn’t be oblivious. Given its power to influence our society, it should work to ensure that people understand how its services work and, indeed, that they understand how the Internet works.

What’s important here is getting the world to realize that human intervention is status quo on the Internet, and Facebook is responsible for the misconceptions that persist. But so is Google—especially Google. And so is the tech press. They’ve spent years feeding the notion that the Internet is entirely automated. Though it doesn’t operate that way, people want it to. When someone implies that it does, people are apt to believe that it does. “There’s a desire to treat algorithms as if they’re standalone technical objects, because they offer us this sense of finally not having to worry about human subjectivity, error, or personal bias—things we’ve worried about for years,” says Gillespie.

 

Humans Forever

Sorry, folks, algorithms don’t give us that. Certainly, algorithms are getting better. With the rise of deep neural networks—artificially intelligent systems that learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data—humans are playing a smaller role in what algorithms ultimately deliver. But they still play a role. They build the neural networks. They decide what data the neural nets train on. They still decide when to whitelist and blacklist. Neural nets work alongside so many other services.

Besides, deep neural networks only work well in certain situations—at least today. They can recognize photos. They can identify spoken words. They help choose search results on Google. But they can’t run the entire Google search engine. And they can’t run the Trending Topics on Facebook. Like Google, Facebook is at the forefront of deep learning research. If it could off-load Trending Topics onto a neural net, it would.

But the bigger point is that even neural nets carry human biases. All algorithms do. Sure, you can build an algorithm that generates Trending Topics solely based on the traffic stories are getting. But then people would complain because it would turn up fake stories about Megyn Kelly. You have to filter the stream. And once you start to filter the stream, you make human judgments—whether humans are manually editing material or not. The tech press (including WIRED) is clamoring for Twitter to deal with harassment on its social network. If it does, it can use humans to intervene, build algorithms, or use a combination of both. But one thing is certain: those algorithms will carry bias. After all: What is harassment? There is no mathematical answer.

Like Twitter, Facebook is a powerful thing. It has a responsibility to think long and hard about what it shows and what it doesn’t show. It must answer to widespread public complaints about the choices it makes. It must be open and honest about how it makes these choices. But this humans versus algorithms debate is a bit ridiculous. “We’ll never get away from the bias question,” Gillespie says. “We just bury them inside of systems, but apply it much more widely, and at much bigger scale.”

Source : http://www.wired.com/2016/09/facebook-trending-humans-versus-algorithms/

 

Well it’s been a big week for search, I think we can all agree.

If you’re a regular Google user (65% of you globally) then you’ll have noticed some changes, both good and bad.

I won’t debate the merits of these improvements, we’ve done that already here: Google kills Right Hand Side Ads and here: Google launches Accelerated Mobile Pages, but there’s a definite feeling of vexation that appears to be coming to a head.

Deep breath…

As the paid search space increases in ‘top-heaviness’, as organic results get pushed further off the first SERP, as the Knowledge Graph scrapes more and more publisher content and continues to make it pointless to click through to a website, and as our longstanding feelings of unfairness over Google’s monopoly and tax balance become more acute, now more than ever we feel there should be another, viable search engine alternative.

There was a point not that long ago when you could easily divide people between those that used Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and AltaVista. Now it’s got to the point where if you’re not using Google, you’re not really using the internet properly.

Right now though maybe we should be paying more attention to the alternatives. Maybe our daily lives and, for some of us, careers shouldn’t need to balance on the fickle algorithm changes of the world’s most valuable company.

Let’s see what else is out there in the non-Google world. It’s not that scary, I promise. Although you may want to bring a coat.

Please note: this is an update of an article published on SEW in May 2014, we felt like it needed sprucing up especially many of the listed engines (Blekko, Topsy) are no longer with us.

Bing

Microsoft’s search engine is the second most popular search engine in the world, with 15.8% of the search market.

Bing homepage

 

But why should you use Bing? Lifehacker has some great articles where they try to convince themselves as much as anyone else why Bing is a serious contender to Google. Plus points include:

  • Bing’s video search is significantly better than Google’s, giving you a grid of large thumbnails that you can click on to play or preview if you hover over them.
  • Bing often gives twice as many autocomplete suggestions than Google does.
  • Bing can predict when airfares are about to go up or down if you’re searching for flights.
  • Bing also has a feature where if you type linkfromdomain:[site name] it will highlight the best ranked outgoing links from that site, helping you figure out which other sites your chosen site links to the most.

Also note that Bing powers Yahoo’s search engine.

DuckDuckGo

The key feature of DuckDuckGo is that it doesn’t retain its users’ data, so it won’t track you or manipulate results based on your behaviour. So if you’re particularly spooked by Google’s all-seeing, all-knowing eye, this might be the one for you.

DuckDuckGo homepage

There’s lots more info on DuckDuckGo’s performance here.

Quora

As Google gets better and better at answering more complicated questions, it will never be able to match the personal touch available with Quora.

quora

Ask any question and its erudite community will offer their replies. Or you can choose from any similar queries previously asked.

Dogpile

Dogpile may look like a search engine you cobbled together with clip-art, but that’s rather the point as it pulls in and ‘curates’ results from various different engines including Google, Yandex and Yahoo, but removes all the ads.

Dogpile Web Search

Vimeo

Of course if you’re going to give up Google, then you’ll also have to give up YouTube, which can be a terrifying prospect. But there is an alternative. And a pretty good one at that… Vimeo.. The professional’s choice of video-sharing site, which has lots of HD video and no ads.

otis the cat reviews in videos on Vimeo

 

Yandex

This is a Russian portal, offering many similar products and services as Google, and it’s the dominant search engine in Russia.

As you can see it offers results in a nice logical format, replete with favicons so you can clearly see the various channels for your branded queries.

search engine watch on Yandex

Boardreader

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of a subject with a variety of different points of view away from the major publications, Boardreader surfaces results purely from forums, message boards and, of course, Reddit.

Boardreader Forum Search Engine

Boardreader Forum Search Engine

WolframAlpha

WolframAlpha is a ‘computational knowledge engine’, or super clever nerd to you and me. Ask it to calculate any data or ask it about any fact and it will give you the answer. Plus it does this awesome ‘computing’ thing while it thinks about your answer (which can take a short while.)

what really killed the dinosaurs Wolfram Alpha

It’s not always successful, you have to practice how to get the best from it. But at least it’s aware of the terrible 90s television show The Dinosaurs.

IxQuick

Another search engine that puts its users’ privacy at the forefront. With IxQuick none of your details are stored and no cookies are used. A user can set preferences, but they will be deleted after 90 days of inactivity.

Ixquick Search Engine

Ask.com

Oh look… Ask Jeeves is still around. Also he’s no longer a Wodehousian butler, but a computer generated bank manager. Weird.

Ask Jeeves

It’s still a slightly mediocre search engine pretending to be a question and answer site, but the ‘Popular Q&A’ results found on the right hand side are very handy if Jeeves himself can’t satisfy your query. And what a good use of the right-hand side space, huh Google.

SlideShare

SlideShare is a really handy place to source information from presentations, slide decks, webinars and whatever else you may have missed from not attending a conference.

 

You’ll also be surprised what information you can find there.

hamburgers on SlideShare

Addict-o-matic

“Inhale the web” with the friendly looking hoover guy by creating your own topic page, which you can bookmark and see results from a huge number of channels in that one page (including Google, Bing News, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr).

Addictomatic Inhale the Web

 

Creative Commons Search

CC Search is particularly handy if you need to find copyright free images for your website (as discussed in this post on image optimisation for SEO). Just type your query in then click on your chosen site you want to search.

CC Search

Giphy

Because really, when it comes down to it, we could imagine a worse dystopian future than one in which we all communicate entirely in Gifs.

GIPHY homepage

 

Source : https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/02/25/say-goodbye-to-google-14-alternative-search-engines/

A major topic of discussion in the tech world is Artificial Intelligence, or AI as some call it. Self-learning systems have been adopted in various fields, ranging from self-driving cars to robotics. Google, the world's most popular search engine has now integrated its own machine learning system as a part of its search algorithm. Google feels that a self-learning system holds the key to handling search queries of the future with greater accuracy. Google's AI system is called RankBrain and it was launched back in October 2015. Its role was revealed to the world through an article on Bloomberg, which showed that 15% of all Google search queries were already being handled by RankBrain.

Chicago SEO Company's Antonio Tooley, an authority on digital marketing, says: "RankBrain's introduction will result in a convergence of sorts in the way Google and SEOs view great content. SEOs will now have to make a greater effort into understanding their audience's complex needs."

Any move Google usually makes has a profound impact on SEOs, bloggers, and webmasters around the world, as they aim to create content that ranks higher on Google's search results. We have seen major upgrades like Google's Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird that were rolled out a few years ago. These updates were primarily aimed at weeding out problems like duplicate content, keyword stuffing, irrelevant sites, eliminating exact-match keywords, etc. RankBrain is just another major step Google has taken towards increasing the quality of its search results.

Inner Workings of RankBrain

Before we delve into exactly how you can create and optimize your content for RankBrain, let's take a brief look at how it actually works.

RankBrain was created to handle complex search queries. Google receives about 500 million searches each day. The queries are completely new to the platform, hence it has no idea how to deliver the best results for them. Google has what it calls deep neural networks of software and hardware. This simulates the web of neurons we have in our own brain. A vast amount of data is absorbed by these neural nets, and learning takes place. This kind of approach is known as deep learning. In the past, Google's algorithms and rules were formulated by human beings; now, that has changed.

So How Does this Affect the Way You Produce Content?

You need to approach content creation in a way that's similar to how successful businesses approach problems. Successful businesses focus on solving the issues of a particular target audience by understanding their needs, and not focusing on the monetary aspect at any point, other than for feasibility purposes.

Similarly, you need to make sure you create content that is tailored to the needs of your audience. The content must be engaging, and the less you focus on what you think Google will like, the better.

Long Form Content

Try to create long content that addresses numerous issues your target audience might have. Suppose you are selling a product like tailored resumes, then you can create a resource page detailing tips for creating amazing resumes, do's and don'ts from industry professionals, etc. There are plenty of possibilities. You will also want to rank for synonymous terms like CVs, curriculum vitae, etc. Long form content will allow you to insert keywords naturally in the article. Gone are the days where you had to mention your main keywords three times per every 500 words to rank. "Rank Brain uses co-occurrence to help deliver the most relevant results to users," says Didit.com's Steve Baldwin.

The frequency with which related terms appear is also analyzed so that the content that reads naturally gets ranking preference. If you need an idea about what words Google thinks are synonyms, then you can simply analyze search results to get an answer. The search for "tips for a great resume" shows us what words Google thinks are synonyms:

google synonyms

Be Specific and Natural

Each piece of content you put out needs to be for a specific purpose. You might have noticed more social media profiles appearing higher in search results. Hence the content you create for your Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram must all be solving the needs of your audience. You need to provide ideas, tips, tricks and recommendations to engage your specific target audience. If your website is solely focused on resumes, and if you create a post on umbrellas, then it's a bad sign for Google. On the other hand, if your website creates content like graphic design resumes, and things like that, then it should help.

Queries are becoming natural and complex at the same time. Human interaction with Google is more conversational. People tend to make use of long search queries like "Where can I find the perfect resume for a photography job?" The growth of voice search has contributed to this. If you create natural and human content, then it's much easier for RankBrain to synthesize exactly what you are getting at.

A cool idea would be to start your article with a query that you think it is suited for. For example, before you talk about the advantages of protein supplements, your article's introduction can contain something like "If you have just hit the gym recently and are not seeing the gains you expected, you must be wondering if protein supplements really do work." This is a great way to grab your audience's attention.

To Conclude

The role AI plays in our life is set to increase, and it is up to us to use it to our advantage. John Giannandra who now oversees Google's search engine activities says that "by building learning systems, we don't have to write these rules anymore. Increasingly, we're discovering that if we can learn things rather than writing code, we can scale these things much better."

Deep learning might play a much bigger role in the future for bloggers, webmasters and SEOs alike. Hence, it is probably best to focus on producing content that delivers the maximum value to our audience.

Source : http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/Editorial/Industry-Insights/Keeping-Up-with-Google-How-AI-Will-Shape-Future-Content-113028.htm 

Chinese search engine Baidu, which opened its India office in Delhi last year, wants to expand its services in India through an ad platform and a localised marketplace.


Josh Fenn of Baidu Inc’s Global Business Unit speaks to BrandWagon’s Ankita Rai on the company’s India strategy, its focus on app developers and building a digital ecosystem.


Baidu has so far launched only niche utility applications in India, while in other markets it is also present in online to offline (O2O) and search spaces. What is the India strategy?


In India, the focus is on mobile and mobile-related products because there is a global shift towards mobile. It was in 2008 that we started bringing our products outside China. India is our newest market.


Between 2008 and 2013, we launched some of our popular products here such as DU Battery Saver, DU Speed Booster, Baidu Browser, MoboMarket, ES File Explorer and input app Simeji.


The marketplace MoboMarket was first launched in Indonesia and shortly afterwards in India. MoboMarket has 4.5 million active monthly users each in India and Indonesia. In India, MoboMarket is available in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bangla, Marathi and Urdu, with Telugu launching soon. Developers can launch their apps on this platform and get more eyeballs in the domestic market and monetise through our DU Ad Platform. There are eight million monthly active users for DU Battery Saver and Du Speed Booster in India, while ES File Explorer has 10 million monthly active users.


In India, we are focussed on building a strong foundation of internet services that will help to build the ecosystem.


The first phase of the India strategy was launched in 2013-2014 aimed at building a user base for our products here.
The second phase was to introduce more developer facing platforms and grow the ecosystem. That’s where MoboMarket comes into play. The marketplace aims to enable local developers find the right audience for their apps and get more downloads. The third phase is aimed at enabling developers make more money out of it. That’s where the DU Ad Platform comes into play.


As Baidu looks to capitalise on opportunities outside China, what kind of markets are you targeting?
If you look at all the countries that we have offices in apart from the US — Brazil, Egypt, India, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan — Japan stands out, being the most developed market. The rest are emerging countries and have similar characteristics such as lower smartphone and internet penetration, but are fast growing. We
observed a similar trend in China a few years ago.


Now China has 52 per cent internet penetration. It has over 700 million internet subscribers across PC and mobile. So yes, we are looking for countries similar to China that are in the early phases of mobile internet. Second, we have a localised strategy for each market instead of rolling out generic products.


We have been operating in China for 16 years. We have developed unique ways to bridge the technology gap. For example, we have made our search more humanised and help people who don’t know how to interact with technology.


For instance in hinterlands, people write long queries when searching something online. We understand how to bridge this gap between rural and urban population and we are planning to bring this expertise in India and other countries too.
A majority of Baidu’s revenues comes from search advertising. But the whole idea of search is changing. Users can now get news, weather updates or even search for flights on platforms like Facebook or even in the Chinese context, on WeChat. Is the market for search saturating with competition coming from non-traditional players?


The search market has evolved quite a bit since 2014. There are different entry ways for people to find information they are looking for, such as Facebook, WeChat, e-commerce portals or through O2O services. In China, we have a very strong position in search due to integration of machine learning technology.


In mobile search, our market share is over 75 per cent. We have 660 million monthly active users on our mobile search platform in China. The search market is not narrowing down but our focus is building foundational services for the internet ecosystem here in India.


Baidu launched a search engine in Brazil in 2014. As you expand globally, do you plan to launch search in other countries? Given Baidu’s experience in the O2O business model in China, do you plan to replicate similar offerings in other markets?
Baidu is present in information, search, app platforms, AI and machine learning technologies. We previously launched search in Brazil, Thailand, Egypt and Japan. But we are now more focussed on mobile products and services. Search is just one way of looking at things. We are integrating machine learning in O2O services. We are diversifying into other entry ways of search.


For example, you can integrate machine learning into group buying platforms. We have 1.6 billion users outside China. In terms of user numbers, the biggest markets are Indonesia, India and the US. In 2014, we acquired Brazil’s biggest deal platform, Peixe Urbano. The company has 70 per cent of the domestic market share. We take a localised approach in each market. In India, we don’t have any plans right now in the O2O space, but it is a possibility.


Baidu launched its ad platform for advertisers and publishers in India this year. How will it help small app developers?
In case of an app ecosystem, it is important to support the small developers. This is what we learnt in China and aim to implement it in other countries such as India.

 

The DU Ad Platform, launched in March, helps small app developers in monetisation. It provides advertisers with intelligent targeted ads and publishers with efficient monetisation solutions. We have 1.6 billion users for all of our apps outside China.

 

Source : http://www.financialexpress.com/industry/companies/face-off-baidu-takes-a-localised-approach-in-each-market-says-baidus-josh-fenn/348219/ 

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