How Google's 'speed update' will affect mobile search

Mashable 18 Jan 2018 12:13 Google is trying to speed up mobile searches.Image: Adam Berry/Getty Images Google searches on your phone are about to get an important upgrade. The company announced an upcoming "speed update" to search, which will put some slower loading pages lower down in search results on mobile devices. Google says it expects the speed update, set to take effect in July, will only affect "a small percentage of queries," but given the number of Google searches that happen on a daily basis, it could have a significant impact on search. Under the change, Google will take page speeds into account in determining its rankings for mobile searches. The company has previously used speed as a factor on desktop, but this will mark the first time Google has done so on mobile. While not a surprising move considering that the bulk of Google searches come from mobile devices, the change has some interesting implications in the long run. Though Google says the change will only affect a small number of searches, it could incentivize more sites to adopt the company's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), stripped-down versions of web pages that load very quickly.   That's not to say that AMP pages will automatically be given priority. Google notes that the change only looks at the speed of a particular page, "regardless of the technology used to build the page," and the company told Search Engine Land that AMP pages could still be ranked lower if they load slowly.  But considering that AMP tends to be significantly faster than the traditional mobile web, the speed update would certainly seem to give an edge to sites that use the technology.

Nomad’s new wireless charging hub is a traveler’s best friend

Tech Crunch 17 Jan 2018 10:31 If you spend any meaningful amount of time in hotels, you’ll know that many of them are still living in the age of the 30-pin adapter, even though most of us have already moved on to Lightning, wireless charging and USB-C. So it’s essential to pack charging equipment to handle any need that might arise — and usually that means a lot of dongles. Nomad’s new wireless USB hub really cuts down on clutter, and makes it easy to charge what you need to charge, when you need to charge it.The hub looks a bit like a sleek bag burger designed by someone who makes luxury car interiors for a living. It sounds like a weird description, but it’s not a bad thing — the black puck is basically at home in any decor, so it’s a good bedside companion for home as well as away. On top, the hub has a wireless charging pad with a 7.5W max output (the max supported input the iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus can accept). Inside, however, there’s plenty more in the way of charging options, including one USB-C port capable of 3A output, a high-speed 2.4A USB-A port for charging up an iPad or the like and two 1A USB outputs for stuff like AirPods. Each has its own LED indicator (which are faint enough that they won’t disturb even the most sensitive sleeper), and there’s built-in cable management to keep obvious desktop clutter to a minimum. A single 1.2 meter power cable is included and connects to the wall plug to give the hub its combined 30W max output, and rubberized footing gives it a stable stickiness on almost any surface. There’s a matte rubber ring on top, too, which is great for the iPhone X and 8, which can slide gradually off even other non-stick surfaces, even if they’re seemingly lying perfectly flat. In terms of how it works in practice, I used the Nomad Wireless Charging Hub all throughout my recent trip to Las Vegas for the annual CES gigantic crazy consumer tech shitshow and it performed very, very well — in fact, after a colleague took off with my only Lightning cable, it was the only way I could reliably make sure my iPhone was topped up for the next grueling day of slogging through gadget booths. You can definitely get sleeker, smaller wireless chargers, but at $80, Nomad’s option is only really twice as expensive as a lot of the good options out there, and yet it also packs a lot of additional charging versatility for when you need it. If you’re looking for an all-in-one travel charging companion, this is definitely a top choice.

Giphy builds transparent GIF library for Instagram Stories

Tech Crunch 17 Jan 2018 08:26 Instagram now lets some users slap background-less GIFs sourced from Giphy onto their Instagram Stories. Rolling out for wider testing with a Giphy-branded design, the new GIF sticker engine could further differentiate Instagram Stories from Snapchat, which has yet to embrace the animation GIF trend.It appears that Giphy has worked with Instagram to create a special search engine for a library of GIFs designed to be overlaid over photos and videos rather than being shared by themselves. The backgrounds and transparent bits of these GIFs have been cut out so they mesh into your imagery. Instagram’s new transparent GIF search engine, powered by Giphy Facebook and Giphy have been working more closely recently on custom GIF databases, as the two built a child-safe, hand-picked set of animations to offer in the new Messenger Kids app for users younger than 13 years old. Previously, Giphy helped Facebook launch a GIF comment button. Instagram’s initial tests of GIF sharing were first reported by The Next Web in November, but details were scarce and the product didn’t have a “Giphy” logo in the search bar. Now more users in the Philippines and Brazil are getting access. The screenshots above come from Brazilian social media consultant Mika Mota. Instagram was abnormally cagey about discussing the feature, maybe because a partnered announcement with Giphy is looming. After an initial “no comment” though, an Instagram spokesperson told me “we’re always testing new experiences for the Instagram community.” Giphy didn’t respond to a request for comment before press time. Instagram has become a hub for home-made animation sharing thanks to its popular Boomerang feature that started as a standalone app before getting baked into Stories. Recently, Instagram added some savvy stabilization, which makes your back-and-forth image loops much less shaky. And Facebook has tested its own Boomerang-style GIF creation button. But now Instagram appears ready to open up to outside GIF engines to expand its sticker library. Instagram already offers a few props like sunglasses and mustaches, seasonal imagery, standard emoji, location and weather overlays, time stamps, selfie stickers and augmented reality face masks. If it wants Stories to stay interesting, though, it has to keep equipping users with new ways to jazz up their posts. Working with a third-party like Giphy that in turn aggregates content from user submissions could bring an endless parade of adornments to Instagram Stories. While Snapchat offers animated filters, augmented reality World Lenses, and Bitmoji, it still doesn’t offer a GIF or Boomerang-like sharing experience for Stories. You might say that keeps its Stories authentic, but for kids around the world sitting in their unexciting bedrooms, it might leave what they share looking a bit boring. [Update: Snapchat recently added its own animated stickers, but they come as pretty limited rotating sets rather than a big, third-party powered library.] Back in April we wrote that Snapchat’s anti-developer attitude was limiting its potential. By December, it finally relaxed its iron grip over the experience by starting to let developers build their own AR filters, though Snap won’t help promote them unless they pay. Facebook’s decade-old platform and culture of working with outside developers could help keep its products fresh at a time when it’s desperate to encourage sharing. The company announced a retreat from public publisher content in the News Feed in hopes of promoting well-being through active interaction between friends instead of passive consumption. One way to fuel that drive is by giving people ways to creatively communicate visually without having to paint a masterpiece by themselves.

Worry Me, Natural Language Processing Doesn't

Gartner 17 Jan 2018 08:20 by Adrian Lee  |  January 17, 2018  |  Submit a Comment The Newsweek headline screamed, “Robots Can Now Read Better Than Humans, Putting Millions of Jobs At Risk”. I nearly drowned laughing into my morning coffee. It was a slow news day? The story described a reading accuracy test that pitched Alibaba’s natural language processing (NLP) AI versus a ‘rival human’.  Yes, the robot outdid the human by a score of 82.44 versus 82.305. Yes, that’s right, a difference of 0.135.  The article did not continue on to reveal which were the millions of jobs at risk. So, the alarmist stance that massive job cuts were on the horizon didn’t worry me. Yet. To put things into perspective, Gartner currently has over 900 research articles on the topic of conversational platforms, with more than 46 different analysts investigating the area of conversational AI. Oh, Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the comprehension by computers of the structure and meaning of human languages, allowing users to interact with the computer using natural sentences. NLP features are dynamic and are evolving within conversational platforms. The one refrain I have for our clients when I advise on conversational platforms is this: we have so much more to learn. The ‘processing’ of structured language has increased dramatically, especially in the advancement of entity recognition, machine translation, and text categorization driven by ever faster and low latency machine learning instances in the cloud.  But the ‘understanding’ of meaning – inference, sentiment, relations, and variations, are still work in progress. Seek not to process, but to understand. By which, I refer to Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and that’s important. for you to see the big picture. Below. I meant it, literally. We still need to make sure the semantic aspects of the technology work. This is what drives the ‘understanding’ of human by machine.  As chatbots proliferate across customer service, financial services, retail, government and even healthcare;  the ability of technology vendors to provide contextually aware, multiturn-based natural-language conversations  presents an ongoing challenge to natural language understanding (NLU) handling. This is especially the case in the areas of semantic parsing and natural-language inferences. Ambiguities in semantics arise when there are multiple grammatical interpretations possible. “Giant road bike” and “Giant road bike” on a digital commerce site can mean very different outcomes if the semantics engine cannot infer that “Giant” refers to a brand of bicycle and not the size of the bike in question. But you already knew that. I shall stop here. If you want to read more about NLP or NLU and how it impacts digital commerce, please click here. Or we could get that same bot to do it. Either way, you shouldn’t let it worry you. Tags: conversational-ai  conversational-platforms  deep-neural-networks  digital-commerce  machine-learning  natural-language-processing  natural-language-understanding  nlp  nlu   Adrian LeeResearch Director1 years at Gartner15 years IT Industry Adrian Lee focuses on providing advice and market guidance on the overall personal technology environment, encompassing devices, services, apps and ecosystems. Adrian brings a focus on B2C and B2B2C mobile applications in personal technologies and service provider markets. He advises brand, product marketing, sales leaders and other stakeholders on how to deploy digital advertising, branded content and e-commerce platforms to drive profitable revenue growth. He supports brand management teams on how to navigate disruptive innovation and tools to create best-of-breed user experiences. Read Full Bio

Security Monitoring Use Cases, the UPDATE!

Gartner 17 Jan 2018 05:44 by Augusto Barros  |  January 17, 2018  |  Submit a Comment Posting about updated documents is often boring, but this time I’m talking about my favorite Gartner document, as usual, co-authored with Anton: “How to Develop and Maintain Security Monitoring Use Cases”! This document described an approach to identity, prioritize, implement and manage security monitoring use cases. Of course, it has a lot on SIEM, as it’s usually the chosen tool for implementation of those use cases, but we revised to ensure we are also covering technologies such as UEBA, EDR and even SOAR. If we consider that detection can often be implemented as multi-stage process, that’s a natural evolution! The major changes are: Revamping the main graphic of the document to better illustrate how the process works (below) Putting more emphasis on some of the artifacts generated by the process, such as use case lists Evolving the language around about doing use case development as software development to say “doing it as AGILE software development” Reinforcing the types of use cases that are usually managed by this process: threat, controls and asset oriented Including tips for use case management when working with a MSSP (we are writing more about this in our upcoming MSSP doc, BTW) The summary diagram for the framework can be seen below: Again, we are always looking for feedback on our research. If you have anything to say about this document, please use this page to do it. Tags: detection  new-research  security-monitoring  siem  threat-detection  ueba  use-cases   Augusto BarrosResearch Director3 years at Gartner21 years IT Industry Augusto Barros is Research Director in the Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) Security and Risk Management group. Read Full Bio

Kitty Perry and the copyright lessons for seven-year-olds

BBC Technology 17 Jan 2018 05:40 By Brian Wheeler Political reporter Image copyright Intellectual Property Office A campaign to teach children about copyright infringement on the internet, is employing cartoons and puns on pop stars' names, to get the message across.Even its makers admit it is a "dry" and "niche" subject for a cartoon aimed at seven-year-olds.But the Intellectual Property Office adds learning to "respect" copyrights and trademarks is a "key life skill".And it is hoping the adventures of Nancy and the Meerkats can finally make intellectual property "fun".The series, which began life five years ago on Kids Fun Radio, was re-launched this week with the aim of getting its message into primary schools. The Intellectual Property Office - formerly known as the Patent Office - has produced a range of teaching materials for Key Stage 2 in the national curriculum, for seven- to 11-year-olds. Skip Youtube post by Fun Kids Learn Warning: Third party content may contain adverts Report End of Youtube post by Fun Kids Learn Image Copyright Fun Kids Learn Fun Kids Learn Report The five-minute cartoons tell the story of would-be pop star Nancy, a French bulldog, who battles her ideas-stealing, feline nemesis, Kitty Perry, and teaches friends, including Justin Beaver and a rather dim Welsh sheep called Ed Shearling, about the importance of choosing an original band name and registering it as a trademark.Most of the lessons are delivered by Nancy's sharp-suited but avuncular manager, Big Joe.The Intellectual Property Office is leading the government's efforts to crack down on internet piracy and protect the revenues of Britain's creative industries.The quango is spending £20,000 of its own money on the latest Nancy campaign, which is part-funded by the UK music industry.Catherine Davies, head of the IPO's education outreach department, which already produces teaching materials for GCSE students, admitted IP was a "complex subject" for small children and something of a challenge to make accessible and entertaining. Image copyright Intellectual Property Office But she added: "In today's digital environment, even very young people are IP consumers, accessing online digital content independently and regularly."They are creators of IP, and many will leave school or university to take up careers in industries that depend upon inventiveness and creativity. "A basic understanding of IP and a respect for others' IP rights is therefore a key life skill."But some fear the IPO is being too heavy-handed in its warnings about piracy and that the message could backfire.Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group campaign, said: "Some of the material seems misleading, in particular the episode explaining that downloading is the same as stealing from a shop. "While it's wrong, it is neither the same in law - as downloading is a civil wrong while theft is a crime - nor is it a convincing analogy. "The IPO risk educating children that copyright law is stupid and immoral by putting forward simplistic arguments like that." Cartoon crusaders Image copyright Electrical Safety First Public information films - such as the much-loved Charley Says campaign - warned a generation of children about the dangers of playing with matches or going off with strangersThe genre has declined since its 1970s heyday, although Charley the cat made a comeback in 2014 in an electrical safety campaign voiced by comedian David Walliams.But government departments have also been turning to cartoons to educate very young children about boring and complicated subjects In 2016, HM Revenue & Customs produced a Junior Tax Facts video for eight- to 11-year-olds, which explained, among other things, that the VAT on sweets meant they were taxpayers too Image copyright HMRC

Critical Capabilities for SPM for 2018 is now available

Gartner 17 Jan 2018 05:26 by Melissa Hilbert  |  January 17, 2018  |  Submit a Comment The companion research to the Sales Performance Management Magic Quadrant is now available. This research provides deeper insights into the products covered in the Magic Quadrant. While the MQ focuses on vision and execution for each vendor, this research looks at critical capabilities such as calculations, business rules and audit trail across four different use cases. These use cases include:Incentive CompensationTerritory Management and PlanningQuota Management and PlanningObjectvies Management The report is interactive on allowing users to select specific vendors or change weightings based on their requirements. I hope you find it helpful in narrowing down your vendors for an SPM evaluation.I’m also available through Gartner inquiry to assist you further in making your decisions. You can find the document here: Melissa HilbertResearch Director1 year at Gartner23 years IT Industry Melissa Hilbert is a Director in Gartner Research. Ms. Hilbert is responsible for the Sales Performance Management (SPM) agenda within the CRM for Sales research agenda including the SPM Magic Quadrant. She has extensive knowledge of SPM systems and processes, sales incentive compensation, quota management and territory management. She has additional expertise in sales enablement processes, sales enablement tools and sales analytics. Read Full Bio

How to Improve Your Google "Quality Score"

Entrepeneur 17 Jan 2018 04:45 The following excerpt is from Perry Marshall, Mike Rhodes and Bryan Todd’s book Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound I once did a consultation for an adoption agency. When I looked at the agency's Google account, it was an absolute mess. All kinds of keywords were dumped into this campaign or that with no rhyme or reason. The keywords didn't match each other, the ads didn't match the keywords and the landing pages didn't match the ads. Luckily, their AdWords account was still working, and it was bringing them some customers. As I looked closer, I saw the only reason their clock wasn't getting totally cleaned was Google's Quality Score algorithm. Because everything was so mismatched, most of their keywords had Quality Scores of one to 3. The keywords were underwater and the ads weren't showing at all. Only a few keywords, which were lucky enough to be OK, were getting traffic at all. It was at that point that I realized Google's Quality Score algorithm is mostly designed for the lowest common denominator. It saves the average advertiser from paying a hideous stupidity tax and ensures that what little they accidentally do right generates some results. As the client repaired the damage, slowly but surely, their Quality Scores went up, traffic went up, cost per click went down and more adoptive parents came in. Here's a quick summary of the fastest and most effective methods for cranking up your score by a few notches: Aggressively split-test your adsClick-through rate (CTR) is the biggest factor in your Quality Score, and the best way to improve CTR is by testing new ads. The object is to beat the performance of your old ads. Related: Keyword Rankings Are Meaningless: Learn How to Grade Your SEO Split out your keywords into small, targeted ad groupsThe fewer keywords you have in each ad group, the easier it is to make your ads relevant and the easier it is to push up your CTR. Important tip: One factor in Quality Score is your overall CTR across your entire account. Optimizing all the high-traffic ad groups in each campaign is highly recommended. Related: Set up Your Google AdWords Campaign in nine Steps Make your landing pages more relevantThink of the landing page element of your Quality Score as pass/fail. If your page is good and improving, then spending time on it is only going to make a small difference. If your page is especially bad, go after the obvious issues you can find and fix it. For example, if your landing page contains nothing but an email opt-in form, put some additional copy, information and navigation on your page so visitors have the freedom to learn more about you before deciding to share their information with you. As a general rule, if your Quality Score is four or lower, it's because your landing page is poorly thought out. If you're already at five or higher, your landing page is probably fine and you should make it a priority instead to improve your CTRs. Related: 7 Tips to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck When Buying Ads Negative keywordsThis is a dynamite method for improving your CTR -- one tiny change can literally double your results -- but it's definitely not for total beginners. One wrong negative keyword can flatline your account. If you're going to give negative keywords a try, roll them out carefully into your ad groups, a few keywords at a time and allow a few days between attempts so you can measure the results of your changes. What are negative keywords? Imagine you sell a product that treats hair loss in men. Pretty good chance one of your main keywords will be the phrase match "hair loss." But, people search on "hair loss" for their pets, too. How do you deal with those folks? That's where negative keywords come in. You can prevent your ads from showing for any person who searches on hair loss for their pet. Open the Keywords tab, go to the Negative Keyword section and enter the words you want to exclude (negative keywords are always preceded by the minus sign): –dog –pet –animal –cat You can apply a set of negative keywords to one specific ad group or to an entire campaign. In the case of your hair loss treatment, the latter makes the most sense. Now, whenever someone searches for the words "hair loss" but also includes the words "dog," "pet," "animal" or "cat," your ad is automatically prevented from showing. Negative keywords are powerful because they eliminate irrelevant impressions. If you have 1,000 impressions and 50 clicks, your CTR is five percent. If you use negative keywords to cut out half of those impressions and show to 500 people, but you still get 50 clicks, then your CTR just went from five percent to 10 percent. Fewer irrelevant impressions means better CTR and a higher Quality Score. That's the power of negative keywords. The easiest way to find negative keywords is to go back through your keyword research and pick out words that you rejected because they referenced product lines or services that you don't provide.