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Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore

Statistics help us turn data into information, allowing us to make informed and rational decisions and that's exactly the purpose of this article. Hopefully, it will help you make better-informed decisions about the running of your search marketing.

Generic Search Bar

What is a Search Engine?

First of all, I thought it would make sense to define what a search engine is, as the EU managed to mess this up quite monumentally. The most realistic definition I found was from Webopedia - who state...

"Search engines are programs that search documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. A search engine is really a general class of programs, however, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo! Search that enables users to search for documents on the World Wide Web."

Who has the biggest search engine market share worldwide?

According to Net Market Share (as of March 2016) the share percentage, in terms of the use of Search Engines heavily favours Google, with over a 67.78%. This again reinforces that fact that Google are the market leaders, however it also highlights that the "Others" such as Yahoo, Bing and Baidu etc still hold a large audience and it would be silly to simply ignore them.

Search Engine Market Share

How many searches are made each day?

The number of people using internet search engines is increasing year on year and is almost unfathomable. At...

6,586,013,574 searches a day worldwide

Which in "word-terms" equates to six billion, five hundred eighty-six million,
thirteen thousand, five hundred and seventy-four.

To put it into perspective there are on average around 500million tweets per day, so 500million X 13.

Breaking this down using the above Market Share chart and the data from internet live stats, below you'll find the number of daily searches per Search Engine.

Search Engine
Searches per day
Google 4,464,000,000
Bing 873,964,000
Baidu 583,520,803
Yahoo 536,101,505
Other (AOL, Ask etc) 128,427,264

How many searches are made on Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet?

It wasn't too long ago that Google announced that we had passed the tipping point whereby the number of Mobile searches had taken over that of Desktop stating...

“more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”

The graph below highlights the rate at which Mobile has surpassed Desktop search, specifically in this instance in the form of Local Search i.e. users searching for local businesses.

mobile-vs-desktop-local-search

If you want to do a little further reading into this Natalie Nahai has does a really detailed analysis.

Percentage clicking on Paid vs Organic results?

The Similar Web Search Report offers some great insights into the state of Paid vs Organic. Paid search equates for just over 5% of all traffic, with organic hovering around the 95% mark. Unfortunately, this dataset doesn't include mobile, where I suspect there would be a shift towards paid, due to the above the fold nature of mobile.

Paid vs Organic traffic

Percentage click through rate (CTR) of branded vs non-branded keywords?

This is a question we get asked a lot and is something which does vary case to case. However, the team over at Adlift recently created the below infographic, which does a good job of giving you a benchmark/indicator of how branded vs non-branded keywords perform.

Google-CTR-Study-Branded-vs-non-branded

Do click through rate (CTR) declines based on position?

Looking first at Adwords, the CTR varies greatly between positions, we actually covered this a little while ago, in a post by Farhad Divecha. Please note that since this data was used, there have been updates to the SERPs, and Ad's have now been removed from the right side, if you want to read more about this and the effects it has had, read this post.

Google Ads CTR

The graph above highlights the importance of being in position 1. With a 7.11% CTR this is vastly better than the 3.01% in position 2 and 2.19% in position 3. This is not to say don't try and occupy positions 2,3,4 etc as the cost of being in P1 might outweigh the ROI of lower positions.

The CTR tends to be higher on organic results and higher the further up the page you are, please note that we're talking about pg. 1 of SERP. If you find your site on pg. 2 of the results, you're looking at figures closer to the 1 in every 1000 and this is entirely dependant on whether the keyword has over 10,000 monthly searches.

click-distribution-serp

Click through rates (CTR) for PPC per Industries

Wordstream have produced a set of infographics based on averages across AdWords metrics such as Average CTR, Cost-per-click (CPC), average conversion rate (CVR) and cost per action (CPA) across twenty industries.

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-ctr

It shows the dating world is head and shoulders above the rest (3.4%), with other high-fliers including Finance (2.65%), B2B (2.55%), Consumer Services (2.40%), and Technology (2.38%).

Some of the industries flagging a little include the likes of Legal Services (1.35% CTR), eCommerce (1.66%) and industrial services (1.40%). It's interesting to see eCommerce so low down on the CTR, however, this could be to do with the amount competition and the sheer number of eCommerce stores set-up poorly.

The ADI discovered that the Click Through Rate (CTR) on search have increased YoY, with the top 20% pulling away from other industries, except in the financial services where they are making ground on the industries above. If you're in finance, it's time to get on board with PPC, there appears to be a big push with paid ads.

The next infographic produced by Wordstream gives the average conversion rate.

adwords-industry-benchmarks-average-conversion-rate

Interestingly, it's the finance and insurance industry which convert the best, with a whopping 7.19% CVR, making sense of the sudden surge of interest in PPC in the Financial industry.

If there are any more statistics you’d like to find out, let us know in the comments below and we'll let you know the answers - we know all the best sources.

In an earlier post, we talked about using TechTarget’s search power to jump the organic search turnstile instead of pounding away at the same steep and expensive marketing goals year after year. Now, let’s look, in more detail, at why it makes sense to augment your paid search campaigns with an approach to organic brand ownership that maximizes your ability to reach tech buyers.

Whether you’re using Google AdWords or Bing Ads, your goal is to be the first to engage and influence tech buyers searching on relevant  keywords. Paid search is one way to address this goal, but you’re severely limiting the pool of buyers you can reach. Research shows that only 10% of researchers click on PPC ads. The other 90% of IT decision-makers choose organic content results to continue their research.  This is where TechTarget dominates the rankings for targeted keywords.

What’s a marketer to do? By going with a more robust, developed strategy, a “complete brand search strategy,” you will complement your marketing efforts with TechTarget’s search power. You can engage more of those elusive tech buyers with your brand, both in paid and organic search sectors.

A complete brand search strategy: Using partnerships to dominate organic search

By partnering with a firm that already owns over 750,000 top ranking content items in Google, you’re expanding your online brand visibility without sinking an enormous amount of time and resources into elevating your presence in search rankings. That’s where TechTarget’s Keyword Takeover products fit into your marketing puzzle. They allow you to piggyback on TechTarget’s top Google rankings to directly engage tech buyers that you otherwise might not be able to access.

Keyword Takeovers deliver 100% share of voice on top ranking content in your market to help you:

  • Get first access to engage and influence tech buyers while they are researching solutions. You’re maximizing visibility with the 90% of IT-decision makers clicking organic search results without pouring resources into gaining those rankings.
  • Get in front of engaged viewers. These are people who are showing purchase intent and know what they want. They have already started researching solutions relevant to your targeted keywords. They are primed and ready to engage with a tech seller.
  • Edge out the competition. With Keyword Takeovers, you’re building a competitor-free zone where you own all brand messaging within topically relevant pages. You’re getting exclusive top billing at the moment when tech buyers are making purchase decisions.

Don’t stop doing paid search – but add specific organic search tactics

brand search strategy organicTo be clear, taking advantage of TechTarget’s search dominance, targeted share-of-voice products, and other collaborative organic marketing efforts doesn’t mean scrapping your paid search department. A complete brand search strategy is not “either/or” – it’s “and/and”.

Essential Guides are another way to expand your brand footprint with expert content that tech buyers covet. They are curated resources based on “best-of” content – expert material from the 70,000+ content pieces that TechTarget produces every year. These tools guide potential buyers through their decision making process, and by owning 100% of brand placements in these guides, you’re driving mindshare at a critical juncture. You will intercept buyers with focused visibility and influence while they are seeking solutions in your market.

In addition, Essential Guides deliver account information on which companies you are engaging. Performance reports provide an account list showing who has seen your brand giving you added insight to drive lead generation efforts.

TechTarget also offers Road Blocks – another key service to maximize your brand visibility at important times like product launches, or marketing blitzes. Own 100% share of voice on high-impact ad units anytime that you need to “intercept and influence” tech buyers with a focused brand message.

Leverage TechTarget Share of Voice products to expand influence with tech buyers researching solutions

TechTarget’s search power opens the door for companies that want to have a complete brand search strategy. By limiting your marketing campaign to the same old choices, you’re missing out on over 90% of tech buyers researching solutions. With TechTarget’s Share of Voice suite of products, you have the opportunity to jump to the top of Google’s rankings, reach a massive, targeted tech audience and open the floodgates for a new kind of buyer engagement. Check out what you can accomplish.

Author : Adam Davis

Source : http://www.techtarget.com/how-do-you-create-brand-visibility-if-your-site-doesnt-rank-well-in-google/

On 9 January 2007, one of the most influential entrepreneurs on the planet announced something new - a product that was to become the most profitable in history.

It was, of course, the iPhone. There are many ways in which the iPhone has defined the modern economy.

There is the sheer profitability of the thing, of course: there are only two or three companies in the world that make as much money as Apple does from the iPhone alone.

There is the fact that it created a new product category: the smartphone. The iPhone and its imitators represent a product that did not exist 10 years ago but now is an object of desire for most of humanity. There's the way the iPhone transformed other markets - software, music, and advertising.

But those are just the obvious facts about the iPhone. And when you delve more deeply, the tale is a surprising one. We give credit to Steve Jobs and other leading figures in Apple - his early partner Steve Wozniak, his successor Tim Cook, his visionary designer Sir Jony Ive - but some of the most important actors in this story have been forgotten.


Find out more

Programme image for 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

50 Things That Made the Modern Economy highlights the inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world we live in.

It is broadcast on the BBC World Service. You can listen online or subscribe to the programme podcast.


Ask yourself: what actually makes an iPhone an iPhone? It's partly the cool design, the user interface, the attention to detail in the way the software works and the hardware feels. But underneath the charming surface of the iPhone are some critical elements that made it, and all the other smartphones, possible.

The economist Mariana Mazzucato has made a list of 12 key technologies that make smartphones work: 1) tiny microprocessors, 2) memory chips, 3) solid state hard drives, 4) liquid crystal displays and 5) lithium-based batteries. That's the hardware.

Then there are the networks and the software. So 6) Fast-Fourier-Transform algorithms - clever bits of maths that make it possible to swiftly turn analogue signals such as sound, visible light and radio waves into digital signals that a computer can handle.

At 7) - and you might have heard of this one - the internet. A smartphone isn't a smartphone without the internet.

At 8) HTTP and HTML, the languages and protocols that turned the hard-to-use internet into the easy-to-access World Wide Web. 9) Cellular networks. Otherwise your smartphone not only isn't smart, it's not even a phone. 10) Global Positioning Systems or GPS. 11) The touchscreen. 12) Siri, the voice-activated artificial intelligence agent.

Apple's Jonny Ive jokes with actor Stephen FryImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionApple's designer Sir Jony Ive has been widely lauded for his contribution to the iPhone's success

All of these technologies are important components of what makes an iPhone, or any smartphone, actually work. Some of them are not just important, but indispensable. But when Mariana Mazzucato assembled this list of technologies, and reviewed their history, she found something striking.

The foundational figure in the development of the iPhone wasn't Steve Jobs. It was Uncle Sam. Every single one of these 12 key technologies was supported in significant ways by governments - often the American government.

A few of these cases are famous. Many people know, for example, that the World Wide Web owes its existence to the work of Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He was a software engineer employed at Cern, the particle physics research centre in Geneva that is funded by governments across Europe.

And the internet itself started as Arpanet - an unprecedented network of computers funded by the US Department of Defense in the early 1960s. GPS, of course, was a pure military technology, developed during the Cold War and opened up to civilian use only in the 1980s.

Other examples are less famous, though scarcely less important.

a pile of smartphonesImage copyrightTHINKSTOCKImage captionSmartphones have all benefited from government investment in technology

The Fast-Fourier-Transform is a family of algorithms that have made it possible to move from a world where the telephone, the television and the gramophone worked on analogue signals, to a world where everything is digitised and can therefore be dealt with by computers such as the iPhone.

The most common such algorithm was developed from a flash of insight from the great American mathematician John Tukey. What was Tukey working on at the time? You've guessed it: a military application.

Specifically, he was on President Kennedy's Scientific Advisory committee in 1963, trying to figure out how to detect when the Soviet Union was testing nuclear weapons.

Smartphones wouldn't be smartphones without their touchscreens - but the inventor of the touchscreen was an engineer named EA Johnson, whose initial research was carried out while Johnson was employed by the Royal Radar Establishment, a stuffily-named agency of the British government.

The work was further developed at Cern - those guys again. Eventually multi-touch technology was commercialised by researchers at the University of Delaware in the United States - Wayne Westerman and John Elias, who sold their company to Apple itself.

A woman using a touch-screen tablet computerImage copyrightSCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYImage captionTouchscreen technology has gone on to drive the development of tablet computers

Yet even at that late stage in the game, governments played their part: Wayne Westerman's research fellowship was funded by the US National Science Foundation and the CIA.

Then there's the girl with the silicon voice, Siri.

Back in the year 2000, seven years before the first iPhone, the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, Darpa, commissioned the Stanford Research Institute to develop a kind of proto-Siri, a virtual office assistant that might help military personnel to do their jobs.

Twenty universities were brought into the project, furiously working on all the different technologies necessary to make a voice-activated virtual assistant a reality.

Seven years later, the research was commercialised as a start-up, Siri Incorporated- and it was only in 2010 that Apple stepped in to acquire the results for an undisclosed sum.

Lithium-ion batteriesImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionIncreasingly sophisticated lithium-ion batteries have been essential for smartphone growth

As for hard drives, lithium-ion batteries, liquid crystal displays and semiconductors themselves - there are similar stories to be told.

In each case, there was scientific brilliance and plenty of private sector entrepreneurship. But there were also wads of cash thrown at the problem by government agencies - usually US government agencies, and for that matter, usually some arm of the US military.

Silicon Valley itself owes a great debt to Fairchild Semiconductor - the company that developed the first commercially practical integrated circuits. And Fairchild Semiconductor, in its early days, depended on military procurement.

Of course, the US military didn't make the iPhone. Cern did not create Facebook or Google. These technologies, that so many people rely on today, were honed and commercialised by the private sector. But it was government funding and government risk-taking that made all these things possible.

That's a thought to hold on to as we ponder the technological challenges ahead in fields such energy and biotechnology.

Steve Jobs was a genius, there's no denying that. One of his remarkable side projects was the animation studio Pixar - which changed the world of film when it released the digitally animated film, Toy Story.

Even without the touchscreen and the internet and the Fast-Fourier-Transform, Steve Jobs might well have created something wonderful.

But it would not have been a world-shaking technology like the iPhone. More likely it would, like Woody and Buzz, have been an utterly charming toy.

Tim Harford is the FT's Undercover Economist. 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy was broadcast on the BBC World Service. You can listen online or subscribe to the programme podcast.

Source : http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38320198

 

Users are still dealing with the Yahoo's massive data breach that exposed over 1 Billion Yahoo accountsand there’s another shocking news about the company that, I bet, will blow your mind.

Yahoo might have provided your personal data to United States intelligence agency when required.

Yahoo reportedly built a custom software programmed to secretly scan all of its users' emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials, according to a report by Reuters.

The tool was built in 2015 after company complied with a secret court order to scan hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail account at the behest of either the NSA or the FBI, according to the report that cites three separate sources who are familiar with the matter.

According to some experts, this is the first time when an American Internet company has agreed to such an extensive demand by a spy agency's demand by searching all incoming emails, examining stored emails or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

The tool was designed to search for a specific set of character strings within Yahoo emails and "store them for remote retrieval," but it's unclear exactly what the spies were looking for.

In 2014, we also reported about a court document that revealed Yahoo, who fought back against NSA, refused to join PRISM surveillance program in 2008 until the US government threatened Yahoo with $250,000 fine per day.

However, the US intelligence agency approached the company again in 2015 with a court order came in the form of a "classified directive" that was sent to Yahoo's legal team.

So Secretive Even Yahoo Security Team was Unaware of It


The email search tool was so secretive that even Yahoo's own security team was unaware of the program.

Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer and Yahoo General Counsel Ron Bell not only decided to comply with the directive rather than fighting it back, but they also did not even involve Yahoo's security team in the process, the report suggests.

Instead, Mayer and Bell asked Yahoo's email engineers to write a secret software program to siphon off messages containing the specific character string the spies demanded and stored them for remote retrieval, according to the sources.

Therefore, when Yahoo's security team discovered the program in May 2015, the team initially thought some hackers had broken in.

'Unhappy' Chief Information Security Officer Left Yahoo Immediately

When Yahoo's Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos found out that Mayer had authorized the surveillance program, he resigned from the company, telling his subordinates that "he had been left out of a decision that hurt users' security."

Stamos now works for Facebook.

Here's what Yahoo said in a brief statement in response to Reuters demand:
"Yahoo is a law-abiding company, and complies with the laws of the United States."
The company declined any further comment.

It is most likely that other Internet companies may have also received a similar court order because the spy agency did not know which the target was using email service.

And since the NSA usually makes requests for domestic surveillance through the FBI, it is hard to say which agency was seeking the information.

This news comes just weeks after Yahoo announced the company was the victim of a "state-sponsored" cyber attack that leaked the personal details of more than 500 million of its users.

 

 

Author : Swati Khandelwal
Source : http://thehackernews.com/2016/10/yahoo-email-spying.html

 

Saturday, 24 December 2016 17:36

Amazing science stories from 2016

From the first direct evidence for black holes, to a rocky planet circling a neighbouring star, 2016 was packed with amazing science stories. Here's a selection.

Crest of a wave

Gravitational waves

Image copyrightLIGO/T. PYLE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYImage captionArtist's impression: The existence of gravitational waves was first proposed by Albert Einstein

About a century ago, Albert Einstein proposed the existence of ripples in the fabric of space-time - as an outcome of his Theory of General Relativity. It took until February this year, however, for scientists to finally detect them, using an approach known as laser interferometry.

Quite apart from this spectacular confirmation of Einstein's ideas, the discovery also provided the first direct confirmation for the existence of black holes. It opens up a completely new branch of astronomy, offering a way to probe cosmic phenomena that are off limits to other forms of astronomical inquiry.

The hope is that this will all lead to a more complete understanding of the Universe and even shine a light on what got it all started - the Big Bang.

Shake your tail feather

Media captionProf Mike Benton explains the origins of the newly discovered dinosaur tail to Radio 4's Today

Humans have been turning amber into jewellery and trinkets since prehistoric times. And it's not uncommon to find ancient beetles, ants and other insects trapped in the fossilised tree sap. But it's unusual to find the remains of larger animals.

In June, researchers Lida Xing, Ryan McKellar and others published details of wings from baby birds trapped in 99-million-year-old amber from north-eastern Myanmar.

The finds preserved spectacular detail of the feathers and traces of colour, but the best was yet to come. In December, the same team unveiled a dinosaur tail captured in amber from the same region - a world-first discovery.

Scientists think the juvenile animal - small enough to have fitted in the palm of a hand - got trapped in sticky sap from the tropical forest that once existed there and could not wrestle free.

Peake performance

At the end of 2015, Tim Peake became the first "official" UK astronaut to launch into space since Helen Sharman visited the Soviet Mir Space Station in 1991.

His mission certainly got off to an eventful start. A few hours after launch, the flight's Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko had to manually dock the Soyuz spacecraft with the space station following the failure of its "Kurs" radar system.

Tim Peake

Image copyright NASA

Then, in January, Nasa announced that Peake would step outside the space station to help repair a failed voltage regulator. He became the first ever person to wear the Union Flag on a spacewalk.

Soyuz Capsule

Image copyrightNASA/BILL INGALLSImage captionFor sale: one Soyuz capsule, three careful owners. Slightly singed

But while the walk achieved its primary objective, it had to be called off earlywhen water began leaking into the helmet of colleague Tim Kopra's spacesuit.

Major Tim also became the first person to "run" the London Marathon from space, attached to the ISS's special microgravity treadmill, before returning to Earth in June.

Media captionSpacewalks, auroras, space invaders and a gorilla chase! Watch key moments from Esa astronaut Tim Peake's mission

The world next door

This year, astronomers confirmed the existence of a rocky exoplanet orbiting the nearest star to our Solar System - Proxima Centauri. This rocky world in a next-door system - named Proxima b - also sits within the so-called habitable zone around its star.

Artwork of Proxima b

Image copyrightESO/M.KORNMESSERImage captionArtwork: The planet's mass would suggest it is a rocky world like Earth

However, Proxima Centauri belongs to a class of small, cool stars known as M dwarfs. They are quite different to the mid-sized yellow category that our Sun belongs to. Because they are cooler, the habitable zones around M dwarfs are located further in. But this also exposes planets to the harsh radiation by these stars.

Just how suitable for life the habitable zones of these M dwarf stars are remains a matter for debate. In September, a team of researchers estimated that Proxima b could be blasted by deadly "superflares" from the host star about eight times a year.

'Game-changing' lens

structure of the lens seen under microscope

Image copyrightFEDERICO CAPASSOImage captionThis electron microscope image shows the structure of the lens (white line is 0.002mm long)

The search for a compact, thin lens that performs as well, or better, than the bulky, curved types used in cameras and telescopes got a major boost during 2016.

A flat lens made of paint whitener on a sliver of glass could be "game-changing", according to one of its US inventors.

"The quality of our images is actually better than with a state-of-the-art objective lens. I think it is no exaggeration to say that this is potentially revolutionary," said Prof Federico Capasso of Harvard University.

These "metalenses" work in the visible spectrum but avoid the shortfalls - known as aberrations - inherent in traditional glass optics. In fact, the focal spot of the flat lens was typically 30% sharper than its competition.

But just as importantly, because the lenses are flat, they could be manufactured in the same foundries that produce computer chips. This means they could be made on a large scale at a fraction of the cost of conventional lenses.

Space bonanza

15.5km

Image copyrightESA/ROSETTA/MPS FOR OSIRIS TEAMImage captionAt 15.5km from the surface - the head of the duck is in full view

One of the most important robotic spacecraft missions of recent times came to an end in 2016, as the European Space Agency crashed its Rosetta spacecraft into the comet it had been orbiting for two years.

Just before that happened, mission scientists announced that they had found Philae, the little lander that had detached from Rosetta and descended to the surface of Comet 67P in 2014.

Philae had relayed pictures and science data to Earth, but bounced off the surface and fell silent 60 hours later when its battery went flat. Its resting place had been a mystery, but Rosetta's Osiris cameras spotted the probe wedged in an overhang, explaining why it couldn't get enough sunlight to power its batteries.

Europe's other big mission of the year also crashed on its target, albeit unintentionally. Schiaparelli, which was intended to test the technology for landing on Mars, suffered a glitch that caused its parachute to jettison too early.

Officials at the agency were concerned that the next stage in the Mars programme - the ExoMars rover - might not receive sufficient funding at a meeting of ministers in December. But delegates eventually decided to stump up the money.

AI comes of age?

Lee Se-dol

Image copyrightGOOGLEImage captionMr Lee won one of the five matches

Google's Deep Mind wowed observers yet again this year, with more powerful demonstrations of artificial intelligence.

In March, the lab's AlphaGo programme beat one of the world's top players of Go - the strategy board game. In fact, Le Se-dol won only one of the five matches against his silicon-based opponent, missing out on a $1m prize.

And in a study published in the journal Neuron, researchers from DeepMind collaborated with scientists from Oxford and UCL to probe how the human brain navigates underground train maps. First author Jan Balaguer said the work could help scientists "design more clever algorithms".

AI expert Prof Noel Sharkey said we shouldn't be too worried about rogue AI taking over the world. But he suggested we might do well to keep an eye on our jobs.

Source: This article was published on bbc.com by Paul Rincon

Google has listed its annual "Year in Search" results, highlighting the most popular searches performed by people throughout 2016. As is usually the case, Apple-related search inquiries topped a few of the charts over the last twelve months, with Apple winning four total spots in the Consumer Tech category: the iPhone 7 topped the list ahead of the Freedom 251, iPhone SEiPhone 6s, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy Note7, Nintendo Switch, and Samsung J7. 

google-year-in-search-2

Last December, the iPhone 6s ranked #1 in the same category, with the Apple Watch coming in at a high point at #3. Apple's wearable was nowhere to be seen in the top Google tech searches in 2016, despite Apple launching the new Series 1 and Series 2 versions of the device. 

In the Overall searches category, Pokémon Go came in first place in 2016 thanks to the height of its popularity and player base earlier in the summer, and the game's continued updates and additions throughout the fall. iPhone 7 ranked second behind Pokémon Go, and was the only Apple-related item to be listed in the section this year. Other popular search terms in 2016 were for Deadpool, the Olympics, Slither.io, Prince, David Bowie, and more. 

Check out the rest of Google's Year in Search rankings here to discover the most popularly searched movies, news, tv shows, musicians, and more this past year.

Author:  Mitchel Broussard

Source:  http://www.macrumors.com/2016/12/14/iphone-7-google-year-in-search

The human brain may be able to hold as much information in its memory as is contained on the entire Internet, new research suggests.

Researchers discovered that, unlike a classical computer that codes information as 0s and 1s, a brain cell uses 26 different ways to code its "bits." They calculated that the brain could store 1 petabyte (or a quadrillion bytes) of information.

"This is a real bombshell in the field of neuroscience," Terry Sejnowski, a biologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, said in a statement. "Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10."

Amazing computer

What's more, the human brain can store this mind-boggling amount of information while sipping just enough power to run a dim light bulb. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

By contrast, a computer with the same memory and processing power would require 1 gigawatt of power, or "basically a whole nuclear power station to run one computer that does what our 'computer' does with 20 watts," said study co-author Tom Bartol, a neuroscientist at the Salk Institute.

In particular, the team wanted to take a closer look at the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a key role in learning and short-term memory.

To untangle the mysteries of the mind, the research team took a teensy slice of a rat's hippocampus, placed it in embalming fluid, then sliced it thinly with an extremely sharp diamond knife, a process akin to "slicing an orange," Bartol said. (Though a rat's brain is not identical to a human brain, the basic anatomical features and function of synapses are very similar across all mammals.) The team then embedded the thin tissue into plastic, looked at it under a microscope and created digital images.

Next, researchers spent one year tracing, with pen and paper,  every type of cell they saw. After all that effort, the team had traced all the cells in the sample, a staggeringly tiny volume of tissue. [Image Gallery: Einstein's Brain]

"You could fit 20 of these samples across the width of a single human hair," Bartol told Live Science.

Size distribution

Next, the team counted up all the complete neurons, or brain cells, in the tissue, which totaled 450. Of that number, 287 had the complete structures the researchers were interested in.

Neurons look a bit like swollen, misshapen balloons, with long tendrils called axons and dendrites snaking out from the cell body. Axons act as the brain cell's output wire, sending out a flurry of molecules called neurotransmitters, while tiny spines on dendrites receive the chemical messages sent by the axon across a narrow gap, called the synapse. (The specific spot on the dendrite at which these chemical messages are transmitted across the synapse is called the dendritic spine.) The receiving brain cell can then fire out its own cache of neurotransmitters to relay that message to other neurons, though most often, it does nothing in response.

Past work had shown that the biggest synapses dwarf the smallest ones by a factor of 60. That size difference reflects the strength of the underlying connection — while the average neuron relays incoming signals about 20 percent of the time, that percentage can increase over time. The more a brain circuit gets a workout (that is, the more one network of neurons is activated), the higher the odds are that one neuron in that circuit will fire when another sends it a signal. The process of strengthening these neural networks seems to enlarge the physical point of contact at the synapses, increasing the amount of neurotransmitters they can release, Bartol said.

If neurons are essentially chattering to each other across a synapse, then a brain cell communicating across a bigger synapse has a louder voice than one communicating across a smaller synapse, Bartol said.

But scientists haven't understood much about how many sizes of neurons there were and how they changed in response to signals.

Then Bartol, Sejnowski and their colleagues noticed something funny in their hippocampal slice. About 10 percent of the time, a single axon snaked out and connected to the same dendrite at two different dendritic spines. These oddball axons were sending exactly the same input to each of the spots on the dendrite, yet the sizes of the synapses, where axons "talk" to dendrites, varied by an average of 8 percent. That meant that the natural variance in how much a message between the two altered the underlying synapse was 8 percent.

So the team then asked: If synapses can differ in size by a factor of 60, and the size of a synapse varies by about 8 percent due to pure chance, how many different types of synaptic sizes could fit within that size range and be detected as different by the brain?

By combining that data with signal-detection theory, which dictates how different two signals must be before the brain can detect a difference between them, the researchers found that neurons could come in 26 different size ranges. This, in essence, revealed how many different volumes of "voices" neurons use to chatter with each other. Previously, researchers thought that these brain cells came in just a few sizes.

From there, they could calculate exactly how much information could be transmitted between any two neurons. Computers store data as bits, which can have two potential values — 0 or 1. But that binary message from a neuron (to fire or not) can produce 26 different sizes of neurons. So they used basic information theory to calculate just how many bits of data each neuron can hold.

"To convert the number 26 into units of bits we simply say 2 raised to the n power equals 26 and solve for n.  In this case n equals 4.7 bits," Bartol said.

That storage capacity translates to about 10 times what was previously believed, the researchers reported online in the journal eLife.

Incredibly efficient

The new findings also shed light on how the brain stores information while remaining fairly active. The fact that most neurons don't fire in response to incoming signals, but the body is highly precise in translating those signals into the physical structures, explains in part why the brain is more efficient than a computer: Most of its heavy lifters are not doing anything most of the time.

However, even if the average brain cell is inactive 80 percent of the time, that still doesn't explain why a computer requires 50 million times more energy to do the same tasks as a human brain. 

"The other part of the story might have to do with how biochemistry works compared to how electrons work in a computer. Computers are using electrons to do the calculations and electrons flowing in a wire make a lot of heat, and that heat is wasted energy," Bartol said. Biochemical pathways may simply be much more efficient, he added.

Auhtor : Tia Ghose

Source : http://www.livescience.com/53751-brain-could-store-internet.html

Monday, 12 December 2016 16:18

The 12 best Android apps released in 2016

Android had an interesting year. From its best flagship literally exploding to Google dropping a set of new phones and a new digital assistant, there was a lot to keep developers on their toes. 

Luckily, the Android community was as reliable as ever at turning out creative, fun and seriously useful apps.

From photo retouching to hopelessly addictive games and new ways to call and message friends, here are all the Android apps we couldn't live without in 2016. 

1. Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe's retouching app, Photoshop Fix, brings some of Photoshop's most useful tools to your phone. It offers a suite of retouching tools to fix imperfections in your photos along with standard editing controls to help you make quick lighting adjustments and other tweaks on the fly. 

2. Anchor 

Think of Anchor as podcasting meets the social network. Record one or two-minute audio clips about any topic and other users can join in the conversation by adding their own recording. The result is a nearly endless stream of surprisingly thought-provoking discussions. 

3. CastBox

CastBox is the rare podcast client that not only handles all your subscriptions and playlists, but also puts discovery front and center to make it easier for you to find new shows. The app recommends podcasts based on your interests and makes it easy to browse and search for specific titles. And with features like sleep timers, light and dark themes and mood-based playlists, it will make each podcast feel like it was made for you.

4. Face Changer 2

Thanks in large part to Snapchat, the face swap craze was real this year. Luckily, Face Changer 2 was there to help make all your ridiculous selfie dreams come true. The app lets you transform any photo on your phone with hundreds of crazy effects. Or you can use the in-app camera to face-swap with friends in real time.

5. Giphy Cam

One of Giphy's wackier apps, Giphy Cam lets you create delightful mashups of photos, illustrations, filters and other effects and turn them into endlessly shareable GIFs. The results are hilarious  and dangerously addictive. 

6. Google Allo

We get it — you probably don't need another messaging app in your life, but Google Allo is worth the extra effort. Yes, it has all the standard messaging features — fun sticker packs, voice messaging, doodling on photos — and then some. For one, Google's Assistant is built right in so you can get answers to questions you'd normally need a Google search for right in your chats. Better still, on Android you can chat with Google Assistant to get information about what's on your calendar  and more. 

7. Google Duo

Due, Google's answer to Apple's Face Time, is the dead-simple video calling app Android users have been waiting for. Just find the person you want to call and video calls are one-touch away. The person you're calling can even see your face before they pick up thanks to the "Knock Knock" feature.

8. Hound

You might know SoundHound for its music recognition app, but this year the company put its voice recognizing powers to new use with this new digital assistant app. Hound is able to answer complex questions and links to other services (like Yelp and Uber) to help with tasks like finding a restaurant or hailing a car. It gets even more useful on Android as you can set Hound as your default search app.

9. Identity

Getting a new credit card pretty much sucks when you have to spend hours updating your information on every service. LifeLock's Identity keeps track of all your accounts, so when you get a new card or address all you have to do is tell the app which accounts to update. It even connects to your password manager and email so you don't need to remember what information you need for each account.

10. Merged

Maybe the most addictive puzzle game we played this year, Merged seems simple at first: you match up similar colors to form combos of increasingly higher numbers. Match up three "M" tiles to explode the surrounding pieces. There's more than meets the eye though as you quickly learn you need to figure out the right strategy to get to a new high score.

11. Opera Free VPN

From the company behind the browser of the same name, Opera VPN is a fast, unlimited and free VPN service. Perfect for getting around location-based content restrictions, the app allows you to choose between five regions — the United States, Canada, Germany, Singapore and the Netherlands — to use as your location.

12. Slash Keyboard

One of the best third-party keyboard apps finally landed on Android with Slash Keyboard. A multitasker's dream come true, the app allows you to access dozens of services right from your keyboard so you can search Google, share a location or file, and search your contacts without leaving your chats. 

Aythor:  KARISSA BELL

Source:  http://mashable.com/2016/12/10/best-android-apps-of-2016/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#M.gSpIlr8sqr

Friday, 09 December 2016 01:48

6 Disruptive Trends In Technology For 2017

The tech revolution, as commonplace as it may seem nowadays, continues to barrel forward, and 2017 will see some of the most innovative and evolutionary disruptions we have seen thus far. There will be more connection, more automation, and more significant impact in business and investment than ever before, and the revolution has just begun.

The innovations coming to fruit in 2017 are poised to redefine business and connection as we know it. From banking to devices, 2017 holds many a change in store — the technology of this next phase is dynamic, gigantic, and will feel like a futuristic sci-fi fantasy novel.

1 Finance will be automated.

Many financial experts are predicting that automated banks are the next big disruptor for the banking sector. According to a recent study by Citigroup, automated banking could replace 30% of bank jobs over the next decade. Financial advisors and analysts are due to be quickly replaced by robo-advisors that render them moot — with big data in the wings, robo-advisors have the data needed to make split-second, uber-informed decisions. The payments and mobile banking industries are riding high, as well: fintech startups raised over $22.3 billion in funding in 2015, up 75% from 2014. This trend will speed up in 2017.

2 Big data will get even bigger.

Big data will be a necessary asset for companies in all sectors, From trucking to data entry, big data algorithms will change the landscape in a big way, metaphorically and literally — geographical information systems will get a major upgrade in speed and efficiency. For example, MIT and Ford Motors recently partnered to read the cellphone location data of Bostonians, producing instantaneous traffic and transportation patterns that typically take years to build. Innovation will continue with developments in big data storage, providing much needed revolutionary agility in IT. Steve Wozniak has joined big data storage company Primary Data as their Chief Scientist, so we can be sure to see some huge changes there.

3 The Internet of Everything truly begins.

The Internet of Everything in both the consumer and B2B market will continue to rise, especially in North America, connecting data, things, processes and people. Intelligent systems will grow rapidly in 2017, especially after the release of the Home app from Apple this fall. Over 100 products are already on the market that will work seamlessly with apples HomeKit, so a smart-linked home will be an affordable possibility for anyone. Security, lights, electronics, and climate can all be controlled for the first time in one app. Wearable devices will continue to climb and mesh with healthcare and big data.

4 Mobility will continue to dominate.

Customers are almost completely mobile — as of now, four out of five people use their phones to shop. The global workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, working from home, and tech software and communications will begin to reflect that predominantly. From mobile storage for work-from-home employees to advanced security, mobility has only begun to gain traction. Verizon is one company to watch, as they are in the process of acquiring Irish fleet and mobile workforce management company Fleetmatics, positioning the mobile company to be the largest mobile workforce management company in the world.

5 Space exploration will become increasingly affordable.

Expect in 2017 to see huge changes in the space exploration sector. Costs will go down drastically, with what would previously cost billions of dollars costing only millions. The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority recently approved private company Moon Express to launch an unmanned exploratory moon mission in 2017, and the company plans to forge ahead with commercial missions to the moon to exploit its mineral resources.

We will also see huge strides in satellite use – Planet Labs Inc. has launched a fleet of tiny shoebox-sized satellites that can transfer daily high-res earth images, providing affordable and useful information to companies interested in economically sensitive areas like farmland, oil storage tanks and parking lot usage.

6 Marijuana tech will thrive.

Revenues from Colorado are booming, and investors are seeing huge returns on legal medical marijuana investments from other states, so 2017 will definitely see more of that. Marijuana in 2017 will be technologically pumped up, with fully automated grow operations that are both energy efficient and green (so to speak). Perfectly calibrated lighting and high tech grow software and control systems will make growing an even more lucrative business than it already is. Though legalization has been slow to come to all of the U.S., when it does the cleanliness and energy efficiency of high tech grows will make meeting regulations for high quality, safe, clean medicinal marijuana very easy.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the innovations due to arrive in 2017, but a sneak peek into what may be most prominent on the radar next year. Ubiquitous mobile advancements, quantum computing, VR, AR, and virtual intelligence have been changing the landscape and will continue to do so next year as we move into what seems like a science fiction novel at times: a mysterious, exciting adventure.

Author:  Murray Newlands

Source:   http://www.forbes.com/

Thursday, 08 December 2016 13:16

Underdog Bing steps out from the shadows

Microsoft's search offering Bing is ramping up its presence in Australia, with the past nine months seeing the business double its local headcount as its market share grew from 10.8% to 14.1%.

Often seen as being in the shadow of Google and despite admitting it's the underdog, Bing is well and truly investing in this market with the company also announcing the launch of its partnership network. The new venture aims to forge stronger relationships with local agencies and advertisers.

Despite going all in locally, Bing and Microsoft are acutely aware of its number two to Google's number one, however general manager for Bing ads marketing, Steve Sirich, explained that knowing the time spent with Bing is important makes the brand strive to better its offering.

“It's not an easy job for us, that's why we approach it with a certain amount of humility. We know we're the underdog, we know that when you think about the time spent with Bing it's precious because we're not the default experience.”

“We recognise that Google enjoys that today, but we do feel we have a unique audience, we have a unique set of clicks. If you're a small business or an enterprise customer there's still value in reaching that audience.

“We have to respect that we're asking for a share of time from advertisers and agencies and we have to be very respectful that we're creating as much as we can in the way of innovation, the time we get is precious and it has to be productive for marketers,” he added.

With the launch of the partner network Bing is hoping to focus on creating experiences with and for brands. Sirich says that brands locally are keen to get started with the technology business, adding that they're excited to get greater access to the “power of Microsoft”. He also says advertisers are welcoming the competition to the likes of Google.

“What we hear from customers is that they really want to see healthy competition. [They want to see] there’s opportunities to differentiate and that's a function of having more than one player that is dominant in an area of business.

“A message we always leave our customers with is Bing is bigger than you know – Google doesn’t even talk about share, they don't have to – but we have to talk about it because we have to put a perspective behind our growth.”

Australian head of strategic sales for Bing Ads, Deb O’Sullivan, explained the recent growth in the search offering can be linked to the launch of Microsoft Windows 10, but also as Bing is now incorporated across the whole Microsoft ecosystem.

“We find now it's not just growth through Windows 10. That’s what started the growth, but now that Bing is incorporated through the entire Microsoft ecosystem all of the sections are driving searches to Bing.

“From a marketer and advertiser perspective, they love the fact that Bing offers them a legitimate alternative – and that's what I’m really passionate about,” O’Sullivan explained.

Source : http://www.adnews.com.au/

Auhtor : Sarah Homewood

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