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Corey Parker

Corey Parker

These days it's hard to come across a country where several languages aren't accepted and spoken. No matter what language you speak, everybody has access to the internet. Why not take advantage of this commonly known fact when it comes to optimizing your site and go multilingual?

Research shows that people prefer to make purchases when browsing the web in their native tongue. In fact, over half of the people surveyed (52.4 per cent to be exact) bought from sites that were only in their own language. Furthermore, 85.3 per cent of those asked required pre-purchase information in their preferred language when making important decisions online like buying insurance.

 

Over two-thirds of international buyers visit English-language websites around once a month. However, nearly three quarters of those visitors don't make purchases if they can't use their own credit cards or local currency (even if information is available in their language!).

According to a survey by Content Marketing World, out of 500 participating marketers 60 percent admit to lacking multilingual content marketing strategies. If you're a company or marketer lacking in the multilingual department, now is your chance to get ahead of the competition and go global!

Best Practices

Don't know where to start? Here are some helpful tips provided by Google:

"Utiliser une langue par page": Don't confuse your potential customers by showing off your multilingual skills all at the same time. Use one language per page and keep everybody happy and in the loop.

Shell out the dough and get a real person to translate your content. Google translate may seem good, but you can't count on artificial intelligence to always catch the subtle intricacies of language (but your customers who speak that language definitely will).

 

Keep your URLs simple - instead of changing the whole URL between two different language pages, just add a snippet of text to show the pages are different: www.bestblogever.com/en/thebest VS www.bestblogever.com/fr/thebest

Don't make assumptions - your customers might be cruising the web in Montreal, but that doesn't mean they can speak French. Instead of automatically redirecting based on location or perceived language, provide clearly labeled links between your content in different languages so your consumers can make the decision for themselves. Cross linking pages when localizing also makes life easier for our friend Googlebot.

Between translating content you are sure to end up with some overlap in what you're trying to communicate, AKA duplicate content. However Google says that similar content in varying languages is acceptable as long as your content is for different users in different countries with unique URLs.

 

In terms of deciding which languages you might want to delve into first, research shows these are the top ten languages being translated:

  1. French
  2. Spanish (Latin America)
  3. German
  4. Chinese
  5. Japanese
  6. Spanish (US)
  7. Portuguese (Brazil)
  8. French (Canada)
  9. Italian
  10. Spanish (Spain)

If your company is looking to reach a larger, national or worldwide audience consider making your website multilingual. It's not for every business, but if you can take advantage of a wider audience by translating your amazing site content it is worth the time and investment.

Source: This article was published searchenginepeople.com

Google has been quietly rolling out new features and updates to Google My Business over the last several months, and columnist Joy Hawkins has compiled these underreported changes.

We all know that Google is constantly launching updates to their products (over 1,600 last year), and some of these changes are well covered and some slip by unnoticed. I have quietly been keeping track of some of the major changes I’ve noticed so far this year that would impact those of us who work in Local SEO and wanted to share my observations.

 

1. Google removes permanently closed listings from the Local Finder

If you look at the picture from my article last year about permanently closed listings, you’ll see that there used to be tons of “permanently closed” listings ranking in the Local Finder. They would typically show up at the end of the list (after the open ones), and if you edited a ranking listing to make it appear permanently closed, it would instantly drop to the back of the list.

I haven’t seen a single “permanently closed” listing in the Local Finder in months. This is mostly a good thing, since they aren’t overly useful for users.

The “permanently closed” label is problematic for local SEOs in a couple of scenarios. The first would be for businesses that have practitioners. These are the industries that are most likely to have “permanently closed” listings floating out there that they don’t know about for their practitioners. They are now harder to find, but customers could still be seeing them while searching on Google.

Tip: Search for all your existing and former practitioners on Google by name + city and make sure you don’t have any of these out there.

The second problematic scenario would be when spammers start marking competitors as “permanently closed” to make them disappear. You won’t get any type of notification from Google when this happens to your business (Thanks, Google!) unless you visit your Google My Business dashboard daily.

Tip: Since not everyone has time to do that, my suggestion would be to utilize a ranking tracker that also sends you alerts when they notice changes on your listing, like BrightLocal does.

 

2. Google removes the ability to access the classic version of Google Plus

Google came out with the new version of Google Plus back in 2015, but up until a couple of months ago, they still kept the classic version accessible — and it was the version that Google cached in their search results.

Why does this matter for local SEOs? The classic version had all the Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP) data on it that we loved so much, and the new version gives you none of this info. Many of us used the site:plus.google.com search to find duplicate listings for clients, and this function no longer works, since the cached version of Google Plus has no phone number, no address and no reviews.

Tip: Unless you’re using Google Plus for posts that get lots of engagement, you don’t have much else to do over there, since it’s now almost completely divorced from Google My Business. Posting random links to your blog articles won’t help you unless they get shares, +1s or comments.

 

3. Google launches a platform for reviewing edits to business listings on Google Maps on Desktop

Since MapMaker shut down, lots of people are under the impression that reviewing edits to business listings is no longer possible. Google has had the ability to review edits on the Google Maps app for quite some time, but since those of us in the local SEO industry rarely sit around doing client work on our phones, lots of people don’t realize this is possible. In March, Google also launched a “Check the Facts” feature on Desktop for Local Guides. This is a very simplified version of editing and isn’t really comparable to what we used to have on MapMaker, but it does allow for users to approve or deny each other’s edits to business listings. When this first launched, it was only available to Local Guides who were a Level 5 but rolled out to all Local Guides levels a few weeks later.  

4. Google removes pending edits for a listing’s status from showing up on the Google Maps app

I outlined in this article how spammers were attacking legit business listings by reporting their listings as spam just to get the pending status to show up on their listing on mobile. Indeed, these spammers shifted their focus to Trump Tower at one point, and searching for it on the Google Maps app produced the following listing:

 

Google removed pending edits for a listing’s status shortly after I wrote that article, so now if someone reports you as spam, you don’t have to worry unless the edit actually publishes.

 

5. Google rolls out the Snack Pack to more industries in the USA

Different from the 3-pack, the “Snack Pack” refers to the local layout that that is missing the links to the business website or driving directions; instead of seeing these (useful) buttons, you get an image.

For some reason, Google decided earlier this year that all of us who search on Google would love to see pictures of bugs when searching for pest control instead of a website that would tell us more about the company we’re potentially hiring.

Mike Blumenthal pointed out that in addition to pest control, jewelers and sporting goods stores also now have this layout.

6. Businesses can now access 18 months of data from Insights inside their Google My Business dashboard

In April, Google added bulk insights to the dashboard, which might look unimpressive at first if you don’t catch the fact that you can now select a custom date range for data and aren’t stuck looking at one-week, one-month, or one-quarter intervals! This is a huge plus for agencies who onboard new clients and want the ability to see how their stats look before they start improving things.

 

Tip: Compare data year over year instead of month over month. I find this gives a much more accurate picture of improvement, especially for seasonal businesses.

7. Google starts actively showing local pack ads on mobile

I first heard that this AdWords feature was coming last year while at SMX Advanced in Seattle. After tweeting a really blurry picture of the feature, we heard very little from Google about it until I noticed the ads starting to show up everywhere a couple months ago. Here is a picture of what they look like that I took using Mobile Moxie’s Mobile Search Simulator:

Notice anything else?

Tons of other updates have happened in the last few months, but I wanted to highlight the ones I found got very little coverage that you might have missed. Were there any other major things you noticed that didn’t make the list?

Source: This article was published searchengineland By Joy Hawkins

Crappy? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

You have no idea kid!

This is the image of New York taken from the International Space Station, 400 km away from any point on Earth (that is directly under it) and travelling at 27000 km/h.

An image of New York taken from the International Space Station. Photo: Quora

So I heard you say low-res camera? You must be blind if you call this low-res in spite of the distance and speed of the ISS.

First off, the camera specifications are driven by science and system requirements. If we need a high-resolution camera, the science that we want to do with it shall require it have such a resolution. Otherwise, we are wasting mass and power, two of the most precious resources for spacecrafts.

 

And did I hear you say “no video”?

Have you heard of the High Definition Earth-Viewing System (HDEV) placed on the ISS? Here is a link:

live stream
live stream

A live stream of Earth’s view from the International Space Station. Photo: Quora

This is the live stream of Earth’s view from the International Space Station.

 

This space is too short to mention the entire specifications of cameras used by NASA spacecrafts.

If you are interested in Voyager 1’s wide angle camera, check these specs: Ring-Moon Systems Node.

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and here are some of the images taken by it.

voyager1
voyager1 

 

Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and this is an image taken by it. Photo: Quora Voyager 1 was launched in 1977 and this is an image taken by it. Photo: Quora
voyager2
voyager2
Additionally, these images have to be transmitted with the same quality from over 10 Astronomical Units distance. Storage space, bandwidth of transfer, power requirements, and many other things come into play before deciding upon camera resolution.From the question description:Are we to believe that nasa spends years and billions on planet exploration probes only to equip them with crappie, low res cameras and no video?No, you just haven’t done your research quite well.
Source: This article was published yahoo.com By Karthik Venkatesh

The bizarre experiment has raised eyebrows (Picture: CNS)

A doctor, who plans to perform a human head transplant, has added a mouse’s head to the body of a rat.

The surgeon has courted controversy with previous experiments involving moneys.

Sergio Canavero has shocked many in the scientific community with his latest experiment which involved creating a group of two-headed rats.

Working alongside Xioping Ren, Canavero showed that his two-headed rats lived for days.

 

Cutting off the heads of mouse and adding them to the body of rats, who also had their heads on, doctors recorded the impacts on the rodents.

Surgeon planning first human head transplant gives rat a second head
The doctors showed a third rodent provided constant blood supply (Picture: CNS)

Each mutant animal lived for around 36 hours.

He has been slowly moving towards a scientific capability of performing a human transplant.

One of which included spinal cords being reconnected.

 

Canavero attempted to prove this with dogs last year by severing the spinal cord and then reattaching it.

But doubting experts at the time claimed achieving a human transplant is a long way off.

Surgeon planning first human head transplant gives rat a second head
Sergio Canavero wants to perform a human head transplant (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

‘This work would put them about three or four years from repairing a spinal cord in humans,’ medical ethicist Arthur Caplan at New York University told the New Scientist.

‘It would put them maybe seven or eight from trying anything like a head transplant.’

 

Doctors would have to keep the head from falling into a coma, which is how decapitation kills people.

Canavero used a bloody supply from a third rodent to provide blood both to the rat and the mouse.

Either way there are serious ethical issues to performing a head transplant and mutant double-headed people are probably some time off.

Source: This article was published on metro.co.uk

If you're nervous about public speaking, you're not alone—it's so common a fear that it even has its own name: Glossophobia. A 2013 StatisticBrain survey found that 74 percent of adults have anxiety about speaking in public.

Google Brain creates new image details out of thin air.

Google Brain has devised some new software that can create detailed images from tiny, pixelated source images. Google's software, in short, basically means the "zoom in... now enhance!" TV trope is actually possible.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017 11:36

Top 10 Tech Trends Transforming Humanity

Even amid a year of disheartening political news, 2016 brought a number of advancements that are changing the global tech terrain

2016 was an incredible year for technology, and for humanity.

Despite all the negative political-related news, there were 10 tech trends this year that positively transformed humanity.

For this “2017 Kick-Off” blog, I reviewed 52 weeks of science and technology breakthroughs, and categorized them into the top 10 tech trends changing our world.

I’m blown away by how palpable the feeling of exponential change has become.

I’m also certain that 99.999 percent of humanity doesn’t understand or appreciate the ramifications of what is coming.

 

In this blog, enjoy the top 10 tech trends of the past 12 months and why they are important to you.

(NOTE: at the end of this blog, I provide a detailed reference for all of the new items below).

Let’s dive in…

1. We are hyper-connecting the world

In 2010, 1.8 billion people were connected. Today, that number is about 3 billion, and by 2022 – 2025, that number will expand to include every human on the planet, approaching 8 billion humans.

Unlike when I was connected 20 years ago at 9,600 baud via AOL, the world today is coming online at 1 megabit per second or greater, with access to the world’s information on Google, access to the world’s products on Amazon, access to massive computing power on AWS and artificial intelligence with Watson… not to mention crowdfunding for capital and crowdsourcing for expertise.

Looking back at 2016, you can feel the acceleration. Here are seven stories that highlight the major advances in our race for global connectivity:

a) Google’s 5G Solar Drones Internet Service: Project Skybender is Google’s secretive 5G Internet drone initiative. News broke this year that they have been testing these solar-powered drones at Spaceport America in New Mexico to explore ways to deliver high-speed Internet from the air. Their purported millimeter wave technology could deliver data from drones up to 40 times faster than 4G.

b) Facebook’s Solar Drone Internet Service: Even before Google, Facebook has been experimenting with a solar-powered drone, also for the express purpose of providing Internet to billions. The drone has the wingspan of an airliner and flies with roughly the power of three blowdryers.

c) ViaSat Plans 1 Terabit Internet Service: ViaSat, a U.S.-based satellite company, has teamed up with Boeing to launch three satellites to provide 1 terabit-per-second Internet connections to remote areas, aircraft and maritime vehicles. ViaSat is scheduled to launch its satellite ViaSat2 in early 2017.

d) OneWeb Raises $1.2B for 900 Satellite Constellation: An ambitious low-Earth Orbit satellite system proposed by my friends Greg Wyler, Paul Jacobs and Richard Branson just closed $1.2 billion in financing. This 900-satellite system will offer global Internet services as soon as 2019.

e) Musk Announces 4,425 Internet Satellite System: Perhaps the most ambitious plan for global Internet domination was proposed this year by SpaceX founder Elon Musk, with plans for SpaceX to deploy a 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellite system to blanket the entire planet in broadband.

2. Solar/Renewables cheaper than coal

We’ve just exceeded a historic inflection point. 2016 was the year solar and renewable energy became cheaper than coal.

In December, the World Economic Forum reported that solar and wind energy is now the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries.

“As prices for solar and wind power continue their precipitous fall, two-thirds of all nations will reach the point known as “grid parity” within a few years, even without subsidies,” they added.

This is one of the most important developments in the history of humanity, and this year marked a number of major milestones for renewable energy.

Here’s 10 data points (stories) I’ve hand-picked to hammer home the historic nature of this 2016 achievement.

a) 25 percent of the world’s power comes from renewables: REN21, a global renewable energy policy network, published a report showing that a quarter of the world’s power now comes from renewable energy. International investment in renewable energy reached $286 billion last year (with solar accounting for over $160b of this), and it’s accelerating.

b) In India, solar is now cheaper than coal: An amazing milestone indeed, and India is now on track to deploy >100 gigawatts of solar power by 2022.

c) The UK is generating more energy from solar than coal: For the first time in history, this year the U.K. has produced an estimated 6,964 GWh of electricity from solar cells, 10 percent higher than the 6,342 GWh generated by coal.

d) Coal plants being replaced by solar farms: The Nanticoke Generating Station in Ontario, once North America’s largest coal plant, will be turned into a solar farm.

e) Coal will never recover: The coal industry, once the backbone of U.S. energy, is fading fast on account of renewables like solar and wind. Official and expert reports now state that it will never recover (e.g. coal power generation in Texas is down from 39 percent in early 2015 to 24.8 percent in May 2016).

 

f) Scotland generated 106 percent energy from wind: This year, high winds boosted renewable energy output to provide 106 percent of Scotland’s electricity needs for a day.

g) Costa Rica ran on renewables for 2+ months: The country ran on 100 percent renewable energy for 76 days.

h) Google to run 100 percent on renewable energy: Google has announced its entire global business will be powered by renewable energy in 2017.

i) City of Las Vegas meets goal of 100 percent power by renewables: Las Vegas’s city government now runs entirely on renewable energy.

j) Tesla’s Gigafactory: Tesla’s $5 billion structure in Nevada will produce 500,000 lithium ion batteries annually and Tesla’s Model III vehicle. It is now over 30 percent complete… the 10 million square foot structure is set to be done by 2020. Musk projected that a total of 100 Gigafactories could provide enough storage capacity to run the entire planet on renewables.

3. Glimpsing the end of cancer and disease

Though it may seem hard to believe, the end of cancer and disease is near.

Scientists and researchers have been working diligently to find novel approaches to combating these diseases, and 2016 saw some extraordinary progress in this regard.

Here are my top 10 picks that give me great faith about our abilities to cure cancer and most diseases:

a) Cancer immunotherapy makes strides (extraordinary results): Immunotherapy involves using a patient’s own immune system (in this case, T cells) to fight cancer. Doctors remove immune cells from patients, tag them with “receptor” molecules that target the specific cancer, and then infuse the cells back in the body. During the study, 94 percent of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) saw symptoms vanish completely. Patients with other blood cancers had response rates greater than 80 percent, and more than half experienced complete remission.

b) In China, CRISPR/Cas9 used in first human trial: A team of scientists in China (Sichuan University) became the first to treat a human patient with an aggressive form of lung cancer with the groundbreaking CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique.

c) NIH approves human trials using CRISPR: A team of physicians at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine had their project of modifying the immune cells of 18 different cancer patients with the CRISPR-Cas9 system approved by the National Institute of Health. Results are TBD.

d) Giant Leap in treatment of diabetes from Harvard: For the first time, Harvard stem cell researchers created “insulin producing” islet cells to cure diabetes in mice. This offers a promising cure in humans as well.

e) HIV genes cut out of live animals using CRISPR: Scientists at the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple University were able to successfully cut out the HIV genes from live animals, and they had over a 50 percent success rate.

 

f) New treatment causes HIV infected cells to vanish: A team of scientists in the U.K. discovered a new treatment for HIV. The patient was treated with vaccines that helped the body recognize the HIV-infected cells. Then, the drug Vorinostat was administered to activate the dormant cells so they could be spotted by the immune system.

g) CRISPR cures mice of Sickle Cell Disease: CRISPR was used to completely cure sickle cell by editing the errant DNA sequence in mice. The treatment may soon be used to cure this disease, which affects about 100,000 Americans.

h) Eradicating Measles (in the U.S.): The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that after 50 years, they have successfully eradicated measles in the U.S. This is one of the most contagious diseases around the world.

i) New Ebola vaccine proved to be 100 percent effective: None of the nearly 6,000 individuals vaccinated with rVSV-ZEBOV in Guinea, a country with more than 3,000 confirmed cases of Ebola, showed any signs of contracting the disease.

j) Eradicating Polio: The World Health Organization has announced that it expects to fully eradicate polio worldwide by Early 2017.

4. Progress on extending human life

I am personally convinced that we are on the verge of significantly impacting human longevity. At a minimum, making “100 years old the new 60,” as we say at Human Longevity Inc.

This year, hundreds of millions of dollars were poured into research initiatives and companies focused on extending life.

Here are five of the top stories from 2016 in longevity research:

a) 400-Year-old shark discovered: A Greenland shark that could have been over 400 years old was discovered this year, making the species the longest-lived vertebrate in the world.

b) Genetically reversing aging: With an experiment that replicated stem cell-like conditions, Salk Institute researchers made human skin cells in a dish look and behave young again, and mice with premature aging disease were rejuvenated with a 30 percent increase in lifespan. The Salk Institute expects to see this work in human trials in less than 10 years.

c) 25 percent life extension based on removal of senescent cells: Published in the medical journal Nature, cell biologists Darren Baker and Jan van Deursen have found that systematically removing a category of living, stagnant cells can extend the life of mice by 25 percent.

d) Funding for anti-aging startups: Jeff Bezos and the Mayo Clinic-backed Anti-Aging Startup Unity Biotechnology with $116 million. The company will focus on medicines to slow the effects of age-related diseases by removing senescent cells (as mentioned in the article above).

e) Young blood experiments show promising results for longevity: Sakura Minami and her colleagues at Alkahest, a company specializing in blood-derived therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, have found that simply injecting older mice with the plasma of young humans twice a week improved the mice’s cognitive functions as well as their physical performance. This practice has seen a 30 percent increase in lifespan, and increase in muscle tissue and cognitive function.

5. Amazing successes with stem cells

I’ve increasingly become confident and passionate about stem cells, the regenerative engine of the body, to help cure disease and extend the healthy human lifespan. I previously wrote about stem cells and the incredible work from Dr. Robert (Bob) Hariri here.

Below are my top three stories demonstrating the incredible research and implications for stem cells in 2016:

a) Stem cells able to grow new human eyes: Biologists led by Kohji Nishida at Osaka University in Japan have discovered a new way to nurture and grow the tissues that make up the human eyeball. The scientists are able to grow retinas, corneas, the eye’s lens, and more using only a small sample of adult skin.

b) Stem cell injections help stroke victims walk again: In a study out of Stanford, of 18 stroke victims who agreed to stem cells treatments, seven of them showed remarkable motor function improvements. This treatment could work for other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

c) Stem cells help paralyzed victim gain use of arms: Doctors from the USC Neurorestoration Center and Keck Medicine of USC injected stem cells into the damaged cervical spine of a recently paralyzed 21-year-old man. Three months later, he showed dramatic improvement in sensation and movement of both arms.

6. The Year of Autonomous Vehicles

2016 was definitely the year of the autonomous vehicle.

As Google, Tesla and Uber lead the charge, almost every major car company is investing heavily in autonomy.

This will be one of the defining technology developments of the decade ― soon we may well look back in shock that we ever let humans drive cars on their own…

In looking back at the last 12 months, here are the top nine developments in self-driving cars:

a) Autonomous Uber operational in Pittsburgh: Uber’s self-driving autonomous cars began picking up passengers in Pittsburgh this year. They also attempted a rollout in San Francisco.

b) Uber’s self-driving trucks made a delivery of 50,000 beers: This year, Uber acquired autonomous truck company Otto, and the retrofitted 18-wheeler made its first delivery… 50,000 cans of Budweiser.

c) Every Tesla Will Be Fully Autonomous in 2017: Elon Musk announced that all new Tesla cars will have Level 5 autonomy. This means that by 2017, Tesla cars will be fully capable of driving themselves with zero interaction from a human driver.

d) Ford targets 2021 for autonomous vehicle release: Ford announces intention to deliver high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ridesharing in 2021.

e) GM’s first fully autonomous car: The company plans to bring its fully electric self-driving cars to the masses by launching its first driverless cars on Lyft.

f) Google creates Waymo to support self-driving car technology: Google spun out its self-driving car unit as its own separate entity called Waymo.

g) Google plans ride-sharing service with Chrysler: Google will deploy a semi-autonomous version of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan by as soon as the end of 2017.

h) Autonomy will kill car ownership: A former Tesla and BMW exec said that self-driving cars would start to kill car ownership in just five years. John Zimmer, the cofounder and president of Lyft, said in September that car ownership would “all but end” in cities by 2025.

i) Self-Driving Tractors Hit Farms: The self-driving tractors can deliver faster, more precise results than their human-controlled counterparts.

7. Here Come Drones and Flying Cars

Quadcopters and multicopters big and small made huge strides in 2016.

We are headed towards a world where autonomous drones will image the world at millimeter resolution, deliver products and packages, and transport humans to remote areas that were previously inaccessible by roads.

Here were the top six drone and “flying car” developments this year:

a) Amazon Prime Air Made Its First Delivery: Amazon’s drone delivery program “Prime Air” made its first delivery in the U.K. this year. Expect a much bigger rollout in 2017.

b) The 7-11 convenience store leads: Convenience store 7-11 made 77 drone deliveries this year, beating Amazon by a long shot.

c) Mercedes commits $500M to drone delivery: Mercedes-Benz vans and drone tech startup Matternet have created a concept car called a Vision Van. The van’s rooftop serves as a launch and landing pad for Matternet’s new M2 drones.

d) Larry Page funding flying cars: Reports this year suggest Google cofounder Larry Page has been personally funding a pair of startups devoted to creating flying cars. He has purportedly put over $100 million into the ventures.

e) 1,000 organ transplant deliveries from drone ordered: Last year we saw Chinese company eHang announce the first human-carrying drone. Recently, United Therapeutics CEO Martine Rothblatt announced a deal to fund 1,000 retrofitted eHang drones to provide organ deliveries to transplant patients, as part of Rothblatt’s Manufactured Organ Transport Helicopter (MOTH) system.

 

f) Uber launched its Elevate program: Global transportation giant Uber announced its plans to enter the “flying car” service arena by publishing a massive whitepaper this year detailing its plan to launch an “on demand aviation” service called Uber Elevate.

8. The March of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important technology humanity will ever develop. I believe AI is a massive opportunity for humanity, not a threat.

Broadly, AI is the ability of a computer to understand your question, to search its vast memory banks, and to give you the best, most accurate answer.

AI will also help humanity fundamentally solve its grandest challenges.

You may think of early versions of AI as Siri on your iPhone, or IBM’s Watson supercomputer, but what is coming is truly awesome.

Here are 10 of the most important stories for the past year:

a) NVIDIA revealed a deep-learning computer chipset: The Tesla P100, Nvidia’s newly announced 15-billion-transistor chip, is designed specifically for deep-learning A.I. technology. Hardware advances like this are rapidly accelerating AI developments.

b) $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE: The XPRIZE Foundation and IBM Watson, in partnership with TED, announced a $5M purse for the team able to develop an AI that can collaborate with humans to solve grand challenges. The top three teams will compete on the TED stage in the spring of 2020.

c) AIs can read your lips: A new AI lip reader out of Oxford called LipNet was built to process whole sentences at a time. LipNet was 1.78 times more accurate than human lip readers in translating the same sentences.

d) AI’s predict election better than humans: MogIA, an AI system developed by an Indian startup, correctly predicted the outcome of this year’s elections. It based its analysis on 20 million data points from platforms such as Google, Twitter and YouTube.

e) AI System beats 500-to-1 odds, predicts the Kentucky Derby trifecta: A startup called Unanimous AI built a swarm system in which individuals within a group influence each other’s decision making. The swarm correctly predicted the top four finishers – known as a superfecta – beating 540 to 1 odds.

f) Microsoft speech recognition tech scores better than humans: Microsoft’s new speech recognition technology is able to transcribe conversational speech as well as (or even better than) humans. The technology scored a word error rate (WER) of 5.9 percent.

g) AI-Written novel passes first round of literary award: Titled ‘The Day A Computer Writes A Novel,’ the short story was a team effort between human authors, led by Hitoshi Matsubara from the Future University Hakodate, and, well, a computer.

h) AI saves woman’s life: Reports assert that Japanese doctors have, for the first time in history, used artificial intelligence from IBM’s Watson system to detect a rare type of leukemia, helping to save a patient’s life.

 

i) AI’s beat human pilot in air combat: Retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee recently went up against ALPHA, an artificial intelligence developed by a University of Cincinnati doctoral graduate in a high-fidelity air combat simulator. The Colonel lost to the AI.

j) Deep Mind beats world’s GO champion: The Go-playing AI “AlphaGo” from Google’s DeepMind beat the reigning Go world champion, winning the five-game series 4-1 overall. This is a major achievement in the field of AI and deep learning.

9. Physics & Exploration

This year saw a number of fundamental achievements in physics, as well as a number of notable discoveries in our quest to explore the cosmos.

Here are the top three stories for your consideration:

a) Gravitational Waves Confirmed: After decades of searching, scientists have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merger of two massive black holes.

b) Evidence found for “Planet Nine”: This year, more evidence arose suggesting there is, in fact, another giant, icy planet circling at the edges of our solar system.

c) Earth-size planet around Proxima Centauri: A new planet that bears striking similarities to our own planet prompts remarkable inroads into the study of space. This also brings a new area to search for the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

10. Conquest of Commercial Space

We are living during the birth of the commercial space era, driven by passionate billionaire backers.

 

Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Planetary Resources and various teams competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE are building commercial rockets and spacecraft to explore the cosmos.

It is an incredibly exciting time for commercial space – here are the top four developments from the past 12 months.

a) Bezos announced ‘New Glenn’: Jeff Bezos announced a massive new reusable rocket family in development for his private spaceflight company Blue Origin. The rocket, called New Glenn, will be used to launch satellites and people into space, according to Bezos.

b) Four companies sign private contracts to fly to moon in 2017: The teams are competing to win the $20 million Google Lunar XPRIZE to become to the first private team to land a spacecraft on the moon. The companies are: Moon Express, SpaceIL, Synergy Moon and Team-Indus.

c) Musk announces Mars plans: SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he will put a person on Mars by 2025. There are four key things we will need to get there: full reusability, refueling in orbit, propellant production on Mars, and a propellant that works.

d) Breakthrough Starshot Project targets interstellar travel: Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced their collaborative venture “Breakthrough Starshot” — a $100 million attempt to make an interstellar starship.

What a past 12 months!

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Source: This article was published huffingtonpost.com By Peter Diamandis

56 percent of consumers select a business if it has positive reviews/ratings in the local pack, writes Sherry Bonelli. And that's just the beginning.

Over the past few years the topic of reputation marketing has really taken off. Many businesses are finally starting to realize that getting online reviews from happy customers has many benefits – and that list of benefits keeps growing.

Ever since Google started showing those little stars in search engine results pages (SERPs), people started to take notice – consumers and business owners. Businesses began to ask themselves: Does my business have any online reviews? How many reviews are online about my company, products, services – or even my staff/team? What are my customers saying about us – is it good or bad? What is my company’s overall star rating on Google My Business, Yelp and other popular online review sites?

 

And these reviews – or lack of reviews – show up front-and-center for all to see (especially potential customers) whenever someone does a search for a local business or industry on Google. Seeing those stars and reading the various online reviews make it easier for consumers to quickly compare competitors, get a feel for whether a business can be trusted and if their products or services are bad, ho-hum, good, great or awesome! (Okay. “Awesome” isn’t really a choice when leaving online reviews, but ‘Awesome’ would be a 5-star review in my opinion….)

Reading online reviews has organically become part of the customer’s buying process. In fact, 56 percent of consumers select a business if it has positive ratings/reviews in the Google Local Pack:

When Google began showing third-party reviews in September 2016, that’s when the industry really stopped in their tracks and sat up straight in their seats and took notice.

Displaying these third-party reviews on Google showed all of us just how important Googlethinks reviews are to the overall “healthiness” of a website. And unlike many review sites (e.g. Yelp), Google actually encourages businesses to ask customers for reviews.

In fact, Google just started sending out printed handouts to Google’s Get Your Business Online (GYBO) partners for them to distribute to workshop participants. One side of the handout is only about how businesses can “connect with customers through reviews”:

In my opinion, this innocent looking little piece of paper is signficiant – probably moresignificant than it seems at the outset. Since Google took the time to design, print and paid to send out these flyers to GYBO partners to pass out at their local workshops, it means that Google thinks reviews are important – and you should, too!

 

So if you own a business, you should train your team how to ask for an online review — because 7 out of 10 customers will leave a review if they’re simply asked. That makes it simple; right?

Now Is The Time To Get Reviews For Your Business

The social proof in reviews and star ratings helps shoppers shortcut their research and make decisions faster and with greater confidence than ever before. A positive reputation is one of the most powerful assets a business has, and those 5-star reviews can help influence new customers to buy from you.

According to BrightLocal’s latest Local Consumer Review Survey91% of consumers actively read online business reviews. This means more and more people are searching for and reading reviews on a regular basis. Consumers are proactively looking for reviews – which is great for businesses that have a positive online reputation.

A positive reputation can do so much for a company. Here are five reasons why proactively getting 5-star reviews can help your business.

1.Rank Your Business Higher On Search Engine Results

Reviews and ratings help a business rank higher on the search engines. Two recent studies by Moz and The Local SEO Guide show the ranking factors that influence local search rankings. They both found that online reviews can help a website rank higher in the Google Local 3-Pack and in organic local search results.

If a local business wants to rank higher on Google, having reviews is the fifth top ranking factor to getting a business listed on Google’s Local 3-Pack. So if you want to try and rank higher on Google, start getting those reviews!

2.Reviews Improve Click-Through Rates

One of your main goals as a business is to get searchers to click on your link when you show up in the search engines. A recent study showed that 56 percent of consumers click on businesses that have online reviews:

Star ratings in the Local Pack results generate higher CTR than organic search results. In this study, it was also discovered that showing a positive star rating of 3+ stars has a positive impact on click-through rates. The higher the star rating the more clicks a search listing received from Google’s Local Pack.

It’s simple: Negative ratings reduce clicks and positive ratings increase clicks.

3. Positive Reviews Build Trust With Potential Customers

Almost 9 out of 10 consumers determine whether or not they can trust a business after reading 10 reviews. But don’t just stop with ten reviews! Getting online reviews must be an ongoing process for your business and should be built into your selling and follow-up sales processes. Ask your customers for a review when they’re at their happiest moment in the buying process.

Did they just buy a new car and they have the keys to their shiny new car in their hands? Ask to take a picture of them in front of their new vehicle to post on your social media page – and ask for a review before they drive off. Did your customer just get a relaxing massage that made them feel amazing? Ask for a review as you’re checking them out. If you sell a product like hearing aids, wait an appropriate amount of time for your new patient to get used to their hearing device and then email them or send them a postcard thanking them for their business and giving them direct links to a few of your review site listings that they can leave feedback on.

 

You can never have too many reviews. Remember, just like SEO and other digital marketing strategies, your competitors are going to try and one-up you. They are always going to try to get one more review than you! Keep going…Push forward.

Research has also shown that 8 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. What does that mean to you? If you think getting personal one-on-one referrals are good, just think about how much more leverage and power you’ll have when you get hundreds (or thousands) of people reading those online “referrals”? The power is endless!

4. Improves Landing Page Conversions

In digital marketing you’re always trying to get better conversion rates — more clicks on your organic rankings, more clicks on your paid-for ads, enticing potential buyers to click on a link to a product page in a blog post you wrote, etc.

A recent survey was done to see how promoting a 5-star reputation impacts landing page conversions.

In this study, 6,283 North American consumers were surveyed and asked to imagine they were searching online for a local plumber, florist or realtor. They were then showed two different landing pages – one landing page highlighted an actual customer’s review about the business and another page where the business said they were the “dependable” company:

What were the results?

83 percent of the people thought the business with the user-generated review on the landing page was trustworthy. Additionally, 15 percent of the people said they did not find the business without reviews to be trustworthy. 

 

The consumers were then asked how likely it would be for them to contact the businesses. Of the businesses with reviews on their landing pages, a whopping 74 percent of people said they would contact the business!

5. Customer Feedback Can Help Improve Your Business

 Both positive AND negative reviews can help you improve your business. For instance, do you have a few negative reviews online? If you do, take a look at what the reviewer has to say. Is there a systemic problem with a product that you should evaluate? Do you have an employee that is consistently getting mentioned in negative reviews? If so, you may want to spend extra time coaching him. There can be a good side to negative feedback because those poor reviews may uncover a business issue, process or employee problem that would’ve otherwise gone unnoticed.

The growing quantity of online reviews and review sites covering more industries and services, provides huge benefits to both consumers and the businesses that fully embrace reputation marketing.

What Does Your Reputation Look Like?

Before you venture into reputation marketing it’s good to get a baseline as to how your current reputation and online reviews look. If you’re not sure if your business has reviews (or whether they’re good or bad) you can run a free reputation report to find out.

The Bottom Line?

In a world of mixed messages, multiple options and overwhelming data, getting online reviews is a great way to differentiate your business from your competitors in the market.

Source: This article was published geomarketing.com By Sherry Bonelli

Paladion’s John Daniele, at his firm’s cybersecurity monitoring centre in Oakville, Ont., says Canadian companies tend to lag their U.S. counterparts in spending on data security.
(J.P. Moczulski/The Globe and Mail)

That message from an Eastern European stranger who would like to make your acquaintance is obviously bogus.

So is that random PayPal notice. Yet the e-mail from a manager at your company, authorizing a money transfer, could just as easily be the work of criminals, too.

E-mail is still, and could very well remain, one of the most porous entry points for cybersecurity breaches, as evidenced in last week’s massive phishing hack targeting Gmail accounts. (Phishing is an attempt to gain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, usually through e-mail inquiries.) Against a rat-a-tat machine-gun fire of constant hacking attempts, a defence that depends merely on employee vigilance not to open or act upon any seemingly questionable e-mail can seem hopelessly fallible.

 

“Just recently, I was dealing with a client who had about $200,000 transferred out of their account due to some criminal entity that was exploiting their business process,” said John Daniele, chief analyst of cyberintelligence and digital forensics at cybersecurity firm Paladion in Oakville, Ont.

The criminals had studied the business closely, determining which part of the process was vulnerable, “and they used a very sophisticated spear-phishing attack to exploit that,” he said. Spear phishing is a more targeted version of an e-mail ploy.

The problem is not only tricking a victim to click a link or give personal information. A hack can also be planted in a business process in which it is acted upon nearly automatically, faster than it can be confirmed.

“With the pace of business, that’s not always so easy. You may not be able to pick up a phone every single time and delay a business process that may be happening 100 times a day,” Mr. Daniele said. So, ideally, companies and organizations need to build a defence very specific to their unique operation.

Yet, he added, threats are so constant that “breaches are, in my view, inevitable, and many companies simply operate in a continuous state of breach.” Like wildfire, some breaches are simply left to burn.

“Some companies know that they are breached and decide not even to take the extra step to hunt for the attackers who are live on their network,” he said. It can be too costly, and Canadian businesses often spend less on cybersecurity than U.S. counterparts.

U.S. firms tend to set aside 2.5 to 5 per cent of their information technology budgets on security, “and I continuously see Canadian companies well under the 2.5 per cent,” Mr. Daniele said.

For many institutions, training users to detect suspicious messages and e-mail filters are their main defences. Yet, there are obvious limitations. Rather than just making the text of an e-mail look official, hackers are getting better at spoofing an e-mail’s point of origin, said Daniel Tobok, chief executive officer of Cytelligence in Toronto. Scammers can make an e-mail address look like it is legitimately from a vendor.

“The problem is that you can’t stop it fully because the bad guys are relying on the human factor. You’re dealing with psychology,” Mr. Tobok said.

Also, employees may wait to fess up whenever they think they might have clicked on something nefarious, but an immediate response is crucial. “Those five, 10, 30 minutes are critical to potentially contain whatever they clicked on,” Mr. Tobok said.

Phishing through e-mail is still the most pervasive way to breach a computer network, say security experts. Sometimes phishing may also lurk on websites, fooling users and implanting all manner of dangerous code from spyware to ransomware, but predominantly e-mail remains the main phishing spot.

 

There are automated processes, though, that institutions can apply. For instance, a system can be created to send any message to a sandbox, a location (usually remote servers, a.k.a. in the cloud) where a link or an attached file is automatically opened up to see if there’s anything wrong. Or it may test the link or file before the receiver even gets the e-mail, explained Danny Timmins, national cybersecurity leader at MNP in Mississauga.

This verification process can happen in seconds. Yet, it also needs to provide a safe way for users accessing the network from outside.

Training also can be more targeted. With clients, Mr. Timmins’s firm can simulate a focused phishing attack, trying hard to deceive users. If a few dozen users are fooled enough to click on a link, and some even provide their passwords or other personal information, the firm can then go back and provide more targeted education.

In particular, this can mean picking apart a company’s business process to find its weak links. “That’s often how wire frauds happen. Somebody has already phished them. They are already watching inside the network,” and then exploit how the company moves money or commercial data, Mr. Timmins said.

However, relying solely on education isn’t enough, experts warn.

“We’ve seen some very convincing e-mails which would even potentially fool a professional security consultant,” said Mr. Daniele at Paladion, noting that this also applies to websites hiding that they are controlled by dubious hosts. Detecting these dangers goes far beyond merely locating a secure site icon at the top of a Googled Web page.

“There is so much nuance involved that it’s a bit of an unrealistic expectation I think for security professionals to say, well, this is just a user problem, and a user simply needs to be better educated,” Mr. Daniele said.

“Security education and awareness is vitally important … but beyond that, there is a role for vendors [computer software and service companies] to produce secure software to ensure that they are doing right by their clients and consumers who are relying on the safety of that application,” he said.

Source: This article was published theglobeandmail.com By GUY DIXON

At the lab at the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University, Elisabeth De Carvalho and her team are developing a massive MIMO-system; hundreds of antennas that will make mobile data transmission far more efficient and safe in the future. Credit: Jakob Brodersen
Mobile base stations for 5G solutions will consist of hundreds of small antennas. Benefits include faster transmission, improved energy efficiency, better security and wider coverage. Researchers at Aalborg University are at the forefront of developing the new antenna technology.

As we move toward a world that is increasingly interconnected with a 5G network that is expected to roll out during the next 3-5 years, the need for a well-functioning mobile network with ample room for more connected devices as well as increased data traffic becomes increasingly important.

 

"With the 'internet of things,' as it is popularly known, more and more devices need to be connected," says Elisabeth De Carvalho, Associate Professor in the Department of Electronic Systems at Aalborg University. Along with her colleagues Associate Professors Patrick Eggers, Jesper Ødum Nielsen and PhD fellow Anders Karstensen and with funding from the Chinese technology giant Huawei she is working on a new type of base system that caters to the seemingly endless increased need for .

The system that is still in its early stages is called a 'massive MIMO'. MIMO is an abbreviation for 'Multiple-Input Multiple-Output' – a wireless technology used to transmit and receive data between a large crowd of connected devices and users at the same time.

In mobile base stations attached to tall buildings or rooftops, each unit might have a maximum of eight antennas that point out in different directions, spreading out data transmission over a large area. But the team in Aalborg is working on a  unit that holds several hundred antennas, making it possible to connect much more precisely to each mobile unit.

"We don't know exactly what it is going to look like in the end. Maybe it could be a wall of a building that is covered in antennas on the outside—or on the inside. We are still uncertain about that," says Elisabeth De Carvalho.

 

Adding hundreds of antennas to a base station increases the data transmission rate many times because the energy is much more focused. And because focused energy is also able to travel farther, the mobile coverage is likely to improve.

At the same time, base station energy consumption is expected to drop in comparison to present day systems:

"With many antennas, it is like having thin, concentrated water hoses that are aimed directly where you want them, rather than a huge, leaky fire hose that just splashes water all over the place," explains Patrick Eggers.

"With the new technology, we are not simply sending out data in all directions like a radio transmitter; we hope to be able to create a sort of virtual cable that is focused and narrow between the base station and the connected unit. We confine the space that we use for the transmission. This provides a faster and better connection."

Improved security

Confining the transmission space is not only a capacity issue. One of the added benefits of having a massive number of antennas is that it improves the security of the data transmission.

"The more you can confine space, the harder it gets for others to listen in," says Patrick Eggers. "When you have a broadcast, you can always put up an  and pick up the signal if you are CIA or KGB or whatever, if you have equipment that is strong enough to decode the signal. But if you can't get the signal in the first place, it becomes really difficult. That is a major advantage for industries as well as private persons. The more you control space, the harder it gets for intruders to get in," he says.

 

However, many of the benefits of a massive MIMO system will remain assumptions for some time to come. So far, the team has built a scaled-up model of a part of a massive MIMO array in the lab in order to do channel measurement and to figure out how to build a base station later on.

"Currently, we are looking at which types of performances you can get out of a massive MIMO. The performances depend very much of what is happening in the air between your device and the base station. We want to build channel models from those measurements. The models are necessary for engineers to test their algorithms," says Elisabeth De Carvalho. "There is a lot of research that we still need to do before we build our prototype."

At the moment, there is practically no real life information about how a massive MIMO would work and what the wireless channel looks like, and that information is crucial to the way that the system is going to be built.

"There are a lot of assumptions and theories, but they all assume that what happens in the air goes on in a certain way, but no one really knows. Not yet, at least," says Jesper Ødum Nielsen.

Source: This article was published phys.org

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