Corey Parker

Corey Parker

At the end of the recently-opened Expo Line in Los Angeles — and you’ll want to take that snazzy light rail, because the I-10 freeway running between downtown and the coast is one of the 10 most-congested roadways in the world — you’re in Santa Monica, California. You’re at the Colorado Esplanade stop, a stunning platform of pedestrian- and bike-friendly multi-modality that feels open and available. It’s just one of many great things about my hometown. There is the superb weather. There is the beach and the pier. There is street life and the RAND Corporation (“We’re based in Santa Monica because that’s where we were founded, and it suits us”).

And there is the city’s most recent source of civic pride: its street lights and traffic signal poles. Don’t laugh. I think of them as the Colorado Esplanade in the sky.

No, I am not celebrating their function as providers of light. Their real power comes from a transformation — into neutral platforms that provide the tools of connectivity to everyone. Very few American cities (notable exception: Atlanta) have carried out this transmogrification, but every single one will need to. Santa Monica is showing the way: it is a city that will be able to control its future digital destiny, because it is taking a comprehensive, competition-forcing approach to the transmission of data.


Here’s why poles are generally important: for the advanced wireless transmissions (whatever 5G turns out to be) that will be central to our shared digital future, you need access to fiber optic cables at frequent geographic intervals. That fiber, in turn, needs to be “dark” — meaning that it’s unlit by lasers and is just a passive transmission medium that can be traversed by a tsunami of 5G data. And access to that dark fiber needs to be available at a reasonable price.


When that reasonably priced dark fiber is connected to a pole, you can hang wireless transmission boxes off that pole. And if those poles are spaced no more than 200 meters apart, you can treat them as “microsites:” places for facilitating very advanced, high-capacity wireless services covering sidewalks, homes, and businesses.

The ideal pole will be like an electrical outlet in a home: available at a standard, reasonable price to any wireless carrier wanting to connect; connected to a standard wire (in the pole context, dark fiber); and incorruptible. No one—no vendor of devices or extension cords—should get better access to that outlet than anyone else, or be able to slow down someone else’s arrival on that pole. So, poles could be extremely useful.

But not all poles are the same. I’ve recently written about telephone poles (or utility poles) as places of high drama and conflict. There are special fights that go on there that are inherently unfriendly to cities, competition, and innovation. These fights are made possible by a murky regulatory setting that is easily used by incumbent telecom companies with a deep and utterly rational interest in maintaining the status quo. Go into a meeting about telephone poles as a city and you’ll feel like you were the last one to come to the party: all the private guys in the room have gained control and can easily outmaneuver you.

Streetlights and traffic signal poles are different. They’re part of the public right of way; they’re assets that are often owned and maintained by cities themselves, or by the local power company. With streetlights and signal poles, a city stands a chance of pushing along a competitive and innovative world of Internet of Things and sensors and data transmission, as long as it acts decisively to open those street lights and signal poles on a standard technical basis — again, like an electrical outlet.


Here are the three world-shaking steps Santa Monica recently took. First, Santa Monica already had dark fiber available to its streetlights and traffic signal poles because of its 100 gigabit CityNet network. As such, the city could make sure that all of these connections were working well and were reasonably priced.


Second, Santa Monica controls most of its streetlights. Southern California Edison recently ran a 30-month program aimed at selling those streetlights to California cities. It was a win-win move: SCE wanted to gradually get out of the light- and power-distribution business, and cities that bought these streetlights could replace traditional streetlights with LED bulbs. LED: lower energy use; lower maintenance costs. (The SCE program ended last summer.)

But the third step was the charm: This past summer, Santa Monica adopted anordinance requiring that wireless carriers get access to Santa Monica’s streetlights and traffic signal poles only on a neutral basis. It also sets design requirements for these rights-of-way assets, emphasizing the need for nice-looking poles that conceal gear. But the important thing is that carriers will not be able, in the words of former Santa Monica CIO Jory Wolf, to “delay or preclude” competition. The desired result: no one can lock up these poles.

Companies have figured out that streetlight access is valuable territory. As Wolf warns, “All the controversy about the telephone poles is now going to be moved to streetlight poles. Companies are looking for exclusive rights to poles and saying they can’t co-locate [with their competitors]. They’re all hiring firms to lock up their permits and rights to as many poles as possible, as quickly as possible, before governments can organize.”

Santa Monica’s new ordinance gets ahead of this game plan and defeats it. Streetlight access will be standardized and subject to a reasonable monthly fee charged by the city.


Cities that get control of their streetlights and connect them to municipally overseen, reasonably priced dark fiber can chart their own Internet of Things futures, rather than leave their destinies in the hands of vendors whose priorities are driven (rationally) by the desire to control whole markets and keep share prices and dividends high rather than provide public benefits. (Here’s a good explainer from San Jose of the role of streetlights in the Internet of Things.)


Local governments haven’t seen the importance of their role in ensuring public benefits from these advanced wireless transmissions until very recently. But I’m hoping Santa Monica’s ordinance will help them make the right decisions.

Neutral “micro” cell sites can make very high-capacity wireless transmissions available, competitively, to everyone (and every sensor) nearby. This can and should cause an explosion of options and new opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and human flourishing in general. It’s a phase change. But it will only happen in a healthy, productive way if cities swiftly put in place comprehensive plans for their streetlights and traffic signals.

If Los Angeles, the land of the car, can build a train line, any city can figure out how to control its streetlights. But cities need to act fast. The train may already have left the station.

Source: backchannel.com

Your website is your company’s virtual storefront. At its best, it presents your business to current and potential customers, showcases your products and services, and influences – or even facilitates – purchasing decisions. But poor information architecture and content strategy can turn clients away. Here are five mistakes you might be making on your website, and how to fix them.

1. Burying key information

A restaurant’s mission statement and glamour shots of the food might seem like the top priority. But most of the time, people are landing on such sites to find out one of four things: hours, menu, location and contact information. At best, it’s annoying to customers to have to click through several pages to find out if you serve lunch or take reservations. At worst, it might make them give up and go elsewhere.

Fix it: When planning what goes where on your website, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine the top things they’ll be looking for. This information should go in a prominent place: the home page or even a footer that appears everywhere on your site. (The CN Tower, for instance, has a very basic landing page that gives the majority of visitors exactly what they’re looking for – and lets those who want more click through and explore.) And don’t forget a place to post updates such as holiday hours or seasonal promotions, even if it’s simply a Twitter feed embedded into your site.


2. Forgetting SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, isn’t some dark-magic alchemy that requires a highly paid specialist. At its most basic, it’s simply a matter of having a website that loads quickly and includes all keywords relevant to your business. If you don’t come up near the top in Google when people search for your company name (and city, if the name isn’t unique enough), you have a problem.

Fix it: There are two key things to think about here: first, ensuring people can find you when they’re specifically searching for you; and second, working toward your site coming up in search results related to your business. Make two corresponding lists of all keyword phrases someone might type into Google to find your business. For instance, if you’re a florist in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, the first list would include your business name together with words such as “hours” and “address,” and the second might include phrases like “Mount Pleasant florist delivery.” Ensure these keywords are included in your site copy in an organic way – i.e., not so it feels like a bot wrote them.

3. Letting information go stale

If you used to be open seven days a week and you’re now closed on Mondays, you’ll have some angry customers venting on social media if they show up to a locked door. And if your site updates are so infrequent that Halloween lasts until the end of November, visitors might wonder if you take your business seriously. As for broken links, they can make for a frustrating online experience.

Fix it: Ideally, have your site built with an easy-to-use content management system, so that a designated member of your staff can quickly update text and photos without having to depend on tech support. And whether you keep yourself organized with a paper calendar or a Web-based task management system, set regular reminders to review the site to ensure that it’s up to date.

4. Favouring flash over function

Auto-play music, animated splash pages and intro videos might have been cute in 2001. But this far into the Internet age, they’re just a distraction keeping people from efficiently finding the information they’re looking for. As for layout, we’re long past the time when the goal was to be mobile-friendly. Nowadays, it’s mobile-first, and if, say, your e-commerce site is clunky on iPhones, you’re likely to be missing out on sales.


Fix it: You don’t have to kill that fancy video – just don’t put it at centre stage, and make sure it works on mobile. Similarly, ensure that your whole site is at least readable on smartphones, and ideally uses a responsive design that sizes itself to browser windows automatically. (In most cases, a separate mobile site with limited information is a bad idea.) And kill anything that auto-plays. No one needs surprise audio blasting from their cubicle at an inopportune time.

5. Being uninformative

A bare-bones site is fine for launch, but at some point, it needs to be filled out with content to draw in customers and help them assess your business. After all, not everyone will take the extra step to contact you with questions. And for companies that might want media exposure, excluding facts such as the city in which they’re based and full names and bios of founders – not to mention, for some kinds of businesses, easy-to-download photos, logos and other resources – might mean getting left out of stories.

Fix it: Build up your site with informative content, be it FAQ pages, behind-the-scenes stories and photos, or profiles of staff. Give potential customers multiple reasons to do business with you, and encourage current customers to stay engaged with meaningful articles that help them feel part of your community.

Kat Tancock is co-founder of Tavanberg, a Toronto-based marketing agency that helps businesses plan and execute successful content strategies.

Source : theglobeandmail

Though Google Chrome is not a better browser in terms of security (privacy). But still, Chrome is the most popular browser in the market. Well, in this compilation, I’m here with best Google Chrome tips and tricks that may increase your productivity.

Google Chrome Tips And Tricks

1. Save Web Pages as PDFs

Google Chrome is one of the modern browser that has inbuilt PDF writer. Open any web page in browser, press “CTRL+P” together on Windows and Linux, press “CMD+P” together on your MAC. Now, you would see a lot of printer option in “destination,” click on “change” under “Destination” and click on “Save a PDF.”

2. Google Chrome Keyword Shortcuts

Google Chrome has a variety of keyword shortcuts. And you can also assign your custom shortcuts to launch extensions and Chrome Apps. You need to type ‘chrome://extensions’ in the address bar of your browser, scroll to the bottom and click on “keyword Shortcuts.” You can here set your own custom shortcuts.

Here are the most important shortcuts.

  • Ctrl + 1-8: pressing Ctrl and any numeric button (1 to 8) will move your corresponding tab in your tab bar.
  • Ctrl + H: show history
  • Ctrl + J: open the downloads window
  • Ctrl + k: move cursor into the address bar
  • Ctrl + T: open a new tab
  • Ctrl + Shift + T: undo closed tab


3. Delete Your Web History Selectively

Google Chrome doesn’t allow you to select all history at once, let’s assume that, if you want to remove 20 pages then you have to select 20 checkboxes. But this trick allows you to select first checkbox and hold the “Shift Button” and select the last checkbox. Everything will get selected in between them. Just click on “Remove Selected History.

Google Chrome history

 4. Install Unapproved Chrome extensions

The new version of Google Chrome doesn’t allow you to install extensions that are unlisted in official chrome store. As a workaround, you need to open the extension page (chrome://extensions) and enable “Developer Mode.” Now, click on “Load Unpacked Extensions” and select the extension (the .crx file).


5. Use Omnibox to do more than just search

The omnibox (address bar) can solve the mathematical calculations. Even it can solve questions such as “how many cups in 4 liters?” Trying to add or multiply any math calculation in the omnibox without pressing the enter.


6. Reveal all Your Hidden Password

When you sign up a website then Chrome saves your username and password with the Google cloud (known as smart lock passwords). If you would like to reveal a hidden password, open the URL in the browser (https://passwords.google.com/). Click on eye button and reveal the password.

7. Use Google Chrome as a Media Player

Yeah! You can use Chrome as a media player. You just need to drag any media files (videos, audios, images and even PDF) into the browser.


8. Quickly close any tab

You can close any tab much quicker in Google Chrome, use shortcut keys Ctrl + W or Ctrl + F4.

9. Improve Stability, load Flash Player Only When it’s Needed

Google Chrome has been stopped working on the Adobe Flash player and now completely moved on HTML5. But some websites still require Adobe Flash Player. Go to ‘chrome://settings/content’ and choose click the “Click to Play” option under plugins.

10. Quickly Zoom in or Zoom out

Use Ctrl (Cmd) and ‘+’ button to quickly zoom in and use Ctrl (Cmd) and ‘-’ button to quickly zoom out of any web pages.

Did you find this article something interesting? Do let us know if we missed any best Google Chrome tips.

Source : Techxerl.net

eBay — the soup to nuts marketplace for new and used goods — has made another acquisition to build out its search and discovery technology for customers to find what they need among the 1 billion or so items that are listed on the site. The company today announced that it has acquired Corrigon, an Israel-based startup that has is a specialist in computer vision and visual search technology. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by eBay. Israeli newspaper The Marker is reporting a price of $30 million but our sources tell us the deal was for less than that amount.

Corrigon has been around since 2008 and was cofounded by Avinoam Omer and Einav Itamar. It’s not clear how much the company had raised in funding. Omer himself is a repeat entrepreneur. He also founded machine learning company Zoomix, which was acquired by Microsoft.

Corrigon’s speciality is searching and identifying specific objects within an image and matching that with other images or links to products. In the case of eBay, it will be used to match images to products. “Corrigon’s expertise and technology will help match the best images to their products so that shoppers can be confident that what they buy is exactly what they see,” eBay writes.

Essentially this will mean that eBay can offer sellers an catalogue of images with better quality than what users will provide for a product when it gets listed. Similarly, a consumer can use the same feature to find the right product for sale on eBay.

Corrigon’s site takes you through more detail for how its tech can be used. For example, in a large picture with multiple images, you can hover the pointer over different parts of an image and you get pop-up links to where you can buy that object, with Corrigon’s technology essentially automating that search and creating that link.

eBay has been making a number of efforts to build out its search functionality with machine learning and big data capabilities. They include the acquisition of big data startup Expertmaker and SalesPredict, an AI company, both in May of this year.

eBay has been working for years on making its platform more visual and smarter, and Corrigon fits into that strategy. eBay has, in fact, been offering elements of visual search since at least 2011, specifically in mobile apps, where users might be using a smartphone camera to identify an image of something they would like to buy.


In 2013, the company also unveiled a redesigned, Pinterest-like interface, based around images, as part of a drive draw in a wider audience of consumers that would have been turned off by eBay’s old-fashioned, text-based approach. But moves like this require much more advanced tech to discover, search and interact with those images.

eBay says that Corrigon’s tech will be used not only for image recognition, but also for classification and image enhancements “as part of its structured data initiative.”

“As we continue to evolve the eBay shopping experience, Corrigon’s technology and expertise will help buyers find the best results when shopping on eBay through experiences that were not possible a year ago, before our investments in structured data,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay, in a statement.

Last Monday Google announced the launch of their basic call tracking solution for AdWords. Since then, my company has received hundreds of questions about Google call tracking from media, clients, prospects, competitors, and random people on Twitter. Google is calling their version ofAdWords call tracking ”Website Call Conversions”.

The day they launched, we posted a response on our blog.

In this post, we’ll answer a few of the questions we’ve received and explain who should use Google’s call tracking, and who shouldn’t.

What did Google Just Release?

Google will now display unique phone numbers on AdWords landing pages dependent on the visitor’s session. In other words, every visitor will see a different phone number on the AdWords landing page. Google is essentially offering session-based call tracking for AdWords only. It is free and, again, it is only for AdWords.

It does not work for Google organic search.

It does not work for the Google Display Network.

It does not work for any lead source anywhere on the web, except AdWords.

From the Google AdWords blog:

“Let’s say your Google search ads send people to your website where they research and learn more about your business. Website call conversions dynamically inserts a Google forwarding number on your website that measures the calls made by these customers. Whether they click on the number or dial it directly from their phone, you can attribute the call conversion and conversion value back to the keyword and ad that drove the customer.”

This now allows marketers to attribute calls to specific ads, campaigns, and keywords directly within AdWords.

What are the Pros of Google’s AdWords Call Tracking Service?

Whenever Google comes out with a product, the world is forced to sit up and take notice. Thus, Google’s call tracking solution has been analyzed and re-analyzed. There are some definitive pros and cons of their call tracking offering. Here are a few of the positives about the Google call tracking solution for AdWords:

  • It’s free. Free is free is free.
  • It works perfectly with AdWords. It is automatically integrated with AdWords and UA.
  • It is relatively easy to set up…not necessarily easier than a third-party call tracking number, but simple.
  • Keyword level call tracking for AdWords
  • Phone number appearance can be formatted to match the website design


What are the Cons of Google’s AdWords Call Tracking Service?

Again, this list of cons comes from agency blogs, industry experts, and the limitations of Google’s AdWords call tracking platform:

  • It only works for AdWords. Most marketers use AdWords as only a part of their broader marketing mix. If calls result from a Google organic search, Google’s display network or ANY other source, Google call tracking simply won’t track that call.
  • No call recording.
  • No in-depth call analytics. This is the big one for our company. Basic call tracking is not powerful. Deep call analytics—conversation analysis—are extremely powerful. That’s where the power of phone calls truly lies.
  • No local numbers, only toll-free numbers are available. This is a problem for small businesses and enterprises with a local presence.
  • No telephone features like call routing, scheduled routing, IVR, and geo-routing. These features matter to businesses.

Are Call Tracking Providers in Trouble?

No. Call tracking providers who provide more data than merely basic call tracking are going to be just fine.

Analyzing call conversations is and always has been far more powerful than simply telling you if someone called a phone number or not. That’s rather rudimentary stuff.Over two years ago, our company discussed internally that Google would eventually release a call tracking solution for AdWords. We just didn’t know when (our team actually thought it would happen sooner than it did). And we believed—and still do—that Conversation Analytics is the answer to Google’s entry into the call tracking market.

Will there be some small prospects or agencies that decide to use Google’s AdWords call tracking? Absolutely. But, will they simply ignore the call data generated by their other marketing efforts? Certainly not.

To quote a prominent marketer I had an email exchange with:

“Google isn’t trying to be a competitor to call tracking companies. They’re trying to prove that AdWords clicks convert to phone calls. There is a big difference.”

Who Should Use Google’s AdWords Call Tracking?

If I was a small business spending $800/month on AdWords, and that was my only marketing spend, I would recommend using AdWords call tracking. It’s free. My call tracking vendor brethren might disagree with that statement. But, why wouldn’t you use it for that limited amount of data?


Google provides basic call tracking for free for AdWords. If I’m a small business owner I likely don’t need all of the deep data, recordings, IVR, and routing capabilities provided by LogMyCalls and some other call tracking companies. Instead, I just need to know if a call was made.

Small businesses—if they’re marketing exclusively on AdWords—should use Google’s call tracking platform.

Who Shouldn’t Use Google’s AdWords Call Tracking?

In the days since Google’s call tracking release a consensus has started to build, marketers with a small AdWords budget could significantly benefit from Google’s AdWords call tracking. Agencies our company works with—and the blogs of agencies we don’t work with—are saying they will encourage their smaller clients to use Google’s AdWords call tracking. The data is basic, the information is simple, it is relatively easy to implement.

But, for medium-sized clients and enterprises, agencies will encourage them to remain with a third-party call tracking provider. As one agency exec told me last week:

“The data Google’s call tracking provides is just so basic. Sophisticated marketers want more data than that.”

Perhaps Acquisio’s blog says it best:

“Thanks to Google’s call tracking limitations, current call tracking vendors can rest easy. The limited scope of Google’s call tracking solution (Adwords only) means that multi-publisher and multi-channel call tracking will continue to thrive. In fact, call tracking vendors will even work with Google to generate phone numbers, so it seems Google’s release is more of a friendly pairing than an industry disturbing rival for call tracking providers.”

So, specifically, what types of companies should not use Google’s call tracking solution for AdWords?

Agencies: Agencies that want to use Google call tracking for small clients and a third-party call tracking provider for larger clients are going to find themselves in a mess of data, reports, and analytics. Don’t use two platforms when you can only use one. It makes life harder.

SMBs Doing More Than AdWords: Earlier we used the example of a small business spending $800 on AdWords as someone who should use Google’s call tracking tool. That is true – if that small business is ONLY spending money on AdWords.


If that local business is spending money on local radio ads, directory listings, SEO, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. they should use a third-party call tracking vendor.


Because Google can’t provide call tracking for any of those sources. Their tool ONLY works for AdWords.

Enterprises: Obviously sophisticated marketers at enterprises need more data than Google is providing on AdWords. Every enterprise exec we’ve talked to knows this.

Basically, any company that wants deep analytics or even basic telephony features simply shouldn’t use Google call tracking.

What Does All This Mean for Marketers?

Calls are now mainstream for marketers. If Google cares about something, everybody cares about that something.

Google’s foray into call tracking validates the call analytics world. Google now believes that calls matter. The rest of the marketing world will follow Google’s lead and start caring about calls too. Call data and call intelligence are mission-critical for leading businesses. The exciting thing for the call tracking industry is that now, with the entrance of Google, there is a known entity that cares about phone calls. Google cares about calls!

In short: Google might take a piece of the call tracking pie, but they will also increase the size of the pie dramatically. More pie is always good for everyone.

Source : Search Engine Journal

When hackers tried to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh’s central bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York failed to spot warning signs and nearly let all the money go. Here's a guide of how the heist worked.

Banks are tightening the security of their SWIFT messaging networks – used by the industry to shift trillions of dollars each day – following revelations that hackers are increasingly able to get into this system to steal money.

Bankers at SWIFT’s annual SIBOS conference in Geneva said they were adopting new security tools, reviewing procedures and pressing their counterparties to do the same. Some banks are also looking at alternative technologies for transferring money, such as blockchain-type systems.

They are stepping up their efforts after the theft of $81 million from theBangladesh central bank in February and revelations of other infiltration of banks’ SWIFT terminals. These hacks have undermined confidence in SWIFT messages, which were previously accepted at face value.

“The attacks will continue and get more sophisticated,” SWIFT Chief Executive Gottfried Leibbrandt warned delegates at the conference organized by SWIFT, which is a global member-owned cooperative.

Benoit Desserre, Global Head of Global Transaction Banking at France’s Societe Generale, said his bank had already undertaken all of SWIFT’s recommended security measures but that the hacks had encouraged it to go one step further.

The bank is introducing a new layer of security whereby the staff who are approved to send SWIFT payment instructions must now sign on with a fingerprint scanner. This is in addition to passwords and a physical computer key.

“It was easier for us to make that investment knowing what has happened,” he told Reuters in an interview. “It suddenly became more important to get something like that.”

In time, SocGen may press its counterparties to use a similar system, only agreeing to fulfill payment instructions which carry a digital fingerprint, Desserre said. But he said cost could slow a broader roll-out of the technology.


Facebook Friends

In the wake of the hacks, the French bank also went through its SWIFT system to weed out redundant communications channels. SWIFT operates like Facebook in that members can only send messages to confirmed counterparties. But sometimes these links remain open even after business relationships end.

SWIFT’s Chairman Yawar Shah told delegates at the conference that such open channels were a security risk and that all banks should weed out unused channels.

Desserre said Societe Generale had removed thousands.

Cheri McGuire, Chief Information Security Officer at Standard Chartered said her bank was also conducting an internal review around its SWIFT systems.

But banks are not just looking at their own systems.

The Bangladesh Bank heist involved diverting money held at accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York into accounts in the Philippines.

Bankers said to avoid this happening in the future bigger banks needed to ensure the smaller banks they work with have appropriate security procedures.

Sergio Dalla Riva, Head of Product Development, Global Transaction Banking at Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A. said understanding the security capabilities of your clients was becoming part of customer due diligence.

Lev Khasis, Chief Operating Officer at Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank by assets, said he expected regulators to tighten oversight of security practices but that peer pressure would also play a role.


“Some big banks will be pushing their smaller counterparties to move in that direction,” he said. Sberbank was already pushing its clients in this way, he said.

New Technology

The SWIFT hacks are also spurring interest in new technologies.

Lars Sjogren, Global Head of Transaction Banking at Danske Bank said his bank was working with technology companies to develop tools that would spot unusual and potentially fraudulent payment instructions sent via SWIFT.

“Payments of a certain size by a customer to people they normally pay should be green-lighted. But others could be yellow or red-lighted. There is a huge demand from our customers for that kind of service,” he said.

Others are looking at technologies which might one day replace the current SWIFT “FIN” message which banks send to tell another bank to move money around.

Blockchains are the most commonly touted alternative. These involve a publicly accessible ledger, which works as an electronic record-keeping and transaction-processing system and requires no third-party verification. The ledger can be checked at any time, helping to highlight fraudulent transfers.

On Wednesday, Sberbank joined the Hyperledger Project, which was formed by the Linux Foundation, a not for profit technology consortium, to develop new blockchain technologies for businesses. Khasis said such a system might be more secure than sending FIN messages.

SWIFT is also developing blockchain initiatives and its involvement could help to speed up the technology’s adoption, David Treat, Blockchain Lead at consultants Accenture, said. Nonetheless, he said that governance and privacy challenges remained.


Mark Buitenhek, Global Head of Transaction Services at ING, said he was doubtful blockchain or other technologies were a silver bullet.

“Fraud is a constant and fraud will remain there if we move to the next digital generation or not,” he said.

Source : http://globalnews.ca


Saturday, 17 September 2016 12:48

Google Tests A Whiter Desktop Search Experience

Google is constantly testing user interfaces, we cover some but not all of them. This one was brought to my attention by AbhisheK Kasaudhan on Twitter.

This tests gives you a whiter, what looks to be more spacious, desktop search experience.

The top bar is less gray and more off-white, it is also more spacious. The search button is not a blue button but rather a white button with a blue magnifying glass. Here are the two interfaces side by side, you can click to enlarge them.

Whiter Test Interface:

click for full size

The Normal Interface:

click for full size

Which do you like better?

Forum discussion at Twitter.



Source : https://www.seroundtable.com/google-white-desktop-search-22706.html

A new London-based search engine, Oscobo just launched promising an anonymous searching experience on a platform that won’t sell or store user information.

Having spent 12 years working at Yahoo, co-founder Fred Cornell says he has seen for himself how the search engine industry harvests user data for financial gain.

Cornell was inspired to start Oscobo after growing uncomfortable with the lack user privacy offered by the leading search engines. He argues more data is being collected with what is needed, and people are starting to become more concerned about how that data is used.

The privacy search market is growing at a faster rate than the regular search market, Cornell says, likely referring to the successes of DuckDuckGo over the past year. Just recently it was reported that DuckDuckGo grew 70% over 2015, and this past summer it reached the milestone of 10 million searches per day.

Oscobo aims to be the UK’s answer to DuckDuckGo — a privacy-based search engine built for the UK market. While anyone can use Oscobo, at this time it is built to deliver results for a UK audience. Throughout 2016 the company will roll its search engine out to more countries, along with country-specific search settings for those countries.

At this time, Oscobo does not have any of its own search technology. Instead, it is licensing its search index from Bing/Yahoo. This is an indication that Oscobo does not intend to compete on tech, but rather on its ability to offer a more private searching experience.


The privately-funded company intends to make money through what it describes as simple paid search. Its paid search ads will rely on the most basic search data — what a person types into the query box.

Being London-based, Oscobo has a unique advantage in the privacy search market: it cannot be forced to provide user data at any point. US-based search engines can be forced to provide data on its users to law enforcement.

Oscobo is live and available to use today at Oscobo.co.uk.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/oscobo/153341/

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 13:03

Scam Alert: Yahoo Promotion

Most people completely ignore their spam folders. But I scour mine to find the latest scam, which acts like cyber-flypaper for all sorts of swindles.

Recently I got a message congratulating me on winning something from “Yahoo YHOO +% Inc.” The subject line simply read “Yahoo Promotion.”

Of course, it was some kind of fraud designed me to open an attached file and download a virus, malware or some other malicious software. Or they simply wanted to steal personal information for the purposes of identity theft.

So I didn’t open it.

Most likely, the scam was a ruse to get me to provide personal information like a bank account or Social Security number. Needless to say, I didn’t take this any further and jettisoned the email from my spam folder.

According to Yahoo! Answers, this is how the swindle works:

“You can not win something you did not enter or play. Besides, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, Microsoft MSFT +%, MSN and Aol do not have lotteries, reward programs, promotions, or contests.

It is a scam to get your personal information and/or money.

  • Do not respond to it.
  • Report it, forward it to the FTC here.
  • For Yahoo, report them here. Choose “fraud” as the reason for the violation you’re reporting on.
  • If the E-mail appears to be impersonating a bank or other company or organization, forward the message to the actual organization.”

Sadly though, I can imagine some naive person opening that file and sending personal identification and getting fleeced through an identity theft scam. Although no one knows for sure how many get deceived by this fraud, it’s probably more than what authorities are saying.

What kinds of red flags should you look for? Here are some more tips from the FTC:

Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.

Check Them Out. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.

Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up.

Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.

Consider how you pay. Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union WU +% or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. That’s also true for reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or Vanilla.

Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.

John Wasik is the author of "The Debt-Free Degree," "Keynes's Way to Wealth"and 13 other books. He writes and speaks about money across the globe. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnwasik/2016/08/28/scam-alert-yahoo-promotion/#5b1641743542

What is the Google RankBrain algorithm update all about & how does it work? How does this machine learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) affect SEO? In my previous article on facts and myths of Artificial Intelligence, I wrote about Strong AI and Super AI. I said that they may take time before they arrive; that it’s just a matter of time before someone cracks how to make a machine think like humans. I also said corporates would be glad to fund such projects if they promise better profits. For one, Google now has a “brain” that works well and it is called Google RankBrain. It may not be able to think yet but who knows the future! What surprised me was a comment from a Google executive saying they can’t understand what Google RankBrain AI is doing.

What is Google RankBrain AI

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, and I will be using the acronym here to keep it easy. Before proceeding to the part where we will talk about Google not being able to understand what its own creation is doing, this section introducesBrainRank AI Search to readers who don’t know about search engine algorithms.

Search Engines like Google depend on hundreds of factors to bring the best possible results to anything you enter in the search box. Earlier they were dumb and focused just on keywords. But the keywords could also be dumb. For example, people can search for “explain top of the food chain”. This can easily confuse a search engine into assuming that maybe the person searching is asking something about food chains like restaurants so give him a list of top restaurants in the area

But the person is actually searching for the name of which, the top carnivore. The food chain starts with single cell animals, goes on to herbs, then herbivorous animals, carnivorous animals, humans and ends with a predator on the top.


Google and other search engines store plenty of information on their servers so that they can provide you with the results you want. For that, they check out many factors. So far, no artificial intelligence was involved. Among the hundreds of factors, it was ‘items in bold’, ‘headings’, ‘subheadings’, ‘repetition of a word or phrase’ and many such things.

If the person who is searching on Google, types in irrelevant things into the search box, the results were always garbage. The first principle of machines is if you feed garbage to machines, they’ll give out the garbage. You may search GIGO(garbage in, garbage out) for examples of this principle.

To tackle such situations, Google kept on making changes to its search algorithms and then secretly included BrainRank into it somewhere in 2015. It kept it a secret until recently. An event was held in March, and that is when they acknowledged that their engineers do not know how the thing works. It does send out wrong signals. 

RankBrain is part of Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm, and is said to be the third-most important signal – the first probably being the quality of back-links. It will soon change the way SEO works.

Here is what Google RankBrain AI search algorithm does according to what I could grasp from my research. Instead of focusing on each search initiated, it focusses on the entire search session. Normally, to get proper results and to narrow down, many researchers use synonyms and words related to what they are searching. Like in the above example, one may use “topmost consumer in the food chain” and “what’s the highest level of food chain called”. He or she may use more keywords depending upon what the person wants to know.

So as the searches progress in the session, from the first search to nth search, Google RankBrain AI will start presenting more and more relevant pages to the researcher. This may include pages that do not even include the keyword but provides more related information about the same.

What does Google RankBrain work

Google RankBrain AI

Here comes the problem. The creators of the RankBrain AI themselves do not understand how it works. Since it is limited to search, it is not a scary situation. But imagine creating a similar thing in a domain that is related to weapons? What are the odds against a machine growing mature enough to take its own stand against the creators? What if we create AI-based robots for the army, mass produce them and some things go wrong to make them turn against their own generals? It doesn’t look right. The chances are 50:50 – a good amount of risk.


In an event called SMX, Google’s Paul Haahr, who goes by the handle @haahr on Twitter told many interesting things about the algorithm and acknowledged that Google engineers who work on RankBrain don’t know how it works. Either Haahr was not willing to share information or the creators really don’t know much about their creation.

If later is the case, it should ring some alarm bells. Already many scholars have raised their fears on AI and the fast growing research in the domain. They petitioned governments to stop funding projects leading to strong and super AI.

Google RankBrain AI is just the beginning!

Source : http://www.thewindowsclub.com/google-rankbrain 

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