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Robert Hensonw

Robert Hensonw

Hotel and restaurant chains, beware. A notorious cybercriminal gang is tricking businesses into installing malware by calling their customer services representatives and convincing them to open malicious email attachments.

The culprits in these hacks, which are designed to steal customers’ credit card numbers, appear to be the Carbanak gang, a group that was blamed last year for stealing as much as $1 billion from various banks.

On Monday, security firm Trustwave said that three of its clients in the past month had encountered malware built with coding found in previous Carbanak attacks.

This particular campaign has been preying on the hospitality industry, said Brian Hussey, Trustwave’s global director of incident response. The hackers start by calling a business’s customer service line and pretending to be clients who can’t access the online reservation system.

To spread the malware, the hackers also send an email to the customer service agent with an attached word document purportedly containing their reservation information. In reality, this document is designed to download malware to the computer.

The hackers are very persistent, Hussey said. “They’ll stay on the line with the customer service rep until they open up the attachment,” he said. “They have excellent English.”

The hackers can also be very convincing. They appear to be researching their targets on business networking site LinkedIn and finding out the names of company department heads.  “During the call, they’ll do some name-dropping to establish credibility,” Hussey said.

Once the malware is installed, it can download other malicious tools to tamper with the rest of a business’s network. The goal of the attack is to record credit card numbers from point-of-sale machines or e-commerce payment processes, according to Hussey.

In recent years, retailers, restaurants and hotels all have been hit by similar attacks intended to steal payment card data. The malware in this case is more broad-reaching than most. It includes the ability to snap screenshots from the desktop, steal passwords and email addresses and scan a network for valuable targets.

Most, if not all, antivirus engines have failed to detect the malware used in these hacks, according to Trustwave. 

"We've talked to our law enforcement contacts, and they are seeing the same thing," Hussey said. 

In a blog post, TrustWave outlined the technical details of the malware and other indicators that businesses can use to determine if they’ve been compromised.

“Once this malware finds what it wants, it can steal every single credit card that passes through your servers,” Hussey said. “For a large restaurant chain, that can be a million customers over a period of time.”

Source : pcworld.com
Thursday, 17 November 2016 00:22

Trending: How to convert black money into white

HYDERABAD: If Google statistics are anything to go by, a lot of people in the twin cities seem to be searching the internet for ways to get rid of their black money after the demonetisation move.

According to search engine Google, most people from Hyderabad and Secunderabad have looked up google just to learn "how to convert black money into white."

Going by the search engine's Going by the search engine's trend maps, the highest number of queries came from Secunderabad followed by Hyderabad.

The interest values are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 is given to a location with the most popularity. Conversely, a value of 50 indicates a location which is half as popular, and a value of 0 indicates a location where the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak.

According to software employees at Google, once the location is selected, the term 'how to covert black money into white' was most popular during the specified time frame from November 11.

Most of the searches on Google were from Modi's home state of Gujarat. Telangana ranked 21 in the list. Surprisingly, the search results for the query came up with links which showed the top five ways to turn black money into white. The most popular one, however, elaborates on how people can use gold shops to broker a deal with their financial crisis.

The most popular search result reads: "Go to a jeweller.Give him the amount you want to convert into white as cash. He will give you a cheque back for the same amount less 4%. He will give you a purchase bill to show that you have sold silver utensils to him. On the amount of the cheque when you file your return, you will have to pay no capital gain tax as silver utensils are personal effects and capital gain does not arise on sale of personal effects.There you go, the money is white now."

Source:  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

With the results of the past presidential elections, many Americans are thinking about the future of life in the Red Planet. However, a new study showed that it very difficult for life to exists on Mars today. 

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that the very salty water that can condense in top layers of Martian soils is much less than the moisture present in the driest places on Earth.

"Evidence shows that more than 3 billion years ago Mars was wet and habitable. However, this latest research reaffirms just how dry the environment is today," said Dr Christian Schröder, Lecturer in Environmental Science and Planetary Exploration at the University of Stirling and Science Team Collaborator for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity mission, in a statement. "For life to exist in the areas we investigated, it would need to find pockets far beneath the surface, located away from the dryness and radiation present on the ground."

For the study, the researchers examined a cluster of meteorites at Meridiani Planum using data from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. By studying the chemical weathering rate of the meteorite on Mars, the researchers were able to demonstrate the lack of water on the surface of the red planet. 

The researchers found out that it would take at least 10 and possibly up to 10,000 times longer for rust to form from the metallic iron present in meteorites on Mars to reach the same levels of rust formation than in the driest desserts of Earth. Rust formation is chemical weathering process that depends on the presence of water.

With their findings, the researchers have reasons to believe that the current environment of the Red Planet may not be suitable for life. Furthermore, evidence points out that Mars is incredibly dry and has remained to be as such for millions of years.

Source : natureworldnews.com

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.comsaid: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”

When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.

Silence relieves stress and tension.

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It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech.

“This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.

Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.

Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise. 

Summation

Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

Source:  lifehack.org

Almost six times as many web page threats found this year compared to 2013 

Malware threats in search results are getting worse despite the best efforts of Google and other vendors.

The number of infected results has been increasing year by year since 2013 despite the application of multiple tools and technologies designed to exclude dodgy links, according to a study by independent anti-virus testing outfit AV-TEST.org.

The analysed websites originate in various proportions from the search engines of Google, Bing, Yandex and Faroo. Additionally, over the past two years, more than 515 million Twitter updates were examined for malicious links.

Last year AV-TEST.org examined 80 million websites, spotting 18,280 infected web pages. In the year up to August the testing

lab inspected a similar 81 million websites turning up a much higher 29,632 infected web pages. Both results were recorded without enabling Google Safe Browsing.

Both figures are a big increase on 2013 when AV-TEST encountered 5,060 malware threats after examining 40 million web pages.

All of the pages with malware threats found by AV-TEST were visited using the Google Safe Browsing tools. The results were less than impressive.

In 2015 the 18,280 pages with malware threats threw up Google warnings in just 555 of cases. In the year to August of 29,632 malware-tainted pages threw up 1,337 Google warnings.

Links in tweets are infected at almost exactly the same rate of frequency as links filtered by Google. Graphs illustrating AV-TEST.org’s results can be found here.

Maik Morgenstern, chief technology officer at AV-TEST.org, explained that the dynamic content of the web means it sees different content from Google/Bing when accessing and scanning the site. This factor, together with the appearance of malicious ads, on previously clean websites goes some way in explaining the discrepancy.

"It could be the ads on the website that have been flagged as suspicious by us and that changes every time you access the site," Morgenstern explained. "Or the website is delivering different content randomly or it does so by checking the user agent or location of the user.

"Also I do not know what the interval is that Google/Bing are scanning the sites for malware. There will always be a certain timeframe where malicious content could be on the site without Google/Bing knowing it, even if they were able to detect it. It is also possible that we flagged content as suspicious that is not considered suspicious by Google/Bing."

Google is yet to respond to El Reg’s request for comment. Microsoft (Bing) declined to comment. ®

Source : theregister

Google Home, unveiled on Tuesday, gives you immediate access to Google Assistant whenever and wherever you need it. Ask for a recipe while in your kitchen, ask for the latest sports scores while in your living room, or ask for current traffic conditions as you get ready for work in the morning.

With the simple command of “OK Google”, you can ask Google Home to perform any tasks that Google Search is capable of doing. Google Home can answer questions, convert currency, look up weather conditions, read you the daily news, and more — all in real time.

Connecting Google Home with your personal Google account creates even more options. For example, with the command “OK Google, tell me about my day”, Google Home will tap into your calendar and read off your schedule.

The hardware itself has been designed to blend in seamlessly with one’s home, featuring a clean and minimal design. No buttons, no LED lights, just a capacitive touch surface on top and the speaker grill on the bottom. Since every home has a different interior design, Google Home can be customized to match its surroundings.

A Virtual Assistant with Personality

This may sound like a very mechanical experience, but Google Home is not necessarily all business. Like Siri, Cortana, and Alexa — Google Assistant has been developed with a personality and a female persona.

You can have conversations and/or joke around with Google Assistant, and it will respond back in its own unique way. You can see an example of Google Assistant’s personality in the company’s new Google Allo messaging app.

Pricing and Availability

Google Home will be available to purchase in November, with preorders having already begun. It will retail for a price of $129 and can be bought from the Google Store, as well as major retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.

Source : Search Engine Journal

The countdown to the New Year has already begun and marketers need to start planning their 2017 campaign strategy to ensure that they will meet their performance targets. In this opinion piece, Nathan Elly branch manager at Digital Next Australia argues marketers can’t afford to miss these million dollar SEO marketing strategies for 2017.

The SEO marketing channel has experienced several changes in 2016 and there is still one more major change that is expected to disrupt the tactical execution once the update is released. Marketers need to minimise the risk of this potential disruption by understanding the direction that SEO is going in 2017 and how they can ride the trend to achieve their marketing goals.

PENGUIN 4 WILL IMPACT WEBSITE’S RANKINGS BASED ON THE TYPES OF LINKS POINTING TO THE WEBSITE.

Google is updating their algorithm and web spam identification to combat link spam. Penguin 4.0 is the major algorithm update that people in the SEO industry are waiting to see released so that a link acquisition strategy can be put forward in 2017. We know that low-quality links and unnatural links will be targeted, however naturally acquired links that form the site’s link portfolio will be rewarded by Google. The ideal link building strategy should comply with Google’s terms of service, be acquired from sites that have relevant content and that is also authoritative in your industry.

VALUABLE CONTENT WILL REMAIN AT THE HEART OF SEO.

Google has always said that “Content is King”; and that trend will continue into 2017. Websites that provide valuable content such as long, detailed guides for their web users tend to outrank sites that publish short copy.

 

A content marketing strategy should be a part of your site’s SEO campaign to ensure that your site gains the maximum keyword visibility and also has the best chance to deliver the value that users are searching for.

SEO PERFORMANCE WILL BE INFLUENCED BY THE UX OF THE SITE.

Google has said that they want webmasters to optimise their site so that it provides a valuable experience for the user. Some of the key areas that need to be focused on include:

Web page loading speed

People are demanding that they receive access to content as quickly as possible. On average, a web user is prepared to wait for 2 seconds before they move onto the next website. Google has incorporated this into their algorithm and if your site isn’t loading its content in under 2 seconds, then it is unlikely that it will rank for the top search terms in your SEO campaign.

Interstitials

Google is targeting Interstitials in the first quarter of 2017. According to their Webmaster blog, it’s being targeted in response to improving users experiences on mobile devices. At times, the pop-ups make it difficult to access the web content. Your SEO strategy needs to assess the risk of your site being targeted and what changes can be made should the site be affected.

Mobile friendliness

Smart devices from phones to tablets have taken the world by storm and Google wants webmasters to make sure that their content is optimised for the appropriate device. (See their post on mobile friendliness here.)

Responsive design layouts and mobile app integrations will gain importance for getting higher rankings in the organic search results. Google’s Developer Console offers tools that can help to display the site appropriately on different web platforms.

Google AMP

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is a project aimed at improving the speed of serving content to mobile devices. As more people engage with web content on their mobile devices, Google will start to favour website’s using Google AMP in the organic search results.

Bounce rate.

Google wants to send users of its search engine to websites that will help them solve what it is they are looking for. Sites that have a high bounce rate trigger signals to Google that the web page content isn’t valuable or relevant to the user’s search query. It’s important that the website is optimised for users to engage with the website so that any bounce rate signals are avoided.

It’s great that brands are preparing their 2017 campaigns now, however a contingency plan might be needed should Google make significant changes before the new year. By prioritising the areas that have been highlighted, there should be minimal disruption to the execution of the brand’s SEO tactics.

 

Source : http://www.bandt.com.au/

It has been rare for Matt Cutts to talk about working at Google. Matt was the search spam guardian at Google, he went on a leave a while back and was replaced in March 2015 and now is temporarily at the Pentagon working on projects with the Defense Digital Service team.

The interview was by Anil Dash and posted on Medium. It was a weird format because they used an app for the interview and Matt was asked a question on a mobile app and he had to reply quickly typing on his mobile phone. But the questions were solid and not just about his work with the Defense Digital Service team. Anil has known Matt for years and asked him some solid questions around his work at Google.

Here are the most interesting ones about his challenges while working at Google in the unique position of doing webmaster communication, when there was no such role for that early on.

He told Anil that he "was always amazed that more engineers didn't want to step out in front of the curtain." I know he tried, he brought many engineers to conferences, brought them into videos and forums but very few lasted. So he decided to help make a team just for this, named the Webmaster Trends team.

When asked about the stresses around how SEOs can get a bit extreme, Matt said "occasionally someone would be stressed and threaten something." Yes, he received threats. In fact, he said he "did get a credible threat at a search conference." He added that since then his "wife insisted that I had to carry a cell phone after that."

But when he was asked if that was unusual, he shrugged it off explaining that "even then the kernel of there reaction was trying to set things right." He explained "well, it is there livelihood in many cases," "so I understand the stress that people would be under," Matt added.

I then was able to ask a few questions and I asked if he ever considered a body guard and he said "nah. Most people even when stressed are still reasonable and nice." Yea, most people are, but it only takes one, I thought.

Matt did add "folks would occasionally send a big cookie or a fruit basket. We always joked whether it was safe to eat them."

So what was the tricky part I asked Matt?

"The knowledge from one area helped in the other. But at times, it was frustrating because I wanted to shut down some loophole faster, and I wasn't going to recommend things that would make the web worse. On balance though, I am so grateful for my time doing communication and outreach."
 

He never once said he left Google because of these challenges and technically, he is still on a leave and with Google. But I assume he is somewhat relieved and thankful not to be getting as many threats these days.

Source : https://www.seroundtable.com/matt-cutts-challenges-google-22650.html

When people think of search engines, the first name that comes to mind is often Google. It’s one of the most enduring brand names, and it has even worked its way into mainstream vernacular, and today many people substitute the phrase “searched online” for “Googled”. According to comScore, Inc., Google and its affiliated websites comprise 67.6% of the search engine market share in the United States, and, according to Netmarketshare 66.44% worldwide.

Though prominent, Google is not the only search engine available. There are innumerable others that provide various interfaces, search algorithms, and other unique features. Many even base their search algorithms around specific philosophies, ones that often attract brand-new audiences.

In descending order, the remaining most popular search engine companies in the United States, by market share after Google, are Microsoft (18.7%), Yahoo (10.0%), Ask Network (2.4%), and AOL (1.3%), according to ComScore report.

Likewise, according to December 2014 data, the remaining most popular search engines worldwide by market share are Baidu (11.15%), Bing (10.29%), Yahoo! (9.31%), and AOL (0.53%).

The exact data is highly variable based on who’s reporting it, and it varies even further on a month-to-month basis. But generally speaking, the ranking order does not vary much.

This list does not necessarily include the 12 most used or well-known search engines after Google; instead, it includes search engines that differ from one another in terms of history, philosophy, content, targeted audiences, and other variables. With that in mind, lets take a look at 12 of the most underrated search engines.

Bing

Based on comScore’s data, the next most powerful player in the search engine industry is Microsoft and its search engine, Bing.

Key differences between the two engines, according to the New York Times, lie in backdrop, search tools, and the amount of information offered on the immediate search page. Bing sports striking, engaging home pages, a display tool when searching for airline flights, aggregate restaurant rating badges, and more. One popular feature is its “linkfromdomain:” search term. This term allows users to see the most frequently used outgoing link from a given site. This can provide easy access to research pages or recommended sites from a trusted source.

Another operator, contains:FILETYPE, allows users to search by file type. Researchers and students with specific softwares may search specifically for PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, different photo types, and more universal file types on a whim. This helps to rule out unnecessary documents.

bing filetype operator

Bing’s clean interface particularly excels when searching for videos. The video searches don’t integrate well with text searches on Google. On Bing, the listed videos fit neatly side-by-side in an interface that best accommodates them. This helps to cut down on the amount of time a user would spend scrolling.

Bing hasn’t been shy in comparing itself to Google, either. It has even launched a website titled “Bing It On which directly compares its search results to those of Google.

Yahoo

Another powerful competitor in the search engine market is the long-enduring Yahoo. For many, Yahoo is much more than a search engine; it’s an online Swiss Army knife.

In addition to its search engine, the Yahoo Web portal offers easy access to its news aggregator, games center, retail options, travel guide, horoscope, and other varied features. Yahoo Finance is a popular aggregate for some of the best financial news available, combining information from CNN Money, The Street, and more.

Another extraordinarily well-used feature of Yahoo is Yahoo Answers, which is a forum that allows people to phrase questions in ways the traditional search engines have difficulty handling. Other users can view questions and use their background knowledge and tailor their answers in a personalized manner.

Other popular aspects of Yahoo include easy photo sharing (facilitated by Yahoo’s purchase of Flickr), local news through Yahoo Local, and myriad entertainment options. By having all these convenient features in one place, users rarely have to venture elsewhere if they don’t want to.

Yandex

Founded in Russia in 1997, Yandex has quickly risen to become the country’s premier search engine. Since 2010, it has gone worldwide and become a popular resource for those looking for easy-to-use search pages between different languages. Its translation and cross-lingual search options are featured prominently on its homepage, and it accommodates English, Russian, German, French, and smaller Eastern European languages. This allows bilingual searchers or students working on language projects to more easily find whatever it is they’re looking for.

yandex search engine

Ask

The search engine formerly known as “Ask Jeeves” was easily one of Google’s greatest competitors during the early days of the World Wide Web. Though not the hot commodity it once was, it remains popular for its accommodation of natural, colloquial language. After a user poses a question, it provides possible answers and a large list of other pertinent questions.

Ask’s historic accommodation of vernacular has, in essence, found a spiritual successor through voice commands and searches on mobile devices. Thanks to Apple’s Siri (which relies on Bing) and the Google app, there’s less stigma over voice commands, and they’re becoming more popular. With Siri, users are directly able to bypass using their other apps or search engines by just asking their phone a question.

Though Ask may have popularized the use of dialectal searches, it unfortunately is not as well-integrated with the programs that now champion them.

Dogpile

For those unsure of which search engine to use, many default to Dogpile — the engine that aggregates from pretty much everyone else.

Like Ask, Dogpile is another site with early online history and considerable brand loyalty. Search results (from Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and more) are set upon a focused interface of white and varying shades of blue. Many prefer Dogpile for its chic design, comprehensive answers, and a template that doesn’t prove too distracting or cluttered.

dogpile search engine

Its listed features include: Category Links, Yellow Pages, White Pages, Statistics Bar, Search Finder, Preferences, Spelling Correction, About Results, and Favorite Fetches. A user’s Dogpile experience is easily personalized to a user’s liking.

Yippy

Many Internet users are unfamiliar with the Deep Web. According to CNN, the Deep Web encompasses everything traditional search engines having trouble finding. Pages in the Deep Web may be relatively unconnected to other parts of the Internet or housed on private networks.

yippy search engine

Search engine Yippy (formerly Clusty) searches the Web using other search engines, but it provides results in the form of “clouds” instead of traditional search methods. This makes it more likely to find pages that would be otherwise buried or nearly impossible to find using search engines like Google or Yahoo. Though Yippy doesn’t have the ability to scour the every corner of the Deep Web (no search engine does), it is much more capable and efficient at finding pages for users with more obscure and niche tastes.

Duck Duck Go

With a name based on the popular kids’ game Duck Duck Goose, Duck Duck Go is a website that many find as approachable, user-friendly, and engaging as the game.

Duck Duck Go’s first priority is protecting user privacy. Many adults of all ages find themselves concerned over identity theft and hacking; these issues regularly appear on both local and national news. This search engine doesn’t reach into your history, email, or social media workings to drum up relevant information. Two totally different people can search the same term and get identical results.

The search engine also maintains a handy infinite scroll option (no need to click to other pages), reduced advertising spam, and prompts to help clarify a question.

EntireWeb

First launched back in 2000, EntireWeb is a search engine that requires pages to submit their websites to it for free. This results in a much less crowded search space and guarantees those who submit are less likely to be drowned out by other competition. Queries can be submitted for regular Web search, image search, or real-time search.

Blekko

Created just a few years ago in 2010, blekko (with a stylized lowercase “b”) is the search engine clearly inspired by Twitter. While Twitter (and now other social media sites) has “hashtags,” blekko has “slashtags.” When searching something in its database, blekko provides users with a series of related key words with which to narrow their search.

For instance, searching “celebrity news” on blekko turns up the slashtags for Top Results, Gossip, Magazine, and Latest. Blekko’s interface, which combines minimalist squares and a varied color palette, is considered very user-friendly.

blekko search engine results page example

Goodsearch

Recent years have seen an uptick in people’s interest in engaging technology in an ethical manner. As corporations such as Google and Microsoft continue to grow steadily more powerful, people have been better scrutinizing where their money and attention go.

Goodsearch is a search engine for the charitable. Fueled by Yahoo, Goodsearch allows users to pick a cause of their choice; this can be a nonprofit organization or school. Upon selecting their target, Goodsearch will begin donating 50% of its revenue from that user to their cause. To date, Goodsearch has donated well over $11 million to a variety of sources. According to Goodsearch, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has received more than $50,000, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has received more than $18,000 from the website.

goodsearch search engine donation exa,mple

In recent years, Goodsearch has earned the attention of many celebrities, including Zooey Deschanel, Jessica Biel, and Montel Williams.

GigaBlast

Another search engine boasting enormous social and trust capital is GigaBlast. Founded in 2000, GigaBlast is, according to its LinkedIn page, the “leading clean-energy search engine.” An impressive 90% of its energy usage comes from harnessed wind energy, and the company maintains fewer than 10 employees.

Though it’s physically small, its power is big. GigaBlast indexes well over 10 billion pages of content. As environmental issues become more prominent in public consciousness, people are more likely to turn to sites like GigaBlast.

Baidu

Though a relative unknown in the United States, Chinese search engine Baidu is a juggernaut on the international scene. It’s the top search engine in China (with 62% of search engine market share in 2013), and it is the second most popular search engine in the world.

“China’s Google,” as it is nicknamed, has been steadily growing since its incorporation in 2000, and it has recently begun courting English-speaking developers. Its features include searchable webpages, audio files, and images, a collaborative encyclopedia, and a bustling discussion forum. Thanks to its savvy smartphone integration, it has leapt past its immediate competitor, Qihoo 360, which now has only 21% of the Chinese search engine market share.

baidu-and-google

If Baidu manages to continue its domestic success abroad, it might not be long before it does become a household name in the United States.

In Conclusion

Once-popular search engines like AOL.com and InfoSeek have either died out or are now sock-puppeted by their former competitors. InfoSeek attempted to charge for searches, failed, adjusted by depending on gaudy banner advertisements, became a generic “portal,” and was finally salvaged by Google. As AOL declined after its merger with Time Warner, so did its search engine. Now it is also part of Google.

Search engines in the preceding list still thrive because they capitalize upon some distinct corner of the market. For some, that market involves corporate social responsibility (Goodsearch, GigaBlast), social trends (Blekko), privacy concerns (Duck Duck Go), or utility (Yippy, Dogpile). Giants like Google, Bing, and Yahoo largely dominate the general market, so the others have had to specialize to survive.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/going-beyond-google-comprehensive-list-search-engines/123880/

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 12:36

How Strong Is Google's Search Business?

 

Google needs to strengthen more of its segments

If you have been reading my articles, then you may have noticed that I have mixed feelings about Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of Google. On the one hand I love the stranglehold Google has on the search engine market, its sheer dominance in the mobile operating system space and, of course, the evergreen YouTube angle. But despite having some of the brightest minds in the world on its payrolls, Google is still a one-trick pony that keeps failing at nearly every other trick it tries to do.

As such, Google is still highly reliant on its advertising revenues from search and partner sites, and this is what I’d like to explore in some depth.

Despite having disrupted the search game early on, the company is continually expanding the touch points surrounding its search engine. Take Chrome for example, the world’s leading browser: This is the conduit through which Google gets a lot of its search traffic.

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Another conduit is Android, the world’s most prolific operating system with over 80% global market share. The majority of non-iOS devices that are sold each year come with Android, with Chrome being the default search engine despite the Chinese attempt to promote UC browser on certain smartphone models that it makes.

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Yet another conduit is Google Maps, which has not only made our lives easier on the road, but is also dominating the GPS mapping world. It is the most-used map application by far, permeating nearly every mobile device in the world. It’s free, but you'll notice a lot of it points back to Google Search. Whether it’s a restaurant you’re looking for or information you need about a particular location, search is right there on the heels of Google Maps.

It’s clear that all of these products have one focal point, and that is Google’s search engine. As a result of that ecosystem, Google now has the wide moat possible protecting its search engine business.

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But can the same be said of its advertising business, which is their main breadwinner?

If Search is Google’s crowd-puller, then the cashier must be advertising. As the crowds spend their precious time on Google search and, through it, its partner sites, the company has the opportunity to serve them ads. The more time users spend on search, the greater the opportunity, and Google has been able to leverage this to create tens of billions of dollars in revenues each year.

 

As the world’s internet penetration increases, Google is practically in lockstep with it, pushing its own search and advertising agenda to new users in the far corners of the world. There are several countries around the world where Internet penetration is still low and, as such, there are a lot more potential users for Google to reach out to.

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Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has turned the heat up on Google and is vying to get as many advertising dollars as possible, the online advertising market is expected to grow at 12.7% CAGR (according to Mckinsey) for the next five years, so there is still enough room for both the companies to keep increasing their revenues.

With no credible competitor of size to challenge their mobile operating system Android or the default Chrome browser, the chances of Google search falling out of grace from mobile customers are very slim.

What Google has done is create a legal monopoly on the world’s online quest for information, hosting 1.2 trillion searches per year. Advertising revenue is merely the fruit of that tree, and Google has a pretty strong fence around that tree.

 

The one thing I can’t stand to see is Google wasting billions of dollars with no apparent method to the madness. I’m being brutal, but half the time I have no clue what Sundar Pichai is talking about on the earnings call. In stark contrast are the direct and insightful comments made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella when quizzed by analysts at the end of the calls. At least with Microsoft you know the direction they’re taking.

With Google you can never be too sure.

Its Other Bets, for example, are so diverse that the units resemble a massive conglomerate of businesses with none of them showing significant top line income. Perhaps that’s why Alphabet is trying to bring more accountability to Other Bets - push them out of the nest and maybe they’ll learn to fly yet.

With potentially powerful lines of business sitting in their line of sight - artificial intelligence, mobile virtual reality, cloud, autonomous cars, social media, paid video streaming - it’s about time Google made a dent in at least one of them to supplement its advertising business.

Source : http://www.gurufocus.com/news/438938/how-strong-is-googles-search-business

 

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