Rangani Ranasinghe

Rangani Ranasinghe

Mystery search is a hysterical alternative to Google search, which pretty much looks and works the same way as Google and lands you up on a Google page, but not for something that you searched.

Rather, the search engine will give you results for something that the last person before you using the service typed in and hit enter.

The service works in a funny way as it will never give you results for what you’ll search. So, expect the unexpected, and also be warned that this site shouldn’t be used in your office or near children.

While this website isn’t meant to be used as a proper search engine, especially if you’re trying to search something and be productive with your time.

shutterstock_174393956

Twin Design / Shutterstock

On the contrary, this can be used to pass your time and have a few laughs looking at what people before you have been searching and pass judgements too, and while this is very less likely, you might even learn something you weren’t aware of, maybe.

We used the Mystery search and Ps. We were feeling lucky.

We were served up with some quite hilarious results while searching for Guiding Tech on the Mystery search as it led us to a theory based on Sherlock Holmes and another was a query for a certain restaurant in Bengaluru.

Google itself has kind of funny searches in its automated search suggestions like ‘how to raise your IQ by eating gifted children’, ‘what’s a boyfriend and where can I download one’, but the not so popular Mystery search is sure to give you a few laughs.

Author : Prayank

Source : http://www.guidingtech.com/63637/google-mystery-search/

Google recently held themed Webmaster Office Hours, one of them dealt solely with Google Search Console and John Mueller included a tip I hadn’t heard before helps keep your Search Console verification more secure.

Google recommends that when you verify a site in Google Search Console, that you verify with two different methods. That way, if one is removed, such as we sometimes see when a site is hacked, then there is still a backup method that keeps a verification for your account intact.

Google also recommends that the two methods be unrelated to each other, again for security reasons. The two examples they give are verification through both the verification file and through DNS.

Make sure you are using two or more unrelated verification methods so that if one of them fails, the other one will definitely still be there.

So common possibility would be to use DNS and file verification, so that if DNS fails, then obviously your website won’t be available. But the file based verification, if your server kind of loses that files, if you drop out, if the server is returning errors for some reason, then the other one will be able to back you up.

There are actually five ways to verify your Google Search Console account – HTML file upload, domain name provier, HTML tag, Google Analytics tracking code and Google Tag Manager.

So it might be a good idea to add a second verification method to your Google Search Console account, before you might have a situation where you wish you had it done.

Author: JENNIFER SLEGG
Source: http://www.thesempost.com/google-recommends-using-two-verification-methods-search-console

Tuesday, 03 January 2017 22:47

Internet becomes a business kaleidoscope

THE Internet has become such an integral part of life that it’s hard to imagine how we all got by without it not so many years ago.

It has changed the operations of industry, the way we conduct our daily lives, our social and family relationships and the delivery of public services. In a sense, it has redefined who we are.

Now that the digital revolution has become so entrenched, where does it go from here?

Special segment

For one thing, the Internet has broken down into special interest segments with new players entering all the time. That trend is certain to continue. Concurrently, the giants of the Internet are flexing their muscles in more directions to safeguard their market domination.

While the growth of China’s web users has been moderating, the numbers of smartphone users have been rising steadily. That creates new opportunities for a wide range of relatively small but viral mobile Internet services, such as live-streaming and audio streaming.

The state-backed China Internet Network Information Center said Internet penetration rate was 51.7 percent at the end of last June, up 1.4 percentage points from the start of last year. Mobile Internet users accounted for 92.5 percent of the online population, up 2.4 percentage points in the six months.

Brand producers and online retailers are using Internet tools like live-streaming to reach young adults or target audiences like gamers, travelers or fashion lovers.

Credit Suisse estimates that China’s live streaming market size in 2016 exceeded 25 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion), nearly double a year earlier. Annual growth this year is expected to moderate to about 5 percent, for a market valued at 33 billion yuan.

Ma Yuan, head of BOCOM International’s Internet research center, wrote in a research note that the demographic dividend that once propelled China’s Internet industry is already fading, while new growth potential will come from more segmented areas.

“Investors should pay more attention to cross-segment innovations, such as payment systems, online education and financial services, “ she noted.

An increasing number of companies are expected to adopt new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance interaction for online users.

Internet giants are continuously trying to make inroads into rival turf. Alibaba’s online retail site Tmall is moving into the online grocery sector, while its payment affiliate Alipay is seeking to add more interactive elements to take it beyond just being a digital wallet.

In late December, Alipay unveiled an augmented reality feature in its smartphone application, allowing use of physical objects as landmarks to send or receive digital “red packets.”

WeChat’s payment service, on the other hand, is quickly catching up with Alipay in terms of daily volumes. According to Bocom International’s research, Alipay’s overall mobile payment size was 3.3 times that of WeChat’s in 2015. The gap narrowed to twofold in 2016 and is expected to be 1.9 times this year.

Video blogging

Wu Xiaobo, a writer and producer in the business and economics realm, predicted video blogging would re-emerge as a hot-button item this year and live-streaming services would become a mainstream function adopted by almost every online player.

“The younger generation of online users spends much more time watching videos than previous generations,” he said. “Not only entertainment shows, but also educational and information-based video bloggers will emerge.”

Wu told the recent Tencent Tengyun Think Tank forum that Internet infrastructure, including payment systems and audio and video streaming, is now fully developed and users are more willing to pay for such digital content than they were in the past.

His own online video channel on iQiyi.com has a collective viewership of more than 100 million since mid-2014, and his for-fee audio programs spanning nearly 300 episodes have been played more than four million times on the Shanghai-based online audio streaming application Ximalaya FM.

Sandy Chen, a senior director at Kantar TNS China, said more independent social networking services targeting specific online user groups will emerge.

“Internet services are moving very fast, and a lot of investment is still willing to go into sub-divisions of e-commerce or social networking areas as long as these services have a unique selling point,” she told Shanghai Daily.

Real money

Indeed, there’s some real money to be made from Internet services nowadays.

Online subscriptions for paid audio-programs reached 50 million yuan during a campaign last month by Ximalaya FM.

And there’s no sign of a let-up in consumer enthusiasm toward online shopping. During Alibaba’s annual 24-hour shopping spree on “Singles Day” in November, sales soared 32 percent from a year earlier to a jaw-dropping 120.7 billion yuan.

China is expected to unveil a new e-commerce law early this year. It’s currently under review by the National People’s Congress. Industry insiders predict that individual online sellers may be subject to tax regulations and business licensing requirement may be instituted.

China’s online retail sales in the first eleven months of 2016 surged 26 percent from a year earlier to nearly 3.75 trillion yuan, outpacing the 10.4 percent growth in total retail sales.

The booming sector also comes with a host of problems and loopholes that make supervision and regulation relatively difficult. For example, some online vendors have faked transaction records or strong-armed consumers to write good reviews about their products.

According to the 13th Five Year Plan for national informatization released by the State Council last week, China aims to expand e-commerce transactions to more than 38 trillion yuan, up from 21.8 trillion in 2015 and online retail sales is expected to maintain an average 20.8 percent annual growth through 2020.

Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, has called for a preferential tax rate for individual online sellers in order to protect smaller players.

“But business license registration for online vendors could help e-commerce platforms and government agencies better regulate the industry and make transaction data more transparent,” he said.

The retail industry as a whole has its fingers crossed that sales will continue to climb amid a backdrop of moderate GDP growth.

In the first 11 months of 2016, retail sales of consumer goods rose 10.4 percent from a year ago to 30 trillion yuan, with online sales comprising 12.5 percent.

Chu Dong, deputy secretary-general of the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, said both online and offline retailers should place more emphasis on better serving consumers in terms of product innovation and distribution. Brand retailers and manufacturers should link up more closely.

Industry watchers are also expecting online and offline retailers to build more integrated inventory management systems as purchasing lines through both channels begin to blur.

Author: Ding Yining
Source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/business/benchmark/Internet-becomes-abusiness-kaleidoscope/shdaily.shtml

You don’t need to worry anymore about internet at the airport. A brilliant single map can ease your pain.

Travel blogger Anil Polat perhaps knows the pain of wheeling a suitcase around an airport, hunting for Wi-Fi.

To combat this nightmare, he’s devised an interactive, regularly updated map of Wi-Fi passwords in airports around the world.

HERE IT IS

 

map

Simply click on the plane that corresponds with the airport you’re going to, and the map will tell you if there’s Wi-Fi there and what’s its password. ENJOY

Author: Azhar Khan
Source: http://arynews.tv/en/this-map-tells-you-wi-fi-passwords-for-airports-around-the-world

Thursday, 29 December 2016 23:04

Better Buy: Baidu Inc vs. Google

Google is the dominant online search engine nearly everywhere in the world except China. China just so happens to be the largest internet population in the world, but censorship laws in the country prevent the Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) company from operating how it would like to there. In its absence, Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) has built a commanding position, modeling itself off of the global leader in search.

Investors may look to Baidu for the significant growth opportunities that still lie ahead for it as China transitions from 3G mobile internet speeds to 4G and more consumers come online. But the steady growth of Google and its larger global presence may present a better buy right now.

Let's take a look at how they compare.

Revenue growth

Baidu is a much smaller company than Alphabet with a market capitalization of $57 billion compared to $555 billion. And it was growing revenue relatively quickly as it rapidly brought on more advertising customers and its active user count increased.

However, over the last year, revenue growth slowed to a crawl as it has gone back and validated all of its advertisers, weeding out some bad apples. Last quarter, Baidu's total revenue declined 0.7% year over year. If you exclude the impact of Qunar, the online travel search engine it sold its stake in earlier this year, revenue grew a modest 6.7% year over year last quarter. Over the trailing 12 months, Baidu's revenue grew just 3%.

Baidu does expect revenue growth to return next year as it finishes validating its advertisers. Still, the company has experienced slowing revenue growth for several years now.

By comparison, Alphabet's revenue grew 14% over the last year. In fact, the company's revenue growth is accelerating. During the third quarter, Alphabet reported 23% revenue growth on a constant currency basis, up from 21% growth the year before. Most importantly, Alphabet's revenue growth has remained relatively steady over the last several years even as it's become one of the largest revenue generators in the world.

Earnings growth

Google's parent company is also better at turning its revenue into profits. Alphabet's profit margin through the first nine months of 2016 was 22%. Baidu posted a profit margin of just 14%.

Again, Baidu has the potential to improve margins if and when its current investments in its varied market opportunities pay off. Sales, marketing, general, and administrative expenses amounted to 32% of Baidu's revenue in the third quarter. Alphabet, by comparison, spent just 20% of revenue on SG&A expenses last quarter.

Analysts currently expect Baidu to grow earnings per share 33% next year. That's slightly better than expectations for Alphabet, which is anticipated to grow 19%. But where analysts expect Alphabet to continue growing at a fairly steady 19% clip over the next five years, they see Baidu's earnings declining an average of 2% per year over the next five years.

Valuation

Despite the poor long-term outlook for Baidu, investors are still giving it a premium price. Shares currently trade for 29 times next year's earnings expectations. By comparison, Alphabet shares trade for just 19 times next year's earnings expectations.

Baidu's sales are slightly discounted to Alphabet's with a price-to-sales ratio of 4.7, compared to 5.3 for Alphabet. But with Baidu's slowing sales growth, the discount ought to be much bigger.

The relatively cheap valuation of Alphabet combined with its steady revenue growth and higher profit margin make it a better buy right now than Baidu. Baidu has a lot of potential, but as it transitions out its advertiser validation, it needs to prove it can attract more legitimate advertisers to its platform and grow their average spend. Alphabet just needs to keep doing what it's doing.

10 stocks we like better than Baidu

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Author: Adam Levy
Source: http://host.madison.com/business/investment/markets-and-stocks/better-buy-baidu-inc-vs-google/article_f55e6882-d764-51f3-96a4-9aead3861513.html

Friday, 16 December 2016 00:39

The Best iPhone Search Apps

What is the New Deal? What does "jackanapes" mean? Who shot J.R.? In years past, we would've consulted a dictionary, encyclopedia, or some other reference tool to wrangle up answers. Nowadays, we carry smart phones capable of fetching information within a few keystrokes. And when one thinks smartphone, it's difficult to overlook the Apple iPhone's industry-changing impact. So too has the iPhone changed the way we access information. If you have the appropriate iPhone search app, it's a snap to find the answer to just about any question, no matter where you are.

We've taken a look a handful of iPhone search apps for those times when you need a question answered quickly: Ask.com (Free, 3.5 stars), Bing (Free, 4.5 stars), Dragon Go! (Free, 4 stars), and Google Search (Free, 4 stars). Ask.com, in addition to traditional search, leverages the power of its community to help you get answers. The Editors' Choice award-winning Bing has excellent text, voice, and barcode search. Dragon Go! lets you control of your other installed apps. Google Search implements the search giant's Instant Results. Three of the four-Bing, Dragon Go!, and Google-even let you perform visual searches using the iPhone's camera.

Have an urgent question? Give these iPhone search apps a go and see if they can serve as your modern day Oracle of Delphi. Let us know which is your favorite in the comments section below.

Ask.com (for iPhone)

Ask.com (for iPhone)

 

Free 

Featuring fast searches, accurate voice recognition, and a price that can't be beat, Ask.com for iPhone is very solid mobile search engine that leverages the power of the Ask community.

Bing for iPad

Bing (for iPhone)

Free

Featuring capable text, voice, and barcode searching, Bing for iPhone is a solid information tool for mobile users. The Bing Vision search, however, could use some work.

Dragon Go!

Dragon Go! (for iPhone)

 

Free

You can already search by voice on your iPhone with Bing and Google apps, but Dragon Go! lets you do more with the results, taking advantage of other apps and a nifty sliding tab "carousel" interface.

Google Search for iPhone

Google Search (for iPhone)

 

Free

The Google iPhone app brings voice and visual search on your Apple mobile or iPod touch, as well as Instant results as you key in your query. Bing's app is slightly more useful, however.

Author:  JEFFREY L. WILSON, MICHAEL MUCHMORE

Source:  http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2391337,00.asp

Viral videos are great for marketing because they are cheaper than other marketing methods, they are sharable, you have control over the message and its delivery, and their entertainment value makes them more memorable. If you have been making great videos and you still have a problem making them go viral, these tips will help you out.

1. Create Sharable Content

No matter how good a video is, it will not go viral if it does not entice people to share it. Creating a sharable video is important because people are more likely to watch a video that has been shared by those they trust. So, what makes a sharable video?

  • People are more likely to share a video that says something valuable or meaningful to them. Your video should strike a chord with your target audience. As an example, the “Save the Children’s Most Shocking Second a Day” video went viral because it was about a young British girl who was exposed to a life similar to that of a child in war-torn countries. The video brought a far-flung conflict that people were indifferent to closer to home.
  • Ensure your video is funny. People have a natural urge to laugh with others and they will, therefore, share a humorous video. Even when your message is serious, find a way of incorporating humor in the message. BuzzFeed, which specialized in viral content, lists funny photos and videos and if your video is funny enough, you could just feature here as well as on other big blogs, which means even greater viewership.
  • Contests are extremely effective in spreading the word about a video. You can view contests and giveaways as bribes – even people who are not interested in your message will view your video for a chance of winning.
  • Although it is okay to try to emulate success stories, you are more likely to achieve success if you are unique. Rehashed content and a mediocre message will not lead to shares. Brainstorm with your team to come up with the most unique content that people will want to share.
  • Consider creating a video that is inspired by the latest craze. Viewers are more likely to share something that is of great interest and that is trending.

2. Collaborate

You can collaborate with YouTube creators who may not be your traditional celebrities, but who nonetheless have a big and loyal fan base. You could approach such a YouTube creator to promote your video and his/her active fan base will be your first audience. As an example, YouTube stars like Jim Chapman, Caspar Lee, Dan Howell, Phil Lester, Pixiwoo, Joe Sugg, and Marcus Butler recently worked with Cancer Research UK in the“Stand Up To Cancer” livestream event on YouTube and the event went viral.

3. Quantity

When it comes to YouTube videos, quantity is just as important as quality. It is only when you release videos regularly that you will keep your audience active and interested. It’s just like friendship – you are more engaged when you talk often. It is also a game of probability – even if most of the videos do not go viral, there is a chance that a few will. Focus should be less on quality of the video and more on quality of the message.

4. Have a Wide Distribution Engine

Your video should fit in with your larger marketing vision. Consider sharing the same video on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and others since any of them could trigger the viral effect. Using multiple channels will give your marketing campaign a built-in echo effect. Concentrate on a handful of channels that you are good at and that you can optimize.

5. Have a Launch Strategy

In a recent article in The Guardian, Pierre Chappaz, the author, encouraged marketers to focus on the first 24 hours of release. He stated, “If nobody interacts with your video within the first 24 hours of release, it’s going to struggle to go viral. The reason for this is the complex and somewhat mysterious YouTube algorithm.” YouTube’s algorithm considers the interaction rate (shares, likes, comments) during the first 24 hours of release to determine ranking in its country charts.

6. Make your Videos Easy to Find

Think like search engines whose algorithms make it easy for audiences to find the information they are looking for. You can ensure your videos are easy to find by optimizing the titles and descriptions. Do keyword optimization and use other SEO tactics to not only ensure the videos are easy to find, but to also increase ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages).

7. Do Not Forget Mobile Users

Your video must be mobile-friendly since studies show that at least half of YouTube views are coming from mobile. If you have a link to your website, ensure your site has responsive web design for good mobile user experience.

8. Visit a Google Digital Garage

Digital Garage is a Google free program that helps small businesses and other organizations to learn the digital skills needed to make the most out of YouTube and the web in general. Visit a Digital Garage and get a mentor or sign up to get online training.

9. Shock and Awe

A big number of the videos that have gone viral on YouTube are those that are shocking or that touch on a controversial subject. When it comes to YouTube videos, do not shy away from being criticized, disliked or hated because the buzz will lead to more people who are interested in your message seeing the video.

  • Get others to submit your Content to Reddit

Consider getting involved in the Reddit community. You could then share your YouTube content for other users to upvote or downvote the content and for a chance of the content going viral. You should avoid the common temptation of simply submitting the content without involvement in the Reddit community because Reddit does not look favorably on people submitting their own stuff.

  • Create a Public Playlist

Annotations are used to interlink videos, but you should consider playlists since they are less distracting, more organized, and more useful for people who are browsing your videos. Playlists are also better than annotations because YouTube viewers often disable YouTube annotations. You can take advantage of public playlists by serializing your content, especially when producing a series of tutorials, since a playlist keeps all the content in the same place and it arranges the content appropriately. You could also use playlists for separating topical videos if your videos cover different topics.

  • Use Thumbnails

Although it is not good to judge a book by its cover, the fact is that many people base their decision on whether or not they will watch a video solely on how the thumbnail looks. A good thumbnail is one that exemplifies the quality and the content of the video since people are more likely to view a video when they feel you’ve put in the effort.

You should encourage users to engage in comments and to share. Link your video marketing campaign with other marketing campaigns (such as SMM by including social media icons) to have the best results. Watch viral videos such as “Girls Do Science” by Microsoft for tips on what makes a viral video.

Author:  Derek Iwasiuk

Source:  http://clapway.com/2016/12/10/wrong-12-secrets-making-viral-video

IF YOU USE a workplace collaboration tool like Slack or Hipchat, it’s easy to fall into an assumption of privacy, throwing around gossip and even sensitive business as if it were normal cubicle chatter. It’s not. Anything you write in one of those collaborative chatrooms can be stored, and is potentially vulnerable to government surveillance, hacking, or a subpoena in a run-of-the-mill lawsuit.

The encrypted-messaging startup Wickr wants to solve that potential Slack-snooping problem. Today it’s launching Wickr Professional, software it hopes will be the most workable combination yet of Slack’s chatroom-based messaging, the privacy of encryption, and the ephemerality of Snapchat-style self-destructing messages.

Unlike other collaboration tools, which encrypt messages as they travel from a user’s device to a company’s servers but store those communications in an unencrypted state, Wickr uses end-to-end encryption. That means only the people on either end of a conversation can decrypt and read messages. That’s an important security step, but Wickr CEO Joel Wallenstrom argues that it’s really the software’s ephemeral messaging feature, which allows administrators and users to set self-destruction timers for messages as short as a few seconds, that sets Wickr apart.

“End-to-end encryption is kind of table stakes these days,” Wallenstrom says. “We’re really trying to break through the idea that you have to keep everything forever, and that just layering encryption on will save the day…A setting that makes secrets not stick around forever is a good thing.”

Wickr Professional

The notion that written records of sensitive conversations can come back to haunt their authors has been made especially clear over the last year: WikiLeaks illustrated it yet again with the leaked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton staffer John Podesta that injected chaos into the party and Clinton’s campaign. Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker for publishing a video of him having sex dredged up embarrassing conversations from the media company’s Campfire collaboration software, including obscure wrestling sex jokes and at least one picture of an uncircumcised penis that Gawker’s editor-in-chief had shared with staff.

Locking Down the Water Cooler

Wickr hopes to capitalize on that growing anxiety over stored, sensitive conversations. Its Wickr Professional tool will expand the features of its software beyond the free encrypted and self-destructing messaging app Wickr Messenger that it’s offered for more than three years, which the company says is now used by “millions” of people. (It declined to offer a more specific user count.) It’s a booming market; Slack alone has exploded from two million daily users to four million in just the last year. Wickr also hopes to command a premium for its secrecy features. Wallenstrom says that a typical installation will cost about $50,000 a year for a company with a hundred users, more than three times the cost of Slack’s premium version. “It’s not free. It’s a serious tool,” says Wallenstrom. “But for the things we’re helping them protect I think it’s pretty fair.”

Wickr Professional, like Slack, will allow users to create chatrooms for group messaging, share files, and eventually make audio calls, though that calling feature will only be added in the coming months. Unlike Slack, Wickr users will be able to set self-destructing message policies for both individual messages or entire rooms, quickly erasing all traces of messages on some sensitive topics, while storing others for posterity. For bosses who want both end-to-end encryption and a a log of all conversations, or for regulated industries that require an auditable history, the software will offer a feature that acts as essentially another silent participant in conversations, recording everything without giving employees access to a chat log. The paper trail lives only with the bot. But in all other cases, it says its ephemeral messages will be erased completely—thoroughly enough that they can’t be leaked, handed over to FBI agents, or subpoenaed by Hulk Hogan’s lawyers.

Wickr Professional's self-destructing message timer feature.

A Crowded Market

Wickr won’t be the first to offer end-to-end encrypted collaboration software. It will compete with a growing list of privacy-focused communication companies including SpiderOak, ClearChat, and Symphony. But unlike some of those tools, Wickr offers both self-destructing messages and perfect forward secrecy, an encryption feature that changes the encryption key with every message to make cracking its communications more difficult. And thanks to its Messenger app, Wickr already has an existing user base from which to draw—as well as around 20 customers for a beta version of Wickr Professional—and a decent reputation for security. Its advisory board includes renowned security researcher Dan Kaminsky, and its earlier software has been audited by security firms iSec Partners, Veracode and Aspect Security, all of which gave Wickr Messenger a clean bill of health.

Even so, it may be too soon to trust Wickr’s encryption with your darkest secrets. Wickr Professional, like Wickr Messenger, remains closed source, which has prevented a wider crowd of cryptographers and security auditors from examining its code for vulnerabilities. Johns Hopkins computer science professor Matthew Green has written that this obscurity makes its real security a mystery. “Should I use this to fight my oppressive regime?” he asked of Wickr Messenger in 2013. “Yes, as long your fight consists of sending naughty self-portraits to your comrades-at-arms. Otherwise, probably not.” (Wickr has hinted at open sourcing its code in the near future: A spokesperson tells me that the company has “exciting news soon on that front.”)

Still, even Green says he’s pleased to see companies like Wickr taking on the challenge of building security features into collaboration software. “It’s insane that companies have so much sensitive information on unencrypted tools like Slack,” he writes. “Being able to end-to-end encrypt that information is really compelling.” And if its timed message-destruction can prevent an embarrassment of WikiLeaks or Gawker lawsuit proportions, it may end up being the most compelling feature of all.

Author:  ANDY GREENBERG

Source:  https://www.wired.com

Facebook has risen to the top spot among tech companies on the annual Glassdoor Best Places to Work U.S. rankings.

That seems fitting for the company in a year when it is taking on Slack, Microsoft-owned Yammer, and other workplace collaboration platforms with its own Facebook Workplace.

Facebook’s Head of People, Lori Matloff Goler, told TechCrunch that the social media giant focuses on being a “strengths-based organization” and wants to be known as an employer that “takes good care of its people overall.”

She said, “Most employees speak favorably about their ability to have a real impact here. Many talk about the flexibility in the way we work.

Your manager is there to care for you, set context and help you play to your strengths, give you feedback and goals, but let you do whatever you need to get there. It’s not about how much time you spend in the office.

This is great for families but was inspired by engineers who, as you know, like to or need to work at different hours and are not seated at their desks all the time.”

Facebook also offers a very attractive parental leave package, she noted.

Glassdoor compiles compensation data, reviews and ratings by employees about the companies where they work. It makes money through paid job listings, recruiting and employer branding services. Its data sample comes from employees who self-select to offer information there.

Last year’s top-ranked tech venture, Airbnb, plummeted 34 spots in Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2017.

According to Glassdoor Community Expert, Scott Dobroski, that was largely due to written reviews from employees who said there has been an increasing amount of bureaucracy and decreasing amount of transparency from senior leaders in the company as it has grown.

The sharing economy’s top lodgings business still attained an overall 4.2 rating, out of 5 possible, from employees and did make the list of Best Places to Work U.S.

He also said Facebook made the list for the seventh time and topped the tech category because employees raved about their employer, overall, especially around compensation and benefits and perks that make day to day life easier like free meals or transportation.

When it comes to Facebook’s areas for improvement, Glassdoor data suggests the company could afford its people greater work-life balance. On a scale from one to five, Facebook employees rated work-life balance at their company around 3.8 compared to Google’s 4.1 rating in the category.

Google got slightly lower marks than Facebook on compensation and benefits with a rating of 4.4.

Other areas where employees were asked to score their companies included: career opportunities, culture and values, senior leadership, how strongly they’d recommend their employer to a friend, and the business outlook for their employer.

Whether Facebook can stay atop the list, or perhaps even top it overall and not just among tech employers remains to be seen.

The future of human resources at Facebook will be about “personalization,” Goler said.

“Students in middle and high school right now have grown up on shared platforms where they can customize their feeds, whether that’s on Instagram, or Facebook…They’ll enter the work world thinking it should feel similar to those consumer products.”

In total, 20 tech companies made the Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2017 list for the U.S.

Here they are, with their rankings and overall company score, as provided by Dobroski:

Facebook (#2, 4.5)
Google (#4, 4.4)
World Wide Technology (#5, 4.4)
Fast Enterprises (#6, 4.4)
LinkedIn (#8, 4.4)
Adobe (#9, 4.3)
Paylocity (#14, 4.3)
SAP (#15, 4.3)
MathWorks (#16, 4.3)
Salesforce (#17, 4.3)
Intuit (#20, 4.3)
Docusign (#23, 4.3)
Concur (#24, 4.3)
Akamai (#25, 4.3)
Zillow (#29, 4.2)
NVIDIA (#30, 4.2)
Airbnb (#35, 4.2)
Apple (#36, 4.2)
Microsoft (#37, 4.2)
Texas Instruments (#42, 4.2)

Author:  Lora Kolodny

Source:  https://techcrunch.com

Sunday, 04 December 2016 14:44

The 10 Best Tablets of 2016

It’s been a long time since tablets were the up-and-coming hotness. Companies learned years ago that people just weren’t going to buy a new tablet every year—and that’s led some to abandon the form factor altogether. In fact, some of our favorite tablets from 2015 such as the Dell Venue 8 7000, the Samsung Tab S2, and the iPad mini 4 didn’t get updates this year at all.

Even with the fervor around tablets dying down, we got some fantastic tablets, especially in the 2-in-1 category. So here they are: the 10 best tablets of 2016.

10. LG G Pad X 8.0

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You may not have heard of the LG G Pad X 8.0 (which yes, is an unfortunate name), but it’s a new midrange tablet from LG available exclusively for T-Mobile. It works best as an e-reader, with the balance of a large screen and portable size you’ll find in an Android tablet. However, the Reading Mode makes late-night reading easy on the eyes, and the versatility of Android 6.0 Marshmallow lets you read e-books from almost any digital bookshelf out there including comics. It’s probably not going to blow you away, but at $240 with LTE connectivity, it’s a great value for what you’re getting.

9. Huawei Matebook

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Every device manufacturer has a 2-in-1 these days, and Huawei’s Matebook is the company’s first attempt at one. While the Matebook looks great in all respects—from the beautiful thin design to the brown leather case. As a tablet itself, it’s everything you’d expect from a device with a $699 pricetag. It doesn’t hold up quite as well in terms of the 2-in-1 aspect thanks to the wobbly case, but if all you’re looking for is a terrific Android tablet, the Matebook is a good (but expensive) option.

8. Asus ZenPad Z8

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On the far other end of the price spectrum is the ZenPad Z8 from Asus, exclusively for Verizon. It retails at just $149, making it the most affordable tablet on the list. It’s not going to impress you with its build quality or performance, but the ZenPad stands out in a market flooded with mostly junky midrange tablets. Without updates to budget-friendly tablets like the Nexus 7, Dell Venue 8 7000, or the NVIDIA Shield Tablet K1, the ZenPad Z8 takes the mantle on for cheap tablet that you won’t want to get rid of in six months.

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet

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When you think tablet, you’re not usually looking in the $1000+ territory, but that’s exactly what the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is. In other words, it’s obvious that Lenovo didn’t make this device for the average person—it’s for business professionals who are dedicated to the ThinkPad brand. The truth is for that market niche, the 2-in-1 X1 Tablet is fantastic as a machine for getting work done. Like most 12-inch tablets, the X1 Tablet is a little big too really use as a tablet, but with its great hi-res screen, built-in projector, and Lenovo’s proprietary pen, it’s potential uses are countless. The X1 Tablet may not have many takers, but those who can afford it won’t be disappointed.

6. Huawei MediaPad M3

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We didn’t get an update to the universally-loved iPad mini 4 this year, but this competitor from Huawei does a great job of filling that hole. The MediaPad M3 is impressive at being what it claims to be: a tablet for consuming media. This 8.4-inch tablet has a beautiful hi-res display, perfect for lounging on the couch with your favorite Netflixshow or game. A premium 8-inch Android tablet that isn’t trying to also sell you a keyboard is surprisingly hard to find these days. The MediaPad has Huawei’s slightly tacky Android skin over it, but installing a Google launcher can solve a lot of that.

5. Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro

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Although we’ll soon be getting the Tab 3 Plus, the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is an excellent little tablet, provided you like what Lenovo is doing with its tablet design language. In some ways, it’s just another 8-inch Android tablet—in others it’s unlike any one you’ve ever seen. Just pull out the kickstand and you’ve got the ability to project an image up on your blank wall straight from the back of the device. While it doesn’t project in 1080p or anywhere near 1000 lumens, the result is still impressive and unique in a remarkably small package.

4. Amazon Kindle (2016)

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While having everything on what device is great, there are some things that the Kindle can do that a traditional tablet will never be able to do. The battery life, readability, and easy connection to Amazon’s Kindle service makes it a product that stands out for those who read a lot, especially if they’re travelers. The newest Kindle doesn’t make any drastic changes to the formula, but it’s lighter and thinner than previous models, making it that much easier to throw in your bag.

3. Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510

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We didn’t get a new Surface or Surface Pro this year, leaving the window open for a company like Lenovo to offer its alternative. Late this year we got the IdeaPad Miix 510, a 2-in-1 Surface competitor that actually works wells as both a laptop and a tablet. With a Core i series processor, Windows 10, and a unique watchband-style kickstand, the Miix 510 is made for getting actual work done. At a starting price of only $599 (with an extra $130 for the detachable keyboard), the IdeaPad Miix 510 is the best 2-in-1 Windows 10 tablet to come out in 2016.

2. Pixel-C

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Although technically the Pixel-C was released in late December, it really wasn’t available until 2016—hence it’s position on this list. The Pixel-C is Google’s first tablet, built ground-up by Google. Replacing the Nexus tablets, the Pixel-C is possibly the best designed and constructed Android tablet ever made. It’s got an all-aluminum finish, a really innovative magnetic keyboard attachment, and a beautiful hi-res display.

What’s more, Android has finally gotten better at multitasking, making the Pixel-C more useful than ever before. Hopefully we’ll see Google update the Pixel-C again soon with more performance and battery life, but for now it’s the best Android tablet you can buy.

1. 9.7-inch iPad Pro

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In just about every way that matters, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is the long-awaited up to the iPad Air 2. It’s the traditional iPad size, but with all of the multitasking and power that came with with the massive 12.9-inch iPad Pro. That means it works with the Apple Pencil, new keyboard cover, and got a performance—all to make for a product you might just be able to get some work done on.

More than anything of that, though, the iPad continues to be the go-to tablet in a more general sense. Apple has pushed to make the iPad the premiere location for exclusive fullscreen apps that are built with the iPad in mind. The hardware and design are simply the best—and with the new splitscreen mode, it looks like the software is finally catching up too. In many ways, the iPad Pro is Apple following Microsoft’s lead with what it has achieved with the Surface Pro, but when you’re building on the foundation that is the iPad, it only sweetens the deal.

Author:  Luke Larsen

Source:  https://www.pastemagazine.com

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