The year 2016 has come to an end. Looking back, here’s a roundup of the Top 16 trending online tools of 2016 that were most appreciated and used by the brilliant people of the LabWorm community.

So without further ado, let’s see what the LabWormers picked as the top sites of 2016.

1. Protocols.io

Discover & share science protocol knowledge. An open access platform for sharing and discovering up-to-date life science methods.

[More details | Visit site]

2. Publons
Keep a record of every peer review you do for the world’s journals. Publons provides statistics about how peer review behaviour compares across individuals, disciplines, institutions and countries.

[More details | Visit site]

3. matters
Single observation publishing.  At Matters, you do not have to wait to assemble all the data to tell a story.

[More details | Visit site]

4. Figshare
Repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner.


[More details | Visit site]

5. Wellcome Open Research
Immediate & Transparent Publishing. A journal that allows researchers to rapidly publish any results they think are worth sharing.

[More details | Visit site]

6. Science disrupt
Creating a change in science. A group that records podcasts, writes editorials and runs events aimed at improving science.

[More details | Visit site]

7. sciNote
Open source electronic lab notebook, which helps you organize your scientific data and safely store it in one place.

[More details | Visit site]

Accelerate interpretation of your NGS data. A knowledgebase connecting targeted therapies to genomic variants.

[More details | Visit site]

9. MedStartr
Crowdfunding platform for biomedical & healthcare research.

[More details | Visit site]

10. Repositive
Discover a better way of searching for genomic data. Enabling easy search and access to genomic data.

[More details | Visit site]


11. Workspace
More than just a reference manager. Manage your research online and conveniently access it from any computer.

[More details | Visit site]

The co-working hub for researchers. Collaborative reading of articles & books while engaging in discussions direclty over the content.

[More details | Visit site]

13. Biovista Vizit
Visual bibliographic search tool. Search tool based on PubMed that helps biomedical scientists with their research, discovery work and collaboration.

[More details | Visit site]

Digital life sciences marketplace & comparison engine to find and buy the right biotech kits.

[More details | Visit site]

15. Bioz
Search engine to get insights from scientific papers about methods, tools, and reagents.

[More details | Visit site]

16. SCI.AI
Write semantic science. User friendly structuring of biomedical texts so that articles can be machine-readable and published in media format.

[More details | Visit site]

We would like to thank all of you for being part of the LabWorm community and making these great choices. We are already anxious to see what you LabWormers will be up to in this coming year. Have a fantastic 2017 and may the Worm be with you all!

Source : https://labworm.com/blog/top-research-tools-2016/

Categorized in Online Research

Searchmetrics has released their annual study of Google’s top search ranking factors. The “comparative benchmark” for SEOs illustrates how ranking factors are becoming more personalized, content relevance is paramount, technical factors are still as important as ever, and backlinks are seeing a downward trend in importance.

I will recap some of the top sections of the report in this post, but the exceptionally detailed 63-page report deserves to be read in full if you have the time to do so.

Content Factors

Searchmetrics has introduced a new ranking factor to this year’s report called content relevance, which measures how relevant a piece of content is to a search query. It is measured on a scale from 0–100, and data suggests a higher relevance score can equate to higher rankings.

Word count is still an important ranking factor, with content in the top positions exceeding 1000 words on average. The level of detail matters as much as the length of the content. Pages that show up in higher positions are detailed enough to rank comparably well for multiple similar keywords.

With that being said, the deliberate use of keywords is said to be of secondary importance, with only 53% of the top 20 queries having keywords in the title tag.

“This clearly demonstrates that Google evaluates content according to its relevance – and not by the inclusion of individual keywords.”


User Signals

User signals such as Click-Through Rate, Time on Site, and Bounce Rate are considered to be among the top ranking factors. These factors are so important because they’re all signals to Google as to how satisfied a user is with the content they just landed on.

  • The pages occupying positions 1–3 have an average CTR of 36%.
  • The average Bounce Rate for URLs on the first page of search results is 46%.
  • The Time on Site for the top 10 URLs is 3 minutes and 10 seconds

Technical Factors

The number of pages in the top 20 positions with an H1 or H2 is up compared to last year. The use of H2 tags has seen a particularly notable rise in the top landing pages this year. Since not all URLs make use of H2s, Searchmetrics recommends using them for a competitive advantage.

Here are some other highlights regarding technical ranking factors:

  • Over 45% of pages in the top 20 results were encrypted using HTTPS, up from 12% last year.
  • 86% of pages in the top 10 now use the .com TLD.
  • Pages ranking well on mobile are a third smaller than pages in the same positions on desktop.
  • Pages in the top 10 positions have a loading time of 7–8 seconds, on average.
  • Top ranking pages typically have longer URLs, around 53 characters on average.
  • All 100 of the top 100 domains have are mobile-friendly.

User Experience Factors

Internal links are said to be one of the most important user experience ranking factors, though they are being largely underutilized. Searchmetrics says the use of internal links has fallen dramatically this year compared to last year. Internal links help direct both users and search engines to other relevant pages throughout a website, which is why they’re so important. External links, number of images, and video integration are all factors that add to the user experience which are also important ranking factors.


Social Signals

According to Searchmetrics, there is an extremely high correlation between social signals and ranking position. Facebook is still the network with the highest weighted social signals. Signals from Google+ are apparently most prevalent in when it comes to the first and second positions, but fall off significantly after that. The same can be said for signals from Twitter and Pinterest as well.

”The top-ranked website in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages, even more so than in 2015”

Backlink Signals

The days of backlinks being the main driving force behind search engine rankings are on their way out, Searchmetrics says. Backlinks are now just a contributing signal, taking a back seat to signals such as content relevance and user intention. In fact, for certain niche topics its possible to obtain a high ranking without even having a lot of high quality backlinks.


After having one of the industry’s most respected reports since 2012, Searchmetrics says the annual ranking reports study is no longer applicable as it once was. This marks the last the last time Searchmetrics will publish a study on general ranking factors. Expect to see more detailed industry studies from them beginning spring 2017.

Author:  Matt Southern

Source:  https://www.searchenginejournal.com/googles-top-search-ranking-factors-2016-according-searchmetrics-study/181157

Categorized in Search Engine

Apple's list of the 10 most downloaded free apps of 2016 is a great place to start if you just got a new iPhone or iPad, and want to make sure you've got the apps all your friends probably already have.

One note — Apple published its list in early December, so the smash hit Super Mario Run wasn't included in Apple's list.

Facebook and Google dominate Apple's own list of the most downloaded apps of 2016. If not for Snapchat and Pokémon Go, Facebook would have the three most downloaded iPhone apps. 





Free. Download from iTunes here. 

Facebook Messenge

Facebook MessengeriTunes

Free. Download from iTunes here

Pokémon GO


Pokémon GOiTunes

Free with in-app purchases. Download from iTunes here



Free. Download from iTunes here




Free. Download from iTunes here



Free. Download from iTunes here

Google Maps


Google MapsiTunes

Free. Download from iTunes here



Free with in-app purchases. Download from iTunes here. 




Free, but requires a subscription. Download from iTunes here

Spotify Music

Spotify MusiciTunes

Free, with in-app purchases. Download from iTunes here

Author : Kif Leswing

Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/top-free-apps-of-2016-according-to-apple-2016-12/#snapchat-1

Categorized in Internet Technology

Africa’s tweeters and Instagrammers have been busy this year, demanding political change and criticizing underperforming leaders. Government crackdowns highlight the threat social media poses to those in power, especially around election time: Yoweri Museveni’s regime blocked social media in Uganda during the February election, while Congolese authorities shut down platforms in December when President Joseph Kabila’s mandate ended.

But African social media users have also taken to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms for more light-hearted purposes—mocking the over-the-top show of deference made by one Cameroonian minister to his president, for instance.

Newsweek reviews five of the most popular hashtags and trends to sweep the continent in 2016.


November 8 heralded an event that most commentators and pollsters failed to predict: the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. But while America’s liberal establishment mourned the result, Africans took to social media to lighten the mood, parodying typical Western responses to African elections—from proposing military intervention to claiming that war-torn African countries were evacuating their citizens from “the troubled North American country.”


Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire posted a video message on YouTube in April, draped in his country’s flag. He told Newsweek he had made the video in desperate frustration at the state of the country’s economy, after struggling to pay his children’s school fees.


The video went viral and sparked the #ThisFlag social media movement—calling for an overhaul of the Zimbabwean government and the resignation of 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.

Ivory Coast Facebook

Search engine results about the new version of Facebook in the popular West African language Peul in September. Africans have used social media to engage with politics in 2016.ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/GETTY

#ThisFlag has had mixed results. Thousands of Zimbabweans heeded a call made by Mawarire and his supporters in July for a nationwide strike which left streets and businesses across the country empty. But Mawarire was forced to flee the country, while Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party confirmed over the weekend that the 92-year-old would be its sole candidate for the next presidential election in 2018.

The movement has become a rallying cry, however, for disgruntled Zimbabweans to demand change—even if they have to wait to do it via the ballot box.



In Cameroon, Paul Biya is a man that commands respect, even reverence: the 83-year-old has been president of the West African country for more than three decades. But when photos emerged in December of the country’s Sports Minister, Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mkpatt, greeting Biya, many Cameroonians decided he had gone too far. Bidoung’s deep bow and the significant distance he maintained from the president were the butt of many jokes...


Not a specific hashtag, but rather the template for many Africans when election time comes round: #UgandaDecides trended in February (despite a government-imposed partial social media shutdown), while #GhanaDecides was popular in December. Such hashtags bear witness to just how politically engaged African social media users are. An April report by U.K.-based communications firm Portland, which analyzed 1.6 billion geolocated tweets, found that one in 10 of the most popular African hashtags related to political matters, compared to just 2 percent of hashtags in the United States and United Kingdom.

In some cases, the #AfricaDecides template was tweaked, notably in Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh performed a dramatic U-turn by rejecting his election defeat, despite initially accepting the result. Gambians shared the hashtag #GambiaDecided en masse to remind Jammeh that the country had spoken and, after 22 years in power, it was time for him to move on.


2016 has been a tough year for Nigeria’s economy. Hit by the global fall in commodity prices and an insurgency in the Niger Delta which slashed the country’s precious oil production by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day, Africa’s most populous country slipped into recession in August. The value of the Nigerian currency, the naira, has also been a bit of a rollercoaster: the naira’s value was pegged at 197 to one U.S. dollar for 16 months before the country’s central bank allowed the currency to float freely in June, sending its value soaring. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced a 2.36 trillion naira ($7.75 billion) budget aimed at tackling the recession.

In May, Nigeria recorded its first trade deficit (when imports outweigh exports) in seven years, recording a negative balance of 184.1 billion naira ($925 million). Many Nigerians rallied on social media—some motivated by Nigerian businessman and politician Ben Murray-Bruce—in a bid to make Nigerian, or Naija, products more attractive to consumers.


Source:  http://europe.newsweek.com/five-social-media-crazes-swept-africa-2016-534342?rm=eu

Categorized in Social

Retailers investing in new technologies during 2016 did so in many cases to keep up with the competition, often represented most specifically by Amazon — the company that influenced how many of them pursued e-commerce, and now is prompting them to consider innovations in the emerging area of conversational commerce.

Retailers also pursued new innovations this year in the name of enabling better interactions and stronger relationships with their customers. That notion is the common thread running through what we believe were the five most significant areas of retail technology innovation in 2016.

1. Artificial Intelligence

It’s very likely a lot of retail folks feel AI was the biggest and most broadly impactful innovation to shape the retail sector in 2016. And it’s not just a single innovation, but a vast field on innovation, affecting everything from chatbots (more about those little guys shortly) to other forms of virtual shopping assistants to mobile and visual search to mall directory services.

The most familiar AI-powered solution is Amazon’s Alexa, and though it arrived before this year, Amazon did a lot of work this year to build an ecosystem around its AI-based assistant — work that will inform future AI innovations all across the retail sector. Late in the year, Amazon made several key moves, including creating an accelerator program releasing some of Alexa’s core technology components to developers, that should help trigger an explosion of AI initiatives in retail for years to come.


Significantly, Amazon also teamed with a couple of other heavyweights  —  Google and Facebook  —  for an alliance intended to advance understanding of AI technology and help craft best practices for its development and use. This teaming could help ensure recent AI innovations are responsibly implemented, something that surely will affect broader retail adoption. As Murray Shanahan, a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London, said at the time of the announcement, “A small number of large corporations are today the powerhouses behind the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence. The inauguration of the partnership on AI is a very welcome step towards ensuring this technology is used wisely.”

Aside from Amazon, there were too many launches of AI-driven solutions in 2016 to list here, but milestones include the just-announced AI-based navigation and information apps for Mall of America and Fashion Island mall; eBay’s use of AI in creating curated marketplaces and other solutions; separate efforts by MasterCard and Stripe to deploy AI to fight fraud; and Staples' efforts to infuse its familiar Easy Button with AI.

These aren't just innovations for the sake of innovation. The chief aim with many of these efforts is to enable better customer shopping experiences, often through AI-driven conversation commerce functions. When Target teamed with startup AddStructure this fall to develop an Alexa-like assistant, a Target spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune “One of the great things about the technology is it works with customers the way they naturally talk and the way they search for things. Anything we can use to create a better experience for our guests, that’s what is most appealing to us.”

Not surprisingly, AI also was at the center of several acquisitions and executive migrations during 2016. Etsy acquired new AI talent by buying Blackbird Technologies, while eBay, another early champion of AI in retaillost a key AI exec to Amazon. As the retail’s AI revolution ramps up, there is surely more of that to come in 2017.

2. Chatbots

Some of you surely are thinking “Aren’t chatbots just one form of AI? Is Retail Dive cheating us out of hearing about other innovations?”

Gentle reader, we would never do such a thing — and also, while chatbots are indeed one form of AI-based solution, they also represent their own vast area of innovation in how retailers are helping their customers interact with them. While AI is the enabler, a number of parties are taking the concept and running with it to create useful and distinct chatbots, and no company may have done more during 2016 to the emerging retail chatbot economy than Facebook.


The social media giant back in April unveiled a suite of support functions for chatbots to run on its Messenger platform, a move the seemed to release a lot of pent-up energy, as more than 11,000 chatbots joined Messenger over the next few months. Facebook has continued to beef up its program by adding new services and making it easier for its members to find chatbots through newsfeed ad capabilities.

The new chatbots in some ways represent a re-innovation of some functions retailers have tried to offer through their mobile apps, with varying degrees of success.“All these brands have written apps and no one uses those apps,” Razorfish executive and retail blogger Jason Goldberg told Retail Dive at the time of Facebook's original chatbot announcement. “The bots don’t require any installation, so a lot of people, myself included, feel the bot is the new app."

Several retailers have aggressively moved to develop chatbots. The year began with Sephora launching its Virtual Artist chatbot, which it continued to enhance it throughout the months to follow, and activity continued right until the final days of 2016, as Nordstrom launched its first chatbot.

One of the more intriguing chatbot rollouts came from eBay, which launched a still-learning beta version of its ShopBot chatbot with the belief that could learn faster and become increasingly useful to eBay customers by interacting with them. Retail chatbots are right now where retail mobile apps were a few years ago — they’re nice-to-haves, but they soon will be must-haves.

3. Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

Before we go any further, maybe we should talk semantics: Virtual reality has to do with the creation of immersive virtual environments, while augmented reality is intended to indicate the mixing of virtual and real elements in a hybrid environment. That said, it’s gotten pretty hard to separate the two notions, and the differences may not so much matter to all the retailers than have embraced them in the past year.


VR/AR (not be confused with AC/DC) is an overnight sensation that was at least 25 years in the making. Early VR/AR tools lacked quality and consistency, and were too costly even for adventurous early adopters. We’ve seen that change in recent years, with the development of high-end VR headsets and more affordable solutions from the likes of Google and Samsung, VR/AR technologies and startups have started to draw much more funding, and several industry experts suggested that 2016 was the start of a VR/AR boom.

In 2016, VR/AR certainly played a major role in retail on two different levels — both as a marketing and sales tool for retailers, and a viable product worth their shelf space. Home décor retailer Wayfair.com arguably led the way among individual retailers using VR/AR as a tool to help them sell and interact with customers: The company launched its Patio Playground VR app, developed by its Wayfair Next lab unit, in July, and continued to enhance and expand its VR offerings in recent months.

Wayfair co-founder and chairman Steve Conine called VR a "transformative discovery platform," and explained how Patio Playground allows the retailer to liven up its customer interactions: “By combining our advanced first-party 3-D scanning and visualization capabilities with Facebook’s virtual reality headset, the Wayfair Next team has created an interactive and entertaining way for customers to get inspired and browse items for their home.”

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s also advanced its own VR/AR strategy, expanding its HoloLens virtual design program with partner Microsoft. Meanwhile, Alibaba advanced its aims to allow VR users to pay for items while engaged in VR sessions. Elsewhere, the wildly popular Pokemon Go game helped raise the profile of VR/AR, not that it needed help.

In sales of VR gear, the year started promisingly, with AT&T committing to in-store demonstrations of new VR gear, and got even better when Best Buy expanded its own demos of VR gear to more than 500 stores. Whatever you want to call it, the VR/AR era is here.

4. Payments

Like everything else on this list, online and mobile payment technologies and payment apps didn’t just come to light in the last 12 months, but 2016 certainly was a game-changing year of innovation and new releases.


This year featured the fizzling of retail’s ambitions to have a unified payments app, as the Merchant Customer Exchange consortium’s ill-fated CurrentC gave way to new apps from individual retailers, banks and tradition payment card networks. Among the new launches were Walmart PayCVS PayCiti Pay and others.

Likewise, payments apps from mobile sector players also made strides in 2016. After some stagnant years, contactless in-store payments from mobile devices as well as mobile online and in-app payments started to pick up steam. Apple did its part when it updated Apple Pay for acceptance on retailer websites. Perhaps feeling some pressure, the powers behind Android Pay and Samsung Pay also made moves to expand the availability and utility of their payment solutions.

Finally, 2016 is ending with forecasts of a mobile payments boom unfolding in the coming years. There is some concern about how crowded the market is, but it is very likely that the broad emergence of new payment apps we started to see this year will carry into next year. There are plenty of other retailers who may feel that have something to gain — or customers to keep satisfied — if they launch their own branded payment offering.

Speaking at an industry event this fall, Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Services, suggested retailer-branded payment apps represent an evolution in customer loyalty and satisfaction efforts. “We’re all about engaging consumers and not based on any loyalty scheme,” he said. “Time is a currency in our customers’ lives. Saving the customer time is just as valuable as [giving them a discount]. We saw the value [in Walmart Pay] with time and convenience, versus a loyalty scheme.”

5. Personalization

This is another one that could easily have fallen into the broad spectrum of AI, and in many cases, when retailers talk about efforts to enable greater personalization, AI is the technology platform they are using to enable it. But personalization in its own right was the concept often subject to innovation as retailers rolled out new customer service features in 2016.

The recently launched My Starbucks Barista ordering feature in Starbucks’ popular mobile app was a great example of this sort of innovation: The coffeehouse goliath is enhancing the app with a voice-based ordering feature that it plans to evolve to include product recommendations and paring suggestions. It’s the type of capability that Amazon pioneered on a large scale, but other retailers are now putting their own spin on.

eBay is another company that recently has done a lot to enable more personalization within its mobile app, redesigning it with more personalization features, like product recommendations and more search filtering options. R.J. Pittman, the online marketplace’s chief product officer, explained what the company is aiming to accomplish with such efforts: "Shoppers have complex needs, which are often not fully met by traditional search engines. While offline retailers can offer human experts to help, there aren’t enough experts around to help us with everything we want and need," Pittman wrote in a blog post. "Combining AI with eBay’s breadth of inventory and unique selection will enable us to create a radically better and more personal shopping experience."

Personalization capabilities also were a key driver in IBM’s acquisition of Fluid’s personal shopper unit. IBM is intent on further integrating the personal shopping capability with its Watson AI to increase Watson’s ability to engage on a more personal level with shoppers. The desire to create a more personal bond with customers also drove Bed Bath & Beyond to buy PersonalizationMall, a company which creates literally personalized products.

Studies suggest these 2016 endeavors are a step in the right direction for retailers. Deloitte found that many shoppers prefer a personalized, self-directed shopping journey, and Experian reported that personalization efforts improve the open rate of marketing emails.

Getting personal with customers may sound like an old an obvious idea, but this year retailers have begun to put a new spin on it, bringing new capabilities to mobile and online platforms that underline the value of personal engagement in the purchasing process.

Author:  Dan O'Shea

Source:  http://www.retaildive.com/news/5-tech-trends-that-transformed-retail-in-2016/432316

Categorized in Internet Technology

When discussing data quality, we need to understand exactly what we mean by the word data. Often, the words information and data are used interchangeably, yet they are not the same thing.

Data is, or are (depending on your knowledge of Latin), fundamental to business intelligence. But how do we recognise data as data – and why is bad data such a pernicious entity?

First Things First: Data vs Information


There’s a really simple way to understand the difference between data and information. When we understand the primary function of the item we are looking at, we quickly see the distinction between the two.

Here’s a simple way to tell one from the other:

  • Computers need data. Humans need information.
  • Data is a building block. Information gives meaning and context.

In essence, data is raw. It has not been shaped, processed or interpreted. It is a series of 1s and zeros that humans would not be able to read (and nor would they want to). It is disorganised and unfriendly.

Once data has been processed and turned into information, it becomes palatable to human readers. It takes on context and structure. It becomes useful for businesses to make decisions, and it forms the basis of progress.

While the bigger picture is slightly more complex, this gets us part way towards understanding what data means.

The Bigger Picture

When we look at the relationship between data and information, we can establish a larger chain. This is the DIKW Pyramid.

Why DIKW? It stands for Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom, and describes the hierarchy between all four.


The DIKW Pyramid describes the acquisition of data, its processing, retention and interpretation, and it’s as applicable to businesses as it is to the human brain.

What is the Difference Between Data and Information?

The DIKW Pyramid shows that raw data evolves to become an understanding of a concept.

To see the DIKW Pyramid in action, consider the following example.

  • Data: I have one item. The data displays a 1, not a zero.
  • Information: It’s a tomato. Now, we understand the item and its characteristics.
  • Knowledge: A tomato is a fruit. We can identify patterns in the information and apply them to the item.
  • Wisdom: Tomato is never added to a fruit salad. There is an underlying, commonly understood principle that governs the item’s purpose.

Data Quality: the Building Block

In this article, we have truly put data in context. We now understand its position as the foundation. It is the base of a pyramid; the beginning of a continuum.

If data is flawed, the DIKW Pyramid breaks down. The information we derive from the data is not accurate. We cannot make reliable judgments or develop reliable knowledge from the information. And that knowledge simply cannot become wisdom, since cracks will appear as soon as it is tested.

Bad data costs time and effort, gives false impressions, results in poor forecasts and devalues everything else in the continuum.

Data quality software addresses problems with data to avoid these kinds of problems. It ensures that data processing results in reliable information that improves response and retention. This information unlocks the potential of marketing campaigns, increases sales, improves accuracy and adds value.

That’s why data quality is so vital to us all.

Author : Martin Doyle

Source : http://www.business2community.com/strategy/difference-data-information-0967136#tpbuHaa0FC2hYCGk.97

Categorized in Online Research

Bing is the last of the top 3 search engines to release its year-end report on top searches of 2016, but it has finally been revealed along with an accompanying promo video.

The video emphasizes “moments” rather than searches, which is also what the data highlights. Yes, Bing has rounded up its top searches, but they are broken down into categories. There’s no overall list of top searches, just a handful of top 10 lists by category.

These are “the trends that will shape our future,” as the company describes them. The categories consist of things like top viral trends, top feel good stores, top tech trends, and more.

Bing’s collection of data on its top searches of 2016 certainly lacks the depth and breadth of the reports offered by either Google or Yahoo. However, it’s the best insight we have so far into what was being searched for on the world’s second largest search engine.

The top searched tech trends are perhaps the most notable of what Bing has to offer in its end of year round-up, because of the profound impact technology has on the digital marketing industry.

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 5.06.36 PM

Bing also rounds up the top web creators, most of whom are known for their work on Google-owned YouTube.

Screen Shot 2016-12-19 at 5.06.49 PM

It’s easy to tell Bing is trying to keep a feel-good vibe with its year-end report of top searches. The report is full of slides with light-hearted categories such as: top animated shows, top video games, top celebrities, most anticipated cars, and so on. There’s one slide dedicated to “who we lost”, but other than that the report avoids all mention of any other serious or controversial topics.

Author : Matt Southern

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/bings-top-searches-2016/181748/

Categorized in Search Engine

It's been hard to miss all the ink and pixels declaring 2016 the year of humanity's discontent. That judgment's tough to deny in the realm of geopolitics, given awful conflicts in places like Syria, acts of terror worldwide and contentious elections in the UK and US.

But the world went on, and so did important work in science and innovation. If you sweep the ugly parts of 2016 under the rug and then check the place out, it's not too shabby. What really makes 2016, though, is the view. The future, in many ways, is much brighter and more exciting than it appeared 12 months ago.

Here are five areas in which the events of 2016 will likely have a lasting positive impact five, 10 and even 100 years into the future

80 is the new 60

Crispr/Cas9, a means of editing genes so relatively simple you can do it at home with a $150 kit, was much celebrated in 2016.

Former Apple CEO John Sculley

John Sculley, former Apple CEO turned health tech investor and entrepreneur, told me the combination of developments like Crispr, machine learning and precision medicine spell the end for maladies like cancer, Alzheimer's and dementia in the coming decades.

"Cancer will probably be solved in the next 10 to 15 years," Sculley told me in October. Once cancer falls, he sees research and development resources freed up to go after things like dementia. "I think there's a high probability we solve that by midcentury."

Sculley says it's not crazy to think today's schoolchildren could live to see the year 2125 or later.


"The possibility of regenerating organs, finding ways blind people can see, deaf people can hear -- all of those types of problems will be increasingly solvable," he said.

In November, not long after that conversation, researchers at the Salk Institute announced they had used gene-editing techniques to restore vision in blind animals.

Star Trek suddenly seems a little less far out

Nobody is signing up for Starfleet yet, but our understanding of the universe continued to expand this year. We saw the biggest new planet discovery in decades: Proxima b, our closest possible exoplanet neighbor, orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, could be habitable. Multiple efforts aim to study and even send a tiny spacecraft to Proxima b as soon as possible. But that's not even close to the most ambitious space exploration plan announced in 2016. In September, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled his grand vision to build a colony, 1 million humans strong, on Mars by the end of the century.

"History suggests there will be some doomsday event, and I would hope you would agree that becoming a multiplanetary species would be the right way to go," Musk said in his pitch.

Sounds crazy, but 2016 saw even greater space-faring outlandishness. NASA's physics-defying electromagnetic drive, which could lay the foundation for something like the warp technology from "Star Trek," continues to be an actual thing, apparently. We first heard about EmDrive in 2015 when it seemed like the kind of fake news story that also became more mainstream this year. But 2016 saw the technically impossible engine pass peer review and move toward actual testing in space.


On Earth, it's 'Jetsons' time

Leave it to the king of the unicorns to finally bring us flying cars. Uber revealed its plan for commuting via self-flying ride-sharing vertical take-off and landing vehicles (VTOLs) in 2016.

"In the long-term, VTOLs will be an affordable form of daily transportation for the masses, even less expensive than owning a car," Uber's Jeff Holden wrote in a detailed white paper (PDF).

If you prefer to stay grounded, self-driving cars went from a crazy Google side project to everyone's project that's as simple to implement as a software update for Teslas on the road now. Uber already has its own self-driving cars and big rigs on the road.

Finally, one other mode of transportation went from the drawing board to the testing grounds this year as Elon Musk's Hyperloop design spawned all kinds of plans for cargo and human transport worldwide. This year definitely turned out to be one in which we got moving in all kinds of new ways.

Machines doing more than driving

Robots and sensors of all shapes and sizes continued to impress (and terrify) in 2016 -- little ones with ninja moves, bigger ones we'll wish we were nicer toward during development, and really tiny ones that can now be implanted in our bodies equipped with their own wireless signals.

There's no stopping Skynet, because it's already here in the form of the internet of things, which will continue to expand with the help of burgeoning tech like blockchain, a secure database technology first used to power Bitcoin.

"Blockchain is big," Sculley told me. "It's going to touch finance, health care and every industry...it could be the foundation for a different parallel internet."

Sure sounds like Skynet. While the idea might seem scary at first, it could also be the cure for many problems when combined with increasingly small machines like the atomic "nanocars" tested in the open air this year. And there lies the potential for a revolution in ground-up manufacturing. If you thought 3D printers were cool, just wait. The combination of robotics and nanotechnology just now coming into its own could finally give us another Star Trek gadget that will change everything: the replicator.

Machines that think and understand like we do (only better) continued to be both technological savior and bogeyman in 2016. The year started with Google's AlphaGo program beating a human champ at the ancient strategy game of Go and ended with HBO's "Westworld" again prodding us to consider the possibilities and implications of synthetic minds created by organic minds.

In some way, artificial intelligence at its more basic levels, like machine learning, powers just about every technology or discovery mentioned here. But it can go much further. Just imagine any problem, and AI has the potential to either solve it completely or tackle it in a much more efficient manner. So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that just about everyone with the means is working on AI -- even those like Elon Musk who like to sound the warning bells.

The potential for AI strains the human imagination because frankly, we're not sure what an artificial intelligence with its own imagination could come up with. For some insight, perhaps we should turn to AI -- 2016 saw the creation of one system capable of predicting the future. Maybe next year it will be the one writing this article while I'm relaxing in the back of a self-driving Uber on the way to a ski lift somewhere.

Author:  Eric Mack

Source:  https://www.cnet.com/news/2016-space-nasa-crispr-robots-artificial-intelligence-self-driving-cars

Categorized in News & Politics

Many will make New Year’s resolutions, but few will actually keep them.

According to the research published in the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 25 percent of us will give up on our goals in just one week. By midyear, over half will have shrugged off what once seemed so important. And if past performance is an indicator, only 8 percent will see those pledges all the way through.

So what does it take to be part of that 8-percent club? Motivation? Dedication? General stick-to-itiveness? Probably.

But if you’re lacking in any of those areas, a little help in the form of apps perfectly suited to your chosen resolutions certainly couldn’t hurt.

Here’s a list of six annual objectives and six oh-so-apt apps:

1. Get moving

Resolution : I’m going to focus on fitness.

App solution: C25K


If you feel like 2016 is finally the year to get fit, there are plenty of app options to help you. But few take you from completely out of the race to really running.


C25K, the smartphone version of the popular Couch to 5K workout plan, does just that with guided daily programs that alternate between short bursts of walking and running until you’re ready to go the distance. To keep the run fun, you can listen to your choice of music (from your drive or other apps) while the a digital trainer chimes in to tell your what’s next.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

2. Count your calories

Resolution: I’m going to lose weight.

App solution: MyFitnessPal

In addition to helping out with that general get-fit resolution, MyFitnessPal excels as a diet tracker and calorie counter that figures out just how many calories you require each day (given your current weight and your goal weight) to drop pounds at your chosen pace.

As you enter your meals consumed so far, MyFitnessPal updates your remaining calories available for the day so there’s never any guesswork.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

3. Make bank

Resolution: I’m going to save money.

App solution: Mint: Personal Finance and Money Manager

Intuit's INTU -0.40% Mint makes it possible to track income and expenses, sync up with your existing financial accounts, set up a budget and start saving now. It even breaks down your current spending habits by category, to make savings opportunities clear.


You can access your information from multiple mobile devices, as well as your desktop or laptop computers.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

4. Get it together

Resolution: I’m going to be more organized.

App solution: 24me


Miss a bill deadline here or a meeting there? Forget all about a birthday or your kid’s softball game? Maybe it’s time for a pocket-sized personal assistant.

Getting organized gets easier with 24me, the to-do app that takes a peek at your calendars, contacts, notes and lists and manages it all with at-a-glance day plans and smart alerts.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

5. Work smarter, not harder

Resolution: I’m going to get ahead in my career.

App solution: Quip

Until Time-Turners and TARDISes are real, you can’t be in more than one place at once. But Quip, the team-player business suite, offers the next best thing.

No matter where you are, you can keep in close contact with your boss, employees or project mates. You can chat, dive into an active group document or just add a few essential points to a spreadsheet from anywhere.

Free in the App Store | Google Play

6. Be at home in your head

Resolution: I’m going to practice mindfulness and meditation.

App solution: Buddhify


Buddhify has over 80 guided meditations suited for just about any occasion you can think of, from waking up to sleeping to just surfing the Internet. Select the mindfulness exercise that best applies to you at any given moment, and nirvana — or a slightly less stressed moment — is just a few breathing or blinking techniques away.

But note, unlike all the freebies on this list, bliss comes at a price.

$4.99 in the App Store | $2.99 on Google Play

Author:  Ree Hines

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/reehines/2015/12/30/6-iphone-and-android-apps-to-help-you-keep-your-new-years-resolutions-in-2016/#5aa391259496

Categorized in Others

Whether you’re a business owner trying to make your enterprise more profitable, a marketer trying to make your life easier, or just a consumer eager for the latest and greatest technology, it’s hard not to be excited about the new tech trends that are shaping our world.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve made a number of predictions about how technology would develop throughout 2016, and while many of my forecasts came true (more or less), there have also been some surprising developments in new areas that are worth our attention.

These are some of the most important and defining tech trends of 2016:

1. Streaming video.

Chances are, you’ve seen at least one of your friends or a major brand you follow stream a live video for their audience over the past year. That’s because streaming video is becoming more practical, more popular, and in heavier demand. Streaming video is interesting to users because it gives them an “in the moment experience,” being able to see through someone else’s eyes rather than just seeing a retrospective update. Because it’s been nearly perfected by brands like Facebook, it’s easier than ever for anyone to live-stream a broadcast at any time. Expect this trend to develop further with products like iGlass and Snap’s Spectacles.

2. Augmented and virtual reality.

AR and VR are already seemingly starting to become overused terms, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them on this list. Oculus Rift exploded onto the scene this year, along with dozens of competing devices and systems. Sales figures suggest that this is more than just a passing trend, and the hype wasn’t overblown (exactly). Plus, augmented reality app Pokémon Go crushed expectations with over 100 million downloads, ushering in what could be a new era for augmented reality gaming—and some marketing and advertising opportunities that go along with it.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have begun to creep into our lives in more diverse and unexpected ways. Just at a glance, AI algorithms are starting to self-improve search rankings and search results, automated investing, and personal digital assistants. So far, there have yet to be any major roadblocks—instead, we’re seeing major breakthroughs, such as AlphaGo beating a human Go master for the first time in history. We’re getting better at making our machines better, and in the next few years, we may start inching closer to approaching human-level intelligence with these systems.

4. Data visualization.

For a few years, every kind of “tech trends” post you could imagine mentioned “big data,” at least in passing. Today, big data is still around and still influential, but people aren’t referring to it in such generic terms anymore; instead, they’re focusing on its applications. One of the most important pieces to the big data puzzle is being able to interpret and manage the data accurately, and draw meaningful conclusions from what you’ve gathered; and that’s where data visualization comes in. Thousands of companies have sprung up to aggregate, project, visualize, and interpret data on behalf of non-professional data analysts, and to make “big data” more practical for the business world.

5. The open enterprise.

The “open enterprise” is a loose term that defines the tendency for different companies and applications to offer themselves through other apps, websites, and device functions. For example, you can order an Uber directly through Google, and Starbucks having plans to expand its mobile ordering app so consumers can order coffee while doing other things on their devices. This is becoming important because the “mobile experience” is becoming fluid, comprising elements of web surfing, information retrieval, and the use of functionality all at once. Being available to your customers no matter what app they’re using is a critical way to build awareness and encourage more engagements.

6. Blockchain and crypto-tech.

If you know the term “Blockchain,” it’s probably because of its association with BitCoin—or because it’s become a hot new tech fad that only keeps growing. Blockchain is a specialized way of sending, receiving, and processing information, which made it the ideal way to track the “ crypto currency ” of BitCoin. Now, Blockchain tech is being used in the healthcare and insurance industriesand is currently being explored by other developers. There’s a ton of potential for higher security and smoother consumer transactions here, and we’ll see those paths unfold into 2017 and beyond.

7. IoT streamlining.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home technology have failed to “take off” for several years; despite lots of smart devices on the market, the diversity of different companies offering solutions and the lack of a singular, unified “language” has made it difficult to create full internal networks. Now, companies like Google (with Home) and Amazon (with Echo) are trying to streamline IoT, making devices revolve around centralized hubs. The problem of unification in IoT may soon come to a close.


The success and impact of these tech trends in 2016 means that more companies, entrepreneurs, and developers will be focusing their efforts in these areas in 2017 and beyond. The potential is overwhelming, and I, for one, and thrilled to see how these and yet-unpredictable technologies develop in the next few years, and how they affect entrepreneurs and startups. I’ll be writing about them as they develop, so keep your eyes peeled for new updates.

Author:  Jayson DeMers

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/12/15/the-top-7-technology-trends-that-dominated-2016/#72e2b0f71ef0

Categorized in Internet Technology
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