[Source: This article was Published in theverge.com BY James Vincent - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin] 

A ‘tsunami’ of cheap AI content could cause problems for search engines

Over the past year, AI systems have made huge strides in their ability to generate convincing text, churning out everything from song lyrics to short stories. Experts have warned that these tools could be used to spread political disinformation, but there’s another target that’s equally plausible and potentially more lucrative: gaming Google.

Instead of being used to create fake news, AI could churn out infinite blogs, websites, and marketing spam. The content would be cheap to produce and stuffed full of relevant keywords. But like most AI-generated text, it would only have surface meaning, with little correspondence to the real world. It would be the information equivalent of empty calories, but still potentially difficult for a search engine to distinguish from the real thing.

Just take a look at this blog post answering the question: “What Photo Filters are Best for Instagram Marketing?” At first glance, it seems legitimate, with a bland introduction followed by quotes from various marketing types. But read a little more closely and you realize it references magazines, people, and — crucially — Instagram filters that don’t exist:

You might not think that a mumford brush would be a good filter for an Insta story. Not so, said Amy Freeborn, the director of communications at National Recording Technician magazine. Freeborn’s picks include Finder (a blue stripe that makes her account look like an older block of pixels), Plus and Cartwheel (which she says makes your picture look like a topographical map of a town.

The rest of the site is full of similar posts, covering topics like “How to Write Clickbait Headlines” and “Why is Content Strategy Important?” But every post is AI-generated, right down to the authors’ profile pictures. It’s all the creation of content marketing agency Fractl, who says it’s a demonstration of the “massive implications” AI text generation has for the business of search engine optimization, or SEO.

“Because [AI systems] enable content creation at essentially unlimited scale, and content that humans and search engines alike will have difficulty discerning [...] we feel it is an incredibly important topic with far too little discussion currently,” Fractl partner Kristin Tynski tells The Verge.

To write the blog posts, Fractl used an open source tool named Grover, made by the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Tynski says the company is not using AI to generate posts for clients, but that this doesn’t mean others won’t. “I think we will see what we have always seen,” she says. “Blackhats will use subversive tactics to gain a competitive advantage.”

The history of SEO certainly supports this prediction. It’s always been a cat and mouse game, with unscrupulous players trying whatever methods they can to attract as many eyeballs as possible while gatekeepers like Google sort the wheat from the chaff.

As Tynski explains in a blog post of her own, past examples of this dynamic include the “article spinning” trend, which started 10 to 15 years ago. Article spinners use automated tools to rewrite existing content; finding and replacing words so that the reconstituted matter looked original. Google and other search engines responded with new filters and metrics to weed out these mad-lib blogs, but it was hardly an overnight fix.

AI text generation will make the article spinning “look like child’s play,” writes Tynski, allowing for “a massive tsunami of computer-generated content across every niche imaginable.”

Mike Blumenthal, an SEO consultant, and expert says these tools will certainly attract spammers, especially considering their ability to generate text on a massive scale. “The problem that AI-written content presents, at least for web search, is that it can potentially drive the cost of this content production way down,” Blumenthal tells The Verge.

And if the spammers’ aim is simply to generate traffic, then fake news articles could be perfect for this, too. Although we often worry about the political motivations of fake news merchants, most interviews with the people who create and share this context claim they do it for the ad revenue. That doesn’t stop it being politically damaging.

The key question, then, is: can we reliably detect AI-generated text? Rowan Zellers of the Allen Institute for AI says the answer is a firm “yes,” at least for now. Zellers and his colleagues were responsible for creating Grover, the tool Fractl used for its fake blog posts, and were able to also engineer a system that can spot Grover-generated text with 92 percent accuracy.

“We’re a pretty long way away from AI being able to generate whole news articles that are undetectable,” Zellers tells The Verge. “So right now, in my mind, is the perfect opportunity for researchers to study this problem, because it’s not totally dangerous.”

Spotting fake AI text isn’t too hard, says Zellers, because it has a number of linguistic and grammatical tells. He gives the example of AI’s tendency to re-use certain phrases and nouns. “They repeat things ... because it’s safer to do that rather than inventing a new entity,” says Zellers. It’s like a child learning to speak; trotting out the same words and phrases over and over, without considering the diminishing returns.

However, as we’ve seen with visual deep fakes, just because we can build technology that spots this content, that doesn’t mean it’s not a danger. Integrating detectors into the infrastructure of the internet is a huge task, and the scale of the online world means that even detectors with high accuracy levels will make a sizable number of mistakes.

Google did not respond to queries on this topic, including the question of whether or not it’s working on systems that can spot AI-generated text. (It’s a good bet that it is, though, considering Google engineers are at the cutting-edge of this field.) Instead, the company sent a boilerplate reply saying that it’s been fighting spam for decades, and always keeps up with the latest tactics.

SEO expert Blumenthal agrees, and says Google has long proved it can react to “a changing technical landscape.” But, he also says a shift in how we find information online might also make AI spam less of a problem.

More and more web searches are made via proxies like Siri and Alexa, says Blumenthal, meaning gatekeepers like Google only have to generate “one (or two or three) great answers” rather than dozens of relevant links. Of course, this emphasis on the “one true answer” has its own problems, but it certainly minimizes the risk from high-volume spam.

The end-game of all this could be even more interesting though. AI-text generation is advancing in quality extremely quickly, and experts in the field think it could lead to some incredible breakthroughs. After all, if we can create a program that can read and generate text with human-level accuracy, it could gorge itself on the internet and become the ultimate AI assistant.

“It may be the case that in the next few years this tech gets so amazingly good, that AI-generated content actually provides near-human or even human-level value,” says Tynski. In which case, she says, referencing an Xkcd comic, it would be “problem solved.” Because if you’ve created an AI that can generate factually-correct text that’s indistinguishable from content written by humans, why bother with the humans at all?

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in searchenginejournal.com written by Matt Southern - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Jeremy Frink]

Google published a 30-page white paper with details about how the company fights disinformation in Search, News, and YouTube.

Here is a summary of key takeaways from the white paper.

What is Disinformation?

Everyone has different perspectives on what is considered disinformation, or “fake news.”

Google says it becomes objectively problematic to users when people make deliberate, malicious attempts to deceive others.

“We refer to these deliberate efforts to deceive and mislead using the speed, scale, and technologies of the open web as “disinformation.”

So that’s what the white paper is referring to with respect to term disinformation.

How Does Google Fight Disinformation?

Google admits it’s challenging to fight disinformation because it’s near-impossible to determine the intent behind a piece of content.

The company has designed a framework for tackling this challenge, which is comprised of the following three strategies.

1. Make content count

Information is organized by ranking algorithms, which are geared toward surfacing useful content and not fostering ideological viewpoints.

2. Counteract malicious actors

Algorithms alone cannot verify the accuracy of a piece of content. So Google has invested in systems that can reduce spammy behaviors
at scale. It also relies on human reviews.

3. Give users more context

Google provides more context to users through mechanisms such as:

  • Knowledge panels
  • Fact-check labels
  • “Full Coverage” function in Google News
  • “Breaking News” panels on YouTube
  • “Why this ad” labels on Google Ads
  • Feedback buttons in search, YouTube, and advertising products

Fighting Disinformation in Google Search & Google News

As SEOs, we know Google uses ranking algorithms and human evaluators to organize search results.

Google’s white paper explains this in detail for those who may not be familiar with how search works.

Google notes that Search and News share the same defenses against spam, but they do not employ the same ranking systems and content policies.

For example, Google Search does not remove content except in very limited circumstances. Whereas Google News is more restrictive.

Contrary to popular belief, Google says, there is very little personalization in search results based on users’ interests or search history.

Fighting Disinformation in Google Ads

Google looks for and takes action against attempts to circumvent its advertising policies.

Policies to tackle disinformation on Google’s advertising platforms are focused on the following types of behavior:

  • Scraped or unoriginal content: Google does not allow ads for pages with insufficient original content, or pages that offer little to no value.
  • Misrepresentation: Google does not allow ads that intend to deceive users by excluding relevant information or giving misleading information.
  • Inappropriate content: Ads are not allowed for shocking, dangerous, derogatory, or violent content.
  • Certain types of political content: Ads for foreign influence operations are removed and the advertisers’ accounts are terminated.
  • Election integrity: Additional verification is required for anyone who wants to purchase an election ad on Google in the US.

Fighting Disinformation on YouTube

Google has strict policies to keep content on YouTube unless it is in direct violation of its community guidelines.

The company is more selective of content when it comes to YouTube’s recommendation system.

Google aims to recommend quality content on YouTube while less frequently recommending content that may come close to, but not quite, violating the community guidelines.

Content that could misinform users in harmful ways, or low-quality content that may result in a poor experience for users (like clickbait), is also recommended less frequently.

More Information

For more information about how Google fights disinformation across its properties, download the full PDF here.

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in thenextweb.com written by IVAN MEHTA - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Dana W. Jimenez] 

Google has launched a dedicated dataset search website to help journalists and researchers unearth publicly available data that can aid in their projects. Traditionally, researchers have relied on sources like the World Bank, NASA, and ProPublica or search engines like Kaggle. This new tool will make their work much easier.

The website takes Google’s familiar approach and design for search and applies it to datasets published across the web. So if you need to look at historical weather trends, you can use a simple query like “daily weather” to begin your research. Plus, the engine supports shortcuts that work on Google’s regular search tool, like ‘weather site:noaa.gov’ to retrieve results only from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agency in the US

The company explained that the new tool scrapes government databases, public sources, digital libraries, and personal websites to track down the datasets you’re looking for. If they’re structured using schema.org’s markup or similar equivalents described by the W3C, Google can find it. It already supports multiple languages and will add support for more of them soon.

This year, Google has focused on a lot of initiatives directed towards journalists. In July, it had rolled out an improved representation of tabular data in search results. In India, it has launched a program to train journalists to identify misinformation. And at its developer conference earlier this year, it rolled out a revamped Google News with improved personalization and discovery features.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Jennifer Levin

New markup from Schema.org including HowTo, QAPage, and FAQPage can be used to potentially show your content in Google in a brand new way. Google previewed this in Singapore a couple weeks ago.

Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it has been testing for the past several months a new form of search results snippets — the way the search results appear to searchers. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs or frequently asked questions, Q&A or question & answers and How-Tos.

Akhil Agarwal notified us about this feature on Twitter, and Google has just sent us a statement explaining the test. Here is the screenshot presented at a recent Google event in Singapore:

A Google Spokesperson told us:

We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.

These new snippet features give more insights into what the searcher can expect from that web page before deciding to click on the search result. Webmasters should be able to mark up their content with structured data and to have their search results be eligible to have the question and answer previews shown. Similar to how supporting metadata around the number of upvotes and the Top Answer feature works.

Google will soon open up an interest form to allow publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to formats shown in the screenshot above.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Contributed by Member: William A. Woods

The rate at which Google shows its “People Also Ask” search suggestions, aka “Related Questions”, jumped by 34% this week.

According to data from Moz, Google’s Related Questions are now shown 43% of the time.

Dr. Pete Meyers@dr_pete

Big increase (+34%) in Related Questions ("People Also Ask") on Google SERPs last night. They're on a whopping 43% of all SERPs in the MozCast 10K data set. This number rises and falls, of course, but I've hand-checked and confirmed the increase--

To put that in a different perspective — one out of every two or three searches will now display “People Also Ask” suggestions.

Putting it yet another way — Related Questions are now the fourth most commonly displayed Google search feature out of all the features tracked by Moz.

As you can see in the image above, Related Questions are now shown almost as frequently as AdWords.

Just so we’re all on the same page, this feature is not the same as the “People Also Search For” suggestion box. Although the wording is similar, they are two distinctly different features.

This data strictly applies to the “People Also Ask” suggestion box, as seen in the example below.

What makes this feature unique is that each suggestion has a drop-down button that can be clicked on to reveal a search snippet.

Therein lies the opportunity for SEOs and site owners. With this feature now appearing more regularly, it gives content creators the opportunity to drive traffic by targeting related terms.

For example — instead of going after a highly competitive query with a new piece of content, you might want to consider other ways that question might be typed into Google.

A related question could be less competitive, giving you the opportunity to gain exposure by possibly appearing in the “People also ask” suggestions.

Since this feature usually appears near the top of the first page, ranking for a related questions suggestion could be highly valuable.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Carol R. Venuti

Time spent increasing meta descriptions for the longer Google search results snippets may have been wasted.

Google has confirmed that only about five months after increasing the search results snippets, it has now decreased the length of these snippets. Danny Sullivan of Google wrote, “Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks.” He added that they are now “… slightly longer than before a change we made last December.”

Google told Search Engine Land in December that writing meta descriptions don’t change with longer search snippets, telling webmasters back then that there is “no need for publishers to suddenly expand their meta description tags.”

Sullivan said, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful. He added Google will not state a new maximum length for the snippets because the snippets are generated dynamically.

RankRanger’s tracker tool puts the new average length of the description snippet field on the desktop at around 160 characters, down from around 300+ characters

… while mobile characters for the search results snippets are now down to an average of 130 characters:


Here is Danny Sullivan’s confirmation:

tweet
If you went ahead and already lengthened your meta descriptions, should you go back and shorten them now? Google’s advice is to not focus too much on these, as many of the snippets Google chooses are dynamic anyway and not pulled from your meta descriptions. In fact, a recent study conducted by Yoast showed most of the snippets Google shows are not from the meta description, but rather they are from the content on your web pages.
Categorized in Search Engine

Posted June 27, 2017, at 7:21 a.m.

 

Google just went under the knife with its removal policies.

On Thursday, the search engine added private medical records to its small list of things it won’t include in its search results, according to Bloomberg. While the company has yet to release a statement on the decision, “confidential medical records of private people” is now listed under the search engine’s Removal Policies page, which confirms the decision.

Credit card numbers, images of signatures and bank account numbers are some of the other select things Google elects to keep out of its search results to prevent identity theft. The company usually doesn’t remove dates of birth, addresses and telephone numbers but will do so depending upon the situation, according to its removal policies.

“In the medical space, though, there is nothing more invasive towards one’s privacy than having a medical record indexed in a Google search that millions of people can see,” said Hemu Nigam, the chief executive of SSP Blue, a company that specializes in cybersecurity affairs. “This is a great move, but why did it take so long?”

Health records can show up on the Internet without patients’ consent. According to Bloomberg, in December, an Indian pathology lab accidentally uploaded the blood test information of 43,000 patients, which included names and HIV test results. Google indexed them all.

Google usually takes a hands-off approach with its content. It manually removes URLs on a case-by-case basis if there is a complaint about something that may fall under its removal policies.

But the search giant has made some adjustments the last few years. In 2015 the company bent its well-established approach and said it would accept requests to remove “revenge porn” — nude images uploaded to the internet without the subject’s consent — from its search results. Google explained that, though it believes its search should reflect the entire web, revenge porn is highly personal and emotionally damaging.

In another move, Google released a set of new tools in April to help combat “fake news,” allowing users to flag misleading or disrespectful content to help improve search results that come from its algorithm.

“I think there’s a definite shift happening in Google, albeit very slowly,” Nigam said. “That’s being driven by advertisers who pull their ads when they don’t like certain policies their brand. When customers complain, advertisers listen, and therefore Google listens.”

Google declined to comment for this story.

Source: This article was published bangordailynews

Categorized in Search Engine

Q: What’s the secret to getting on the first page of the Google search results? I want to create something but no one visits my site.

A: This is a big question. It’s so big, in fact, that thousands of people dedicate their careers to figuring out how to make websites stick out on the Internet. It’s vital to have a relevant and well-designed website. You may already be familiar with the term “search engine optimization,” or SEO. The best websites use keywords, social media, and searchable headers to make themselves visible. You can also use online marketing and interactive tools to draw people in. The most important thing these days is to stay active. The Internet is an ever-changing landscape, and you have to work to keep up. Click here for 10 secrets for nailing search results.

Shed light on the “Dark Web”

Q: I keep hearing about the “Dark Web.” But what exactly is it? How do you get to it?

A: It sounds sinister, doesn’t it? “Dark Web” might make a good title for the next Dan Brown novel. But the “Dark Web” is basically just a portion of the internet that isn’t completely public and you need special software to access. Many newbies use the terms “Dark Web” and “Deep Web” interchangeably, but they are two very different things. When you think of creepy and illegal shenanigans, you’re probably thinking of the “Dark Web.” Anyone can access this online nook if they do the extra legwork, but it's best to avoid. The “Deep Web,” on the other hand, is designed for security and privacy that the “surface” Internet does not have. The Deep Web can't be accessed by a search engine, and consists mostly of data stored on private networks of corporations. Click here to learn more about the Dark Web and the many myths surrounding it.

Holiday travelers

Holiday travelers (Photo: Tom Tingle, AP)

App lets you skip airport security lines

Q: I heard you tell a caller that she could skip the security line at airports with an app. Can you please tell me more?

A: This is correct. Before you get too excited, remember that you still have to scan your luggage and step through the metal detector, just like every other passenger. But if you’re flying internationally, you can skip through U.S. Customs and Border Protection with an app called “Mobile Passport.” If you’ve ever flown to the U.S. from another country, you know how exhausting this process can be. American entry points are some of the busiest and most thoroughly policed in the world, and the lines can be hundreds of people deep. Click here to learn how Mobile Passport will expedite this process.

Erase private data on old PC

Q: I am getting a new PC for Christmas. How do I make sure all my personal information is off the old one before I donate or sell it?

A: I’m so glad you asked this question, because so many people get rid of their old computers without even thinking about what’s on it. Or they delete a few files and believe that their personal information is safe. First, make sure to transfer all the information you wish to keep into the new computer. Take all the time you need for this, because you will never be able to get it again. Then you want to pull up Darik’s Boot and Nuke. Click here to find out how DBAN works, and the tricks for using it effectively.

The Drive PX2 board.

The Drive PX2 board. (Photo: Nvidia)

Signs hard drive is failing

Q: I know when my car runs out of gas it won’t go anymore. How do you know if your hard drive is failing?

A: That’s a good metaphor, but a failing hard drive is a little more serious than just running out of gas. It’s more like the “check engine” light coming on, or even the car stalling out for no reason. Like that aging clunker, a computer will usually show signs of age, like software glitches, a noisy fan, or just really slow operations. Most people will want something more precise, which is why your motherboard has its own monitoring system. Click here to learn how to instantly assess your hard drive’s health.

Looking for more ways to protect your privacy or make money online? Be sure to listen or download my podcasts, or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. From buying advice to digital life issues, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2016, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Author : Kim Komando

Source : http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/komando/2016/12/16/kim-komando-q-and-a/95495672/

Categorized in Search Engine

QUESTION: What’s the secret to getting on the first page of the Google search results? I want to create something but no one visits my site.

ANSWER: This is a big question. It’s so big, in fact, that thousands of people dedicate their careers to figuring out how to make websites stick out on the internet. It’s vital to have a relevant and well designed website. You may already be familiar with the term “search engine optimization,” or SEO. The best websites use keywords, social media, and searchable headers to make themselves visible. You can also use online marketing and interactive tools to draw people in. The most important thing these days is to stay active; the internet is an ever-changing landscape, and you have to work to keep up.

Q: I keep hearing about the “Dark Web.” But what exactly is it? How do you get to it?

A: It sounds sinister, doesn’t it? “Dark Web” might make a good title for the next Dan Brown novel. But the “Dark Web” is basically just a portion of the internet that isn’t completely public and you need special software to access. Many newbies use the terms “Dark Web” and “Deep Web” interchangeably, but they are two very different things. When you think of creepy and illegal shenanigans, you’re probably thinking of the “Dark Web.” Anyone can access this online nook if they do the extra legwork, but it's best to avoid. The “Deep Web,” on the other hand, is designed for security and privacy that the “surface” internet does not have. The Deep Web can't be accessed by a search engine, and consists mostly of data stored on private networks of corporations.

Q: I heard you tell a caller that she could skip the security line at airports with an app. Can you please tell me more?

A: This is correct. Before you get too excited, remember that you still have to scan your luggage and step through the metal detector, just like every other passenger. But if you’re flying internationally, you can skip through U.S. Customs and Border Protection with an app called “Mobile Passport.” If you’ve ever flown to the U.S. from another country, you know how exhausting this process can be. American entry points are some of the busiest and most thoroughly policed in the world, and the lines can be hundreds of people deep.

Q: I am getting a new PC for Christmas. How do I make sure all my personal information is off the old one before I donate or sell it?

The Drive PX2 board.

The Drive PX2 board. (Photo: Nvidia)

A: I’m so glad you asked this question, because so many people get rid of their old computers without even thinking about what’s on it. Or they delete a few files and believe that their personal information is safe. First, make sure to transfer all the information you wish to keep into the new computer. Take all the time you need for this, because you will never be able to get it again. Then you want to pull up Darik’s Boot and Nuke.

Q: I know when my car runs out of gas it won’t go anymore. How do you know if your hard drive is failing?

A: That’s a good metaphor, but a failing hard drive is a little more serious than just running out of gas. It’s more like the “check engine” light coming on, or even the car stalling out for no reason. Like that aging clunker, a computer will usually show signs of age, like software glitches, a noisy fan, or just really slow operations. Most people will want something more precise, which is why your motherboard has its own monitoring system.

Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Author : Kim Komando

Source : http://www.freep.com/story/tech/2016/12/20/how-get-top-google-search-results/95607162/

Categorized in Search Engine

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