[Source: This article was published in theverge.com By Adi Robertson - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Last weekend, in the hours after a deadly Texas church shooting, Google search promoted false reports about the suspect, suggesting that he was a radical communist affiliated with the antifa movement. The claims popped up in Google’s “Popular on Twitter” module, which made them prominently visible — although not the top results — in a search for the alleged killer’s name. Of course, the was just the latest instance of a long-standing problem: it was the latest of multiple similar missteps. As usual, Google promised to improve its search results, while the offending tweets disappeared. But telling Google to retrain its algorithms, as appropriate as that demand is, doesn’t solve the bigger issue: the search engine’s monopoly on truth.

Surveys suggest that, at least in theory, very few people unconditionally believe news from social media. But faith in search engines — a field long dominated by Google — appears consistently high. A 2017 Edelman survey found that 64 percent of respondents trusted search engines for news and information, a slight increase from the 61 percent who did in 2012, and notably more than the 57 percent who trusted traditional media. (Another 2012 survey, from Pew Research Center, found that 66 percent of people believed search engines were “fair and unbiased,” almost the same proportion that did in 2005.) Researcher danah boyd has suggested that media literacy training conflated doing independent research using search engines. Instead of learning to evaluate sources, “[students] heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.”

GOOGLE SEARCH IS A TOOL, NOT AN EXPERT

Google encourages this perception, as do competitors like Amazon and Apple — especially as their products depend more and more on virtual assistants. Though Google’s text-based search page is clearly a flawed system, at least it makes it clear that Google search functions as a directory for the larger internet — and at a more basic level, a useful tool for humans to master.

Google Assistant turns search into a trusted companion dispensing expert advice. The service has emphasized the idea that people shouldn’t have to learn special commands to “talk” to a computer, and demos of products like Google Home show off Assistant’s prowess at analyzing the context of simple spoken questions, then guessing exactly what users want. When bad information inevitably slips through, hearing it authoritatively spoken aloud is even more jarring than seeing it on a page.

Even if the search is overwhelmingly accurate, highlighting just a few bad results around topics like mass shootings is a major problem — especially if people are primed to believe that anything Google says is true. And for every advance Google makes to improve its results, there’s a host of people waiting to game the new system, forcing it to adapt again.

NOT ALL FEATURES ARE WORTH SAVING

Simply shaming Google over bad search results might actually play into its mythos, even if the goal is to hold the company accountable. It reinforces a framing where Google search’s ideal final state is a godlike, omniscient benefactor, not just a well-designed product. Yes, Google search should get better at avoiding obvious fakery, or creating a faux-neutral system that presents conspiracy theories next to hard reporting. But we should be wary of overemphasizing its ability, or that of any other technological system, to act as an arbiter of what’s real.

Alongside pushing Google to stop “fake news,” we should be looking for ways to limit trust in, and reliance on, search algorithms themselves. That might mean seeking handpicked video playlists instead of searching YouTube Kids, which recently drew criticism for surfacing inappropriate videos. It could mean focusing on reestablishing trust in human-led news curation, which has produced its own share of dangerous misinformation. It could mean pushing Google to kill, not improve, features that fail in predictable and damaging ways. At the very least, I’ve proposed that Google rename or abolish the Top Stories carousel, which offers legitimacy to certain pages without vetting their accuracy. Reducing the prominence of “Popular on Twitter” might make sense, too, unless Google clearly commits to strong human-led quality control.

The past year has made web platforms’ tremendous influence clearer than ever. Congress recently grilled Google, Facebook, and other tech companies over their role in spreading Russian propaganda during the presidential election. A report from The Verge revealed that unscrupulous rehab centers used Google to target people seeking addiction treatment. Simple design decisions can strip out the warning signs of a spammy news source. We have to hold these systems to a high standard. But when something like search screws up, we can’t just tell Google to offer the right answers. We have to operate on the assumption that it won’t ever have them.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in foxnews.com By Kim Komando - Uploaded by the Association Member: Daniel K. Henry]

Google isn’t everything. Yes, it’s the most powerful search engine ever created. Yes, it processes 40,000 searches per second. And yes, Google is the go-to search engine for the majority of us.

There are many Google resources that most people don’t know about, including Google’s advanced search features that let you narrow searches by time, file type and website type.

Still, Google doesn’t know everything, and there are some resources that are actually better than Google at finding certain information. Some sites index streaming movies, others archive GIFs. Other search engines may not have the omniscience of Google, but they are far more committed to your privacy.

Speaking of privacy, you can use Google Take Out to find out how much Google knows about you, and how much of your personal information is being tracked.

For those special searches, here are seven search sites you can use other than Google. These services cover a range of themes and needs, but you’re almost guaranteed to find one useful – and you might find yourself consulting it over and over. The best part: They’re basically all free.

1. Find streaming movies

The internet is overflowing with streaming services, and yet the question always comes up: what should we watch tonight? Sometimes we browse through the options, seeking a few favorite classics, or this year’s Oscar nominees, but we have to bounce from platform to platform just to find the title we’re looking for.

There's a search engine that will do the work for you. It's called JustWatch. This free website combs through streaming sites, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, iTunes, Roku and Vudu, and it will show where a particular movie is available to stream (free or otherwise).

You can fine-tune and filter the results any way you like -- by year, rating, price, genre, quality and age rating. This is extra useful if you're wondering if a movie or TV show is something you can get for free on other streaming sites. JustWatch's timeline shows you what's new on any particular service at any given time. JustWatch isn't limited to home streaming services. It can help you find all the latest theater movies, and give you summaries, show trailers and buy tickets.

A similar service is GoWatchIt, which boasts 2.5 million movies and 50,000 regular users. The page is attractive and easy to use, and like its rival, GoWatchIt uses your location to determine which content is available in your region.

2. Find GIFs for email and social media

The right GIF is worth a thousand words. Unlike a photo, a GIF is like a tiny video – an animation, a clip from a movie, or a piece of news footage. GIFs often express an emotion or sentiment that no single photo or verbal comment can. Most of the time, GIFs are spit-take funny.

Social media service like Facebook and Twitter make GIFs easy to track down, but for the full catalog, Giphy is the place to go. The site is packed with easy-to-find GIFs: just enter your keyword in the search bar and zillions of GIFs pop up. Like any online search, broad topics are more fruitful than obscure ones; you’ll find plenty of GIFs for “balloon,” but few for “supernumerary.”

To share, click on the GIF that you want, find the "Copy link" button on the right pane, and choose the format. A short GIF link works best, because you can copy and paste the link to pretty much anywhere. Even better, via Giphy's iOS or Android app, you can instantly share any GIF via text messaging, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

3. Search space images

No matter how old we get, the sky will always enthrall us, especially at night. This fascination led the U.S. government to create NASA in the 1950s, and to this day, the agency continues to shed light on outer space. But short of actually leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, the best way to explore the cosmos is through online videos.

The NASA Image Library has pictures across 60 collections combined into one searchable database. This is convenient because you don't have to hop from page to page just to zero in on what you're looking for.

Whether you search for pictures of our solar system, far-off galaxies or the moon landings, you can browse through NASA images – and you can download the images for free, share them on social media sites or publish them for your purposes, as all this digital content is in the public domain.

4. Free software for coders and developers

Most people will not appreciate the glory of Libraries.io, but coders and software developers definitely will: The website lists thousands of pieces of open-source software. These packages and tools are free to the public, and you can use for them for any programming project. The site has a wide selection of package managers including WordPress, PyPi, Rubygems, Atom and Platform IO.

A Libraries.io account also alerts you to software updates and sends notifications about incompatibility and dependency issues.

5. Make money using a search site

Microsoft developed its own search engine, Bing, as a direct competitor to Google. Nobody is going to pretend that Bing has the popularity or reach of Google, but the free service is still very powerful, and there is even an incentive to use it: Microsoft will pay and reward you for your web searches. Go to bing.com/rewards to sign up.

How does it work? The system is called Microsoft Rewards, which pays users in the form of Amazon, Starbucks, Burger King, Xbox, Microsoft Store or other types of gift cards, as well as sweepstakes entries. Related: Looking for ways to make money online? Listen to this Komando on Demand Podcast for legitimate opportunities.

After signing up for a Microsoft account, sign into Bing using the account and begin searching to earn reward points. The system then tracks your points in the upper-right part of the screen, so you can keep track of your earnings while you do what you normally do anyway: search with Bing.

6. Private search engine

At first glance, StartPage.com looks a lot like Google. It has the same search field, and the same bolded and underlined websites pop up, arranged by relevance and popularity. You may not notice a difference, except for the color scheme and the absence of Google Doodles.

But StartPage is designed to retain your privacy. The engine doesn’t collect data, doesn’t keep tabs on your movements, and it isn’t owned by a gigantic corporation. The site is designed to retain privacy, yet it retains much of the power and ease of use that Google does.

If you like StartPage, you can open an account and use its free email service. This is a terrific option for people who use search engines for very basic research and are concerned about exposing their personal information.

7. Search without being tracked by Google

Similar to StartPage, the purpose of DuckDuckGo is to retain privacy. The company proudly abstains from targeted ads – though it does have sponsored ads in the first one or two search results that are relevant to your keywords. DuckDuckGo has a clean interface and deftly aggregates digital news. The “meanings” tab is a nice touch, as it helps analysis the significance of search terms.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call my national radio show and 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 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Pratik Dholakiya - Uploaded by the Association Member: Barbara larson] 

Important changes are happening at Google and, in a world where marketing and algorithms intersect, those changes are largely happening under the radar.

The future of search looks like it will have considerably less search in it, and this isn’t just about the end of the 10 blue links, but about much more fundamental changes.

Let’s talk about some of those changes now, and what they mean for SEO.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a content recommendation engine that suggests content across the web-based on a user’s search history and behavior.

Discover isn’t completely new (it was introduced in December of 2016 as Google Feed). But Google made an important change in late October (announced in September) when they added it to the Google homepage.

The revamp and rebranding to Discover added features like:

  • Topic headers to categorize feed results.
  • More images and videos.
  • Evergreen content, as opposed to just fresh content.
  • A toggle to tell Google if you want more or less content similar to a recommendation.
  • Google claims the recommendations are personalized to your level of expertise with a topic.

Google Discover hardly feels revolutionary at first. In fact, it feels overdue.

Our social media feeds are already dominated by content recommendation engines, and the YouTube content recommendation engine is responsible for 70% of the time spent on the site.

But Discover could have massive implications for the future of how users interact with the content of the web.

While it’s unlikely Discover will ever reach the 70% level of YouTube’s content recommendation engine, if it swallows even a relatively small portion of Google search, say 10%, no SEO strategy will be complete without a tactic for earning that kind of traffic, especially since it will allow businesses to reach potential customers who aren’t even searching for the relevant terms yet.

Google Assistant

For most users, Google Assistant is a quiet and largely invisible revolution.

Its introduction to Android devices in February 2017 likely left most users feeling like it was little more than an upgraded Google Now, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is.

But as Google Assistant grows, it will increasingly influence how users interact with the web and decrease reliance on search.

Like its predecessor, Assistant can:

  • Search the web.
  • Schedule events and alarms.
  • Show Google account info.
  • Adjust device settings.

But the crucial difference is its ability to engage in two-way conversations, allowing users to get answers from the system without ever even looking at a search result.

An incredibly important change for the future of business and the web is the introduction of Google Express, the capability to add products to a shopping cart and order them entirely through Assistant.

But this feature is limited to businesses that are explicitly partnered with Google Express, an incredibly dramatic change from the Google search engine and its crawling of the open web.

Assistant can also identify what some images are. Google Duplex, an upcoming feature, will also allow Assistant to call businesses to schedule appointments and other similar actions on the user’s behalf.

The more users rely on Assistant, the less they will rely on Google search results, and the more businesses who hope to adapt will need to think of other ways to:

  • Leverage Assistant’s algorithms and other emerging technologies to fill in the gaps.
  • Adjust their SEO strategies to target the kind of behavior that is exclusive to search and search alone.

Google’s Declaration of a New Direction

Circa Google’s 20th anniversary, Google announced that its search product was closing an old chapter and opening a new one, with important new driving principles added.

They started by clarifying that these old principles wouldn’t be going away:

  • Focusing on serving the user’s information needs.
  • Providing the most relevant, high-quality information as quickly as possible.
  • Using an algorithmic approach.
  • Rigorously testing every change, including using quality rating guidelines to define search goals.

This means you should continue:

  • Putting the user first.
  • Being accurate and relevant.
  • Having some knowledge of algorithms.
  • Meeting Google’s quality rating guidelines.

But the following principles represent a dramatically new direction for Google Search:

Shifting from Answers to Journeys

Google is adding new features that will allow users to “pick up where they left off,” shifting the focus away from short-term answers to bigger, ongoing projects.

This currently already includes activity cards featuring previous pages visited and queries searched, the ability to add content to collections, and tabs that suggest what to learn about next, personalized to the user’s search history.

A new Topic layer has also been added to the Knowledge Graph, allowing Google to surface evergreen content suggestions for users interested in a particular topic.

Perhaps the most important change to watch carefully, Google is looking for ways to help users who don’t even make a search query.

Google Discover is central to this effort and the inclusion of evergreen content, not just fresh content, represents an important change in how Google is thinking about the feed. This means more and more traditional search content will become feed content instead.

Shifting from Text to Visual Representation

Google is making important changes in the way information is presented by adding new visual capabilities.

They are introducing algorithmically generated AMP Stories, video compilations with relevant caption text like age and notable events in a person’s life.

New featured videos have been added to the search, designed to offer an overview on topics you are interested in.

Image search has also been updated so that images featured on pages with relevant content take priority and pages where the image is central to the content rank better. Captions and suggested searches have been added as well.

Finally, Google Lens allows you to perform a visual search based on objects that Google’s AI can detect in the image.

These changes to search are slipping under the radar somewhat for now, since user behavior rarely changes overnight.

But the likelihood that these features and Google’s new direction will have a dramatic impact on how search works is very high.

SEOs who ignore these changes and continue operating with a 2009 mindset will find themselves losing ground to competitors.

SEO After Search

While queries will always be an important part of the way we find information online, we’re now entering a new era of search.

An era that demands we start changing the way we think about SEO soon, while we can capitalize on the changing landscape.

The situation is not unlike when Google first came on the scene in 1998 when new opportunities were on the horizon that most at the time were unaware of and ill-prepared for.

As the technological landscape changes, we will need to alter our strategies and start thinking about questions and ideas like these in our vision for the future of our brands:

  • Less focus on queries and more focus on context appears inevitable. Where does our content fit into a user’s journey? What would they have learned before consuming it, and what will they need to know next? Note that this is much more vital than simply a shift from keywords to topics, which has been happening for a very long time already. Discovery without queries is much more fundamental and impacts our strategies in a much more profound way.
  • How much can we incorporate our lead generation funnel into that journey as it already exists, and how much can we influence that journey to push it in a different direction?
  • How can we create content and resources that users will want to bookmark and add to collections?
  • Why would Google recommend our content as a useful evergreen resource in Discover, and for what type of user?
  • Can we partner with Google on emerging products? How do we adapt when we can’t?
  • How should we incorporate AMP stories and similar visual content into our content strategy?
  • What type of content will always be exclusive to query-based search, and should we focus more or less on this type of content?
  • What types of content will Google’s AI capacities ultimately be able to replace entirely, and on what timeline? What will Google Assistant and it’s successors never be able to do that only content can?
  • To what extent is it possible for SEOs to adopt a “post-content” strategy?

With the future of search having Google itself doing more of the “searching” on the user’s behalf, we will need to get more creative in our thinking.

We must recognize that surfacing content has never been Google’s priority. It has always been focused on providing information.

Bigger Than Google

The changes on the horizon also signal that the SEO industry ought to start thinking bigger than Google.

What does that mean?

It means expanding the scope of SEO from search to the broader world where algorithms and marketing intersect.

It’s time to start thinking more about how our skills apply to:

  • Content recommendation engines
  • Social media algorithms
  • Ecommerce product recommendation engines
  • Amazon’s search algorithms
  • Smart devices, smart homes, and the internet of things
  • Mobile apps
  • Augmented reality

As doors on search close, new doors open everywhere users are interacting with algorithms that connect to the web and the broader digital world.

SEO professionals should not see the decline of traditional search as a death knell for the industry.

Instead, we should look at the inexorably increasing role algorithms play in peoples’ lives as a fertile ground full of emerging possibilities.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in lifehacker.com By Mike Epstein - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]

The internet, as a “place,” is constantly growing. We build more and more webpages every day—so many, in fact, that it can feel as if certain corners of it are lost to time.

As it turns out, they may only be lost to Google. Earlier this year, web developer-bloggers Tim Bray and Marco Fioretti noted that Google seems to have stopped indexing the entirety of the internet for Google Search. As a result, certain old websites—those more than 10 years old—did not show up through Google search. Both writers lamented that limiting Google’s effective memory to the last decade, while logical when faced with the daunting task of playing information concierge to our every whimsical question, forces us to reckon with the fact that, when you use Google for historical searches, there are probably more answers out there.

As a BoingBoing post based on Bray’s points out, DuckDuckGo and Bing both still seem to offer more complete records of the internet, specifically showing web pages that Google stopped indexing for search. If you’re looking for a specific website from before 2009 and can’t find it, either one is a solid first step. If that doesn’t work, it’s always possible someone else who needed the same page you were looking for saving it as an archive on the Wayback Machine.

But what about broad questions? Questions where you don’t already know the answer? Historical research from the early web? There are other, more specialized options for that. A Hacker News forum post suggests a couple of search engines. Million Short, which allows you to run a search and automatically skip the most popular answers to probe deeper into the web. Wiby.me is a “search engine for classic websites,” made to help people find hobbyist pages and other archaic features of the internet.

The Hacker news thread also brings up Pinboard, a minimalist bookmarking service similar to Pocket, which has a key feature for archivists: If you sign up for its premium service—$11 per year—Pinboard will make a web archive of every page you save. If you’re looking at older, unindexed material, such a tool can make it easier to go back to specific parts of the older internet that you may want or need to recall again.

Categorized in How to

 [Source: This article was published in fastcompany.com By DOUG AAMOTH - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Whether you’re privacy-conscious or just on the hunt for the perfect grilled-cheese sandwich, the best search engine for you might not be Google.

You’d be hard-pressed to find the cross-section of living people who have searched for something on the web and who haven’t ever—never, ever, ever, not even once—used Google. But even if you are among the billions who do, it’s nice to know you have alternatives. Maybe you’re concerned about your privacy. Maybe you’re looking for something pretty specific. Maybe you’re just ready to try something new.

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of search engines to try—some very Google-like, and some going out of their way to act very un-Googley. Here are a few to check out the next time you need something.

DuckDuckGo

1. DON’T QUIT COLD TURKEY

Newsflash: Google is dominant. Startpage—which bills itself as the world’s most private search engine—knows this and doesn’t try to out-Google the almighty Google. Instead, it leverages Google’s search results but strips out all the tracking, data mining, and personalized results. Your IP address isn’t recorded, none of your personal data is collected, and there’s a single cookie served up that stores your preferences (but it expires if you don’t come back for 90 days).

For private, truly non-Google search, try the venerable DuckDuckGo—which leverages hundreds of sources, including Bing and its own web crawler—or Searx, which can be customized to toggle search results on and off from more than 20 engines (including Google).

Ecosia

2. DO SOME GOOD

The internet has it all . . . including a search engine that plants trees. Environmentally-minded Ecosia uses servers that run on renewable energy, doesn’t track users or sell data to third parties, and uses profits from text link ads and commissions from its online store to plant trees around the world. Ecosia says that it takes about 45 searches to finance a new tree, so the more curious among us may someday be responsible for entire forests. Actual search results are powered by Microsoft’s Bing technology, and there’s a cool little personal counter that lets you know how many Ecosia searches you’ve made.
SearchTeam

3. SEARCH WITH FRIENDS

A self-described “collaborative search engine,” SearchTeam works as its name implies. Someone in your group creates a “SearchSpace” based on a specific topic and then invites others in the group to scour the web for sites and media that further the cause. Saving happens in real-time, and there are organization and commenting features that make it easy to keep everyone in the loop. And if SearchTeam’s results aren’t quite extensive enough, you can add links manually, upload documents, and create custom posts to organize additional knowledge.

Yummly

4. LET YOUR TUMMY BE YOUR GUIDE

Hungry? Picky? Yummly has you covered. This food-finding search engine catalogs more than two million recipes and lets you get very specific about what you’d like to eat, peppering you with questions and qualifiers that you can answer or skip in order to narrow down the results. My search for the perfect grilled-cheese sandwich—no veggies, five or fewer ingredients, 15 minutes or less, cheddar cheese, grilled (not pressed), and easy enough for a culinary Luddite to create—started at 7,137 recipes and ended up at a very-manageable 20 to choose from. Now I need to figure out how to work my stove.

Listen Notes

5. LOTS AND LOTS OF LISTENABLES

Podcasts are everywhere—both figuratively in popularity and literally in that they’re scattered around all corners of the web. Confidently billing itself as “the best podcast search engine,” Listen Notes does an admirable job at corralling content, boasting more than 50 million episodes to be found across almost three-quarters of a million podcasts. You can create your own listen-later playlists for individual episodes without having to subscribe to entire podcasts, which can then be slung to your player of choice via RSS (kids, look that up—it was the bee’s knees back in the day). You can even add contributors so that you and your friends can work on the same lists.

 

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in observer.com By Harmon Leon - Uploaded by the Association Member: Paul L.]

On HBO’s Silicon Valley, the Pied Piper crew’s mission is to create a decentralized internet that cuts out intermediaries like FacebookGoogle, and their fictional rival, Hooli. Surely a move that would make Hooli’s megalomaniac founder Gavin Belson (also fictional) furious.

In theory, no one owns the internet. No. Not Mark Zuckerberg, not Banksy, not annoying YouTube sensation Jake Paul either. No—none of these people own the internet because no one actually owns the internet.

But in practice, a small number of companies really control how we use the internet. Sure, you can pretty much publish whatever you want and slap up a website almost instantaneously, but without Google, good luck getting folks to find your site. More than 90 percent of general web searches are handled by the singular humongous search engine—Google.

If things go sour with you and Google, the search giant could make your life very difficult, almost making it appear like you’ve been washed off the entire internet planet. Google has positioned itself as pretty much the only game in town.

Colin Pape had that problem. He’s the founder of Presearch, a decentralized search engine powered by a community with roughly 1.1 million users. Presearch uses cryptocurrency tokens as an incentive to decentralize search. The origin story: Before starting Presearch, Google tried to squash Pape’s business, well not exactly squash, but simply erase it from searches.

Let’s backtrack.

In 2008, Pape founded a company called ShopCity.com. The premise was to support communities and get their local businesses online, then spread that concept to other communities in a franchise-like model. In 2011, Pape’s company launched a local version in Google’s backyard of Mountain View, California.

End of story, right? No.

“We woke up one morning in July to find out that Google had demoted almost all of our sites onto page eight of the search results,” Pape explained. Pape and his crew thought it was some sort of mistake; still, the demotion of their sites was seriously hurting the businesses they represented, as well as their company. But something seemed fishy.

Pape had read stories of businesses that had essentially been shut down by Google—or suffered serious consequences such as layoffs and bankruptcy—due to the jockeying of the search engine.

“Picture yourself as a startup that launches a pilot project in Google’s hometown,” said Pape, “and 12 months later, they launch a ‘Get Your City Online’ campaign with chambers of commerce, and then they block your sites. What would you think?”

It was hard for Pape not to assume his company had been targeted because it was easy enough for Google to simply take down sites from search results.

“We realized just how much market power Google had,” Pape recalled. “And how their lack of transparency and responsiveness was absolutely dangerous to everyone who relies on the internet to connect with their customers and community.”

google

Google’s current search engine model makes us passive consumers who are fed search results from a black box system into which none of us have any insight. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

 

Fortunately, Pape’s company connected with a lawyer leading a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation into Google’s monopolistic practices. Through the press, they put pressure on Google to resolve its search issues.

This was the genesis for Presearch, ‘the Switzerland of Search,’ a resource dedicated to the more open internet on a level playing field.

“The vision for Presearch is to build a framework that enables many different groups to build their own search engine with curated information and be rewarded for driving usage and improving the platform,” Pape told Observer.

But why is this so important?

“Because search is how we access the amazing resources on the web,” Pape continued. “It’s how we find things that we don’t already know about. It’s an incredibly powerful position for a single entity [Google] to occupy, as it has the power to shape perceptions, shift spending and literally make or break entire economies and political campaigns, and to determine what and how we think about the world.”

You have to realize that nothing is truly free.

Sure, we use Google for everything from looking for a local pet groomer to finding Tom Arnold’s IMDB page. (There are a few other things in between.) Google isn’t allowing us to search out of the goodness of its heart. When we use Google, we’re essentially partaking in a big market research project, in which our information is being tracked, analyzed and commoditized. Basically, our profiles and search results are sold to the highest bidders. We are the product—built upon our usage. Have you taken the time to read Google’s lengthy terms of service agreement? I doubt it.

How else is Sergey Brin going to pay for his new heliport or pet llama?

Stupid free Google.

Google’s current model makes us passive consumers who are fed search results from a black box system into which none of us have any insight. Plus, all of those searches are stored, so good luck with any future political career if a hacker happens to get a hold of that information.

Presearch’s idea is to allow the community to look under the hood and actively participate in this system with the power of cryptocurrency to align participant incentives within the ecosystem to create a ground-up, community-driven alternative to Google’s monopoly.

“Every time you search, you receive a fraction of a PRE token, which is our cryptocurrency,” explained Pape. “Active community members can also receive bonuses for helping to improve the platform, and everyone who refers a new user can earn up to 25 bonus PRE.”

Tokens can be swapped for other cryptocurrencies, such Bitcoin, used to buy advertising, sold to other advertisers or spent on merchandise via Presearch’s online platform.

Presearch’s ethos is to personalize the search engine rather than allowing analytics to be gamed against us, so users are shown what they want to see. Users can specify their preferences to access the information they want, rather than enveloping them in filter bubbles that reinforce their prejudices and bad behaviors, simply to makes them click on more ads.

“We want to empower people rather than control them,” Pape said. “The way to do that is to give them choices and make it easy for them to ‘change the channel,’ so to speak if the program they’re being served isn’t resonating with them.”

Another thing to fear about Google, aside from the search engine being turned on its head and being used as a surveillance tool in a not-so-distant dystopian future, is an idea that’s mentioned in Jon Ronson book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. People’s lives have been ruined due to Google search results that live on forever after false scandalous accusations.

How will Presearch safeguard us against this?

“We are looking at a potential model where people could stake their tokens to upvote or downvote results, and then enable community members to vote on those votes,” said Pape. “This would enable mechanisms to identify false information and provide penalties for those who promote it. This is definitely a tricky subject that we will involve the community in developing policies for.”

Pape’s vision is very much aligned with Pied Piper’s on HBO’s Silicon Valley.

“It is definitely pretty accurate… a little uncanny, actually,” Pape said after his staff made him watch the latest season. “It was easy to see where the show drew its inspiration from.”

But truth is stranger than fiction. “The problems a decentralized internet are solving are real, and will become more and more apparent as the Big Tech companies continue to clamp down on the original free and open internet in favor of walled gardens and proprietary protocols,” he explained. “Hopefully the real decentralized web will be the liberating success that so many of us envision.”

Obviously an alternative to Google’s search monopoly is a good thing. And Pape feels that breaking up Google might help in the short term, but “introducing government control is just that—introducing more control,” Pape said. “We would rather offer a free market solution that enables people to make their own choices, which provides alignment of incentives and communities to create true alternatives to the current dominant forces.”

Presearch may or may not be the ultimate solution, but it’s a step in the right direction

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in techbullion.com By Linda S. Davis - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anna K. Sasaki]

A large research project can be overwhelming, but there are techniques that you can use to make your project more manageable. You simply need to start with a specific plan, and focus on effective search techniques that take advantage of all available resources. By working smarter rather than harder, you will not only finish your project more quickly, but you will also acquire higher quality information than you would be able to find through hours of unfocused researching. Follow the tips below to increase your efficiency and improve the quality of your work.

Try to Start with Broad Overviews

The best way to understand a topic is to start your research by reading a general overview. This will help you to focus your research question, lead you to valuable sources and give you context for understanding your topic. High school students and students in introductory courses can consider beginning a research project by reading encyclopedia articles. Students doing more advanced or specialized research should look for review articles in appropriate journals. In addition to helping you understand your subject, the resources section of an encyclopedia article or the extensive bibliography of a review article will provide you with quality sources on your informative topics without the need to search for them. This can save you hours of needless work.

Formulate Questions

If you go to the library or perform a computer search in order to research a large topic, like the American Revolution or genetic theory, you will be quickly overwhelmed. For this reason, you should formulate specific, focused questions to answer. By asking yourself how England’s involvement with other European powers influenced the American Revolution or how imaging techniques contributed to the development of genetic theory, for example, you will be able to focus your research and save yourself time.

Have a Plan

Before you start your research, have a goal in mind, and make a plan for reaching this goal. If you just go poking around the internet or the library, you are unlikely to get much accomplished. Instead of searching blindly, focus on answering the specific questions you have formulated, locating a certain number of resources, getting a broad overview of your topic or some other specific goal. Setting small, achievable goals will make your task less overwhelming and easier to complete.

Take Notes

Many students gather sources by collecting books, articles, and lists of bookmarks without reading or even skimming them until the project deadline looms. This creates a time crunch. To avoid this situation, spend time taking notes in a notebook, on note cards or on your computer. As you research, jot down applicable information from your sources, and note where this information is located. By taking notes as you go, you will be better able to gauge how much more research is necessary. You will also make writing your paper, preparing your presentation or completing your project a quicker and simpler undertaking.

Master Google Searches

Google is a search engine with many powerful features that allow you to find what you want quickly. Unfortunately, many students are unaware of these features, so they spend needless hours wading through pages of irrelevant search results. By spending a few minutes on Google’s tips pages, you can learn how to get the most out of internet searching.

Take Advantage of Top Lists

Most university and regional libraries have various subject-specific lists of resources on their web pages. These are well-organized, comprehensive listings of quality sources from each library’s specific collection of databases and e-resources, and they cover a large variety of topics. Rather than spending your time wading through substandard resources, peruse the lists offered by your library, and save yourself some time.

Ask a Librarian for Help

Reference librarians can help you find what you need quickly and teach you research tricks that will help you on your current project in addition to future projects. By asking for help, you can save yourself time and frustration. Even if you cannot go to the physical library, most libraries also offer consultations over the phone, by e-mail or through virtual chat platforms.

Categorized in Online Research

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By Whitson Gordon - Uploaded by the Association Member: Patrick Moore]

Even if you’re already a Google pro, these tricks will get you to your desired results even faster.

Like it or not, Google is most people’s portal to the internet. And when you’re searching for something simple — like the latest news about Iran — Google will usually get you what you want on the first try. But if you’re trying to find something a bit more niche, you may need to do some digging. Here are a few tricks to keep up your sleeve that will make life easier.

Use quotation marks to find a specific phrase

It’s one thing to search for a couple of words, like Sony HT-Z9F soundbar, and find the product(s) you’re seeking. But let’s say you need more specific information — like the dimensions of the speaker drivers inside that soundbar. Searching for HT-Z9F soundbar driver diameter does not return any pages that list that particular spec, nor does including the word inches. Instead, we need to think about how this would exactly be phrased on the page, and use quotation marks to narrow our search.

When you put quotation marks around a collection of words, it tells Google to look for the words only in that order. So, sony HT-Z9F inch drivers (don’t worry, capitalization doesn’t matter) will search for any page that has the words “inch” and “drivers” on it — but not necessarily together. Searching HT-Z9F soundbar “inch drivers” on the other hand, narrows our search considerably, producing a result right at the top that lists the exact spec we’re looking for: 2.5-inch drivers. (If you can’t find the terms you searched for on the resulting page, press Ctrl+F on your keyboard — Command+F on a Mac — to locate your words on that page.) Bonus tip: If you’re looking for a specific page but aren’t sure the exact words it uses, you can put an asterisk in those quotes to symbolize any word. For example, if you forgot the title of Taylor Swift’s dance-pop single from “1989,” you could search taylor swift “* it off” and find the “Shake It Off” lyrics you’re hunting down.

Exclude words with the minus sign

It’s frustrating when a search returns oodles of results that have nothing to do with what you’re looking for. This is especially common with homonyms — words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings. For example, let’s say you’re searching for a music group to play at your wedding. Searching for wedding bands brings up a ton of results, but most are for wedding rings — often called bands — not musicians that play at wedding receptions. The minus sign is your friend here. Think of a word that would appear on all the irrelevant pages — in this case, “jewelry” or “jeweler” is probably a good bet — and include it with a minus sign in your search: wedding bands -jewelry. Just like that, you’ve got yourself a bunch of sites that review wedding bands across the country.

I also use this often for products with similarly-named siblings — say, Apple’s MacBook line, which includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. Getting too many results for the Air and Pro? Just eliminate them from your search with macbook -air -pro and you’ll get more relevant results.

Narrow your search to a specific time period

If your head is spinning after that last one, here’s an easy tip for you. Occasionally, search results will consist of older articles that have ranked on a given topic but haven’t been updated to include recent changes. If you encounter this problem, you can put a date restriction on the results by clicking the Tools button under Google’s search bar, and then clicking the “Any Time” drop-down. You can narrow your results to the previous week, month, year, or a custom time frame.

Search your favorite sites with the “site:” operator

If you’re looking for an article you read a while back, but can’t find now — or if you specifically want to see what one of your most trusted sites has to say about a topic — you can use the site: operator to limit your search to that specific publication. (This is especially useful for sites that don’t have a search function — though it’s often better than a site’s built-in search bar, too.)

Let’s say I want to read about the Iran nuclear deal, but I prefer coverage from The New York Times. Instead of just Googling US iran deal for the latest news, I can search site:nytimes.com Iran deal to see coverage only from The Times. This also allows me to see everything The Times has done on the topic going back weeks or months, rather than my results getting cluttered with versions of today’s news from other publications.

Add search shortcuts to your browser’s address bar

Ready for a more advanced lesson? Tricks like the site: operator are great, but they take a while to type out — especially if you search for Times content regularly. You can save yourself precious seconds on every search by creating a short keyword for bits of text you search regularly, if your browser supports it, and most do. That way, instead of typing site:nytimes.com every time, you can just type nyt in your browser’s address bar, add your search terms, and get right to the good stuff.

To do this, perform an example search on Google, then copy the URL from the address bar. Using the above example, my

URL is: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Anytimes.com+iran+deal

This is what we’ll use to create our shortcut. In Chrome, right-click the address bar, choose “Edit Search Engines,” and click “Add” to create a new one with nyt as the keyword. In Firefox, right-click the Bookmarks Bar and create a new bookmark instead with nyt as the keyword. Paste the search URL you copied earlier into the “Search Engine” or “Location” box, and replace your search terms with %s (making sure to leave in any terms you want to keep as part of the keyword). So, since I want my nyt shortcut to search site:nytimes.com and whatever search terms I add, my URL would look like this: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Anytimes.com+%s

See how I replaced iran+deal with %s in the URL? Now, whenever I type nyt into the address bar, I can search The New York Times for any terms I want. I use this for all kinds of common searches: sites I like (nyt searches site:nytimes %s), authors I trust (jk searches Jolie Kerr %s), or — if you want to get really advanced — other URL tricks, like getting driving directions from Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&q=from+123+main+street+to+%s).

Find the source of a photo with reverse image search

Finally, not all searches are made up of words. Sometimes, it can be handy to know where a certain photo came from, or to find a larger version of it. You probably know you can type a few words to find a photo with Google’s Image Search, but you might not have realized it works in the other direction too: Drag an image into Image Search and Google will find other versions of that photo for you. A few years ago, I was searching for an apartment, and found one that looked great — it had the number of bedrooms I needed, in the part of town I wanted to be in, and the photos looked nice. But I found it on one of those “members only” apartment listing sites, so I had to pay a monthly subscription in order to get the name, address and contact info of the complex. Not to be outdone, I dragged the building’s photo to my desktop, then dragged it into Google Images. Google immediately found another site that had used that photo: the building’s official website, where I could call or email and ask directly about open units for rent.

Google isn’t the only site that has this feature, either. TinEye is a similar tool with a few more options, if you’re trying to find where the image first appeared. EBay’s iPhone and Android apps also let you search by image, which is useful if you’re trying to find a rare piece of china with no markings, or something like that. It doesn’t always work, but when you’re in a bind, it’s worth a shot — and if nothing else, it may give you another clue to add to your search terms.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in heartland.org By Chris Talgo and Emma Kaden - Uploaded by the Association Member: Grace Irwin]

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it will launch a wide-ranging probe into possible antitrust behavior by social media and technology giants. Although no companies were specifically named, it’s not hard to guess which corporations will be in the limelight: Amazon, Facebook, and, of course, the mother of all technology titans, Google.

There is certainly a case to be made that these companies have been shady with private user data, stifled competition, and manipulated the flow of information to their benefit. But it’s worth considering whether or not a federal government investigation and possible destruction of these influential companies are really necessary.

As perhaps one of the most powerful companies in the world, Google has the most to lose if the federal government intervenes. According to research by Visual Capitalist, 90.8 percent of all internet searches are conducted via Google and its subsidiaries. For comparison’s sake, Google’s two main competitors — Bing and Yahoo! — comprise less than 3 percent of total searches.

Due to its overwhelming dominance of the search engine industry, Google has nearly complete control over the global flow of information. In other words, Google determines the results of almost all web-based inquiries.

Of course, this is a potentially dangerous situation. With this amount of control over the dispersal of information, Google has the unique ability to sway public opinion, impact economic outcomes, and influence any and all matters of public information. For instance, by altering search results, Google can bury content that it deems unworthy of the public’s view.

The truth is, not only can Google do these things, it already has done them. The tech giant has a long history of manipulating search results and promoting information based on political bias.

On its face, one can easily see how supporting the regulation and breakup of Google could serve the public good. If executed properly (unlike most government interventions), Google web searches would be free of bias and manipulation. The possible unintended consequences of such an intrusion, however, could dwarf any benefits it might bring.

The internet is the most highly innovative and adaptive medium ever developed. In less than two decades, it has brought about a revolution in most aspects of our daily lives, from how we conduct commerce and communicate to how we travel, learn, and access information. The primary reason for this breathtaking evolution is the complete lack of government regulation, intervention, and intrusion into the infrastructure of the internet.

Right now, Google serves as one of the primary pillars of the internet framework. Yes, Google is far from perfect — after all, it is run by humans — but it is an essential component to a thriving internet ecosystem. But this does not mean Google will forever serve as the foundation of the internet — 20 years ago, it didn’t even exist, and 20 years from now, something new will most likely take its place.

As tempting as it is to tinker with the internet and the companies that are currently fostering the dynamic growth and innovation that make the internet so unique, regulating such a complex and intricate system could lead to its downfall at worst and its petrification at best.

Wanting to keep Google from manipulating consumers is a noble notion, but this should happen from the bottom up, not the top down. Consumers should be the ultimate arbiters of which internet-based companies thrive.

Remember (for those who are old enough) that when the internet became mainstream, navigating it through search engines was extremely primitive and challenging. Early search engines such as AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, and Infoseek barely met consumer expectations.

Fast forward to 2019, and ponder how much more convenient Google has made everyday life. From optimized search capability to email to video sharing to navigation, Google provides an all-inclusive package of services that billions of people find useful — at this point in time. Someday, though, a company will surely produce a product superior to Google that protects user data, takes bias out of the equation, and allows for robust competition, all while maintaining and elevating the quality of service. No doubt customers will flock to it.

The awesome, rapid technology innovations of the past 20 years are due in large part to a lack of government regulation. Imagine what progress could be made in the years to come if the government refrains from overregulating and destroying internet companies. That’s not to say that the government shouldn’t take action against illegal activities, but overregulating this dynamic industry to solve trivial matters would do much more harm than good.

The government should take a laissez-faire approach to regulation, especially when it comes to the internet. Consumers should be able to shape industries according to their needs, wants, and desires without the heavy hand of government intervention.

[Originally Published at American Spectator]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in aei.org By Shane Tews - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Mozilla announced last week that its Firefox browser will begin using the DNS over HTTPS (DoH) protocol by default in late September. Google plans to begin testing DoH in an upcoming version of Google Chrome in October.

To provide some context, it’s important to note that there are multiple pathways through which internet traffic runs across the world that are supported by numerous back-up structures managed by ISPs and enterprise systems.

The strength of these networks and the internet as a whole has been in the decentralized system of global servers that manage the ever-growing amount of internet traffic. Multiple servers provide redundancy and eliminate single points of failure, and the decentralized process allows many users to use the internet infrastructure without having just a few companies own the routes for the internet’s traffic.

Companies that provide these underlying services are responsible for the transport layer that gives the internet its robust nature. They are the navigators of web traffic from consumers to endpoint providers. These networks mitigate cybersecurity risks for web traffic by deploying cybersecurity tools, detecting and mitigating malware and botnet attacks, and more. They also deploy site blockers mandated by the governments for schools and libraries, and parental controls on home networks.

DoH was designed to encrypt web-lookup traffic as part of a new privacy setting, and fundamentally changes how traffic moves on the web. Under DoH, the Chrome or Firefox browser will send all search traffic to a preferred DNS resolver by default, not by the user’s request. This enhances the browser’s knowledge of a user’s habits and interests. It will also obfuscate details about web traffic, breaking many of the Domain Name System (DNS) based controls around malware and monitoring which will no longer be visible or detectable to the network operator passing the traffic directly to Google (in the case of Chrome), or Cloudflare (in the case of FireFox).

The re-engineering by Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers is thus looking to change the architectural structure of how their users resolve internet queries making the browser the top of the pyramid, rather than the traditional endpoint. This means Google and Mozilla are working (again) on making network operators such as internet service providers (ISPs) “dumb” pipes whose job will be to transmit and receive encrypted information that only the Google browser, Chrome, or the Firefox browser served up by Cloudflare will be able to see.

As I explained in a previous blog, there are significant concerns around changing the way traffic flows from the current decentralized-by-design process, to a company-specific, centralized process that pushes consumers’ web queries directly to a specific search engine. By nature, browsers are designed to serve up ads to users, not monitor or filter traffic for security concerns.

This change to the usual path of internet traffic will enhance the browsers’ consumer data collection and create security concerns regarding the operation of the network. Google sees the change to its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system as a method to centralize all traffic and have it flow to their network first. This ensures that it runs under Google’s control, moving from Google’s search engine to the next stop, the actual web address the user wants to go to.

The security concerns arise from the fact that DoH in its current design disables many cybersecurity tools on user devices. Due to the fact that web query traffic will go directly to the application layer of a specific browser through the chosen path of the browser company, not the choice of the enterprise IT system or ISP, the monitoring filters on ISPs or enterprise network servers will no longer see the DNS query traffic. DoH-enhanced encryption means only the browser sees the traffic, bypassing standard security management tools.

This plan has network operators concerned about what will be affected, modified, or broken once this change takes place. What are the trade-offs? What one group calls “surveillance” another calls ad traffic for revenue. DNS was designed to be a decentralized network for efficiency. Now its engineers are concerned about concentrating so much traffic through an edge provider’s browser.

Why does this matter?

The advent of internet governance was meant to ensure a multi-stakeholder audience of the technical community, businesses, law enforcement, and advocacy groups for end users was engaged in any discussion around a change of the network architecture, as well as changes in policies for the use of the internet.  It was always the expectation that the networks comprising the backbone infrastructure would be a significant part of these discussions to ensure operational integrity and security for all internet users.

Allowing a few companies to gain control over even more internet traffic by making a simple change in how users request and receive data could be a game-changer for the entire system. Paul Vixie, one of the original engineers of the Domain Name System, recently stated that “DoH is incompatible with the basic architecture of the DNS because it moves control plane (signaling) messages to the data plane (message forwarding), and that’s a no-no.”

Now is an excellent time to hit the pause button on the DoH proposal and let internet operators do what they do best. It would be better for all internet users to ensure no harm to the underlying network will be done before making a significant change to the architecture of the digital economy’s engine.

Categorized in Search Engine

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