[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

 [Source: This article was Published in mirror.co.uk BY Sophie Curtis - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]

Google now lets you automatically delete your location history after a fixed period of time

It probably comes as no surprise that Google keeps track of everywhere you go via the apps you use on your smartphone.

This information is used to give you more personalised experiences, like maps and recommendations based on places you've visited, real-time traffic updates about your commute, help to find your phone and more targeted ads.

But while these things can be useful, you may not feel comfortable with the idea of Google holding on to that information indefinitely.

In the past, if you chose to enable Location History, the only way to delete that data was to go into your app settings and remove it manually.

But Google recently introduced a new setting that allows you to automatically delete your location history after a fixed period of time.

There are currently only two options - automatically deleting your Location History after three months or after 18 months - but it beats leaving a trail of information that you might not want Google or others to see.

Here's how to automatically delete your Location History on Android and iOS:

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. In the top left, tap the Menu icon and select "Your timeline".
  3. In the top right, tap the More icon and select "Settings and privacy".
  4. Scroll to "Location settings".
  5. Tap "Automatically delete Location History".
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions.

If you'd prefer to turn off Location History altogether, you can do so in the "Location History" section of your Google Account.

 

You can also set time limits how long Google can keep your Web & App Activity, which includes data about websites you visit and apps you use.

Google uses this data to give you faster searches, better recommendations and more personalised experiences in Maps, Search and other Google services.

Again, you have to option to automatically delete this data after three or 18 months.

  1. ​Open the Gmail app.
  2. In the top left, tap the Menu icon and select "Settings".
  3. Select your account and then tap "Manage your Google Account".
  4. At the top, tap Data & personalisation.
  5. Under "Activity controls" tap Web & App Activity"
  6. Tap "Manage activity".
  7. At the top right, tap the More icon and then select "Keep activity for".
  8. Tap the option for how long you want to keep your activity and then tap "Next".
  9. Confirm to save your choice.

The new tools are part of Google's efforts to give users more control over their data.

The company has also introduced "incognito mode" in a number of its smartphone apps, which stops Google tracking your activity

It is also putting pressure on web and app developers to be more transparent about their use of cookies so that users can make more informed choices about whether to accept them.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was Published in exchangewire.com By Mathew Broughton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Talk about Google, along with their domination of the digital ad ecosystem, would not be on the lips of those in ad tech were it not for their original product: the Google Search engine.

Despite negative press coverage and EU fines, some estimates suggest the behemoth continues to enjoy a market share of just under 90% in the UK search market. However, there have been rumblings of discontent from publishers, which populate the results pages, about how they have been treated by the California-based giant.

This anger, combined with concerns over GDPR and copyright law violations, has prompted the launch of new ‘disruptive’ search engines designed to address these concerns. But will these have any effect on Google’s stranglehold on the global search industry? ExchangeWire details the problems publishers are experiencing with Google along with some of the new players in the search market, what effect they have had thus far, and how advertisers could capitalize on privacy-focused competition in the search market.

Google vs publishers

Publishers have experienced margin squeezes for years, whilst Google’s sales have simultaneously skyrocketed, with parent company Alphabet’s revenue reaching USD$36.3bn (£28.7bn) in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Many content producers also feel dismay towards Google’s ‘enhanced search listings’, as these essentially scrape content from their sites and show it in their search results, eliminating the need for users to visit their site, and in turn their monetization opportunity.

Recent changes to the design of the search results page, at least on mobile devices, which are seemingly aimed at making the differences between ads and organic listings even more subtle (an effect which is particularly noticeable on local listings) will also prove perturbing for the publishers which do not use Google paid search listings.

DuckDuckGo: The quack grows louder

Perhaps the best-known disruptive search engine is DuckDuckGo, which markets itself on protecting user privacy whilst also refining results by excluding low-quality sources such as content mills. In an attempt to battle against privacy concerns, and in recognition of anti-competitive investigations, Google has added DuckDuckGo to Chrome as a default search option in over 60 markets including the UK, US, Australia and South Africa. Further reflecting their increased presence in the search market: DuckDuckGo’s quack has become louder recently, adding momentum to the recent calls to transform the toothless ‘Do Not Track’ option into giving more meaningful protections to user privacy, as originally intended.

Qwant: Local search engines fighting Google

Qwant is a France-based search engine which, similar to DuckDuckGo, preserves user privacy by not tracking their queries. Several similar locally-based engines have been rolled out across Europe, including Mojeek (UK) and Unbubble (Germany). Whilst they currently only occupy a small percentage (~6%) of the French search market, Qwant’s market share has grown consistently year-on-year since their launch in 2013, to the extent that they are now challenging established players such as Yahoo! in the country. In recognition of their desire to increase their growth across Europe, whilst continuing to operate in a privacy-focused manner, Qwant has recently partnered with Microsoft to leverage their various tech solutions. A further sign of their growing level of gravitas is the French government’s decision to eschew Chrome in favour of their engine.

Ahrefs: The 90/10 profit share model

A respected provider of performance-monitoring tools within search, Ahrefs is now working on directly competing with Google with their own engine, according to a series of tweets from founder & CEO Dmitry Gerasimenko. Whilst a commitment to privacy will please users, content creators will be more interested in the proposed profit-share model, whereby 90% of the prospective search revenue will be given to the publisher. Though there is every change that this tweet-stage idea will never come to fruition, the Singapore-based firm already has impressive crawling capabilities which are easily transferable for indexing, so it is worth examining in the future.

Opportunity for advertisers

With the launch of Google privacy tools, along with stricter forms of intelligent tracking prevention (ITP) on the Safari and Firefox browsers, discussions have abounded within the advertising industry on whether budgets will be realigned away from display and video towards fully contextual methods such as keyword-based search. Stricter implementation of GDPR and the prospective launch of similar privacy legislation across the globe will further the argument that advertisers need to examine privacy-focused solutions.

Naturally, these factors will compromise advertisers who rely on third-party targeting methods and tracking user activity across the internet, meaning they need to identify ways of diversifying their offering. Though they have a comparatively tiny market share, disruptive search engines represent a potential opportunity for brands and advertisers to experiment with privacy-compliant search advertising.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in hannity.com By Hannity Staff - Uploaded by the Association Member: Logan Hochstetler]

Google and other American tech companies were thrust into the national spotlight in recent weeks, with critics claiming the platforms are intentionally censoring conservative voices, “shadow-banning” leading personalities, and impacting American elections in an unprecedented way.

In another explosive exposé, Project Veritas Founder James O’Keefe revealed senior Google officials vowing to prevent the “Trump Situation” from occurring again during the 2020 elections.

The controversy dates back much further. In the fall of 2018, The SEO Tribunal published an article detailing 63 “fascinating Google search statistics.”

The article shows the planet’s largest search engine handles more than 63,000 requests per second, owns more than 90% of the global market share, and generated $95 billion in ad sales during 2017.

1. Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day.

(Source: SearchEngineLand)

That’s the average figure of how many people use Google a day, which  translates into at least 2 trillion searches per year, 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day. Pretty impressive, right?

2. 15% of all searches have never been searched before on Google.

(Source: SearchEngineLand)

Out of  trillions of searches every year, 15% of these queries have never been seen by Google before. Such queries mostly relate to day-to-day activities, news, and trends, as confirmed per Google search stats.

3. Google takes over 200 factors into account before delivering you the best results to any query in a fraction of a second.

(Source: Backlinko)

Of course, some of them are rather controversial, and others may vary significantly, but there are also those that are proven and important, such as content and backlinks.

4. Google’s ad revenue amounted to almost $95.4 billion in 2017.

(Source: Statista)

According to recent Google stats, that is 25% up from 2016. The search giant saw nearly 22% ad revenue growth in the fourth quarter only.

5. Google owns about 200 companies.

(Source: Investopedia)

That is, on average, as if they’ve been acquiring more than one company per week since 2010. Among those there are companies involved in mapping, telecommunications, robotics, video broadcasting, and advertising.

6. Google’s signature email product has a 27% share of the global email client market.

(Source: Litmus)

This is up by 7% since 2016.

7. Upon going public, Google figures show the company was valued at $27 billion.

(Source: Entrepreneur)

More specifically, the company sold over 19 million shares of stock for $85 per share. In other words, it was valued as much as General Motors.

8. The net US digital display ad revenue for Google was $5.24 billion in 2017.

(Source: Emarketer)

Google statistics show that this number is significantly lower than Facebook, which made $16.33 billion, but much higher than Snapchat, which brought in $770 million from digital display ads.

9. Google has a market value of $739 billion.

(Source: Statista)

As of May 2018, the search market leader has a market value of $739 billion, coming behind Apple, which has a market value of $924 billion, Amazon, which has a market value of $783 billion, and Microsoft, which has a market value of  $753.

10. Google’s owner, Alphabet, reported an 84% rise in profits for the last quarter.

(Source: The Guardian)

The rising global privacy concerns didn’t affect Google’s profits. According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, the quarterly profit of $9.4 billion exceeded estimates of $6.56 billion. Additionally, the price for clicks and views of ads sold by Google rose in its favor mostly due to advertisers who pursued ad slots on its search engine, YouTube video service, and partner apps and websites.

Read the full list at The SEO Tribunal.

Categorized in Search Engine

 [Source: This article was Published in searchenginejournal.com By Barry Schwartz - Uploaded by the Association Member: Martin Grossner]

Google says the June 3 update is not a major one, but keep an eye out for how your results will be impacted.

Google has just announced that tomorrow it will be releasing a new broad core search algorithm update. These core updates impact how search results are ranked and listed in the Google search results.

Here is Google’s tweet:

searchliaison

Previous updates. Google has done previous core updates. In fact, it does one every couple months or so. The last core update was released in March 2019. You can see our coverage of the previous updates over here.

Why pre-announce this one? Google said the community has been asking Google to be more proactive when it comes to these changes. Danny Sullivan, Google search liason, said there is nothing specifically “big” about this update compared to previous updates. Google is being proactive about notifying site owners and SEOs, Sullivan said, so people aren’t left “scratching their heads after-the-fact.”

casey markee

When is it going live? Monday, June 3, Google will make this new core update live. The exact timing is not known yet, but Google will also tweet tomorrow when it does go live.

eric mitz

Google’s previous advice. Google has previously shared this advice around broad core algorithm updates:

“Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.

As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.

There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

 

Categorized in Search Engine

 [Source: This article was Published in searchenginejournal.com By Dave Davies - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Let’s begin by answering the obvious question:

What Is Universal Search?

There are a few definitions for universal search on the web, but I prefer hearing it from the horse’s mouth on things like this.

While Google hasn’t given a strict definition that I know of as to what universal search is from an SEO standpoint, they have used the following definition in their Search Appliance documentation:

“Universal search is the ability to search all content in an enterprise through a single search box. Although content sources might reside in different locations, such as on a corporate network, on a desktop, or on the World Wide Web, they appear in a single, integrated set of search results.”

Adapted for SEO and traditional search, we could easily turn it into:

“Universal search is the ability to search all content across multiple databases through a single search box. Although content sources might reside in different locations, such as a different index for specific types or formats of content, they appear in a single, integrated set of search results.”

What other databases are we talking about? Basically:

Universal Search

On top of this, there are additional databases that information is drawn from (hotels, sports scores, calculators, weather, etc.) and additional databases with user-generated information to consider.

These range from reviews to related searches to traffic patterns to previous queries and device preferences.

Why Universal Search?

I remember a time, many years ago, when there were 10 blue links…

search

It was a crazy time of discovery. Discovering all the sites that didn’t meet your intent or your desired format, that is.

And then came Universal Search. It was announced in May of 2007 (by Marissa Mayer, if that gives it context) and rolled out just a couple months after they expanded on the personalization of results.

The two were connected and not just by being announced by the same person. They were connected in illustrating their continued push towards Google’s mission statement:

“Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Think about those 10 blue links and what they offered. Certainly, they offered scope of information not accessible at any point in time prior, but they also offered a problematic depth of uncertainty.

Black hats aside (and there were a lot more of them then), you clicked a link in hopes that you understood what was on the other side of that click and we wrote titles and descriptions that hopefully fully described what we had to offer.

A search was a painful process, we just didn’t know it because it was better than anything we’d had prior.

Enter Universal Search

Then there was Universal Search. Suddenly the guesswork was reduced.

Before we continue, let’s watch a few minutes of a video put out by Google shortly after Universal Search launched.

The video starts at the point where they’re describing what they were seeing in the eye tracking of search results and illustrates what universal search looked like at the time.

 

OK – notwithstanding that this was a core Google video, discussing a major new Google feature and it has (at the time of writing) 4,277 views and two peculiar comments – this is an excellent look at the “why” of Universal Search as well as an understanding of what it was at the time, and how much and how little it’s changed.

How Does It Present Itself?

We saw a lot of examples of Universal Search in my article on How Search Engines Display Search Results.

Where then we focused on the layout itself and where each section comes from, here we’re discussing more the why and how of it.

At a root level and as we’ve all seen, Universal Search presents itself as sections on a webpage that stand apart from the 10 blue links. They are often, but not always, organically generated (though I suspect they are always organically driven).

This is to say, whether a content block exists would be handled on the organic search side, whereas what’s contained in that content block may-or-may-not include ads.

So, let’s compare then versus now, ignoring cosmetic changes and just looking at what the same result would look like with and without Universal Search by today’s SERP standards.

sej civil war serp

This answers two questions in a single image.

It answers the key question of this section, “How does Universal Search present itself?”

This image also does a great job of answering the question, “Why?”

Imagine the various motivations I might have to enter the query [what was the civil war]. I may be:

  • A high school student doing an essay.
  • Someone who simply is not familiar with the historic event.
  • Looking for information on the war itself or my query may be part of a larger dive into civil wars across nations or wars in general.
  • Someone who prefers articles.
  • Someone who prefers videos.
  • Just writing an unrelated SEO article and need a good example.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

If you look at the version on the right, which link would you click?

How about if you prefer video results?

The decision you make will take you longer than it likely does with Universal Search options.

And that’s the point.

The Universal Search structure makes decision making faster across a variety of intents, while still leaving the blue links (though not always 10 anymore) available for those looking for pages on the subject.

In fact, even if what you’re looking for exists in an article, the simple presence of Universal Search results will help filter out the results you don’t want and leaves SEO pros and website owners free to focus our articles to ranking in the traditional search results and other types and formats in appropriate sections.

How Does Google Pick the Sections?

Let me begin this section by stating very clearly – this is the best guess.

As we’re all aware, Google’s systems are incredibly complicated. There may be more pieces than I am aware of, obviously.

There are two core areas I can think of that they would use for these adjustments.

Users

Now, before you say, “But Google says they don’t use user metrics to adjust search results!” let’s consider the specific wording that Google’s John Mueller used when responding to a question on user signals:

“… that’s something we look at across millions of different queries, and millions of different pages, and kind of see in general is this algorithm going the right way or is this algorithm going in the right way.

But for individual pages, I don’t think that’s something worth focusing on at all.”

So, they do use the data. They use it on their end, but not to rank individual pages.

What you can take this as it relates to Universal Search is that Google will test different blocks of data for different types of queries to determine how users interact with them. It is very likely that Bing does something similar.

Most certainly they pick locations for possible placements, limitations on the number of different result types/databases, and have determined starting points (think: templates for specific query types) for their processes and then simply let machine learning take over running slight variances or testing layouts on pages generated for unknown queries, or queries where new associations may be attained.

For example, a spike in a query that ties to a sudden rise in new stories related to the query could trigger the news carousel being inserted into the search results, provided that past similar instances produced a positive engagement signal and it would remain as long as user engagement indicated it.

Query Data

It is virtually a given that a search engine would use their own query data to determine which sections to insert into the SERPs.

If a query like [pizza] has suggested queries like:

Recommended Pizza Searches

Implying that most such searchers are looking for restaurants it makes sense that in a Universal Search structure, the first organic result would not be a blue link but:

Pizza SERP

It is very much worth remembering that the goal of a search engine is to provide a single location where a user can access everything they are looking for.

At times this puts them in direct competition with themselves in some ways. Not that I think they mind losing traffic to another of their own properties.

Let’s take YouTube for example. Google’s systems will understand not just which YouTube videos are most popular but also which are watched through, when people eject, skip or close out, etc.

They can use this not just to understand which videos are likely to resonate on Google.com but also understand more deeply what supplemental content people are interested in when they search for more general queries.

I may search for [civil war], but that doesn’t mean I’m not also interested in the Battle at Antietam specifically.

So, I would suggest that the impact of these other databases does not simply impact the layouts as illustrated in Universal Search but that these databases themselves can and likely are being used to connect topics and information together and thus impacting the core search rankings themselves.

Takeaway

So, what does this all mean for you?

For one, you can use the machine learning systems of the search engines to assist in your content development strategies.

Sections you see appearing in Universal Search tell us a lot about the types and formats of content that users expect or engage with.

Also important is that devices and technology are changing rapidly. I suspect the idea of Universal Search is about to go through a dramatic transformation.

This is due in part to voice search, but I suspect it will have more to do with the push by Google to provide a solution rather than options.

A few well-placed filters could provide refinement that produces only a single result and many of these filters could be automatically applied based on known user preferences.

I’m not sure we’ll get to a single result in the next two to three years but I do suspect that we will see it for some queries and where the device lends itself to it.

If I query “weather” why would the results page not look like:

Weather SERP

In my eyes, this is the future of Universal Search.

Or, as I like to call it, search.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in thesun.co.uk By Sean Keach - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anna K. Sasaki]

GOOGLE MAPS has invented a new feature that will warn you if a rogue taxi driver is taking you off-route.

It could put a stop to conmen drivers who take passengers out of their way to rack up journey charges.

 When you input a destination, you can choose new safety options

The "off-route alerts" will flag to users when you're sidetracked from a journey by more than 500 meters.

The feature was first revealed by tech site XDA Developers, who spotted it in the live version of Google Maps.

However, the feature appears to be stuck in "testing" right now, which means not everyone can use it.

But if it comes to Google Maps more generally, it could save Brits loads of cash.

 One of the options lets you receive warnings if you go off-route

 One of the options lets you receive warnings if you go off-route

 Google Maps will alert you if you've strayed more than 500 metres from the fastest route

Google Maps will alert you if you've strayed more than 500 meters from the fastest routeCredit: XDA Developers / Google Maps

First, simply select a journey you want to take when making a taxi ride.

Before you hit "Start", you'll see a new option called "Stay Safer" that you can press.

Inside you'll find another option to "get off-route alerts", which promises: "Get an alert if your taxi or ride goes off route."

When you start the journey, it will tell you if you're still on route.

And if you go off the route by more than 500 meters, you'll receive an alert on your phone.

That would prompt you to ask your driver why you're going the wrong way – and whether or not the route can be corrected.

But if the feature became popular, it could put rogue drivers off from even trying to illicitly extend your trip in the first place.

How to see Google's map tracking everywhere you've been

Here's what you need to know...

There are several ways to check your own Google Location History.

The easiest way is to follow the link to the Google Maps Timeline page:

This lets you see exactly where you've been on a given day, even tracking your methods of travel and the times you were at certain locations.

Alternatively, if you've got the Google Maps app, launch it and press the hamburger icon – three horizontal lines stacked on top of each other.

Then go to the Your Timeline tab, which will show places you've previously visited on a given day.

If you've had Google Location History turned on for a few years without realizing, this might be quite shocking.

Suddenly finding out that Google has an extremely detailed map of years of your real-world movements can seem creepy – so you might want to turn the feature off.

The good news is that it's possible to immediately turn Google Location History off at any time.

You can turn off Location History here:

However, to truly stop Google from tracking you, you'll also need to turn off Web & Activity Tracking.

You can see your tracked location markers here:

Unfortunately, these location markers are intermingled with a host of other information, so it's tricky to locate (and delete them).

To turn it off, simply click the above link then head to Activity Controls.

From there, you'll be able to turn off Web & Activity Tracking across all Google sites, apps and services.

Of course, some taxi drivers know shortcuts that can shave time off a Google Maps route, so don't immediately panic if you find yourself in a cab going the wrong way.

And it'll probably get on the nerves of seasoned cabbies who will hate being second-guessed by phone-wielding Brits.

It's not clear when Google will roll the off-route alerts feature to all phones.

We've asked Google for comment and will update this story with any response.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in msn.com By JR Raphael - Uploaded by the Association Member: Edna Thomas]

Google Maps is great for helping you find your way — or even helping you find your car— but the app can also help other people find you.

Maps have an easily overlooked feature for sharing your real-time whereabouts with someone so they can see exactly where you are, even if you’re moving, and then navigate to your location. You can use the same feature to let a trusted person keep tabs on your travel progress to a particular place and know precisely when you’re set to arrive.

The best part? It’s all incredibly simple to do. The trick is knowing where to look.

Share your real-time location

When you want someone to be able to track your location:

  • Open the Maps app on your iOS or Android device
  • Tap the blue dot, which represents your current location, then select “Share location” from the menu that appears. (If it’s your first time using Maps for such a purpose, your phone may prompt you to authorize the app to access your contacts before continuing.)
  • If you want to share your location for a specific amount of time, select the “1-hour” option, and then use the blue plus and minus buttons to increase or decrease the time as needed
  • If you want to share your location indefinitely — until you manually turn it off — select the “Until you turn this off” option
  • On Android, select the person with whom you want to share your location from the list of suggested contacts or select an app (like Gmail or Messages) to send a private link. You can also opt to copy the link to your system clipboard and then paste it wherever you like.
  • On an iPhone, tap “Select People” to choose a person from your contacts, select “Message” to send a private link to someone in your messaging app, or select “More” to send a private link via another communication service. Your phone may prompt you to give Maps ongoing access to your location before it moves forward.
  • If you share your location within Maps itself — by selecting a contact as opposed to sending a link via an external app — the person with whom you are sharing your location will get a notification on their phone. In addition, when you select “Location sharing” in Maps’ side menu, you will see an icon on top for both you and the person you’re sharing with. Select the person’s icon, and a bar at the bottom of the screen will let you stop sharing, share your location again, or request that the person share their location with you.

To manually stop Maps from sharing your location:

  • Open the Maps app, and look for the “Sharing your location” bar at the bottom of the screen
  • Tap the “x” next to the line that says how and for how long your location is being shared

Share your trip’s progress

When you want someone to be able to see your location and estimated arrival time while you’re en route to a particular destination:

  • Open the Maps app, and start navigating to your destination
  • Swipe up on the bar at the bottom of the screen (where your remaining travel time is shown), then select “Share trip progress” from the menu that appears
  • Select the name of the person with whom you want to share your progress or select an app you want to use for sharing

If you want to stop sharing your progress before your trip is complete:

  • Swipe up again on the bar at the bottom of the screen
  • Select “Stop sharing” from the menu that appears

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in techcrunch.com By Catherine Shu - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jay Harris]

Earlier this week, music lyrics repository Genius accused Google of lifting lyrics and posting them on its search platform. Genius told the Wall Street Journal that this caused its site traffic to drop. Google, which initially denied wrongdoing but later said it was investigating the issue, addressed the controversy in a blog post today. The company said it will start including attribution to its third-party partners that provide lyrics in its information boxes.

When Google was first approached by the Wall Street Journal, it told the newspaper that the lyrics it displays are licensed by partners and not created by Google. But some of the lyrics (which are displayed in information boxes or cards called “Knowledge Panels” at the top of search results for songs) included Genius’ Morse code-based watermarking system. Genius said that over the past two years it repeatedly contacted Google about the issue. In one letter, sent in April, Genius told Google it was not only breaking the site’s terms of service but also violating antitrust law—a serious allegation at a time when Google and other big tech companies are facing antitrust investigations by government regulators.

After the WSJ article was first published, Google released a statement that said it was investigating the problem and would stop working with lyric providers who are “not upholding good practices.”

In today’s blog post, Satyajeet Salgar, a group product manager at Google Search, wrote that the company pays “music publishers for the right to display lyrics since they manage the rights to these lyrics on behalf of songwriters.” Because many music publishers license lyrics text from third-party lyric content providers, Google works with those companies.

“We do not crawl or scrape websites to source these lyrics. The lyrics you see in information boxes on Search come directly from lyrics content providers, and they are updated automatically as we receive new lyrics and corrections on a regular basis,” Salgar added.

These partners include LyricFind,  which Google has had an agreement with since 2016. LyricFind’s chief executive told the WSJ that it does not source lyrics from Genius.

While Salgar’s post did not name any companies, he addressed the controversy by writing “news reports this week suggested that one of our lyrics content providers is in a dispute with a lyrics site about where their written lyrics come from. We’ve asked our partner to investigate the issue to ensure that they’re following industry best practices in their approach.”

In the future, Google will start including attribution to the company that provided the lyrics in its search results. “We will continue to take an approach that respects and compensates rights-holders, and ensures that music publishers and songwriters are paid for their work,” Salgar wrote.

Genius, which launched as Rap Genius in 2009, has been at loggerheads with Google before. In 2013, a SEO trick Rap Genius used to place itself higher in search results ran afoul of Google’s web spam team. Google retaliated by burying Rap Genius links under pages of other search results. The conflict was resolved after less than two weeks, but during that time Rap Genius’ traffic plummeted dramatically.

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was Published in venturebeat.com By EMIL PROTALINSKI - Uploaded by the Association Member: James Gill]

Google today released the Suspicious Site Reporter Extension. As its name implies, the extension lets users report suspicious sites to Google’s Safe Browsing service. Google also highlighted that Chrome recently started warning users about sites with deceptive URLs.

Google’s Safe Browsing service provides lists of URLs that contain malware or phishing content to Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers, as well as to internet service providers (ISPs). Google said in September 2017 that Safe Browsing protects over 3 billion devices and that the number last month increased to over 4 billion devices. The service shows warnings before users visit dangerous sites or download dangerous files.

Now Google is opening Safe Browsing for submissions. In fact, the Suspicious Site Reporter extension is a two-way street. The extension’s icon shows when you’re on a potentially suspicious site. Clicking the icon will show more information about why it might be suspicious. You can also report it for further evaluation. If the site is added to Safe Browsing’s suspicious lists, those aforementioned 4 billion devices will be protected from it.

In addition, Google released Chrome 75 earlier this month. The latest version comes with a new warning to direct users away from sites that have confusing URLs. The feature compares the URL of the page you’re currently on to URLs of pages you’ve recently visited. If the URL looks similar but isn’t identical (say, go0gle.com vs. google.com), Chrome will show a warning that helps you get back to the right domain.

“We believe that you shouldn’t have to be a security expert to feel safe on the web and that many Chrome power-users share our mission to make the web more secure for everyone,” said Chrome product manager Emily Schechter. Given today’s news, that’s fair. But if you look at the competition, Chrome could be doing more.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

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