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

Google has been spotted testing a feature that teaches searchers how to pronounce words.

When searching for a phrase like “how to pronounce compunction,” Google may return a box at the top of the page with a ‘learn to pronounce’ button.

Tapping on the button lets users hear the word being pronounced and watch a visualization of lip movements.

Users can also hear a slowed down version, and switch between American and British accents.

New Google Search Feature Teaches People How to Pronounce Words

The screenshot above was shared in a Reddit thread just a few days ago.

Only one person who replied to the thread said they were able to replicate it.

I am not able to replicate the feature either, but this is the second time I’ve heard about it being tested.

Earlier this month, Android Police reported seeing the new ‘learn to pronounce’ box but acknowledges it’s not showing up for everyone.

Google has offered a basic form of word pronunciations in search results for some time now.

What makes this feature different is that it’s more instructional in nature, which arguably makes it more useful.

Again, this is just a test, but it appears that more people are seeing it lately.

Give it a try next time you encounter a word you’re not familiar with.

Categorized in Search Engine

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

Google has released its annual list of top searches around the world, including overall searches and searches in various categories.

Top queries reflect everyday questions, as well as the people and events that made headlines in 2018.

Certain events led to people searching for how to improve their everyday lives, Google notes.

For example, the passing of iconic celebrities resulted in an influx of searches for “how to be a good role model.”

Similarly, when first responders rescued a team of soccer players from a cave in Thailand, searches for “scuba diving lessons near me” increased by 110%.

Here’s are some highlights of top worldwide searches, and the top US searches in 2018.

Top Overall Searches – Global

  1. World Cup
  2. Avicii
  3. Mac Miller
  4. Stan Lee
  5. Black Panther

Top Overall Searches – US

  1. World Cup
  2. Hurricane Florence
  3. Mac Miller
  4. Kate Spade
  5. Anthony Bourdain

Top ‘How To’ Searches – US

  1. How to vote
  2. How to register to vote
  3. How to play Mega Millions
  4. How to buy Ripple
  5. How to turn off automatic updates
  6. How to get the old Snapchat back
  7. How to play Powerball
  8. How to buy Bitcoin
  9. How to screen record
  10. How to get Boogie Down emote

Top ‘What is’ Searches – US

  1. What is Bitcoin
  2. What is racketeering
  3. What is DACA
  4. What is a government shutdown
  5. What is Good Friday
  6. What is Prince Harry’s last name
  7. What is Fortnite
  8. What is a duck boat
  9. What is a Yanny Laurel
  10. What is a nationalist

Top GIF Searches – US

  1. Fortnite GIF
  2. Default Dance GIF
  3. Dilly Dilly GIF
  4. Orange Justice GIF
  5. Black Panther GIF
  6. Cat Curling GIF
  7. Ugandan Knuckles GIF
  8. Draymond Green GIF
  9. Cardi B GIF
  10. Floss Dance GIF

Top News Searches – Global

  1. World Cup
  2. Hurricane Florence
  3. Mega Millions Result
  4. Royal Wedding
  5. Election Results

Top News Searches – US

  1. World Cup
  2. Hurricane Florence
  3. Mega Millions
  4. Election Results
  5. Hurricane Michael

Top People Searches – Global

  1. Meghan Markle
  2. Demi Lovato
  3. Sylvester Stallone
  4. Logan Paul
  5. Khloé Kardashian

Top People Searches – US

  1. Demi Lovato
  2. Meghan Markle
  3. Brett Kavanaugh
  4. Logan Paul
  5. Khloé Kardashian

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in techradar.com written by Anthony Spadafora - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Deborah Tannen]

Anonymous View protects users' privacy with every web search

In an effort to further protect its users online, privacy search engine Startpage.com has launched a new “Anonymous View” feature.

The new feature protects users against tracking by serving as an anonymous buffer between websites and end users.

Most users are aware of Google Chrome and other browsers' 'incognito mode' which prevents your browsing history as well as cookies from being stored. However, incognito mode gives users a false sense of privacy since it does not actually protect users from websites that track, save and sell their web behaviour.

Anonymous View on the other hand, actually does. When a user clicks on an Anonymous View link, Startpage.com goes to the website, loads the page and displays it for them. Though instead of seeing the user, the webpage sees Startpage as the visitor while the user remains invisible.

Protecting users' privacy

A free Anonymous View link is available to the right of every search result on Startpage.com which makes it incredibly easy for users to visit websites while protecting their privacy.

The company's CEO Robert Beens provided further insight on this new feature in a statement, saying:

"With this innovation, we make it easier for consumers to keep personal data more private than ever before. Anonymous View is easy to use and unique for any search engine," said Startpage.com CEO Robert Beens. “Unlike the incognito mode in your browser, Anonymous View really protects you. It combines searching in privacy with viewing in privacy.

“We will continue to offer the world's best search results without the tracking and profiling,” Beens promised. “We are proud of our new features together with our new design and faster results. We will continue to develop new online tools that help people take back their privacy.”

  • Take your online privacy to the next level with our top picks for the best VPN

Categorized in Search Engine

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

Google has dominated the search engine market for most of its 20-year existence. Today, most SEO efforts mainly revolve around the popular search engine.

Google holds a massive 92.74 percent search engine market share worldwide, according to StatCounter, as of October.

While Google is truly a force to be reckoned with, some view its dominance in the internet search space as problematic.

The company, with its large network of Internet-related services and products, owns a vast wealth of information on its users and we don’t exactly know all the ways they are using it.

Privacy concerns are among the top reasons why some people prefer using other search engines instead of Google.

We wanted to know which Google search alternative is favored by marketers, so we asked our Twitter community.

What Is Your Favorite Google Search Alternative?

Here are the results from this #SEJSurveySays poll question.

According to SEJ’s Twitter audience:

  • 36 percent chose DuckDuckGo as their favorite Google search alternative.
  • 32 percent said their top pick is Twitter.
  • 30 percent their favorite alternative search engine is Bing.
  • 2 percent favor Yandex as a Google search alternative.

What is your favorite Google search alternative

read more...

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in blog.hubspot.com written by Dharmesh Shah - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rebecca Jenkins]

If you’re like me, you probably use Google many times a day. But chances are unless you're a technology geek, you probably still use Google in its simplest form.

If your current use of Google is limited to typing in a few words and changing your query until you find what you’re looking for, I am here to tell you that there’s a better way -- and it’s not hard to learn.

On the other hand, even if you are a technology geek and can use Google like the best of them already, I still suggest you bookmark this article of Google advanced search tips. Then, you’ll then have the tips on hand when you're ready to pull your hair out in frustration watching a neophyte repeatedly type in basic queries in a desperate attempt to find something.

The following Google advanced search tips are based on my own experience and things that I actually find useful. I’ve kept the descriptions of the search tips intentionally terse, as you’re likely to grasp most of these simply by looking at the example from Google anyway.

Here's an overview of some of the most useful Google search tricks. You'll be an expert Google searcher in no time.

31 Google Advanced Search Tips

1. Explicit Phrase

Let's say you're searching on Google for content about inbound marketing. Instead of just typing inbound marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase. To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes.

Example Search: "inbound marketing"

2. Exclude Words

Let's say you want to search for content about inbound marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising. To do this, simply use the - sign in front of the word you want to exclude.

Example Search: inbound marketing -advertising

3. This OR That

By default, when you conduct a search, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you're looking for any one of one or more terms to match, then you can use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be capitalized).

Example Search: inbound marketing OR advertising

4. Words in the Text

If you want to find a webpage where all the terms you're searching for appear in the text of that page (but not necessarily beside each other), type in allintext:followed immediately by words or phrases.

Example Search: allintext:vermont ski house lake

5. Words in the Text + Title, URL etc.

If you want to find a webpage where one term appears in the text of that page and another term appears elsewhere on the page, like the title or URL, then type in that first term followed by intext: followed immediately by the other term.

Example Search: neil diamond intext:red sox

6. Words in the Title

Want to find a webpage with certain words contained in the title (but not necessarily beside each other)? Type in allintitle: followed immediately by words or phrases.

Example Search: allintitle:wine club

7. Words in the TItle + Text, URL, etc.

Want to find a webpage where one term appears in the title of that page and another term appears elsewhere on the page, like in the text or the URL? Type in that first term followed by intitle: immediately followed by the other term.

Example Search: flu shot intitle:advice

8. Words in the URL

If you want to find pages with your search query mentioned in the URL, type allinurl: immediately followed by your search query.

Example Search: allinurl:hubspot blog

9. How to Search Within a Website

Often, you want to search a specific website for content that matches a certain phrase. Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term. Simply use the site:somesite.commodifier. (Read this blog post to learn how to do this in more detail.)

Example Search: site:www.smallbusinesshub.com "inbound marketing"

10. Related Search

If you want to find new websites with similar content to a website you already know of, use the related:somesite.com modifier.

Example Search: related:visual.ly

related-google-search.png

11. A Page That Links to Another Page

Let's say you want to search for every website that cites a BuzzFeed article on their website. To do this, use the link: command, immediately followed by the name of a page. Google will give you all pages that link to BuzzFeed's official website. The more specific the URL is, the fewer, more pointed results you'll get.

Example Search: link:buzzfeed

12. Similar Words and Synonyms

Let’s say you want to include a word in your search, but also want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms. To do this, use the ~ in front of the word.

Example Search: "inbound marketing" ~professional

13. Word Definitions

If you need to quickly look up the definition of a word or phrase, simply use the define: command. You can listen to the word's pronunciation by pressing the megaphone icon.

Search Example: define:plethora

google-word-definitions.png

14. Missing Words

Ever forgotten a word or two from a specific phrase, song lyric, movie quote, or something else? You can use an asterisk* as a wildcard, which can help you find the missing word in a phrase.

Example Search: much * about nothing

15. News in a Specific Location

If you're looking for news related to a specific location, you can use the location: command to search Google News for stories coming from that location.

Search Example: star wars location:london

16. Specific Document Types

If you’re looking to find results that are of a specific type, you can use the modifier filetype:. For example, you might want to find only PowerPoint presentations related to inbound marketing.

Example Search: "inbound marketing" filetype:ppt

17. Translations

Want to translate a simple word or phrase from one language to another? No need to go to a translation website. Just search translate [word] to [language].

Example Search: translate krankenwagen to english

18. Phone Listing

Let’s say someone calls you on your mobile number, and you don’t know who it is. If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up on Google using the phonebook feature.

Example Search: phonebook:617-555-1212

(Note: The number in this example doesn't work. You’ll have to use a real number to get any results.)

19. Area Code Lookup

If all you need to do is to look up the area code for a phone number, just enter the three-digit area code and Google will tell you where it’s from.

Example Search: 617

20. Zip Code Lookup

If you need to look up the zip code for an address, simply search for the rest of the address, including town or city name and state, province, or country. It'll return results with an area code (if applicable),

Example Search: 25 First St., Cambridge, MA

21. Numeric Ranges

This is a rarely used but highly useful tip. Let’s say you want to find results that contain any of a range of numbers. You can do this by using the X..Y modifier (in case this is hard to read, what’s between the X and Y are two periods). This type of search is useful for years (as shown below), prices, or anywhere where you want to provide a series of numbers.

Example Search: president 1940..1950

22. Stock (Ticker Symbol)

Just enter a valid ticker symbol as your search term, and Google will give you the current financials and a quick thumbnail chart for the stock.

Example Search: GOOG

23. Calculator

The next time you need to do a quick calculation, instead of bringing up the Calculator applet, you can just type your expression into Google.

Search Example: 48512 * 1.02

24. Tip Calculator

Along with a normal calculator, Google has a built-in tip calculator. Just search tip calculator and you can adjust the bill, tip %, and number of people splitting it.

Search Example: tip calculator

google-tip-calculator.png

25. Timer

Don't have a timer handy? Google has you covered. Just type in an amount of time + the word "timer," and the countdown will begin automatically

Search Example:

google-timer.png

Search Example: 20 min timer

26. Stopwatch

Search "stopwatch" and it'll bring up a stopwatch for you to start when you're ready.

Search Example: stopwatch

27. Weather

Next time you're looking for quick weather stats or a forecast for a certain area, search for weather followed by a location. Google will give you both before the first search results.

Search Example: weather Cambridge ma

weather-google-search.png

28. Sunrise & Sunset Times

If you're curious when the sun will rise and set that day at a specific location, do a simple Google search with the word sunrise or sunset along with the location name.

Search Example: sunrise acadia

29. Flight Statuses

If you type in the airline and airplane number into Google, it will tell you the flight information, status, and other helpful information.

Search Example: BA 181

google-flight-status.png

30. Sports Scores & Schedules

Want to know the latest sports scores and future schedules of your favorite teams or match-ups? Search a single team name or two team names and Google will use Google Sports to spit out scores and schedules before the first search results.

Search Example: manchester united

31. Comparing Food

Believe it or not, if you're ever curious how two types of (fairly generic) foods compare with one another, you can do a quick Google search to see how they differ in calories, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, and other nutrients.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published mentalfloss.com By JAKE ROSSEN - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Google search data can be a very private thing. While Google itself may be intent on keeping a record of your keystrokes, you may have a number of reasons why you don’t want the site to maintain a memory of what you’ve typed into the search engine.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to address that. Abhimanyu Ghoshal at The Next Web recently broke down a simple process for deleting your search history from the site. Using your Google account, log in to myactivity.google.com and look for “Delete Activity by” on the lefthand sidebar. You can customize a date range to scrub your history from “Search” in the drop-down menu.

Google also allows you to delete your history directly from the search page, provided you’re logged in to your Google account. Click on “Settings,” then find “Your Data in Search.” From there, you can head to myactivity.google.com, or use the toolbar to delete your history.

Note that these actions don’t erase your search history from your browser. On Chrome, you can wipe out that data by accessing “History” on the browser toolbar and selecting “Clear Browsing Data" along with a date range.

While these steps work for scrubbing search data, Google still accumulates a considerable amount of information through advertising, cell phone locations, calendar appointments, and other applications.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published searchenginejournal.com By Chuck Price - Contributed by Member: Eric Beaudoin

Google is a behemoth in the search engine world. With its powerful algorithms, dominant advertising platform, and personalized user experience, Google is a force to be reckoned with.

That said, Google’s easy-to-use interface and personalized user experience comes at a cost.

It’s no secret the search engine giant catalogs the browsing habits of its users and shares that information with advertisers and other interested parties.

However, if you are unwilling to trade privacy for convenience, there are dozens of Google alternatives – many offering a better search experience.

Here are 14 search alternatives to Google.

1. Bing

Bing Search

Despite trailing Google by a wide margin in U.S. market share (24.2 percent vs. 63.2 percent), an argument can be made that Bing performs better in certain aspects.

For starters, Bing has a rewards program that allows one to accumulate points while searching. These points are redeemable at the Microsoft and Windows stores, which is a nice perk.

The Bing image search performs flawlessly across all browsers, whereas Google image search seems to be optimized just for Chrome.

In my view, the Bing image search GUI is superior to its rival’s and much more intuitive. Bing carries that same clean user experience to video, making it the “go to” source for video search without a YouTube bias.

2. DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo Search

If you’re looking for true privacy, DuckDuckGo is the search engine for you.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or store any of your personal information. That means you can run your searches in peace without having to worry about the boogeyman watching you through your computer screen.

DuckDuckGo is the perfect choice for those who wish to keep their browsing habits and personal information private.

3. Wiki.com

Wiki.com Search

Looking for a search engine that pulls its results from thousands of wikis on the net? If so, Wiki.com is a good choice.

Wiki.com is the perfect search engine for those who appreciate community-led information as found on sites like Wikipedia.

4. Twitter

Twitter search

Twitter is hard to beat as a real-time search engine. It’s the perfect place to go for a minute by minute updates in the case of an emergency.

Google’s algorithm will catch up eventually, but nothing beats a Tweet in the heat of the moment.

5. CC Search

Creative Commons Search

CC Search should be your first stop on the hunt for many types of copyright-free content.

This search engine is perfect if you need music for a video, an image for a blog post, or anything else without worrying about an angry artist coming after you for ripping off their work.

The way CC Search works is simple – it draws in results from platforms such as Soundcloud, Wikimedia, and Flickr and displays results labeled as Creative Commons material.

6. Gibiru

Gibiru Search

Are you wearing a MAGA hat while reading this? If so, Gibiru may be the search engine you’ve been looking for.

According to their website, “Gibiru is the preferred Search Engine for Patriots.”

They claim their Search results are sourced from a modified Google algorithm, so users are able to query the information they seek without worrying about Google’s tracking activities.

Because Gibiru doesn’t install tracking cookies on your computer they purport to be faster than “NSA Search Engines.”

7. Internet Archive

Internet Archive Search

The Wayback Machine is great for researching old websites, but it’s so much more.

As the name implies, this search engine queries a massive collection of documented material, including millions of free videos, books, music, and software.

Essentially, Internet Archive is a vast online library where you can access just about anything you could imagine.

See Anyone's Real-Time Analytics
What will you do when you can lift the curtain on the internet? Insights you were never meant to see. Data that will change marketing forever.

8. Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt

Search Encrypt is a private search engine that uses local encryption to ensure your searches remain private.

It uses a combination of encryption methods that include Secure Sockets Layer encryption and AES-256 encryption.

When you input a query, Search Encrypt will pull the results from its network of search partners and deliver the requested information.

One of the best parts of Search Encrypt is that your search terms will eventually expire, so your information will remain private even if someone has local access to your computer.

9. Yandex

Yandex search

Looking for a search perspective outside of the United States?

Yandex is the most popular search engine in Russia, which is used by more than 53 percent of Russian Internet users. It is also used in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Yandex is an overall easy-to-use search engine. As an added bonus, it offers a suite of some pretty cool tools.

For example, if you use its cloud storage service, Yandex Disk, you can search for your personal files right from the search bar of the search engine!

10. StartPage

StartPage search

StartPage was developed to include results from Google, making it perfect for those who prefer Google’s search results without having to worry about their information being tracked and stored.

It also includes a URL generator, a proxy service, and HTTPS support. The URL generator is especially useful because it eliminates the need to collect cookies. Instead, it remembers your settings in a way that promotes privacy.

11. Swisscows

Swisscows

Swisscows is one of the more unique options on this list, billing itself as a family-friendly semantic search engine.

It uses artificial intelligence to determine the context of a user’s query. Over time, Swisscows promises to answer your questions with surprising accuracy.

12. Boardreader

Boardreader Search

If you’re interested in finding a forum or message board about a specific subject, Boardreader should be the first place you turn to.

This search engine queries its results from a wide variety of message boards and forums online. You should be able to find the forum you want with just a few keystrokes.

13. SlideShare

SlideShare Search

This unique search engine allows you to search for documented slideshow presentations.

You can also search for ebooks and PDFs, making it an excellent tool if you have a business presentation to prepare for.

SlideShare also allows you to save slides and even download the entire slideshow for use on your local computer.

14. Ecosia

Ecosia Search

Looking to save the planet, one tree at a time? Then check out this environmentally friendly search engine!

This may come as a surprise, but your Google searches actually contribute to the creation of quite a bit of CO2.

To battle this issue, Ecosia uses the revenues generated from search engine queries to plant trees. Typically Ecosia needs around 45 searches to plant a new tree.

Bottom Line

Google may be the most popular choice in search engines, but you still have a multitude of alternatives to use.

Many of these alternative search engines provide a better user experience and superior information to Google.

Whether you’re looking for more privacy or simply want to explore your options, there are plenty of search engines to experiment with. So what are you waiting for?

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published boingboing.net - Contributed by Member: Daniel K. Henry

Google's Project Dragonfly was a secret prototype search engine intended to pave the way for the company's return to China; it featured censored search results that complied with Chinese state rules banning searches for topics like "human rights," "student protest" and "Nobel prize."

Leaked details of Dragonfly, reported in The Intercept, paint a picture of a search tool that doesn't merely limit access to information, but also assists Chinese state agents in retaliating against people who sought access to banned information.

In particular, Dragonfly logged each search and associated it with the user's phone number.

Dragonfly was also reportedly built to help the Chinese authorities falsify pollution data by substituting official numbers for observations made by disinterested parties. Pollution is a fraught political topic in China, with citizens frequently upset over the state's failure to keep their air breathable. The Chinese government has a history of falsifying pollution data and suppressing independent figures.

Sources familiar with the project said that prototypes of the search engine linked the search app on a user’s Android smartphone with their phone number. This means individual people’s searches could be easily tracked – and any user seeking out information banned by the government could potentially be at risk of interrogation or detention if security agencies were to obtain the search records from Google.

“This is very problematic from a privacy point of view, because it would allow far more detailed tracking and profiling of people’s behavior,” said Cynthia Wong, senior internet researcher with Human Rights Watch. “Linking searches to a phone number would make it much harder for people to avoid the kind of overreaching government surveillance that is pervasive in China.”

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published pymnts.com - Contributed by Member: Anna K. Sasaki

Think of online privacy as a race.

With consumers increasingly focused on how their data and web personas are used by eCommerce and other digital organizations, regulators and lawmakers are moving to get ahead of that political and cultural wave. Payments, commerce, and tech companies, meanwhile, are trying to stay a step ahead of regulators and lawmakers, and tweak or refashion their brands and reputations so they can boast about privacy protections and reduce the risk of losing profit as customers rethink their loyalties.

DuckDuckGo, the no-tracking search engine with a name that reflects a childhood play activity, intends to make the most of the ongoing privacy backlash from consumers. It has raised $10 million in fresh capital — only the second funding round for the 10-year-old, Pennsylvania-based operation —  and has plans to better promote itself to a global audience, while also offering other privacy-protection technology.

It seems foolish to even fantasize about the search engine ever catching up with Google. However, in a new PYMNTS interview, DuckDuckGo Founder Gabriel Weinberg said that, in the coming year, it could end up accounting for a double-digit chunk of search activity.

Optimistic View

His optimism stemmed in large part from the search’s engine growth: Use is up at least 50 percent over the last couple of years, with more than 5.8 billion direct search queries in total so far in 2018, compared with nearly 6 billion for all of 2017. The site’s daily direct traffic averages about 26.2 million. The United States stands as the largest source of DuckDuckGo traffic, followed by such countries as France, Germany, and Canada.

Of course, Google has numbers that dwarf that: about 3.5 billion searches per day. Though DuckDuckGo does not engage in tracking the behavior and habits of consumers online, it does make its money via ad offerings based on the keywords entered by users when searching for something — just as Google does. A consumer on either search engine might type in “car insurance,” for instance, resulting in relevant ads being served up, which in turn can result in revenue for that search engine.

The difference is that DuckDuckGo stops there — it does not sell search data to third parties for advertising (which, of course, cuts out a lucrative source of revenue). The search engine does not store users’ search histories, either.

That limit stands as a big part of the search engine’s appeal in these privacy-sensitive times, according to Weinberg. The search engine, its results compiled from more than 400 sources and its own web crawler, earns revenue from serving ads via the YahooBing network and affiliate relationships with such eCommerce operators as Amazon and eBay. For each user who buys a product that originates with certain DuckDuckGo searches, the site earns a commission on that transaction.

“We are definitely small,” he said, acknowledging the obvious. However, the company turns a profit and has yet to do any major marketing. So far, DuckDuckGo has benefited from word of mouth, essays, blog postings and question-and-answer content published and distributed on Quora and social media sites, he said.

New Funding

The new capital, from OMERS Ventures, a Canadian pension fund, will enable DuckDuckGo to beef up its marketing, among other areas. “We’re not sure what kind of marketing yet,” Weinberg said. “We’re running different kinds of experiments to figure out what works the best.”

DuckDuckGo last raised capital in 2011 — $3 million in seed funding. Since then, the digital landscape has significantly changed, which attracted OMERS. “Issues of privacy and security in the digital world have become increasingly topical and controversial,” the firm said in explaining its investment. “In 2018, these concerns have risen to the forefront of public consciousness. Users are becoming more aware of their personal data and are increasingly concerned with protecting it.”

DuckDuckGo aims to go beyond online searches in further building its pro-privacy brand. It recently launched what OMERS called “a mobile browser and desktop browser extension to their product mix; these products include built-in tracker blocking and smarter encryption.”

Facebook Example

Recent data and consumer trends support that path, Weinberg told PYMNTS. Like others in the space focusing on privacy (or worried about the consumer backlash), he used Facebook as an example.

For those who’ve enjoyed the luxury of a news-light summer away from digital leashes, the story goes like this: The social media platform needs to maintain — or even win back — the trust of consumers who were either shaken by the Cambridge Analytica data sharing scandal or are just increasingly wary of sharing too much information online with a massive corporation. In fact, Pew Research recently reported that 42 percent of Facebook users have taken a break from the platform during the past year, while 54 percent of those 18 and older have adjusted their privacy settings during that time frame. Additionally, 26 percent of U.S. adult consumers said they deleted the Facebook app from their smartphone.

“Awareness is really high,” Weinberg said about online privacy, adding that the company’s own surveys echo findings that a good chunk of consumers are having second thoughts about how their data is used by digital service providers. “People are trying to figure out how to protect themselves online.”

Figuring out answers is taking on an almost existential flavor in digital payments and commerce (which is to say, most of Western daily life). A recent discussion between PYMNTS’ Karen Webster and Sunil Madhu, founder of identity verification and fraud prevention services provider Socure, dug deep into those questions and featured a debate about how much Facebook really has to worry about and analysis of what makes a solid digital ID.

The consumer focus on privacy, and the ongoing backlash — demonstrated in part by Europe’s GDPR and other laws — is no flash in the pan, Weinberg said. This moment of privacy protection effort represents, perhaps, the best opportunity for DuckDuckGo — one that could propel it to capture 5 percent to 10 percent of searches, he said.

Historians will have to figure out and define the various phases of internet development and digital economy growth, and trying to anticipate what they will say is a fun game, but often ends up as a reckless intellectual endeavor. That said, the last few years — don’t forget the Edward Snowden NSA revelations, because Weinberg and other students of online privacy sure don’t — are shaping up as a turning point in how online consumers view privacy.

That will, no doubt, provide an opportunity for a host of businesses — not just DuckDuckGo.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published searchengineland.com By Ginny Marvin - Contributed by Member: Jeremy Frink

Here's what some marketers are saying about the move to include same meaning queries in exact match close variants.

Marketer reactions to the news that Google is yet again degrading the original intent (much less meaning) of exact match to include “same meaning” close variants is ranging from pessimism to ho-hum to optimism.

Expected impact on performance

“The impact of this will probably be most felt by accounts where exact match has historically been successful and where an exact match of a query made a difference in conversions — hence the reason you’d use exact in the first place,” said digital consultant and President of Netptune MoonJulie Friedman Bacchini.

Friedman Bacchini said the loss of control with exact match defeats the match type’s purpose. Many marketers use exact match to be explicit — exacting — in their targeting and expect a match type called “exact” to be just that.

Brad Geddes, the co-founder of ad testing platform AdAlysis and head of consultancy Certified Knowledge, said one problem with expanding the queries that can trigger an exact match keyword is that past changes have shown it can affect the overall performance of exact match. “The last change meant that our ‘variation matches’ had worse conversion rates than our exact match and that we lowered bids on most exact match terms. This change might just drive us from using it completely, or really hitting the negative keywords.”

Like Geddes, Andy Taylor, associate director of research at performance agency Merkle, also said they saw an increase in traffic assigned as exact match close variants with the last change, “and those close variants generally convert at a lower rate than true exact matches.”

Yet, others who participated in the test see the loosening of the reigns as a positive action.

One of the beta testers for this change was ExtraSpace Storage, a self-storage company in the U.S. with locations in more than 40 states. The company says it saw positive results from the test.

“The search queries were relevant to our industry and almost all of our primary KPIs saw an overall improvement,” said Steph Christensen, senior analyst for paid search at ExtraSpace.

Christensen said that during the test they did not do any keyword management, letting it run in a “normal environment to give it the best chance to provide the truest results.” She says they will continue to watch performance and make adjustments as needed after it’s fully rolled out by the end of October.

Advertisers as machine learning beneficiaries or guinea pigs

A big driver of these changes, of course, is machine learning. The machine learning/artificial intelligence race is on among Google and the other big tech companies.

Google says its machine learning is now good enough to determine when a query has the same intent as a keyword with a high enough rate of success that advertisers will see an overall performance lift.

Another way to look at the move, though, is that by opening up exact match to include same meaning queries, Google gets the benefit of having marketers train its algorithms by taking action on query reports.

Or as Geddes, put it: “Advertisers are basically paying the fee for Google to try and learn intent.”

Geddes’ point is that this change will help Google’s machine learning algorithms improve understanding of intent across millions of queries through advertiser actions and budgets.

“The fact that Google doesn’t understand user intent coupled with how poor their machine learning has been at times, means we might just move completely away from exact match,” says Geddes.

Of the example Google highlighted in its announcement, Geddes says, “If I search for Yosemite camping; I might want a blog article, stories, social media, or a campground. If I search for a campground — I want a campground.” (As an aside, from what I’ve found it appears Google doesn’t even monetize “Yosemite camping” or “Yosemite campground” results pages that it used as examples.)

Expected workflow changes

One big thing Google has emphasized is that these close variants changes allow advertisers to focus on things other than building out giant keyword lists to get their ads to show for relevant queries. Rather than doing a lot of upfront keyword research before launching, the idea is that the management will happen after the campaign runs and accumulates data. Marketers will add negatives and new keywords as appropriate. But this reframing of the management process and what amounts to a new definition of exact match has marketers thinking anew about all match types.

“The further un-exacting of exact match has me looking at phrase match again,” says Friedman Bacchini. “I definitely see it impacting use of negatives and time involved to review SQRs and apply negatives properly and exhaustively”.

Taylor agrees. “This change places more importance on regularly checking for negatives, but that has already been engrained in our management processes for years and won’t be anything new.”

Geddes said that advertisers might come up against negative keyword limits, which he has seen happen on occasion. Rather than relying heavily on adding negatives, he says they may consider only using phrase match going forward.

In addition to having ads trigger for queries that aren’t relevant or don’t convert well, there’s the matter of having the right ad trigger for a query when you have close variants in an account already.

Matt van Wagner, president and founder of search marketing firm Find Me Faster, says the agency will be monitoring the impact before assessing workflow adjustments, but is not anticipating performance lifts.

“We’ll watch search queries and how, or if, traffic shifts from other ad groups as well as CPC levels. We expect this to have neutral impact at best,” says van Wagner, “since we believe we have our keywords set to trigger on searches with other match types.”

Along those lines, Geddes says it will be critical to watch for duplicate queries triggering keywords across an account to make sure the right ad displays. It puts new focus on negative keyword strategies, says Geddes:

Google will show the most specific matching keyword within a campaign; but won’t do it across the account. So if I have both terms in my account as exact match (“Yosemite camping” and “Yosemite campground”), with one a much higher bid than the other, my higher bid keyword will usually show over my actual exact match word in a different campaign. That means that I now need to also copy my exact match keywords from one campaign and make them exact match negatives in another campaigns that is already using exact match just to control ad serving and bidding. I should never have to do that.

Measuring impact can be challenging

The effects of the change will take some time to unfold. Taylor says it took several months to see the impact of the last change to exact match close variants.

It’s difficult to calculate the incremental effect of these changes to close variants, in part says Taylor, because some close variant traffic comes from keywords – close variants or other match types — that are already elsewhere in the account.

“Google gives a nod to this in its recent announcement, saying that ‘Early tests show that advertisers using mostly exact match keywords see 3 percent more exact match clicks and conversions on average, with most coming from queries they aren’t reaching today,’” Taylor highlights with bolding added.

Another complicating factor, particularly for agencies, is that the effects of these changes don’t play out uniformly across accounts. Taylor shares an example:

An advertiser saw traffic on one of its key brand keywords shift to a different brand keyword several months after the close variants change last year.

“The normal reaction might be to use negatives to get that traffic back over to the correct keyword, but we were getting a better CPC and still getting the same traffic volume with the new variation,.

It didn’t make much sense, especially given Google’s continued assertion even in the current announcement that ‘Google Ads will still prefer to use keywords identical to the search query,’ but if the clicks are cheaper, the clicks are cheaper. This also speaks to how there’s not really a universal response to deploy for changes in close variants, aside from being mindful of what queries are coming in and how they’re performing.”

Looking ahead

Performance advertisers go where they get the best results.

“At the end of the day, the question is if poorer converting close variant queries might pull keyword performance down enough to force advertisers to pull back on bids and reduce overall investment,” said Taylor. “Generally speaking, giving sophisticated advertisers greater control to set the appropriate bids for each query (or any other segment) allows for more efficient allocation of spend, which should maximize overall investment in paid search.”

Geddes says their “priority is to make sure our Bing Ads budgets are maxed and that we’re not leaving anything on the table there. If our [Google] results get worse, we’ll also move some budgets to other places. But this might be one where we really have to do another account organization just to get around Google’s decisions.”

After the change has fully rolled out and they have enough data to act on, ExtraSpace’s Christensen said they will evaluate again. “Since we have such a large [account] build, when we do decide to make any changes we will have to show how we can do this at scale and maintain performance.”

Bacchini calls attention to the current misnomer of exact match and said Google should get rid of exact match altogether if it’s going to take away the original control of exact match. “It is particularly sneaky when you think of this move in terms of less sophisticated advertisers,” said Bacchini. “If they did not click on the ‘Learn More’ link below the formatting for entering in match types for keywords, how exactly would they know that Google Ads does not really mean exact?”

Categorized in Search Engine

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