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For many folks, Google is the front page of the internet. You don’t type Facebook.com into your browser. You just type “Facebook,” and then click the first Google result. Or you do a basic search by tapping in what you’re looking for.

But Google is way more powerful than that. You just have to learn a few of its secret code words, and then you can slice and dice your searches like a pro. No more wading through pages of results to find what you want. Use these tricks, and you’ll almost always get what you want on the first page. You can even ask Google to show you the weather.

Google search operators

These tips use Google’s search operators. These are commands that you add to your search terms in order to narrow the scope of the search. To use one, you just type your search as usual, then type the operator afterwards.

For instance, this is how you tell Google to limit your search to one particular website

 

Apple site:cultofmac.com

Type that into Google (or alternatives like DuckDuckGo), and it will search Cult of Mac for the term “Apple.”

For a complete list of Google’s search operators, check out Joshua Hardwicks’s comprehensive post on the subject at the Hrefs blog. For a sampling of the most useful operators, keep reading!

cache:

This one is great. If you click in the URL bar, and add cache: to the beginning of the URL and hit return, then Google will show you the most recent cached version of a site. This is super handy if a page is down due to excess traffic, or censorship, for example.

intitle:

Add intitle: to your search, and Google will search only the titles of web pages. Great to narrow down searches where you remember a few words from a title.

“search term in quotes”

This is a different kind of operator. If you put a word or words in quote, then Google will search for that exact phrase or word. This also works with ambiguous words, where Google might be confused what you actually mean. It’s also a good way to search for known misspellings.

OR

Type OR or | between terms, and Google will search for either of those terms. This is a rear way to combine search results from two parallel searches. For instance, dock iPhone OR iPad will return a search of both iPad docks and iPhone docks.

related:

This is an odd but very handy operator. You use it without an actual search term. So, if you type related:cultofmac.com, then Google will show you a list of sites which are related to this one. I like this when researching a subject I don’t know much about. If you find one good source, you can quickly discover more.

Quick hits

And finally, a few quick tricks. Try any of the following to get info about a specific thing:

movie:

map:

stocks:

weather:

 [Source: This article was published in cultofmac.com By CHARLIE SORREL - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Internet Search

Anonymous calls could be a real headache if you do not address them effectively. Hiding behind a phone screen is an easy way to harass and stalk people. Not only that, but it’s also one of the most popular means for scams and frauds. According to one study, Americans lost nearly $20 billion during 2019 because of call scams. And let’s not forget the robocalls from advertisers that could become a never-ending nuisance. Last year, Americans received 54.6 spam calls. That’s a 108% growth from 2018.

In moments like these, a reverse phone lookup could be a real lifesaver. Finding out who’s behind an unknown number can help you evade unwanted calls and even take action if they become a threat to your safety.

 

So, how exactly can you do a reverse phone search? There are several methods to do this, each with its own merits and limitations. And the best option for you will depend on your particular situation and purpose. Here are the top reverse phone lookup solutions to help you select the best tool so you can take effective action.  

1. In-depth search

There are moments when you would want to do an in-depth search of who’s behind a number. These are often situations where your safety would be at risk, for example, if you keep getting inappropriate calls in the middle of the night or fear you’ve become a victim of a phone scam.

The best tools for times like these are people search sites. These are websites that have curated databases with millions of profiles. And the information they carry is impressively comprehensive. This is because they’re in the business of collating profiles of everyone and anyone by using data from various publicly accessible sources. 

And there are several reputed websites that manage large-scale databases. Nuwber is a good example. It allows users to access not just names and contact details behind an unfamiliar number, but can even let you know if there are any evictions, felonies, arrest warrants and other criminal records related to its owner. And best of all, your search requests will remain confidential. 

2. Quick anonymous search

If you’ve got a missed call from an unknown number or have just answered a call that you’re feeling uneasy about, then you need a quick reverse search without digging deep into details. In instances like these, search engines such as Google and Bing will do the trick. They are the best tools for a quick and painless reverse phone lookup.

Search engines crawl trillions of online pages all the time to index and provide search results that are the most relevant to you. And this process is completely free and anonymous.

So, type in the number within quotation marks and click search. Your search engine will instantly display any related online information such as social media profiles, online news reports, and any other web content bearing the number.

Having said that, keep in mind that there are limitations to this type of reverse searches. For instance, there could be related web pages that are not crawled by the search engine due to various reasons. Or there might be content that can only be accessed with a payment. And search engines will not provide you access to any of these.

3. Automatic search

If you’re generally worried about your safety because of some previous bad experiences and would like to find a hassle-free tool to avoid unnecessary calls, then you should consider a caller identification app.

They can automatically scan all your incoming calls to provide caller IDs. This will save you the hassle of doing reverse phone lookups every time you receive a call from an unfamiliar number. They’re able to do this by scanning massive user-generated databases of phone numbers. And some caller ID apps also provide additional features such as call recording and call blocking. 

While these apps will not offer you any detailed information about the caller, they are a very useful and reliable tool for everyday safety.

4. Social search

You can also use popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for a reverse phone lookup. These searches could sometimes retrieve a profile related to the number. However, it’s quite rare since many users keep personal details private, which would prevent profiles from turning up during a search.

But the advantage of a social media search is that it could lead you to more details through communities and forums. People often share unpleasant experiences so they could alert others and seek support. So, if the number you want to lookup is attached to criminal activities, there is a good chance that it’s already shared and discussed by others in social communities. This makes social media sites a great source for a reverse phone lookup.

While it most likely will not get you information about the number’s owner, it can provide the opportunity to identify and reach out to possible victims who have had similar experiences.

5. Official search

If you’re being particularly harassed by prank calls, for instance, the best option is to call the directory assistance services of your mobile network operator.

These are available around the clock and are often free. While mobile phone operators most likely will not divulge personal contact details attached to a number, they will take down your complaint and can monitor future activities. They can also block and even escalate if the harassment persists. This will especially help in the event you need to officially lodge a complaint with the police.

However, keep in mind that the unknown caller should also be registered with the same network operator for you to use this option.

The bottom line is, you no longer need to worry about unknown calls. Technology has provided plenty of tools to help you separate the genuine callers from the unwanted ones so you can take effective action for your safety.

 

[Source: This article was published in bocaratontribune.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Internet Search

“I just want search to work like it does on Amazon and Google.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that lament from friends, clients and other search folks. Frustration and dissatisfaction are common emotions when it comes to enterprise search — that is, search within the firewall.

Google on the web makes search look easy: you type in a word or two, and you get a list of dozens, if not hundreds of relevant pages. We’d all like search like that for our web and internal repositories too.

But remember that at one point, Google offered an enterprise solution in a box: the Google Search Appliance (GSA). It was a large yellow Google-branded Dell server that would crawl and index internal content, respect security and deliver pretty good results quickly. And the Google logo was available on every page to remind users they were using Google search.

 

The GSA was marketed to partners and corporations from 2004 through early 2019, when it was removed from the market. The GSA showed decent results, but they never lived up user expectations. What went wrong?

Several IT managers have told me users had anticipated the quality of results to be “just like Google” — but the GSA just didn’t live up to their expectations. One search manager told me that simply adding the GSA logo to their existing non-Google search platform reduced user complaints by 40%.

I’m not proposing that you find a ‘Powered by Google’ graphic and simply add it to your search form. First, that’s misleading; and probably a violation of Google’s intellectual property. And secondly, your users will react to the quality of the results, not the search page logo.

One school of thought was that Google simply decided to focus on their primary business, delivering high quality on the web. In fact, the GSA just didn’t have access to the magic that makes its web search so good: Metadata.

It turns out that internal enterprise search is hard.

Upgrade Your User Search Experience

Partly because of its size and popularity, Google on the web takes advantage of the context available to it. That means the results you see may include queries used and pages that you have viewed in the past. But what really adds value is that Google will also include post-query behavior of other Google users who performed the same query.

The good news is you can likely improve your internal search results by implementing the same approach Google uses on the public web.

Your internal content brings some challenges of its own. On the web, there are sometimes thousands of pages that are nearly identical: if Google web shows you any one of those near duplicates, you’ll probably be satisfied. But behind the firewall, people are typically looking for a single page; and if search can’t find it, users complain.

Internal search comes with its own challenges; but it also has metadata that can be used to improve results. 

Almost all of the internal content we’ve seen with clients is secure. While parts of some repositories — think HR — are available across the organization, HR does have secure content such as payroll data, employee reviews, etc. that must not be available to all.

 

The Solution: Use the Context!

One of the differences between internet and intranet content is security. And repositories fall into one of two general areas: users and content. Security should come into play for both types of content.

User Level Security

In a lot of enterprise environments, many, if not most, repositories apply user or content level security. And typically there are a number of elements here. The fields can be used to add useful metadata. Fields that are available and make sense to be included as user-level metadata may include the following:

Location: Office, Department, Time Zone

Office location, department and time zone

Direct phone & email

List of active clients

User Level Security

Location, role, title, office, department

Role & title

Manager name & contact info

Key accounts

Content Level Security

Access level

Content including queries, viewed results pages, and saved and/or rejected-ignored

Actually, this is really a starting data point; examine, experiment, and dive in!

[Source: This article was published in cmswire.co By Miles Kehoe - Uploaded by the Association Member: Dana W. Jimenez]

Categorized in Internet Search

We all live in a digital world in which being in constant touch with technology is not just an option, but it is a necessity. This definitely has had a number of positive effects on society, but it also comes with its fair share of drawbacks. And one such drawback is in terms of the whole host of privacy issues.

When you are surfing on the internet, you are leaving a number of carbon footprints. And if you are not diligent about protecting your privacy, then somebody could very well track those footprints and steal your personal information. This sounds scary. But the good thing is that if you just a follow few steps, then you can avoid this entire scenario. In this article, we’ll be looking at the top 6 tips that you can follow to protect your privacy while using the internet. The list is mentioned below.

 

  1. Looking at Social Media Privacy Settings

According to current statistics, millions of people use various social media applications every single day. And the chances are that you are also one of those people. This is why it is important for you to take the necessary steps and protect all your private information that might be present on your social media handle. If someone hires the best detective agency in Delhi, they will surely look into your social media.

Most social medial applications come equipped with a strong privacy setting that you can activate to protect yourself and your information from total strangers on the internet. Also, you can select the people who can view what you post or share on your social media profile. This goes a long way in keeping your information safe.

  1. Avoid Using Public Storage

When we think of sharing information, then the first thing that comes to our mind is social media. But that is not where the privacy issue ends. Instead, there are also many other ways through which you might be sharing your information. And one such way is to use online sharing platforms for storing private information.

For example, there are many people who save their passwords, videos, photographs, and other documents on Google Drive. And while it is fine to upload some stuff to Google Drive that you mean to share but when it comes to saving your private information, then applications like Google Drive and Dropbox should not be the ideal choice.

  1. Evade Trackers

Surfing the internet is not possible without visiting various websites. And every single time that you visit a website, your browser is disclosing a bunch of information about you. This information is often used by marketers to target you with ads. But this information can also be misused. So, it is suggested that ideally, people should use private browsing services. This option is definitely better than browsing in incognito mode.

  1. Secure Everything

Let’s consider a scenario in which you lost your device or a situation in which a hacker is trying to hack your device. In both of these situations, the only tactic or weapon that can protect your private information is your password.

 

This is why you must make sure that all of your devices are password protected. You also need to ensure that you have a strong password. It is suggested that you should use a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters. When it comes to privacy, you can not let anything slip through the cracks. The biggest reason why I’m saying this is because even a small mistake can make such a big hole in your privacy.

  1. Keeping Your Electronic Devices Safe

Sometimes you can follow all the precautions, but a hacker might still find a way to try and steal your private information. And it is vital for you to also be prepared for a situation like that. This means that you should make sure to install an antivirus program in all of your devices irrespective of whether you are using those devices at your home or outside. You should also set up a firewall on your computer. It is very important to protect your electronic devices safe as a whistle. In today’s day and world, the biggest threat to your privacy is through electronic devices.

  1. Check Your Wi-Fi Connection

Do you remember the last time you were in a coffee shop or you were traveling, and you decided to connect to the internet through the public Wi-Fi network? This is something that most people do daily without giving it much thought. And this is not the right attitude.

The chances are that there are many people connected on the same public Wi-Fi network, and if you connect to that public Wi-Fi, then somebody could decide to snoop on you. So, it is suggested that you should avoid using public Wi-Fi networks. If that is not possible, then you should make it a point not to enter any of your private information while you are connected through a public Wi-Fi network.

 

[Source: This article was published in newspatrolling.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jeremy Frink]

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Annotation of a doctored image shared by Rep. Paul A. Gosar on Twitter. (Original 2011 photo of President Barack Obama with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Charles Dharapak/AP)

To a trained eye, the photo shared by Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) on Monday was obviously fake.

pual gosar

At a glance, nothing necessarily seems amiss. It appears to be one of a thousand (a million?) photos of a president shaking a foreign leader’s hand in front of a phalanx of flags. It’s easy to imagine that, at some point, former president Barack Obama encountered this particular official and posed for a photo.

Except that the photo at issue is of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, someone Obama never met. Had he done so, it would have been significant news, nearly as significant as President Trump’s various meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Casual observers would be forgiven for not knowing all of this, much less who the person standing next to Obama happened to be. Most Americans couldn’t identify the current prime minister of India in a New York Times survey; the odds they would recognize the president of Iran seem low.

 

Again, though, there are obvious problems with the photo that should jump out quickly. There’s that odd, smeared star on the left-most American flag (identified as A in the graphic above). There’s Rouhani’s oddly short forearm (B). And then that big blotch of color between the two presidents (C), a weird pinkish-brown blob of unexpected uniformity.

Each of those glitches reflects where the original image — a 2011 photo of Obama with then-Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — was modified. The truncated star was obscured by Singh’s turban. The blotch of color is an attempt to remove the circle from the middle of the Indian flag behind the leaders. The weird forearm is a function of the slightly different postures and sizes of the Indian and Iranian leaders.

Screenshot 1

President Barack Obama meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 18, 2011. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Compared with the original, the difference is obvious. What it takes, of course, is looking.

Tools exist to determine whether a photo has been altered. It’s often more art than science, involving a range of probability more than a certain final answer. The University of California at Berkeley professor Hany Farid has written a book about detecting fake images and shared quick tips with The Washington Post.

 

  • Reverse image search. Save the photo to your computer and then drop it into Google Image Search. You’ll quickly see where it might have appeared before, useful if an image purports to be over a breaking news event. Or it might show sites that have debunked it.
  • Check fact-checking sites. This can be a useful tool by itself. Images of political significance have a habit of floating around for a while, deployed for various purposes. The fake Obama-Rouhani image, for example, has been around since at least 2015 — when it appeared in a video created by a political action committee supporting Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).
  • Know what’s hard to fake. In an article for Fast Company, Farid noted that some things, like complicated physical interactions, are harder to fake than photos of people standing side by side. Backgrounds are also often tricky; it’s hard to remove something from an image while accurately re-creating what the scene behind them would have looked like. (It’s not a coincidence that both the physical interaction and background of the “Rouhani” photo were clues that it was fake.)

But, again, you have to care that you’re passing along a fake photo. Gosar didn’t. Presented with the image’s inaccuracy by a reporter from the Intercept, Gosar replied via tweet that “no one said this wasn’t photoshopped.”

“No one said the president of Iran was dead. No one said Obama met with Rouhani in person,” Gosar wrote to the “dim-witted reporter.” “The point remains to all but the dimmest: Obama coddled, appeased, nurtured and protected the worlds No. 1 sponsor of terror.”

As an argument, that may be evaluated on the merits. It is clearly the case, though, that Gosar had no qualms about sharing an edited image. He recognizes, in fact, that the photo is a lure for the point he wanted to make: Obama is bad.

That brings us to a more important point, one that demands a large-type introduction.

The Big Problem with social media

There exists a concept in social psychology called the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” You’ve probably heard of it; it’s a remarkable lens through which to consider a lot of what happens in American culture, including, specifically, politics and social media.

The idea is this: People who don’t know much about a subject necessarily don’t know how little they know. How could they? So after learning a little bit about the topic, there’s sudden confidence that arises. Now knowing more than nothing and not knowing how little of the subject they know, people can feel as though they have some expertise. And then they offer it, even while dismissing actual experts.

 

“Their deficits leave them with a double burden,” David Dunning wrote in 2011 about the effect, named in part after his research. “Not only does their incomplete and misguided knowledge lead them to make mistakes, but those exact same deficits also prevent them from recognizing when they are making mistakes and other people choosing more wisely.”

The effect is often depicted in a graph like this. You learn a bit and feel more confident talking about it — and that increases and increases until, in a flash, you realize that there’s a lot more to it than you thought. Call it the “oh, wait” moment. Confidence plunges, slowly rebuilding as you learn more, and learn more about what you don’t know. This affects all of us, myself included.

Screenshot 2(Philip Bump/The Washington Post)

Dunning’s effect is apparent on Twitter all the time. Here’s an example from this week, in which the “oh, wait” moment comes at the hands of an actual expert.

Screenshot 3

One value proposition for social media (and the Internet more broadly) is that this sort of Marshall-McLuhan-in-“Annie-Hall” moment can happen. People can inform themselves about reality, challenge themselves by accessing the vast scope of human knowledge and even be confronted directly by those in positions of expertise.

 

In reality, though, the effect of social media is often to create a chorus of people who are at a similar, overconfident point in the Dunning-Kruger curve. Another value of the Internet is in its ability to create ad hoc like-minded communities, but that also means it can convene like-minded groups of wrong-minded opinions. It’s awfully hard to feel chastened or uninformed when there is any number of other people who vocally share your view. (Why one could fill hours on a major cable-news network simply by filling panels with people on the dashed-line part of the graph above!)

The Internet facilitates ignorance as readily as it does knowledge. It allows us to build reinforcements around our errors. It allows us to share a fake image and wave away concerns because the target of the image is a shared enemy for your in-group. Or, simply, to accept a faked image as real because you’re either unaware of obvious signs of fakery or unaware of the unlikely geopolitics that surrounds its implications.

I asked Farid, the fake-photo expert, how normal people lingering at the edge of an “oh, wait” moment might avoid sharing altered images.

“Slow down!” he replied. “Understand that most fake news/images/videos are designed to be sensational or outrageous and get you to respond quickly before you’ve had time to think. When you find yourself reacting viscerally, take a breath, slow down, and don’t be so quick to share/like/retweet.”

Unless, of course, your goals are both to be sensational and to get retweets. In that case, go ahead and share the image. You can always rationalize it later.

[Source: This article was published in washingtonpost.com By Philip Bump - Uploaded by the Association Member: Alex Gray]

Categorized in Investigative Research

Overview | Do Internet search engines point us to the information that we need or confuse us with irrelevant or questionable information? How can Internet users improve their searches to find reliable information? What are some ways to perform effective searches? In this lesson, students conduct Web searches on open-ended questions and draw on their experiences to develop guides to searching effectively and finding reliable information online.

 

Materials | Computers with Internet access

Warm-Up | Invite students to share anecdotes about times when they used an Internet search engine to look for information and found something they were not expecting, or when they could not find what they were looking for.

After several students have shared, ask for a show of hands of students who have experienced frustration using an Internet search engine. Then ask: How often do you use search engines? Which ones do you use most? Why? What are the most common problems you face when searching? Do you consider yourself a skilled searcher? Do you have any search strategies? Do you search the Internet more for personal reasons and entertainment, or more for school? Do you believe that improving your Internet searching skills will benefit you academically? Socially? Personally?

Give students the following search assignment, from The New York Times article “Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet”: “Which day [will] the vice president’s birthday falls on the next year?” (Alternatively, give students a multistep question that relates to your subject matter. For example, a geography teacher might ask “How many miles away is Shanghai?”) Tell students to type this question into Google, Bing or any other favorite search engine, and have them share the top results in real-time. Did the answer appear? If not, what’s the next step to take to get this question answered?

Ask: What information do you need to be able to answer the question? Ideas might include the name of the vice president, the date of his birthday, and a copy of next year’s calendar. Have them try to find this information and keep working until they can answer the question. (You may want to add a competitive component to this activity, rewarding the student who finds out the right answer the fastest.)

When one or more students have found the answer, have one student take the class through the steps he or she took to find the answer; if possible, do this on a screen so that everyone can watch. Along the way, ask probing questions. What keywords did you type into the search engine? Why did you choose these words? Which results did you click on? Why did you choose those sources over the others on the page? How many steps did it take? Are you sure the sources are reliable and that the answers are correct? How can you tell? How would you verify the information? If time permits, play around by using different keywords and clicking on different results, to see how the search for the answer to the question changes.

To end this activity, ask: What did you notice about the search to find the answer to this question? Did this exercise give help you understand something new about Internet searching? If so, what?

When considering children, search engines had long focused on filtering out explicit material from results. But now, because increasing numbers of children are using search as a starting point for homework, exploration or entertainment, more engineers are looking to children for guidance on how to improve their tools.

Search engines are typically developed to be easy for everyone to use. Google, for example, uses the Arial typeface because it considers it more legible than other typefaces. But advocates for children and researchers say that more can be done technologically to make it easier for young people to retrieve information. What is at stake, they say, are the means to succeed in a new digital age.

Read the article with your class, using the questions below.

 

Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:

  1. What problems does the article mention that children run into when they use search engines?
  2. What suggestions have been offered for how search engines can improve their product to lessen children’s problems searching?
  3. Do you search using keywords or questions? How does the article characterize these two types of searching?
  4. Have you tried using images or videos to search? How does the article characterize this type of searching?
  5. What advice would you give to Internet search engine developers for how they should improve their product? Do you think any of the improvements mentioned in the article are particularly promising? Why?

Activity | Before class, ask teachers of several different subjects for questions that they have asked or will ask students to research on the Internet. Alternatively, collect from students their own research questions – for another class or for a personal project, like I-Search. Be sure that the questions are sufficiently open-ended so that they cannot be answered definitively with a quick, simple search – they might contain an element of opinion or interpretation, rather than just be a matter of simple fact.

Put the class into pairs, and provide each pair with the following multipart task:

  • Seek to answer your assigned question by conducting an Internet search.
  • You must use different search engines and strategies, and keep track of how the search “goes” using the various resources and methods.
  • Once you find an answer that you are confident in, do another search to verify the information.
  • When you are finished, evaluate the reliability of all of the Internet resources that you used.
  • Prepare to tell the story of your search, including what worked and what didn’t, anything surprising that happened, things that would be good for other searchers to know, “lessons learned,” etc.

Provide pairs with the following resources to research their assigned topics. Let them know that these are starting points and that they may use additional resources.

Search Engines, Metasearch Engines, and Subject Directories:

Choosing Effective Search Words:

Evaluating Source Reliability:

When pairs have completed their research, bring the class together and invite pairs to share their stories. Then tell them that they will use their notes to create a page for a class guide, in booklet or wiki form, on how to use Internet search engines effectively for research, to be made available to the school community to help other students. As much as possible, the tips and guidance in the guide should be illustrated with the students’ stories and examples.

 

Tell students that their booklet/wiki entries should or might include the following, among other types of guidance and insight:

  • Ways and examples of using keywords and Boolean logic effectively.
  • Ineffective examples of keyword searches that result in too much, too little or useless information.
  • Examples of how to sequence searches and why.
  • Sites they find that answer their question and how they can tell whether these pages are reliable.
  • Any information they found that was questionable or incorrect, where they found it, and how they discovered that it was wrong.
  • Why it is important to scroll past the top result to pages listed farther down the page or on a later page in order to find complete answers to the question.
  • How using different search engines yielded different results.

In addition to the handbook or wiki, you might also have students make their own videos, à la the Google ad “Parisian Love,” chronicling their search.

Going Further | Students read the New York Times Magazine article “The Google Alphabet,” by Virginia Heffernan, who writes the column “The Medium,” and keep a tally of the number of advertisements and commercial sites that they see while doing schoolwork on the Internet for one or two days.

Then hold a class discussion on advertising and commercial interests on the Internet. If students are using the Internet to complete their homework, are schools requiring students to expose themselves to corporate advertisements in order to succeed academically? Do any ethical questions arise around the prevalence of corporate advertising in Web searching for academic purposes?

Alternatively or additionally, students develop ideas for the search engines of the future, like ways to use and find images, audio and video, rank results and so on, and “pitch” their ideas to classmates acting as search engine developers.

And for fun, students might try to come up with “Googlewhacks.”

Standards | From McREL, for Grades 6-12:

Technology
2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs.
3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual.

Language Arts
1. Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
4. Gathers and uses the information for research purposes.
7. Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Life Work
2. Uses various information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.

[Source: This article was published in nytimes.com By Sarah Kavanagh And Holly Epstein Ojalvo - Uploaded by the Association Member: Rene Meyer]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in blogs.scientificamerican.com By Daniel M. Russell and Mario Callegaro - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

Researchers who study how we use search engines share common mistakes, misperceptions and advice

In a cheery, sunshine-filled fourth-grade classroom in California, the teacher explained the assignment: write a short report about the history of the Belgian Congo at the end of the 19th century, when Belgium colonized this region of Africa. One of us (Russell) was there to help the students with their online research methods.

I watched in dismay as a young student slowly typed her query into a smartphone. This was not going to end well. She was trying to find out which city was the capital of the Belgian Congo during this time period. She reasonably searched [ capital Belgian Congo ] and in less than a second she discovered that the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is Kinshasa, a port town on the Congo River. She happily copied the answer into her worksheet.

 

But the student did not realize that the Democratic Republic of Congo is a completely different country than the Belgian Congo, which used to occupy the same area. The capital of that former country was Boma until 1926, when it was moved to Léopoldville (which was later renamed Kinshasa). Knowing which city was the capital during which time period is complicated in the Congo, so I was not terribly surprised by the girl’s mistake.

The deep problem here is that she blindly accepted the answer offered by the search engine as correct. She did not realize that there is a deeper history here.

We Google researchers know this is what many students do—they enter the first query that pops into their heads and run with the answer. Double checking and going deeper are skills that come only with a great deal of practice—and perhaps a bunch of answers marked wrong on important exams. Students often do not have a great deal of background knowledge to flag a result as potentially incorrect, so they are especially susceptible to misguided search results like this.

In fact, a 2016 report by Stanford University education researchers showed that most students are woefully unprepared to assess content they find on the web. For instance, the scientists found that 80 percent of students at U.S. universities are not able to determine if a given web site contains  credible information. And it is not just students; many adults share these difficulties.

If she had clicked through to the linked page, the girl probably would have started reading about the history of the Belgian Congo, and found out that it has had a few hundred years of wars, corruption, changes in rulers and shifts in governance. The name of the country changed at least six times in a century, but she never realized that because she only read the answer presented on the search engine results page.

Asking a question of a search engine is something people do several billion times each day. It is the way we find the phone number of the local pharmacy, check on sports scores, read the latest scholarly papers, look for news articles, find pieces of code, and shop. And although searchers look for true answers to their questions, the search engine returns results that are attuned to the query, rather than some external sense of what is true or not. So a search for proof of wrongdoing by a political candidate can return sites that purport to have this information, whether or not the sites or the information are credible. You really do get what you search for.

In many ways, search engines make our metacognitive skills come to the foreground. It is easy to do a search that plays into your confirmation bias—your tendency to think new information supports views you already hold. So good searchers actively seek out information that may conflict with their preconceived notions. They look for secondary sources of support, doing a second or third query to gain other perspectives on their topic. They are constantly aware of what their cognitive biases are, and greet whatever responses they receive from a search engine with healthy skepticism.

For the vast majority of us, most searches are successful. Search engines are powerful tools that can be incredibly helpful, but they also require a bit of understanding to find the information you are actually seeking. Small changes in how you search can go a long way toward finding better answers.

The Limits of Search

It is not surprising or uncommon that a short query may not accurately reflect what a searcher really wants to know. What is actually remarkable is how often a simple, brief query like [ nets ] or [ giants ] will give the right results. After all, both of those words have multiple meanings, and a search engine might conclude that searchers were looking for information on tools to catch butterflies, in the first case, or larger-than-life people in the second. Yet most users who type those words are seeking basketball- and football-related sites, and the first search results for those terms provide just that. Even the difference between a query like [the who] versus [a who] is striking. The first set of results are about a classic English rock band, whereas the second query returns references to a popular Dr. Seuss book.

But search engines sometimes seem to give the illusion that you can ask anything about anything and get the right answer. Just like the student in that example, however most searchers overestimate the accuracy of search engines and their own searching skills. In fact, when Americans were asked to self-rate their searching ability by the Pew Research Center in 2012, 56 percent rated themselves as very confident in their ability to use a search engine to answer a question.

Not surprisingly, the highest confidence scores were for searchers with some college degrees (64 percent were “very confident”—by contrast, 45 percent of those who did not have a college degree describes themselves that way). Age affects this judgment as well, with 64 percent of those under 50 describing themselves as “very confident,” as opposed to only 40 percent older than 50. When talking about how successful they are in their searches, 29 percent reported that they can always find what they are looking for, and 62 percent said they are able to find an answer to their questions most of the time. In surveys, most people tell us that everything they want is online, and conversely, if they cannot find something via a quick search, then it must not exist, it might be out of date, or it might not be of much value.

 

These are the most recent published results, but we have seen in surveys done at Google in 2018 that these insights from Pew are still true and transcend the years. What was true in 2012 is still exactly the same now: People have great confidence in their ability to search. The only significant change is in their success rates, which have crept up to 35 percent can "always find" what they're looking for, while 73 percent say they can find what they seek "most of the time." This increase is largely due to improvements in the search engines, which improve their data coverage and algorithms every year."

What Good Searchers Do

As long as information needs are easy, simple searches work reasonably well. Most people actually do less than one search per day, and most of those searches are short and commonplace. The average query length on Google during 2016 was 2.3 words. Queries are often brief descriptions like: [ quiche recipe ] or [ calories in chocolate ] or [ parking Tulsa ].

And somewhat surprisingly, most searches have been done before. In an average day, less than 12 percent of all searches are completely novel—that is, most queries have already been entered by another searcher in the past day. By design, search engines have learned to associate short queries with the targets of those searches by tracking pages that are visited as a result of the query, making the results returned both faster and more accurate than they otherwise would have been.

A large fraction of queries are searches for another website (called navigational queries, which make up as much as 25 percent of all queries), or for a short factual piece of information (called informational queries, which are around 40 percent of all queries). However, complex search tasks often need more than a single query to find a satisfactory answer. So how can you do better searches? 

First, you can modify your query by changing a term in your search phrase, generally to make it more precise or by adding additional terms to reduce the number of off-topic results. Very experienced searchers often open multiple browser tabs or windows to pursue different avenues of research, usually investigating slightly different variations of the original query in parallel.

You can see good searchers rapidly trying different search queries in a row, rather than just being satisfied with what they get with the first search. This is especially true for searches that involve very ambiguous terms—a query like [animal food] has many possible interpretations. Good searchers modify the query to get to what they need quickly, such as [pet food] or [animal nutrition], depending on the underlying goal.

Choosing the best way to phrase your query means adding terms that:

  • are central to the topic (avoid peripheral terms that are off-topic)
  • you know the definition of (do not guess at a term if you are not certain)
  • leave common terms together in order ( [ chow pet ] is very different than [ pet chow ])
  • keep the query fairly short (you usually do not need more than two to five terms)

You can make your query more precise by limiting the scope of a search with special operators. The most powerful operators are things such as double-quote marks (as in the query [ “exponential growth occurs when” ], which finds only documents containing that phrase in that specific order. Two other commonly used search operators are site: and filetype: These let you search within only one web site (such as [site:ScientificAmerican.com ]) or for a particular filetype, such as a PDF file (example: [ filetype:pdf coral bleaching ])

Second, try to understand the range of possible search options. Recently, search engines added the capability of searching for images that are similar to given photo that you can upload. A searcher who knows this can find photos online that have features that resemble those in the original. By clicking through the similar images, a searcher can often find information about the object (or place) in the image. Searching for matches of my favorite fish photo can tell me not just what kind of fish it is, but then provide links to other fishing locations and ichthyological descriptions of this fish species.        

Overall, expert searchers use all of the resources of the search engine and their browsers to search both deeply (by making query variations) and broadly (by having multiple tabs or windows open). Effective searchers also know how to limit a search to a particular website or to a particular kind of document, find a phrase (by using quote marks to delimit the phrase), and find text on a page (by using a text-find tool).

Third, learn some cool tricks. One is the find-text-on-page skill (that is, Command-F on Mac, Control-F on PC), which is unfamiliar to around 90 percent of the English-speaking, Internet-using population in the US. In our surveys of thousands of web users, the large majority have to do a slow (and errorful) visual scan for a string of text on a web site. Knowing how to use text-finding commands speeds up your overall search time by about 12 percent (and is a skill that transfers to almost every other computer application).

Fourth, use your critical-thinking skills.  In one case study, we found that searchers looking for the number of teachers in New York state would often do a query for [number of teachers New York ], and then take the first result as their answer—never realizing that they were reading about the teacher population of New York City, not New York State. In another study we asked searchers to find the maximum weight a particular model of baby stroller could hold. How big could that baby be?

The answers we got back varied from two pounds to 250 pounds. At both ends of the spectrum, the answers make no sense (few babies in strollers weigh less than five pounds or more than 60 pounds), but inexperienced searchers just assumed that whatever numbers they found correctly answered their search questions. They did not read the context of the results with much care.  

Search engines are amazingly powerful tools that have transformed the way we think of research, but they can hurt more than help when we lack the skills to use them appropriately and evaluate what they tell us. Skilled searchers know that the ranking of results from a search engine is not a statement about objective truth, but about the best matching of the search query, term frequency, and the connectedness of web pages. Whether or not those results answer the searchers’ questions is still up for them to determine.

Categorized in Internet Search

[This article is originally published in today.com vox.com written By Kara Swisher - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Jay Harris]

Forces have been unleashed that seem out of control. But is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

Exactly a decade ago, Walt Mossberg and I declared the end of Web 2.0 and the beginning of its next iteration: Web 3.0.

There was a recession messing badly with the tech sector at the time, which we dubbed the Econalypse. But we decided to make a loud prediction right before our seventh All Things Digital conference anyway because we saw that the digital tidal wave sweeping the world just wasn’t stopping.

And we said so:

[W]hat’s the seminal development that’s ushering in the era of Web 3.0? It’s the real arrival, after years of false predictions, of the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services. The poster children for this new era have been the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch, which have sold 37 million units in less than two years and attracted 35,000 apps and one billion app downloads in just nine months.

The excitement and energy around the iPhone and the Touch — and the software and services being written for them — remind us of the formative years of the PC and PC software, in the early 1980s, or the early days of the Web in the mid-1990s.

It’s a big deal.

But this is not just about one company, one platform or even one form factor. No, this new phenomenon is about handheld computers from many companies, with software platforms and distribution mechanisms tightly tied to cloud-based services, whether they are multi-player games, e-commerce offerings or corporate databases.

Some of these handheld computers will make phone calls, but others won’t. Some will fit in a pocket, but others will be tablets or even laptop-type clamshells. But, like the iPhone, all will be fusions of clever new hardware, innovative client software and powerful server-based components.

Pretty prescient, right? Smartphones and the app universe — spawned by the Apple iPhone release in June 2007 — bore a new era of innovation, heralding in a spate of companies dependent on mobile. It was, as I have written before, a Cambrian explosion. Would there be Uber, Lyft, Tinder, and so many others without the mobile phone? Would companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Slack have grown so large in its absence?

Now, I must declare that revolution officially over. After a very long run, Web 3.0 is on its last legs and needs to get out of the way for what’s next.

And what’s that? Well, as it turns out, a lot of things that include tech, politics, social mores, and more that have gained traction over the past few years and that are mashing together in ways that are still sorting themselves out.

 

That’s why I did a PowerPoint — and trust me when I tell you, I hate PowerPoints — to try to get my own head around it. I edit it almost constantly, as new ideas pop into my head, and am always trying to make new connections between and among the key trends.

Let’s start with the title that I first put on it: “It’s not just Amazon (well, you need to be scared of them too).” Sure, it could be catchier, but it’s that for a good reason. Over the past few years, there has been a big focus on individual companies — especially Amazon, Facebook, and Google — rather than the overall trends they represent around the toxic impacts of tech. While each has grown into a powerful and sometimes troublesome entity, the changes that are happening now across tech are much bigger than any one company. We’re talking about pervasive ecosystem changes.

That’s because tech companies come and go, even the titans, and the natural instinct is to name the company rather than see the bigger ideas that their actions are shaping — and that are shaping them.

Let’s start with the most important trend: artificial intelligence. The others include robotics and automation; self-driving; endless choice; privacy under assault, when data is gold; continuous partial hacking; continuous partial attention; and political and social unrest.

Starting with AI, there’s a line that I think pretty much encapsulates the one thing you absolutely need to know about the future of machine learning that I have used again and again: Everything that can be digitized will be digitized.

Full stop.

What do I mean by that? Computing as we know it is being changed by AI and machine learning. It is already everywhere — from when you talk to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa or see your list of movies on Netflix or interact with a chatbot. Its use, both generally and for highly specific things, has and will continue to impact innumerable fields, resulting in massive job disruption.

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Economists and consulting firms have long predicted that AI will change workplaces and the workforce, but I think they’ve been underselling it. For example, when a Google deep learning program can quickly study a super-complex multiplayer strategy game and then kick the crap out of the best human players on the planet, perhaps we should think hard about where it will go next.

 

Whether it kills jobs or adds them, a matter of much debate, it will lead to things like multi-careers, more gig-oriented work, and a need for reeducation.

On the downside, which jobs will be impacted? It’s not just factory workers, burger flippers, and long-haul truckers. Highly paid lawyers, skilled doctors (don’t let your daughter be a radiologist), and, yes, even lowly journalists will need to find new lines of work. And those tectonic workplace realignments will only become more profound as the AI becomes inevitably — and exponentially — better.

To thrive in this environment will require being in a profession that is creative, where analog interactions are critical — one that cannot be easily made digital. Think art, think the caring professions, think anything in which being human trumps cyborg. And since AI becomes ever smarter, it will make sense to allow it to do more and more as we become ever less so.

It is a path humanity is already on, of course: When was the last time you ever read a map rather than got directions from Google? Or cracked a book to find an errant fact? It’ll be like that for so many things we do, as normal practices change to reflect and take advantage of the convenience and precision of AI.

We’ll also soon see the effects of radical advances in robotics and automation, which will probably be more behind the scenes than having a robot maid in our home (though we will get to that). Yes, the way we wage war is changing dramatically, but it’s not the killer robots we think of when we envision a world in which the Terminator movies become a reality. As Elon Musk told Walt and me in an interview several years ago, these AI-powered robots and platforms will think of us more like house cats than enemies. So I guess that’s a plus.

If advances in sentience and responsiveness are as dramatic as I think they might be, the implications will be even more interesting — and problematic. Will we someday have to contemplate their rights? It’s been a constant in science fiction, but now we seem to be really on the doorstep of rethinking what it means to be human in an era when biotechnology — whether implanting chips that could enhance intelligence, altering genetic code to eliminate disease, or wearing exoskeletons that enhance human strength — is on the cutting edge.

Currently, companies like the FDA-approved ReWalk are focused on using these devices to allow those with spinal cord injuries to walk again, but there are many military and factory experiments ongoing. These “exo suits” and other mechanized clothing are only the vanguard of a body-enhancing movement that is likely to get even larger in the coming decades. Where this innovation emerges is also a consideration, since tech’s increasingly dominant player — China — is making strong moves in the sector.

The next trend will be around transportation, especially the use of cars and trucks. I recently called them the “horses of tomorrow” in a New York Times column, noting that I would never buy and likely never own another car as long as I live.

While many reacted to the piece by proclaiming that Americans will never give up car ownership, especially in rural areas, I am confident that a combination of ride-sharing, autonomous vehicles, and breakthroughs in other modes of transport will lead to profound changes that will impact the entire ecosystem and economy, especially as much of the human race lives near major metropolitan areas. We will need to build smarter cities as this shift happens.

While regulatory and technical issues are still complex, such obstacles are most certainly not impossible as we rethink our relationship with the entire transportation system and are forced to make changes as the planet becomes more congested and more impacted by climate change. To me, the change in this sector will have reverberations far beyond any others, despite what will seem like a slow rollout.

What is moving a lot faster is the concept of everything-on-demand, from instant delivery of goods to the perfect anticipation of needs thanks to AI-enhanced computing. That’s already here in many ways, seen most clearly by the leaps of services like Amazon Prime. Again, here the impact is massive, fundamentally changing the way we shop and consume. Hunting and gathering are dead: Large-footprint stores will be gone, be replaced by those that can differentiate themselves from the commodity-based goods. I’d bet in a decade your favorite little boutique will be there long after a giant Target will be.

(Of course, all this does not mean there will not be a backlash over these changes since they increase consumerism and emissions and, you know, your box pile at home.)

 

This will be true across all sectors, including media. The old and failed concept of push — in which information was thrown at you, clogging the early internet’s pipes — will return. In that paradigm, you will not pick but be picked for; you will not seek, but it will be found. This is already happening, but it will intensify. Obviously, this has great societal implications, and we are already seeing the downside of screen addiction that is bringing social unrest, depression, and a kind of ennui about human interaction.

That trend has been and will be fueled by the end of any true semblance of privacy, a process that is already well on its way. I do not mean to belabor an issue that has gotten a lot of attention already, except to repeat what former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy said two decades ago: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.” Yep. You and your data have been the fuel of the internet age, and that will not abate.

Can regulation save us? There has been some pushback to this grim state of affairs, especially in Europe with its General Data Protection Rules — but also in Silicon Valley’s backyard, with California’s Consumer Privacy Act set to go into effect next year. But there is no national privacy bill in the US — and don’t get your hopes up, either, Bernie Bros. Meanwhile, countries like China push the envelope further by building what are essentially surveillance economies using facial recognition and intense monitoring of its citizens’ every move and keystroke.

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That, of course, leaves us deeply vulnerable to even more hacking as we are jacked into the system in ways that were heretofore impossible. And this hacking will not be hard to pull off — just ask any systems engineer or coder — as an increasingly interconnected Internet of Things brings porous platforms into our kitchens, cars, and wallets. The system was built for access and connectivity; malevolent players can simply use the tools on offer. In this fight, companies like Facebook are now battling nation-states, even if they themselves have become the digital equivalent of that.

The will to win this fight — even define its terms — has been weak on the consumer side, but incursions in the 2016 election have shown us the real goal of some of these hackers: to disrupt our society and create discord. The Russians lost the Cold War, but they have proven to be quite a bit better at the Cyber War. Increasingly, as even more nefarious players ramp up, that could mean more attacks on basic infrastructure, from electric grids to phone systems. And as our devices are ever more connected, battling it will be like pushing back the ocean.

Ten years ago, when Walt and I wrote our Web 3.0 missive, the iPhone was just a couple of years old, a novelty for rich people that barely could make a call. Think how quaint that all sounds now. But that one device unleashed a never-ending revolution of change, each cycle accelerating faster than the last. These technologies have unmoored people from their communities and removed once-sacred societal strictures. This is the first time that humanity has been allowed to talk to each other without gatekeepers or any other mechanisms of control.

It is not going well. And we now are surprised when we realize, for example, how so many have been radicalized by videos on YouTube or 8chan message boards. But with new and more immersive technologies just around the corner, you haven’t seen anything yet.

If it appears as if the forces of evil are winning here, it is because they are.

That might seem dire. Well, it is. While it is critical that we now put in some guardrails to make these profound developments less unsettling, having not done so at the start — the original sin of pushing growth over everything else — presents humanity with a massive challenge. If change is the constant, ever-morphing as we move to control it, how can we manage what we have invented?

There’s only one way as far as I can tell. Long ago, Steve Jobs launched a marketing campaign that urged people to “Think Different.” That has never been more true, except I would adjust it slightly. To face the modern age — and the future we have created but don’t yet understand — we not only have to think different as all these new technologies roll out ever more quickly. We have to be different.

If that is a cliffhanger, so be it, because a cliff is exactly where we are.

Categorized in Internet Technology

[This article is originally published in searchengineland.com - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rene Meyer]

By multiple measures, Google is the internet’s most popular search engine. But Google’s not only a web search engine. Images, videos, mobile content — even Google TV!

Major Google Services

Google releases a dizzying array of new products and product updates on a regular basis, and Search Engine Land keeps you up-to-date with all the news. Here are just a few of our popular Google categories, where you can read past coverage:

Google: Our “everything” category, this lists all stories we’ve written about Google, regardless of subtopic.

Google Web Search: Our stories about Google’s web search engine, including changes and new features. Also see: Google: OneBox, Plus Box & Direct Answers, Google: Universal Search and Google: User Interface.

Google SEO: Articles from us about getting listed for free via SEO in Google’s search engine. Also see the related category of Google Webmaster Central.

Google AdWords: Our coverage of Google’s paid search advertising program.

Google AdSense: Stories about Google’s ad program for publishers, which allows content owners to carry Google ads and earn money.

Google Maps & Local: Coverage of Google Maps, which allows you to locate places, businesses, get directions and much more. Also see Google Earth for coverage of Google’s mapping application.

Google Street View: Articles about Google’s popular yet controversial Street View system that uses cars to take photos of homes and business, which are then made available through Google Maps.

Google YouTube & Video: Articles about Google’s YouTube service, which allows anyone to upload video content. YouTube also has so much search traffic that it stands out as a major search engine of its own.

Google Logos: Google loves to have special logos for holidays and to commemorate special events. We track some of the special “Google Doodles,” as the company calls them. Also see our retrospective story, Those Special Google Logos, Sliced & Diced, Over The Years.

Also see our special guide for searchers, How To Use Google To Search.

 

Google Resources

Further below is a full list of additional Google topics that we track. But first, here are a few sites that track Google in-depth.

First up is Google’s own Official Google Blog. Google also has many other blogs for individual products, which are listed on the official blog. This feed keeps you up-to-date on any official blog post, from any of Google’s blogs. Google also had a traditional press release area.

Beyond official Googledom are a number of news sites that track Google particularly in-depth. These include: Dirson (in Spanish), eWeek’s Google Watch, Google Blogoscoped, Google Operating System, John Battelle, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, WebProNewsand ZDNet Googling Google.

The Full Google List

We said Google is more than just a web search engine, right? Below is the full list of various Google search and search-related products that we track. Click any link to see our stories in that particular area:

  • Google (stories from all categories below, combined)
  • Google: Accounts & Profiles
  • Google: Acquisitions
  • Google: Ad Planner
  • Google: AdSense
  • Google: AdWords
  • Google: Alerts
  • Google: Analytics
  • Google: APIs
  • Google: Apps For Your Domain
  • Google: Audio Ads
  • Google: Base
  • Google: Blog Search
  • Google: Blogger
  • Google: Book Search
  • Google: Browsers
  • Google: Business Issues
  • Google: Buzz
  • Google: Calendar
  • Google: Checkout
  • Google: Chrome
  • Google: Code Search
  • Google: Content Central
  • Google: Critics
  • Google: Custom Search Engine
  • Google: Dashboard
  • Google: Definitions
  • Google: Desktop
  • Google: Discussions
  • Google: Docs & Spreadsheets
  • Google: Domains
  • Google: DoubleClick
  • Google: Earth
  • Google: Editions
  • Google: Employees
  • Google: Enterprise Search
  • Google: FeedBurner
  • Google: Feeds
  • Google: Finance
  • Google: Gadgets
  • Google: Gears
  • Google: General
  • Google: Gmail
  • Google: Groups
  • Google: Health
  • Google: iGoogle
  • Google: Images
  • Google: Internet Access
  • Google: Jet
  • Google: Knol
  • Google: Labs
  • Google: Legal
  • Google: Logos
  • Google: Maps & Local
  • Google: Marketing
  • Google: Mobile
  • Google: Moderator
  • Google: Music
  • Google: News
  • Google: Offices
  • Google: OneBox, Plus Box & Direct Answers
  • Google: OpenSocial
  • Google: Orkut
  • Google: Other
  • Google: Other Ads
  • Google: Outside US
  • Google: Parodies
  • Google: Partnerships
  • Google: Patents
  • Google: Personalized Search
  • Google: Picasa
  • Google: Place Pages
  • Google: Print Ads & AdSense For Newspapers
  • Google: Product Search
  • Google: Q & A
  • Google: Reader
  • Google: Real Time Search
  • Google: Search Customization
  • Google: SearchWiki
  • Google: Security
  • Google: SEO
  • Google: Sidewiki
  • Google: Sitelinks
  • Google: Social Search
  • Google: SpyView
  • Google: Squared
  • Google: Street View
  • Google: Suggest
  • Google: Toolbar
  • Google: Transit
  • Google: Translate
  • Google: Trends
  • Google: TV
  • Google: Universal Search
  • Google: User Interface
  • Google: Voice Search
  • Google: Web History & Search History
  • Google: Web Search
  • Google: Webmaster Central
  • Google: Website Optimizer
  • Google: YouTube & Video

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in searchengineland.com written By Greg Sterling - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Rene Meyer]

Google's response is that significant SERP personalization is 'a myth.'

A new study (via Wired) from Google rival DuckDuckGo charges that Google search personalization is contributing to “filter bubbles.” Google disputes this and says that search personalization is mostly a myth.

The notion of filter bubbles in social media or search has been a controversial topic since the term was coined a number of years ago by Eli Pariser to describe how relevance algorithms tend to reinforce users’ existing beliefs and biases.

Significant variation in results. The DuckDuckGo study had 87 U.S. adults search for “gun control,” “immigration,” and “vaccinations” at the same time on June 24, 2018. They searched both in incognito mode and then in non-private-browsing mode. Most of the queries were done on the desktop; a smaller percentage were on mobile devices. It was a small test in terms of the number of participants and query volume.

Below are the top-level findings according to DuckDuckGo’s discussion:

  • Most people saw results unique to them, even when logged out and in private browsing mode.
  • Google included links for some participants that it did not include for others.
  • They saw significant variation within the News and Videos infoboxes.
  • Private browsing mode and being logged out of Google offered almost zero filter bubble protection.

The DuckDuckGo post offers a more in-depth discussion of the findings, as well as the raw data for download.

Comparing the variation in search results 

Comparing the variation in search results

My test found minor differences. I searched “gun control,” “immigration,” and “vaccinations” in private mode and non-incognito mode. I didn’t find the results to be substantially different, though there were some differences in the SERP.

In the case of “immigration” (above), you can see there’s an ad in the incognito results but none in the non-private results. The normal results also feature a larger Knowledge Panel and “people also ask” search suggestions, which didn’t appear on the first page in the incognito results but did appear in subsequent searches on the same term.

Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan responded to the study with a series of tweets explaining that there’s very limited personalization in search results but that the company does show different results because of location, language differences, platform and time (on occasion). He said, “Over the years, a myth has developed that Google Search personalizes so much that for the same query, different people might get significantly different results from each other. This isn’t the case. Results can differ, but usually for non-personalized reasons.”

In September this year, Google told CNBC that it essentially doesn’t personalize search results.

Why you should care. Non-personalized search results make the job of SEO practitioners easier because they can better determine the performance of their tactics. Google doesn’t consider “localization” to be personalization, although many SEOs would argue that it is. On mobile devices, proximity is widely seen as a dominant local ranking factor.

Categorized in Search Engine
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Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

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