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Over the past few years, there have been a lot of changes affecting the key technologies that power the internet.

HTML is the dominant web language and its new version, HTML5 provides impressive web enhancements for new web applications.

However, when this fifth version of HTML was released way back 2014, it became really popular to web and app developers, the issues surrounding its internet security risks also take hold.

Just like every new technology, HTML5 is bound to have defects and pitfalls. Internet security experts and commenters had also predicted this, long before its release.

HTML5 AND ITS IMPORTANCE

HTML5 is the 5th revision of the HTML standard developed by W3C. While it was approved as a standard in October 2014, its adoption began several years earlier.

This language mainly describes the contents and appearance of web pages. Due to its many new features, it makes web pages more interactive and dynamic.

Among these features include messaging enhancements, new parsing rules to enhance flexibility, elimination of redundant attributes and native multimedia support.

W3C developed HTML5 mainly to address the compatibility issues with the previous HTML version.

The main reasons why this version has become so popular is the essential elimination of browser plugins, reduction of web development time and mobile friendliness.

HTML5 is also supported by all the authority browser vendors including Google, Apple, Opera, Microsoft, and Firefox.

THE INTERNET SECURITY RISKS ASSOCIATED WIH HTML5

html5

As HTML5 approved as a standard in 2014 becomes more popular among developers, it introduces new internet security threat due to the new features and attribute.

As HTML5 becomes adopted on a very large scale with a large percentage of browsers. Mobile applications are now based on this language.

It is also important for developers and users to know about the internet security risks involved in order to be able to tackle them.

The security problems that affected the older version are still present.

More importantly, the new features in HTML5 present further internet security issues.

Below are some of the attacks made possible by HTML5.

1. CROSS ORIGIN RESOURCE SHARING (CORS ATTACK)

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) is a feature that allows a resource to gain access to data from domains outside itself.

Using this feature, web pages can load resources including scripts, CSS style sheets, and images from different domains.

As such, a remote cyber attacker can inject codes on the web pages.

An API called XMLHttpRequest makes this possible. Basically, this is an API that facilitates the transfer of data between a server and a client.

Before the introduction of HTML5, a site could not make direct requests to another site using this API.

Now, HTTP requests can be made, provided the requested sites grants permission.

This is the point where vulnerability that can be exploited. Access can be granted through the following header in the responses; Access-Control-Allow-Origin.

If a website has wrongly defined this header or based on a wrong assumption, access control can easily be bypassed.

A similar threat called Cross-Site-Request-Forgery (CSRF) was present in HTML4. However, with HTML5 this is possible without user interaction.

 

2. HTML5 TAG ABUSE

The new attributes and tags introduced by HTML5 present in an internet security threats to cross-site scripting attacks. XSS attacks where attackers run malicious scripts through unencoded or unvalidated user inputs have been around for a while.

Developers often avoid them by filtering user inputs. This is basically not allowing users to input certain character sequences.

Some of the new attributes and tags in HTML5 can be employed to run scripts by bypassing input filters. With HTML5, any object can associate itself with any form regardless of its position on the web page.

This can be exploited for malicious purposes. Attackers can also modify web page forms using attributes in HTML5 such as formaction, fromenctype, formmetod, form target and formnonvalidate.

3. LOCAL STORAGE

Prior to HTML5, browser data was stored through web cookies. The local storage feature in HTML5 was developed to improve internet security and enable storage of more web data.

It allows browsers to store and delete data based on name-value pairs. The good news is that the origin-specific, meaning sites from different origins cannot access applications on local databases.

 

Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to the aforementioned XSS attacks.

XSS flaws resulting from developer errors, this can allow the execution of JavaScript codes leading them to the access of local variables.

Attackers can also redirect target site requests to different sites using DNS cache poisoning.

There are other internet security issues with HTML5 including Cross Document Messaging, Offline Web Applications, and the middleware framework.

Most of these internet security problems fall into the hands of the web developers.

As such, they can be mitigated by safe coding practices, regular code testing, education on the possible internet security threats, data sanitization and access restriction for untrusted code.

Source:  darkwebnews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Our tablets and mobile phones are amazingly agile in running a wide array of apps. Just head over to your app store of choice, jump on some WiFi and the downloading frenzy can begin. Your phone probably defaults to storing those little icons all over your home screens. While this is a fantastic resource, it can lead to a hot mess. Fortunately, you don’t have to live through the chaos. Here are some ideas about how to organize all those incredible applications.

1. Action Categories

If you need to look something up in Wikipedia and listen to your iTunes, why not center your organization on these concepts? All you need to do is create folders which reflect the best action word associated with the apps

Action Organization

 

2. Color Codoing

If you are a really visual learner, your best organizational scheme might center around color. We all know Snapchat features a primarily yellow icon and facebook is largely blue. Thus we can drag Facebook next to twitter ad Snapchat alongside Apple Maps and BAM color code achieved. This is a great method for those of us who relate first to the application image rather than its function.

color coding

3. Frequency Used

We all have a few apps we rely on almost everyday. If you want to minimize time spent searching for icons and maximize time spent getting the information you love to have, organization by frequency is a great option. One way to accomplish this is by assigning each home screen to a level of frequency. The first screen can include the items you use everyday. Swipe once and find the items used a few times a week. Swipe another time and find the lesser used apps.

screen frequency

4. Themed Rows

Remember back in college when your favorite club would have themed meetings? Everyone would come dressed in their pajamas or favorite Hawaiian shirts? Well, you can relive some of those fond memories by organizing your apps around central themes. Instead of pajama days, you can assign each row its own theme. For example, you may have a maps row, a social media row and a knowledge base row.

Themed Rows

5. Break out the Widgets

Widgets, primarily used on Android, are a great way to quickly access a lot of information. By plopping a widget onto one of your home screens, you can creatively manage space. Widgets are a great organizational tool for those who want to collect key information without additional clicks.

Widgets

6. One Central Home Screen with Folders

One of the great things about modern phones and tablets is their flexibility with number of home screens. If you like to swipe a lot, you can have multiple screens. However, if you prefer a simpler start point, you can center everything on one screen and fit everything in via folders.

One Screen with Folders

7. SmartBar

This android tool combines several features in an easy to access centralized manner. Rather than having to click through to find the app you need to perform the needed task on your phone, you can simply access it in a click or two with SmartBar. With this tool set up on your homescreen, you can organize the applications you want around this powerful feature.

SmartBar

 

8. Hand Position

Another simple method of organizing your applications is ease of use when holding. Everyone prefers to hold their phone in a slightly different way. Given this particular position is likely to be the configuration used to open most applications, it can be a useful organizational tool. Simply place the apps you use most often closest to the finger you use most of operate the phone. Whether this is your thumb or index finger, this organizational scheme can increase the speed at which you operate your phone.

Hand poistion

 Source: lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

1. Move an Event in the Calendar in a Jiffy

Did you know that events in your calendar can be changed or moved simply and quickly, just like the icons on your iPhone’s home screen? To do this, just tap and hold on to the event in day mode. You’ll see two dots that have appeared around the box. You can drag edges of this box up and down to make a change in the event duration. To move an event, just tap and drag the entire event.

2. Quick Access to Spotlight Search

If you feel that Spotlight Search has disappeared from iOS 7, you’re wrong. It has just been integrated into every screen so that you can have easy access to this facility from just any home screen. All you need to do is touch anywhere on the home screen (not the top edge, which is reserved for Notification Center). Next, swipe down gently. The screen will drop down and the Spotlight field will reveal itself.

3. Take a Sneak Peek at Recently Taken Pictures

If you want to take a quick look at the pictures you have just taken, go to the camera app and simply slide the screen from left to right. The last picture taken will immediately pop up!

4. Include More Emojis

If you’re looking for ways to include more emojis into your texts within nanoseconds, there’s a way for that too. Open Settings, go to General and then to the keyboard. Add Emoji keyboard and you’re ready to use as many emojis as you want in your text. You can use the same settings to access keyboards in other languages.

5. Use Your Ears to Open Siri

This is certainly a rare gesture control! You can now open Siri without holding down the Home button. Open Settings, go to General and open Siri. You get an option of ‘Raise to Speak.’ Once you activate this option, the light sensor on the iPhone is set to work. Simply press the phone to your ears, and once the sensor detects your ears, Siri will open up.

6. Scroll Up with the Menu Bar

Scrolling up manually through the web pages is irritating. Now you can do so without using your hands–you can scroll up by using the menu bar. When you read an article or any other long text, then simply tap the menu bar present at the top of the screen. This will take you to the top of the web page or article. This feature works with most browsers and apps.

7. A Quick Glance at Drafts

Apple provides you with the ease of viewing your drafts from the Mail’s main menu. To get to your drafts within seconds, press and hold the ‘Compose’ button present in the bottom right-hand corner. This will immediately present the drafts folder and you can get back to complete those incomplete messages you left in a hurry.

8. iPad’s Split Keyboard for Typing Faster

If typing on Apple’s tablet is troubling you, there is a more comfortable keyboard available for you. By holding down the keyboard key of iPad, you can split the keyboard apart. This way you can type easily with your thumbs, which is better for people who are accustomed to typing on Smartphones. In order to put the split keyboard in a convenient position, just drag the keyboard button upwards.

9. Set Custom Vibrations

Setting custom ringtones are known by everyone, but custom vibrations are a rare feature. Here’s how to do it. Open Settings > General > Accessibility. In Accessibility, you’ll find Hearing. Go here to turn on Custom Vibrations. After turning it on, navigate back to Settings and again open Sounds. At the bottom, you’ll find Vibration Patterns.

Tap this option and customize vibrations at the bottom of the screen. Simply tap on the pattern you want. You can hold down your finger to get longer notes. Assign these customized vibrations to specific contacts.

10. Swipe through Safari History

The latest iOS 7 has bestowed Safari with a gesture-based navigation of its own. Simply swipe from left edge to the right and the screen goes back to previous page of browser history. Similarly, swipe the right edge to left and the screen will take you forward (if you’ve gone back to a previous page). These gestures come in quite handy in finding a particular web page, especially on a tablet or Smartphone.

John.Karakatsanis

11. Use Camera Flash for Alerts

A great thing that iPhone users don’t know is that camera flash of their Smartphones can smartly be used for alerts, too. Here’s the way to set it. Navigate to Settings > General > Accessibility. There you’ll find Flash for Alerts. Slide on and the LED in your iPhone will start serving as alerting beacon.

12. Sync Your Downloads

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all your downloaded files could be synced automatically across all your iOS devices? Rejoice! It is possible now. For music, apps and books, IOS 7 allows you to sync your downloaded files through Automatic Downloads. To do so, go to Settings and open Store. Here you can check Automatic Downloads option for any of the three, i.e. music, apps and books. After that, all your files will stay in harmony across all devices. Neat!

13. Quick Navigation of Home Screen and Multitasking Drawer

Apple’s iPad consists of few gestures that enable users to navigate through the home screen easily and quickly.

Pinch the screen with four fingers and you’ll get back to the home screen. You don’t even need to click the home button. To get to the multitasking interface, simply swipe, four fingers up. However, if these gestures don’t work on your iPad, then perhaps you need to turn them on. Go to Settings > General, and there you’ll find options for these gestures.

14. Better Control Over Symbols and Letters

Apple provides you a better and faster way to get capital letters, numbers, and special characters. Press the shift key and then, drag your finger to the desired letter. Similarly, you can get numbers too. First of all, press the number key and then drag it to the required number. Although you still have to use the number button and shift key, typing becomes much easier this way.

For special characters, simply hold down on any keyboard button and you instantly get all the special characters for that letter. This even includes the ‘.com’ that appears by holding down period button in Safari.

15. Keep an Eye on Storage

You may get an application that is free of cost, but never one that doesn’t eat memory and space on your IOS device. If you are lacking storage, go straightaway to Settings > General > Usage and you’ll get to see a list of all your applications and which app is eating how much memory. This dissection of storage comes in highly useful when you’re trying to find some useless apps that you need to get rid of.

 

16. Save Images Right from Websites

If you’ve come across a beautiful image that you want as your wallpaper, put your finger on that image and hold it for a second or two. A menu slides from the bottom of the screen where you can find the Save Image option. That’s it. Simply save it and it is ready to adorn your iPhone’s or iPad’s screen. Besides Save Image, you also get an option for copying it to the clipboard.

17. Refresh by Simply Pulling Down

Surprisingly, this gesture’s been around for quite some time, though some iOS users are still unaware of it. It’s a useful and easy shortcut to refresh–just pull down. Whether you’re looking at your Inbox or using an app, pull down the window and all contents of the page are refreshed. When you pull down, you will see an icon or arrow along the top that indicates that you’ve pulled far enough and now the page is refreshed.

18. Shortcut to Phrases

Avid SMS senders will love this one. It’s seriously irritating to type the same phrases several times every day. Now you can create shortcuts for such phrases. Open Settings > General > Keyboard. After you reach Keyboard, scroll down to find Shortcuts. Next, enter the phrase and a shortcut for the same. Next time you need to type the same message, simply type the shortcut and the phrase appears automatically. This gesture can also be extremely useful for texting numbers or email addresses and unwieldy chunks of text.

19. Find the Meaning ASAP

Some people just love to play with words and if you have a friend who keeps texting you with difficult-to-decipher messages, or you’re stuck with an unknown word while reading an eBook, then here’s how you can find word meanings ASAP. When you come across any such word, simply hold down on it. Select the option called Define, and you will discover the meaning!

 

20. Browse Secretly

If you want Safari to keep your information intact, then browse secretly. You can go incognito with Safari. Navigate to Settings > Safari, then click the button of Private Browsing. That’s it. Now you can browse secretly.

If you have more interesting iOS shortcuts or gestures that you love, please feel free to share in the comments.

Source: lifehack.org

Categorized in Science & Tech

Internet search engines which are very helpful in solving many problems, would soon help in saving lives. This may prevent many people from committing suicide. According the recent reports scientists are working on the effective process of identifying users who are at risk of suicide.

They are also developing some methods for providing those people with information on where to find help. Search engine giant Googlehad made an initiation by responding to the search queries containing terms which may contain words that contemplate suicides. Google is offering them general counselling and prevention services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also playing a major role in lessening the suicides and due to their efforts Search engines like Google are coming to the rescue of suicidal persons.

WHO Announces 92 Percent of the World Breathes Polluted Air

In general most people commit suicides due to excessive pressure and stress situations in their day to day life. They will be in dilemma about finding help and solutions to their problems. Ultimately they will end their life unable to solve their problems.

A recent study stated that many people who are willing to commit suicides backed away from their thought when they reminded of the helping resources. Internet can help those people from ending their lives by providing help and info on getting assistance.

“The Internet is playing an increasingly significant role in suicide prevention,” said Florian Arendt from Ludwig-Maximilian University (LMU) in Germany.

Recently Researchers carried out a study on the search engine algorithms to make sure that they more effectively target remedial information to those at risk.

 

Instagram introduces Suicide Prevention Tool

They also conducted Epidemiological studies on which days of the week the suicides are high and what are the common words people who are committing suicides use.

Taking the word ‘poisoning’ as a representative “suicide-related” search term, researchers analysed temporal patterns of its use in queries submitted to Google.

The results have shown that the usage of the suicide related terms peaked exactly on days on which the actual incidence of suicide was more.

Another shocking result is that the suicidal behaviour is strongly influenced by environmental factors.”This suggests that, on these peak days at least, the thresholds for the dispatch of information related to suicide prevention should be reset,” said Scherr.

It is very appreciable that search engines also looking forward to help people who are depressed and dejected. If everything was fine then we may find Search engine queries not only to tell about the user’s interests but also provide information relating to their mood and state of health.

Source : techfactslive

Categorized in Search Engine

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be divided into two main components: on-site and off-site. While it’s practically impossible to categorize one as more important than the other, on-site optimization serves a foundational role—it’s the anchor point of your SEO strategy.

With on-site SEO, most of the changes and additions you make will remain static, as opposed to off-site optimization, which demands ongoing work.

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The problem is, you’ve probably heard a number of lies regarding on-site optimization that could compromise how effective your strategy is.

Why “Lies” Are Common

First off, why are these “lies” common in the first place? Well, they aren’t always lies—at least, not exactly. Instead, they’re usually misconceptions or misunderstandings that arise naturally because of the nature of SEO:

  • Changing standards. Google is constantly releasing new updates, so it’s sometimes hard to tell which practices are still modern and which ones have become obsolete. If you don’t keep up with the latest information, you could easily bear a misconception forward.
  • Anecdotal evidence. If you make a change on your own site and see a marked increase in your results, you might assume this change was the one that did it. Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence isn’t always reliable when it comes to SEO.
  • Misinterpretation and inexperience. It could also be that the person or agency telling you these bits of information have misinterpreted a piece of truth; it’s easy to do when the wording of a best practice can fundamentally alter its meaning.

On-site Optimization Lies 

From those root causes, these are six of the most common on-site optimization misconceptions I’ve encountered: 

1. It’s too complicated for non-experts to understand.

It’s true that some elements of SEO are technically complex, and require digging into the back end of your site to alter code. However, you don’t necessarily have to be a professional web developer to understand and make these changes. Some of them can be done literally by copying and pasting certain snippets of code, such as placing a Google Analytics tracking script or making adjustments to your robots.txt file. Tactics here sport a range of difficulties, but none of them are unlearnable by non-experts.

2. Duplicate content will kill your rankings.

The phrase “duplicate content,” is enough to make most SEO professionals cringe. It’s true that duplicate content is almost never a good thing, but most duplicate content arises due to canonicalization errors—essentially, Google sees one page as two because of how it interprets your page structure. Duplicate content errors are relatively easy to fix with rel=canonical tags, but don’t let anyone tell you these mistakes will kill your strategy—the difference is marginal at best. Unless you’re purposefully plagiarizing content and trying to pass it off as your own, you don’t need to worry as much about duplicate content as some would have you think.

3. 404 errors should be always be avoided.

You should know first-hand the feeling of encountering a 404 error page when trying to access a piece of content, so it’s no wonder why so many agencies and professionals recommend fixing 404 errors with 301 redirects or content restoration at all costs. However, there are some functional uses for 404 pages and they won’t always damage your rankings (in fact, they can help your rankings in certain cases), so don’t feel the need to track down and redirect every single 404 page on your site. 

4. Every title and description should have a keyword.

Your page’s title tags and meta descriptions are what appear in its entry in search engine results pages (SERPs), and they provide meaningful information to Google about what your page is about. Some SEO practitioners will tell you to include at least one keyword for every title and description on your site, but this isn’t exactly necessary—especially now that Google indexes and provides content using semantic search. Instead, it’s better to focus on describing your page accurately and trying to entice more click-throughs on your pages by using titles and descriptions that appeal to real people. There’s evidence that the higher your click-through rate (CTR) in search engine results pages, the higher your search rankings will be.

5. More content is better.

It’s a best practice to include at least a few hundred words of high-quality content on every page of your site. It’s also necessary to have a strong, ongoing content marketing strategy to add new pages to your site and provide more value to readers. However, don’t mistake these best practices as a recommendation to produce as much content as possible; more content won’t necessarily help you. Instead, focus on producing the best content you can.

6. Creating a page for each of your target keywords is ideal.

This was an older on-site SEO practice, back when keyword optimization was taken more literally. The idea was to create a specific, designated page of your site for every keyword you wanted to target in order to boost your relevance for those keywords. This strategy may be marginally effective today, but in general, it’s better to focus on creating pages that fit a certain theme or topic, in which you can include all the keywords that fit within that topical theme. Focus on creating “ultimate guides” to certain topics that are, above all, valuable for your readers. Keyword rankings will come only if and when those pages are shared, engaged with, and linked to by your readers.

Once you get past these myths and misconceptions, you’ll better understand the nature of on-site optimization and what you actually need to do to get your site ready for your long-term strategy. Keep in mind that on-site changes are only a small part of SEO; you’ll still need a kick-ass content strategy and an off-site strategy to support your efforts, but with a good on-site foundation, you’ll be well poised to earn the rankings you want.

Source : forbes

Categorized in Search Engine

Microsoft has received ample criticism over the past year for introducing features which could compromise user security and to some extent, we agree that the company crossed the line on some occasions — especially with the EEF criticism. But Microsoft’s response to accusations of collecting unnecessary user data hasn’t convinced anyone of any other behavior. In the end, it looks like Microsoft will receive even more customer criticism if its latest patent filing feature is fired up.

The company refers to their patent filing software product as a “Query Formulation Via Task Continuum” and claims that it is going to make sharing in real-time between apps easier and more convenient, which would allow users to make more informed decisions while making searches. For instance, searching could be improved if sufficient information regarding a user’s objective is available. 

Microsoft_elaborated.jpg

Microsoft elaborated with an example: if someone is working on a dance-related project, to collect related data from the browser they’d have to type in what their requirements are into the search bar without the browser itself having no instinct or involuntary suggestion whatsoever.

Microsoft supports its idea by saying that in their current software model, applications are confined in their own silos, something which ultimately damages productivity and growth.

The first application does not provide the browser implicit hints as to what the user might be seeking when there is a switch from the first application to the second application.

The user perceives tasks in the totality. However, since applications are typically disconnected, and not mediated in any way by the operating system, the computing system has no idea as to the overall goal of the user.

According to Microsoft, a possible solution for this problem is to have a neutral third party arbitrator to monitor and learn user behavior and intent through a word processing mechanism, a PDF reader, the comparison and analysis of recently interacted images, the identification of sounds and music, the logging of frequently marked location and other related contextual data. And after gathering this real-time data, the mediator can stockpile it all, removing any identifying information and providing relevant information to Bing, producing automated, accurate and focused results.

The patent notes:

The disclosed architecture comprises a mediation component (e.g., an API (application program interface) as part of the operating system (OS)) that identifies engaged applications—applications the user is interacting with for task completion (in contrast to dormant applications—applications the user is not interacting with for task completion), and gathers and actively monitors information from the engaged applications (e.g., text displayed directly to the user, text embedded in photos, fingerprint of songs, etc.) to infer the working context of a user. The inferred context can then be handed over to one of the applications, such as a browser (the inferred context in a form which does not cross the privacy barrier) to provide improved ranking for the suggested queries through the preferred search provider. Since the context is inferred into concepts, no PII (personally-identifiable information) is communicated without user consent—only very high-level contextual concepts are provided to the search engines.
The architecture enables the capture of signals (e.g., plain text displayed to the user, text recognized from images, audio from a currently playing song, and so on), and clusters these signals into contextual concepts. These signals are high-level data (e.g., words) that help identify what the user is doing. This act of capturing signals is temporal, in that it can be constantly changing (e.g., similar to running average of contextual concepts). The signals can be continuously changing based on what the user is doing at time T (and what the user did from T-10 up to time T).

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When using the browser application as the application that uses the captured signals, the browser broadcasts and receives (e.g., continuously, periodically, on-demand, etc.) with the mediation component through a mediation API of the mediation component to fetch the latest contextual concepts.

When the user eventually interacts with, or is anticipated to interact with, the browser (as may be computed as occurring frequently and/or based on a history of sequential user actions that results in the user interacting with the browser next), the contextual concepts are sent to the search provider together with the query prefix. The search engine (e.g., Bing™ and Cortana™ (an intelligent personal digital speech recognition assistant) by Microsoft Corporation) uses contextual rankers to adjust the default ranking of the default suggested queries to produce more relevant suggested queries for the point in time.The operating system, comprising the function of mediation component, tracks all textual data displayed to the user by any application, and then performs clustering to determine the user intent (contextually).

The inferred user intent sent as a signal to search providers to improve ranking of query suggestions, enables a corresponding improvement in user experience as the query suggestions are more relevant to what the user is actually trying to achieve. The architecture is not restricted to text, but can utilize recognized text in displayed photos as well as the geo-location information (e.g., global positioning system (GPS)) provided as part of the photo metadata. Similarly, another signal can be the audio fingerprint of a currently playing song.

As indicated, query disambiguation is resolved due to the contextual and shared cache which can be utilized by various applications to improve search relevance, privacy is maintained since only a minimally sufficient amount of information is sent from one application to the another application, and the inferred user context can be shared across applications, components, and devices.

The mediation component can be part of the OS, and/or a separate module or component in communication with the OS, for example. As part of the OS, the mediation component identifies engaged non-OS applications on the device and, gathers and actively monitors information from the engaged applications to infer the working context of the user. The inferred context can then be passed to one of the applications, such as the browser in a secure way to provide improved ranking for the suggested queries through the preferred search provider.

 

search_provider.jpg

Of course, the major concern for users is the threat of compromised information, something no amount of assurance from Microsoft’s can relieve. The idea of the patent is somewhat similar to Google’s Now on Tap or Screen Search, a tool that scrapes the working screen for contextual information and launches a Google search in response — though the latest idea is far more autonomous.

The company says it could introduce this Mediator as either a built-in feature or as an optional module that can be installed to Windows 10. If it’s the latter case, then this platform could revolutionize automated searches and potentially be a powerful tool for contextually aware computing. But then again if a built-in feature is introduced, the OS would run obsolete from a personal level and most users would be looking for a way out of the functionality.

Source : windowsreport

Categorized in Search Engine

Apple has unveiled its own official measurements for iOS 10 adoption, which comes in at 54 percent. That means the majority of iOS device owners are running the new mobile operating system. What’s interesting, however, is how different Apple’s official figures are from the third-party estimates released earlier this week, which saw much higher adoption among their install base – as high as two-thirds, in fact.

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According to two different sources – Mixpanel and Fiksu – iOS 10 was installed on roughly 66 percent of devices, the firms found. Both data sets are based on apps that use the company’s SDK. In Fiksu’s case, the company reports data sampled hourly in batches of approximately 10 million events, filtered to count unique devices; Mixpanel, meanwhile, claims its reported is “generated from  300,083,243,931 records.” This equates to a sample size of hundreds of millions of unique users, Mixpanel tells us.

In Apple’s case, however, it calculates iOS adoption rates by App Store visits. That’s a more accurate means of making a determination, as it doesn’t require that users have an app installed on their device running a specific SDK from a third-party.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-15-28-am

According to Apple’s data, 54 percent are now on iOS 10, 38 percent remain on iOS 9, and only 8 percent are running an older version of the iOS mobile operating system.

Also of note, we’ve confirmed that Apple did not prompt users to upgrade their devices for the first two weeks the iOS update was available – a delay that was spotted in the charts from the third-party firms, as well. Adoption rates spiked sharply toward the end of September, which is when the alert notifications started hitting users’ devices.

The decision to delay the upgrade notifications was made to ease the strain on Apple’s infrastructure and its Apple Care support teams, we understand. This is the first time Apple has implemented a new policy of delaying the upgrade notifications in order to allow for a smoother, if slower, iOS rollout. After the initial rush of upgrade activity died down, only then did the company begin to alert users who had not yet updated that an upgrade was available to them.

Despite this delay to notify users, now more than half the active user base moved to iOS 10. For comparison’s sake, Android 7.0 “Nougat,” which arrived several weeks ahead of iOS 10, is only installed on 0.1 percent of devices. The prior release, Android 6.0 “Marshmallow,” is still present on 18.7 percent of devices, and other previous versions still have a good chunk of the overall pie as well.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-10-15-35-am

In part, this is because Android updates are handled by the manufacturers and carriers, not Google directly, in most cases. This has historically been a huge issue for Google, not only because of security reasons, but also because it fragments the ecosystem, and makes it difficult for Google to get its entire install base using the same features and tools. Even with its new flagship Pixel phones, Google is allowing Verizon to handle all system updates, except for security patches, the company says.

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Market Research

Today Google added a new “fact-check” tag to its popular Google News service. The site aggregates popular timely news from multiple sources and has traditionally grouped them with tags like “opinion,” “local source” and “highly cited.” Now readers can see highlighted fact-checks right next to trending stories.

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The company cites the growing prominence of fact-checking sites as one of the reasons for creating the tag. Content creators will be able to add the new fact-check tag to posts themselves using a finite set of pre-defined source labels.  

ClaimReview from Schema.org will be used to compile and organize stories offering factual background. The Schema community builds markups for structured data on the internet. The group is sponsored by Google but also has support from Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. factcheck_articles-width-800

Casual readers in the U.S. and U.K. can find nuggets of fact within the expanded view of news stories on web and mobile versions of the service. Fingers crossed the new tool doesn’t result in stories claiming that the earth is really flat rising to the top of our feeds.

 

On a support page, Google explains that it holds the power to intervene if posts are improperly tagged as fact-checks.

“Please note, that if we find sites not following those criteria for the ClaimReview markup, we may, at our discretion, either ignore that site’s markup or remove the site from Google News.”

This may not prevent false stories from rising up in Google News, but it will make it a lot harder. It doesn’t appear that very many fact-check stories have propagated yet on Google News. We couldn’t find any in a quick visit to the site, but given the timeliness of the presidential election in the U.S., we can only expect the system to be put through its paces in the coming weeks.

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Google yesterday announced it will introduce a fact check tag on Google News in order to display articles that contain factual information next to trending news items. Now it’s time for Facebook to take fact-checking more seriously, too.

Facebook has stepped into the role of being today’s newspaper: that is, it’s a single destination where a large selection of news articles are displayed to those who visit its site. Yes, they appear amidst personal photos, videos, status updates, and ads, but Facebook is still the place where nearly half of American adults get their news.

Facebook has a responsibility to do better, then, when it comes to informing this audience what is actually news: what is fact-checked, reported, vetted, legitimate news, as opposed to a rumor, hoax or conspiracy theory.

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It’s not okay that Facebook fired its news editors in an effort to appear impartial, deferring only to its algorithms to inform readers what’s trending on the site. Since then, the site has repeatedly trended fake news stories, according to a Washington Post report released earlier this week.

The news organization tracked every news story that trended across four accounts during the workday from August 31 to September 22, and found that Facebook trended five stories that were either “indisputably fake” or “profoundly inaccurate.” It also regularly featured press releases, blog posts, and links to online stores, like iTunes – in other words, trends that didn’t point to news sites.

Facebook claimed in September that it would roll out technology that would combat fake stories in its Trending topics, but clearly that has not yet come to pass – or the technology isn’t up to the task at hand.

In any event, Facebook needs to do better.

It’s not enough for the company to merely reduce the visibility of obvious hoaxes from its News Feed – not when so much of the content that circulates on the site is posted by people – your friends and family –  right on their profiles, which you visit directly.

Plus, the more the items are shared, the more they have the potential to go viral. And viral news becomes Trending news, which is then presented all Facebook’s users in that region.

This matters. Facebook has trended a story from a tabloid news source that claimed 9/11 was an inside job involving planted bombs. It ran a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly which falsely claimed she was fired. These aren’t mistakes: they are disinformation.

Facebook has apologized for the above, but declined to comment to The Washington Post regarding its new findings that fake news continues to be featured on the platform.

 

In addition, not only does Facebook fail at vetting its Trending news links, it also has no way of flagging the links that fill its site.

Outside of Trending, Facebook continues to be filled with inaccurate, poorly-sourced, or outright fake news stories, rumors and hoaxes. Maybe you’re seeing less of them in the News Feed, but there’s nothing to prevent a crazy friend from commenting on your post with a link to a well-known hoax site, as if it’s news. There’s no tag or label. They get to pretend they’re sharing facts.

Meanwhile, there’s no way for your to turn off commenting on your own posts, even when the discussion devolves into something akin to “sexual assault victims are liars” (to reference a recent story.)

Because perish the thought that Facebook would turn of the one mechanism that triggers repeat visits to its site, even if that means it would rather trigger traumatic recollections on the parts of its users instead.

There is a difference between a post that’s based on fact-checked articles, and a post from a website funded by an advocacy group. There’s a difference between Politifact and some guy’s personal blog. Facebook displays them both equally, though: here’s a headline, a photo, some summary text.

Of course, it would be a difficult job for a company that only wants to focus on social networking and selling ads to get into the media business – that’s why Facebook loudly proclaims it’s “not a media company.” 

Except that it is one. It’s serving that role, whether it wants to or not.

Google at least has stepped up to the plate and is trying to find a solution. Now it’s Facebook’s turn.

Facebook may have only unintentionally become a media organization, but it is one. And it’s doing a terrible job.

Source : https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Search Engine

Nearly all packaging professionals use the internet to aid or facilitate some of their purchases, whether it be for finding appropriate suppliers or products, or for comparison shopping. Are they satisfied with their online experience?

Ongoing research in 2016 surveyed more than 450 people from 21 countries about their efforts to use the internet for a purchasing need during the past 12 months. Buyers shared their experiences about how they use the internet to facilitate a qualified purchase.

The research focused on 227 people who answered 20 different questions about their purchase. The results of the 2016 survey are compared to similar research carried out in 2015. Our long term goal is to perform the survey yearly, and build it out further around the world.

The main objective of the research is to enhance the online experiences of buyers while at the same time helping suppliers manage their multi-channel online marketing efforts. The full detailed report of our research can be downloaded for free below.

This year’s data was collected between mid-February 2016 and the end of June 2016. Survey participants were recruited by email, postings on trade association websites, postings in LinkedIn packaging groups and publicity postings by a few trade journals, such as this one.

We begin by describing the nature of the buys (demographics) and then proceed to discuss various online factors and measures.

Demographics

We asked what type of product or packaging solution the buyer sought. The types of needs are shown in Figure 1: Type of Product or Solutions Sought. Buyers were allowed to pick more than one response. While packaging materials (that is, frequently bought consumables) and suppliers are the leading need, there were a healthy number of buyers seeking equipment, machinery, automation, components and services.

A large number (43%) of buyers bought something for the first time, or a product, service or solution they bought less than one time per year. This is an increase over 2015 when the percentage was 27%.  The percentage increased by 16%, but we did not correlate exactly what  people were buying for the first time or infrequently.  It is possible that people were buying packaging materials for less than $1,000 online, which is a lot less risky than buying a more complex piece of equipment that costs $50,000.

The budgets for the purchases varied between less than $12K (thousand) and greater than $6M (million). Of the 157 people answering budgetary questions, a majority spent between $12K and $124K (52 buyers) or between $125K and $1.2M (38 buyers).

The distance searched from the buyer’s work location can also play a role in how the internet is used and perceived during the purchasing process. This year’s buyers predominantly searched within their own countries, but 36% looked internationally or worldwide, as shown in Figure 2: How Far Did You Look for Possible Vendors or Suppliers. The non-domestic searches were prevalent for purchases with budgets above $125K.  Perhaps people searched internationally for higher priced items or services hoping to save money, get better products or services, or both.

The length of the buying process, including the online activities, averaged 3.9 months with a standard deviation of 3.5 months. A majority of the buyers (74%) completed their purchase in four months or less, but 11% reported they needed six to 24 months. Additional demographics can be found in the full report.

Internet usage during the buying process

To facilitate benchmarking, search for trends and help guide vendors about their efforts to service and support customer journeys, we again asked in which of four stages of the buying process the internet was used. In Figure 3: Internet Usage vs. Buying Stage, most of the buyers use online resources during the first two steps of the process. But still 52% of the 201 buyers use the internet to validate suppliers or solutions, creating a short-list of vendors.

The only significant change between this year and 2015 appears to be that there are increases in the use the internet in the identification and validation stages.

Additionally, we asked about the utility of a variety of information sources or types of online or offline content used to support the buying process. These sources and content were again mapped against the four stages of the buying process, and there was a possibility to answer that the source or content was not used.

The different sources and content are shown in Figure 4: Utility of Information Sources vs. Buying Stages sorted in increasing order by the ones not used. For identifying appropriate suppliers and vendors, web searches, supplier websites, emails from suppliers, and relying on friends or colleagues are most often used (all above 30%). Social media, with the exception of LinkedIn, is hardly used during any of the buying stages, with less than 20% of the buyers using these channels.

We compared this year’s results to those of 2015. The sample size in 2016 was 33% larger (177 versus 133), thus it might be more representative. In 2016, the use of press articles in trade journals, trade associations, online communities, blogs and offline events all declined by 10% in usage across the four different buying stages. Other big changes were a decline of 10% of the use of online forums or communities to validate and short-list vendors, and a decline of 9% of using trade associations or industry intermediaries to identify appropriate suppliers or vendors. Other changes are in the full report.

Besides looking at where buyers searched for information online, we asked specifically about what types of information they sought online, such as pricing, case study, best practice article or video. There were nine choices, plus none and a write-in option. Buyers could answer with more than one answer.

Besides product/services information (89%) and pricing (72%), the top categories included: industry/competitive comparisons (57%); technology primers/how-to documents (42%), and customer testimonial/case study (32%). The biggest changes compared to 2015 were a gain of 23% in people searching for technology primers, and a decline of the search for peer reviews or opinions (-17%). While these numbers are meaningful, they need to be interpreted with caution as the data sample is limited (176 for year 2016), and meaningful trends will probably not be possible to ascertain until we complete our 2017 survey.

Effort, Impact, Intent and Reputation

For each of the types of information that buyers searched for, we asked them to rate their perception of the information they found online using four factors: 1. Effort needed to find it (low / high); 2. The impact delivered (none / lots); 3. The intent as presented by the information (vague unclear / supportive of me); and 4. Reputation of the content (misleading-doubtful / impressive-certain).

Table 1: Ratings of all information sources by all buyers shows the ratings of all information sources used by all types of buyers. The means are all above 7.0, with reasonable standard deviations, except for the effort it takes to find or access the information. Since effort is rated inversely to the other factors, it should rate at 3.0 or lower to be equivalent. We also note the larger standard deviation and variance for the effort ratings.

We focused in on the effort ratings, and some specific ratings of pricing information found online. The effort ratings were mapped against six different buyer roles as shown in Figure 5: Effort to Collect Info vs. Buyer Role. For the four main buyer roles—Influencer, Decider, Initiator and Buyer—there were 63, 37, 22, and 19 responses respectively.

The effort to get pricing information was even higher than the mean for all types of information combined. Buyers reported a mean of 6.5, with an inter-quartile range of about 5.0 to 8.5. The pricing’s intent was quite transparent, with a positive rating of 7.1 mean, but of course there were several responses below 6.0 as well.

We went further and asked buyers to rank seven suggested reasons why they found it difficult to find their information online. The ranking used a forced scale of dividing 100 points amongst the options. The reasons are shown in Figure 6: Reasons Why It Is Difficult to Buy Online, mapped by the number of participants, versus the mean number of points given to a reason, versus the stand deviation of each reason. The highest rated hindrance was gated information reported by over 95 people, who assigned an average of 26 points to this issue, but we also note that this reason had the highest standard deviation. Close second and third reasons were unclear/poor information online, and simply difficult to find appropriate suppliers online.

Lastly, we asked buyers to rate the smoothness of the entire buying process in which the internet was used as a tool to facilitate the process. The average rating was 6.5 with a standard deviation of 2.0, which is almost the same as in 2015 (6.8 and 2.0 respectively). A little more than 33% of the buyers rated the experience with less than 6.0, so there is room for improvement. The most challenging searches are for new or infrequently sourced products or services, which are searched for internationally. The mean values for this year’s smoothness results are shown in Figure 7: Dist. Searched vs. Smoothness, with last year’s values shown in red figures.

Conclusions

Using the internet to facilitate packaging solutions purchases is virtually unavoidable and used almost universally, as demonstrated by our research. However, the online journey is still far from optimal. We hope that the insights presented here and future work in this area will help buyers and suppliers narrow the gaps in expectations and services provided online.

We did not present any results pertaining to social media usage for buying purposes in this year’s reporting. We conducted another study recently about social media influencers in the packaging industries. The buying behavior data will be incorporated into that future report.

We invite all interested buyers to partake in our next survey in spring 2017.

Source : packagingdigest

Categorized in Research Methods

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