Over the past week, many site owners have encountered a reporting glitch in Google Search Console affecting the ‘links to your site’ data. For a period of time the data had gone completely missing, even Search Engine Journal was affected by the glitch, which you can see below:

screenshot-www.google.com 2016-08-13 01-30-12

Google was made aware of the glitch and stated it was being looked into. According to what we’re seeing in our own Search Console account, as well as what we’re hearing from others, the data appears to be been restored.

Besides not having the data to work with for a few days, the glitch had no other negative effects to website. The data certainly hasn’t been lost permanently, which should come as a relief to those who were affected.

If the data is still missing from your account, it shouldn’t be long before the valuable ‘links to your site’ data is restored for you as well.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/links-site-data-restored-google-search-console/171062/

Categorized in Search Engine

In addition to launching a hub for the Olympics, Google Trends has released new tools for viewing and exporting search data. 

Last week, Google Trends announced a refresh to its site, in addition to the launch of a new hub for Olympic trends.

According to a Google spokesperson, the Google Trends refresh came with a few new tools, including the ability to compare search trends by geographic location and view historical data by day.


Google Trends has also added search term filtering, a new mobile embed option for graphs, and an export-to-excel feature — both of which can be found by clicking the menu in the right-hand corner of a trends graph.


Source : http://searchengineland.com/google-trends-refresh-includes-geographic-comparisons-export-excel-feature-256519 

Categorized in Search Engine

Google nailed e-mail with the 2004 introduction of Gmail. Now it’s the No. 1 form of electronic correspondence in the United States.

But as traditional e-mail falls out of favour with a growing sliver of the population, Google has struggled to release newer messaging tools that resonate widely.

Now Google is trying again with a new video chat application called Duo. The app works with mobile devices running Google’s Android operating system and Apple Inc.’s iOS. It runs on Wi-Fi and cellular networks, automatically switching between different types and speeds of connection and adjusting video quality.

Duo uses phone numbers, rather than a Google account, making it easier to call friends, family and other people already stored on smartphone contact lists. The company’s existing video calling and messaging app, Hangouts, requires a Google account. That limited adoption, especially in emerging markets. Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp and Messenger, Skype – now owned by Microsoft Corp. – and Apple’s FaceTime used phone numbers to grow faster.

A confusing array of communication options has held Google back. It has two e-mail services – Gmail, which is the top e-mail service in the United States based on unique visitors, according to ComScore, and Inbox; three text offerings, Hangouts, Messenger and the upcoming Allo; and now two video chat services, Duo and Hangouts (which offers texting and video calls).

This scattershot approach, and Google’s late start, is becoming more costly for the Alphabet Inc. division as messaging evolves from a simple way to communicate quickly into one of the next big technology platforms supporting digital commerce, advertising and new services powered by artificial-intelligence.

“Google missed it because of the requirement that you needed a Google ID to communicate with others,” said Ankit Jain, a former Googler and executive at SimilarWeb Inc., which measures website and mobile app usage.

Hangouts ranked 84th among Android apps in the United States in July, based on installs and usage, according to SimilarWeb. That lagged behind Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Nick Fox, a 13-year Google veteran, was tasked by Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai 18 months ago with fixing the sprawl. Soon after, his new team formulated a strategy and started building Duo and Allo.

“Google sees communication as this essential human need, whether that’s through text, a picture, calling someone or doing a video call.” Mr. Fox said in a recent interview.

This insight is a decade old and has guided Facebook’s strategy since its creation in 2004. Asian companies, such as Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Line, have grown into tech powerhouses by connecting people through communication apps and offering related services on top of their networks. Skype, founded in 2003, became a leading video chat app on a similar foundation.

So how is Mr. Fox going to catch up? Job number one is clearing up the bloated smorgasbord of Google communications services.

Hangouts will be a workplace service, offering group video conferencing mostly via desktop computers and office laptops, Fox said. It will be integrated more with Google’s work software, such as Docs, Sheets and Slides, which will be easier to share.

Duo is a mobile app and only allows one-to-one video calling, limiting it as a consumer offering. Allo, a messaging service coming out later this year, will also target consumers, Fox said. Google’s Messenger is a basic text system, part of a group of services provided to wireless carriers that work closely with Android.

The second tactic: Bringing what Mr. Fox says is better technology to the new services to catch up with rivals.

Duo constantly performs “bandwidth estimation” to understand how much video can be delivered. If Wi-Fi weakens, it switches to a phone’s cellular network. If a cellular signal drops as low as 2G, Duo will automatically cut video and maintain audio.

Allo will use Google’s expertise in AI to automatically understand texts and provide useful suggestions. Google will also let third-party developers create chatbots that will interact with Allo users through messages. That’s already being tried by other companies such as Facebook and Microsoft, but Google has been working hard on AI for about a decade, so it may be more advanced.

“First build a great product,” Mr. Fox said, repeating a common Google mantra. “Once you get people to love it, they will share it with friends and co-workers and it grows.”

Google was late in other technology and caught up, Fox noted. Gmail started in 2004, more than six years after Yahoo Mail, but Google’s offer of mountains of free storage won over hundreds of millions of users. Google’s Chrome emerged in 2008 – over a decade after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – and is now the most popular web browser partly because of speed and frequent updates.

Better technology may not be enough to catch up, Mr. Jain said. WhatsApp and Snapchat offered something useful enough to persuade many people to switch away from their existing communication service where all their friends already were.

Duo’s promise of video calling for everyone on Android and iOS is something that Hangouts already offers, but that didn’t move the needle enough, he noted.

“It’s worth another shot, but having better tech can’t be the only thing,” Mr. Jain said.

Source : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/knock-knock-google-duo-video-call-is-here/article31426625/

Categorized in Science & Tech

The success of Amazon's Echo, the voice-activated speaker that can control many internet-of-things devices, has spurred many people to dip into the world of the connected home. Using Belkin WeMo switches, users can automate every power and light switch in their home by speaking, check to see if their doors are locked with the right lock, and lower the temperature setting on their thermostat. However, to fully recognize the scale of IoT, one must think of its history, recognizing that while there wasn't always such an easy-to-use interface as we are used to today, there were still centralized points at which multiple devices were controlled. The scale of IoT at the infrastructural level is hard to imagine, with one data center alone having hundreds of potential "points" to talk to.

This, among many other challenges in IoT, is why Apple's former head of infrastructure strategy, design and development, Scott Noteboom, founded Litbit, a company that created the open-source RhythmOS to talk to the many different "dialects" of new and legacy machines. One core issue of many IoT devices, which include industrial devices that can have a 20-year lifespan, is that they all use different operating systems, which may be un-upgradeable or replaceable. Amazon Echo mastered this on a much smaller scale, learning to "speak" to different points in the home, such as Nest thermostats or Philips Hue light bulbs. By making RhythmOS open source (meaning that anyone could potentially code a dialect for the operating system), Noteboom is doing this at a scale of millions of points. It creates an attractive operating environment for humans and machines to interact with each other, and adds a layer of security to the internet of everything, as Litbit calls it, that is necessary.

"Our software operates as a control layer that enables functionality across any network capable machine/device/thing--ranging from a new IoT light bulb, to a 20-year-old utility generator. ... The purpose of our control layer is to disaggregate hardware defined dependencies away from embedded machines, and place them onto a highly elastic/scalable software layer that runs on commodity computers. This enables interoperability between everything, using a "software defined" approach that enables the continuous advancement of technology feature-sets and functions--with applications from both Litbit, as well as any third-party developer," said Noteboom.

His approach to the IoT reflects many people's worries about its rapid growth. Matt Larson of Network World recently remarked that there were six key problems, which can be summarized as communication and security issues. While we may worry that a hacker could take control of a SmartThings hub and turn up a thermostat, at a larger scale the HVAC system of a data center could be used to destroy entire companies. On that same level, Noteboom remarks that the IoT industry also has a big data problem that could have the same issue. He equates machines to users on Twitter, except that while the average active Twitter user sends two 200-byte messages a day, a fully realized world of IoT would include 50 billion active machine "users." These machines, unlike humans, can talk constantly, all day long, and may be saying the same thing repeatedly (a thermostat could say, "It is 62 degrees in this room," for example). If each active machine point is sending a message every second, even if it's mostly the same message, that is 86,400 100-byte messages. This means that, unlike Twitter's roughly 500-million-tweet, 100-gigabyte daily data chunk, the IoT could deal with multiple exabytes of data, across multiple operating systems, potentially meaning crucial machine messages (e.g., "This server is overheating") could be lost in the shuffle. Worse still, as an industry, we really don't have experience digesting, analyzing, orchestrating, and disposing of data at a level that could be 43 million times that of Twitter. Our perception of big data is grossly underestimated. To quote Noteboom, "Big data today is tiny data tomorrow."

That scale is why over 25 companies, led by Dell, have joined a consortium to plan future strategy for the IoT. Companies like GE and SAP have joined, showing that even the largest industrial and enterprise companies are, in addition to being interested in the future of IoT, potentially daunted by the prospect of the many operating systems and devices that have been made totally separate.

It's a daunting task to fix; as the IoT has grown, there have been few sticky standards that everyone can adhere to while building a device. Each IoT device, from a connected alarm clock to a connected fridge, may be one "thing" with multiple "points" (sensors, control points, and so on). While IoT is a huge opportunity for technology to grow and change our lives for the better, it also has serious consumer, enterprise, and infrastructure issues we should all be aware of.

Source:  http://www.inc.com/drew-hendricks/as-the-internet-of-things-grows-don-t-underestimate-its-scale.html

Categorized in Internet of Things

For now, just drivers in Los Angeles get the difficult intersections feature.Left-hand turns can be fraught with peril, particularly when there’s no traffic light.

Turn the backdrop to rush hour in Los Angeles, and left-hand turns become a scourge that most drivers try to avoid. And that can cause a new problem—more right-hand turns and a longer commute.

Waze, the mapping and navigation app acquired by Alphabet’s Google GOOG 0.29% in 2013, has introduced a new routing feature—initially for the Los Angeles area—to help drivers bypass those difficult intersections, when possible. The “Difficult Intersections” setting is automatically enabled for drivers in Los Angeles. Users can disable the feature in settings. The feature will expand to New Orleans soon, Waze says. Other cities around the world will be added as needs are identified, the company says.

Waze says it tries to strike a balance between avoiding difficult intersections and an efficient, short route. By default, the app will calculate the best possible route the bypasses a difficult intersection. If that bypass is significantly longer, the driver may still be routed through a difficult intersection, Waze says.The goal of the feature is to reduce the amount of these intersections, not completely eliminate them.

To create this feature Waze turned to locals—specifically the people who help edit its maps. These Angelenos shared lists of what they perceived to be the most difficult intersections and provided alternate solutions. The company also worked with the city of Los Angeles to better understand the area.Users who don’t live in Los Angeles, but who think their city has some particularly tricky intersections can report it from the app under Report > Map Issue, Waze says.

Google and Fiat’s minivan might actually be a hit:

Waze is constantly rolling out new features. Last month, the company introduced a feature to help drivers avoid speeding by giving users alerts if they’re driving too fast. It was created to help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas where the speed limit may be unposted or changes seasonally, according to Waze. The feature is now available in 18 countries including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and Uruguay. The U.S. was notably absent from the list.

The company also recently started experimenting with carpooling in the San Francisco Bay area. Waze, which began testing its carpooling service last year in Israel, expanded the pilot to 25,000 local employees at select companies, including Adobe and Walmart Global eCommerce.

Source:  http://fortune.com/2016/06/18/google-waze-difficult-intersection/

Categorized in Science & Tech

Over the past year, Google engineers have experimented and developed a set of building blocks for the Internet of Things - an ecosystem of connected devices, services and “things” that promises direct and efficient support of one’s daily life. While there has been significant progress in this field, there remain significant challenges in terms of (1) interoperability and a standardized modular systems architecture, (2) privacy, security and user safety, as well as (3) how users interact with, manage and control an ensemble of devices in this connected environment.

It is in this context that we are happy to invite university researchers1 to participate in the Internet of Things (IoT) Technology Research Award Pilot. This pilot provides selected researchers in-kind gifts of Google IoT related technologies (listed below), with the goal of fostering collaboration with the academic community on small-scale (~4-8 week) experiments, discovering what they can do with our software and devices.

We invite you to submit proposals in which Google IoT technologies are used to (1) explore interesting use cases and innovative user interfaces, (2) address technical challenges as well as interoperability between devices and applications, or (3) experiment with new approaches to privacy, safety and security. Proposed projects should make use of one or a combination of these Google technologies:

Google beacon platform - consisting of the open beacon format Eddystone and various client and cloud APIs, this platform allows developers to mark up the world to make your apps and devices work smarter by providing timely, contextual information.

Physical Web - based on the Eddystone URL beacon format, the Physical Web is an approach designed to allow any smart device to interact with real world objects - a vending machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car - and not have to download an app first.

Nearby Messages API - a publish-subscribe API that lets you pass small binary payloads between internet-connected Android and iOS devices as well as with beacons registered with Google's proximity beacon service.

Brillo & Weave - Brillo is an Android-based embedded OS that brings the simplicity and speed of mobile software development to IoT hardware to make it cost-effective to build a secure smart device, and to keep it updated over time. Weave is an open communications and interoperability platform for IoT devices that allows for easy connections to networks, smartphones (both Android and iOS), mobile apps, cloud services, and other smart devices.

OnHub router - a communication hub for the Internet of Things supporting Bluetooth® Smart Ready, 802.15.4 and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. It also allows you to quickly create a guest network and control the devices you want to share (see On.Here).

Google Cloud Platform IoT Solutions - tools to scale connections, gather and make sense of data, and provide the reliable customer experiences that IoT hardware devices require.
Chrome Boxes & Kiosk Apps - provides custom full screen apps for a purpose-built Chrome device, such as a guest registration desk, a library catalog station, or a point-of-sale system in a store.

Vanadium - an open-source framework designed to make it easier to develop secure, multi-device user experiences, with or without an Internet connection.

Check out the Ubiquity Dev Summit playlist for more information on these platforms and their best practices.

Please submit your proposal here by February 29th in order to be considered for a award. Proposals will be reviewed by researchers and product teams within Google. In addition to looking for impact and interesting ideas, priority will be given to research that can make immediate use of the available technologies. Selected proposals will be notified by the end of March 2016. If selected, the award will be subject to Google’s terms, and your use of Google technologies will be subject to the applicable Google terms of service.

To connect our physical world to the Internet is a broad and long-term challenge, one we hope to address by working with researchers across many disciplines and work practices. We are looking forward to the collaborative opportunity provided by this pilot, and learning about innovative applications you create for these new technologies.

Source:  http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2016/02/announcing-google-internet-of-things.html

Categorized in Internet of Things

Over the last 15 years, people have viewed technology disruption in terms of how technology — like the cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things — changed how specific tasks were done. Michael Biltz, managing director of Accenture Technology Vision, says that companies must move beyond focusing just on how to use technology and instead understand how technology will impact the consumer or a specific industry.


The reason for this fundamental shift is that the digital economy can reinvent the way different industries interact. For example, a healthcare platform no longer just tracks a patient’s stay in a hospital. It extends to aftercare, like prescriptions and physical therapy. When the platform starts to embrace preventive medicine, it can impact companies beyond healthcare providers, such as gyms and insurance firms.


“Across the board, these boundaries slowly go away and allow people to look at bigger problems,” Biltz says. “In the case of healthcare, the issue is no longer about just how do I make my hospital visit better or how do I get better data about a drug or a disease. It becomes how do I make myself healthier as an individual. That’s very, very powerful from an individual perspective, and it also provides a huge scope of opportunity for companies.”


Taking the Long View

Because large global companies cannot realistically expect to change themselves in a few weeks or months as new platforms emerge, they need to map out scenarios of how platforms might disrupt their industries far in advance. Fortunately, unlike technology revolutions of past eras, the disruptive forces of these new ecosystems can be predicted with a high level of certainly.

“If you can start to predict three to five years down the road, suddenly you now have the opportunity to make an upfront investment that allows you to pick and choose what your role is going to be in the economy of the future,” Biltz says.


Early entrants in the digital economy are already showing how digital platforms can position themselves in altogether new areas and industries. Take Uber, for example. Originally, it built out a mobile device platform to create an ecosystem of connected cars and drivers that disrupted the taxi industry. As that foundation settled, Uber is now using that same ecosystem to push disruption into new sectors, such as the recent trial of UberHealth in Boston, which provides flu shots and other health services. A person uses his or her Uber app to order a house call from a nurse, for example, instead of a ride.


While Uber is well-known as a beacon of digital transformation, even traditional industries are becoming digital and disrupting other industries. For decades, General Electric built essential tools for all major industrial sectors. Its most obvious evolution would be to add Internet connectivity to those devices. However, GE is going beyond that. Rather than just build wind turbines, GE is partnering with energy companies to build software systems to improve the turbines output, becoming a key player in alternative energy sourcing.


“Whether or not these digital transformations are something that’s going to be good for your business, they’re going to change your business,” Biltz says. “You need to understand the economics that are being formed around you and understand what role you will play in them.”


Source:  http://partners.wsj.com/accenture/technology-vision-2016/digital-disruption-looking-into-the-future/?mod=synd_taboola&utm_source=taboola&utm_medium=referral&utm_term=aol-techcrunch

Categorized in Science & Tech

There are so many different tools and technologies available on the internet today, and so many associated terms and concepts. As I think about topics to focus on here in the coming months, I want to make sure we’re touching on the most important ones. What are the most important internet technologies for educators to be aware of, and informed about?

I’m sure many people would probably come up with a slightly different list, but based on my observations and experiences, and feedback from faculty at my institution, I have selected the following technologies. I do not mean to imply that every educator should be expected to use all of these technologies in the classroom, but rather that every educator should understand what these are, the potential they have in the classroom, and how their students may already be using them.

1. Video and Podcasting - One of the most widely adopted internet technologies for use in instructional settings is video streaming. Between YouTube, TeacherTube, EduTube, and many other video hosting sites, there are an abundance of lectures, how-to videos, and supporting materials available in the form of web based video. Podcasting has also been used to provide similar offerings of audio materials through popular sites like iTunes. [Click here to learn more about video hosting for education, or here to learn more about podcasting for education.]

2. Presentation Tools - This category is vast and rich. There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of tools on the Internet that can be used to create and share presentations, from simple Powerpoint slide players like Slideshare to multimedia timeline tools like Vuvox and OneTrueMedia. These tools can be used to support classroom teaching or distance learning, or for student reports and presentations.

Have you considered outsourcing your call center?

3. Collaboration & Brainstorming Tools - This is another wide ranging category, including thought-organizing tools like mindmap and bubbl.us, and collaborative tools like web based interactive whiteboards and Google Documents. Additionally, some of the other tools in this list, such as wikis and virtual worlds, also serve as collaboration tools.

4. Blogs & Blogging – Bloggers and many other regular Internet users are well aware of blogs and blogging, but there are many other professionals who really are not frequenters of the “blogosphere”. In addition to a basic familiarity with this technology, educators should be aware of sites like Blogger and WordPress, where users can quickly and easily create their own blogs for free.

5. Wikis – The use of Wikis in educational settings is growing every day. Sites like Wetpaint and others allow users to create free wiki web sites and are a great way to get started with using wikis for educational applications. [Click here to learn more about the use of Wikis in education].

6. Social Networking – All educators should have a basic understanding of sites like Facebook and MySpace and how they are used. This doesn’t mean they need accounts on these sites (and many educators would recommend against using these sites to communicate with their students), but they should understand what they are and how they are being used. Educators should also be aware of the professional social networking site LinkedIn.

7. IM – A large percentage of students use IM regularly, via Aim, IM aggregator site Meebo (Meebo allows users to combine messaging from Aim, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, and other sites), or other tools. It behooves educators to be aware of this, and I have even come across various articles about using IM within the classroom setting (such as this one from Educause).

8. Twitter – This listing is really focused on technologies, not specific applications, but this application is currently just too popular to ignore. You should at least understand what it is and the fundamentals of how it is used. [Click here for some insight into how Twitter can be used in education.]

9. Virtual Worlds – This technology has received a lot of press, with SecondLife being the clear leader thus far in this application area. In my experience, the use of SecondLife has been somewhat constrained by high bandwidth and processing power requirements, but this also means that there is still considerable room for increased adoption of the application as systems continue to become more powerful and higher speed bandwidth more prevalant. Active Worlds is one of a number of competitive technologies, and provides a “universe” dedicated to education that has been popular with educators.

10. RSS Feeds - RSS allows users to create their own “push” data streams (that is, define data flows you want coming to you automatically, rather than having to go and “pull” the information with a Google search or other browsing effort). RSS feeds enable you to take advantage of streams of published content that will be sitting in your In Box, or in an RSS reader, when you want them. There are RSS feeds available for many topics and many web sites.

While many readers may have their own interpretation of which technologies are essential for educators to be aware of, I think this is a great list to get started with. Of course, this list will require updating over time, as technologies change, and as educator’s uses of these technologies evolve. As always, reader input is welcomed. What do you think? Is this a good top 10? Would you like to see some other technologies listed here? Feel free to comment and offer your insights, please. Thanks!


Categorized in Science & Tech
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