Jared Grusd, the CEO of The Huffington Post, spoke at the Dublin Tech summit this week discussing the future of digital content and technology.

Appearing alongside former CNN anchor Gina London, Grusd discussed the development of HuffPo as a brand, how digital content creators develop, and the future of technology. Discussing the Huffington Post brand development, Grusd said, “I think one thing to think about is the human experience. All of us are people, but when you run a company or run product you start ascribing labels: audience, consumers, customers. And all of a sudden you start referring to actual living, breathing human beings in these generic terms, and the truth is all of us as people have multiple interests.”


“I can be serious and I can have fun; I can be funny, my wife says not enough, but my daughters think enough,” he elaborated. “I think it’s really important to have that balance, and one of the things that I think the best digital publishers have done over the past ten years has been to think about the way in which they publish content differently than historically.”

“What we’ve heard all day in many forms,” continued Grusd, “is the power of data, to understand your audiences, and I think the best publishers really look at the data of what their people, their audience, their consumers are actually doing on their properties and are learning from that, adapting from that. What you realize is that if you’re serious all the time, at some point it’s too much; if you’re funny all the time then you’re not serious, and so getting that blend is really part of the magic and math that’s required to be successful.”

When asked about the Huffington Post’s success, Grusd said, “I think in every era in the history of media there have been giant waves that have formed, and I think that like all good surfers you have to sort of understand the break, get your board, paddle, and surf it just at the right time. And to Arianna Huffington’s credit, who is the founder and obviously the namesake of the Huffington Post, what she realized is there were few trends that were all converging at the same time.”

“The first is that there was a huge change in media landscape that was really produced by Google, because Google search essentially opened up the Internet, the world wide web, to all of us to then go discover stuff and in that process of discovery, very sophisticated content producers could actually create content that Google’s algorithms and spiders would crawl to serve us that content,” he noted. “And one of the things that I think we did really well was create content that was very Google friendly.”


Source : http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/02/16/huffpo-ceo-google-search-essentially-opened-up-the-internet-for-digital-publishers/

Categorized in Search Engine

Every year, over 3 billion people access the internet for various purposes. To this day, the Internet comprises the largest bank of knowledge of peoples’ everyday activities. Its contents can be explored almost everywhere around the world almost every day of the year. About 80 percent of those people use Google as their search engine.

Never in the history of time has human life been recorded with such unprecedented detail. In a short 50 years, humanity evolved from heavily relying on physical copies to the massive data empire which contains the traces of over one billion people on the planet. In 1950, the population of the planet was only 2.5 billion people. While humans once connected through face-to-face encounters, today, many interactions take place over the click of a few buttons. We are living in the era of the Internet – Perhaps the single most influencing force since the beginning of time. 


Google provides the gateway to the internet for most people. Although, the company offers much more than just a search engine. Through its many services, Google collects an incredible amount of data about individual users. The data sets include accounts past location history through accessed internet to routes taken on Google Maps. It reveals voice recordings from voice searches and previously believed to have been deleted photos– and internet search history.

The data can be accessed by searching through copious amounts of setting, or through the link provided here

Google makes the setting difficult to find, and upon exploring it, it quickly becomes apparent why.

The link will direct you to Google’s voice recordings of your account. More contents of your recorded data can be discovered by clicking on the top right tab to reveal a list of other information which can be accessed- including up to 2 Gb of past history.

[Image Source: Google Activity]

The results of what can be found can be rather shocking. Although, while it may instill fear into some, with it comes the ability to trace your way across the world wide web and even in real life. Lives are being documented with unprecedented detail, a thought which is incredibly intriguing. Companies are using the data to generate products to better suit the changing times. Other businesses use it to direct their advertisements and reach a market which would otherwise not be possible if humanity were not so connected. With it also come the ability to spread awareness and important knowledge faster than ever.


However, the topic clearly draws into question the morality of storing massive quantities of data about potentially unsuspecting people. It is a question which has only recently been conceived. It will most certainly spark international debates as humanity adapts to the entirely new way of life, that of one with connections which stem into billions of people.

Fortunately, there is an option to opt out of Google’s recordings. The settings can be easily modified to delete recordings over a certain date, or all of them at once.

The amount of data being stored is substantial. We are entering an age where a large majority of the population is being documented. The idea is daunting, though it is a curious thought to ponder what it entails for the future.

Humans are active on the web

Perhaps one of the best documenting websites on the internet is in fact not Google, but Facebook. As of 2017, Facebook reported having over 1.8 billion users. People of all ages are using it to organize, socialize, and investigate other content ranging from breaking news to cat fails. Below is a chart of the active users across various social networks worldwide.

[Image Source: Statista]

Human trends, socialization, and education are now commonly accessible in part due to the rise of the internet. The mass-scale documentation of individual people will most certainly continue to spark controversy over the ethics of recording personal information. While some may consider it to be a breach in personal privacy, others may lay claims that it is an unrivaled opportunity which can help humanity to spread awareness and improve collectively, through connectivity. Despite personal opinions, data will continue to be mined regardless of what people say. Though it is frightening, the knowledge is available to be reviewed, and should you wish, your trace can be deleted (for the most part).


Source : http://interestingengineering.com/access-google-records-internet/

Categorized in Search Engine

Search is an everyday part of our lives. From searching for the ingredients to make breakfast, looking for travel routes, and even to things as obscure as finding a dog-sitter - we are used to searching for things every day, so much so that over the past ten years the number of hours spent on the Internet has doubled to an average of 20 hours per week. However, during that time, the technology employed by search engines has not changed drastically and has been reliant on keyword based search. This kind of search picks out main words, disregards connective words and, in turn, provides users with pages and pages of results, many of which are not relevant.

In recent years, developments in mobile technology and voice search have changed the way people seek out information, and as a result, the way we search has evolved. However, some of the major search engines are yet to catch up.


So, what are the key trends that we can expect to see revolutionise the way we search?

The future of search appears to be in the algorithms behind the technology. Semantic search or natural language is being hailed as the ‘holy grail,’ but in the Search of the Future, new methods will prevail that provide better results thanks to their ability to organise information deriving from improved algorithms driven by the new methods. These methods will also utilise new technological approaches such as “natural intelligence” or “human language search,” rather than artificial intelligence and natural language search.

The difference among the search types is that: the keyword search only picks out the words that it thinks are relevant; the natural language search is closer to how the human brain processes information; the human language search that we practice is the exact matching between questions and answers as it happens in interactions between human beings.

The technology behind the human language search approach allows users to type in words or terms composed of a number of questions in sequences that replicate the dialogue that occurs between human beings. For example, instead of carrying out three different searches for UK golf courses, train stations and hotels under £300, users would simply type in “which UK hotels under £300 have golf courses and are near a train station”. This would immediately provide them with accurate results by returning in a single view information about hotels, golf courses and train stations.

In an ‘always on, always connected’ world, where people demand instantaneous results, the answers to a search must be precise, complete and immediately accessible.


The humanisation of technology and in particular, search, can be attributed to this new direction that the future of search is taking.

The aforementioned technology is transforming search and introducing new trends like the human language search approach. Yet the gap between using personal devices and using traditional search engines is yet to be fully bridged. This quest for an effective, true to life search engine that is identical to the way humans think is the holy grail, the online equivalent of the scientific search for a cure for cancer. In recent years there has been a handful of search engines trying and succeeding in mirroring these search techniques, and we can expect to see them launch into and dominate the consumer market. 

The emergence of IoT and Big Data has resulted in increasing amounts of data being produced, and it’s predicted that by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. All of this additional information means that search needs to be streamlined so that users can filter through the ‘noise’ and efficiently find what they are looking for. Search engines will need to be far more proficient to allow everyday users to effectively navigate the minefield of additional information.

Another key trend we can expect to see in the future of search is the shift from ‘search engines’ to ‘search platforms’, meaning that they will have a wider use. They will provide tools, services and a level of precision that is not currently available. It will be designed for the organisation, and management of information. Essential to this, is the simplification of results findings, presenting all the relevant search findings onto just one page, instead of the hundreds of results that we are used to being offered.

Ultimately, what the future holds is unknown, as the amount of time that we spend online increases, and technology becomes an innate part of our lives. It is expected that the desktop versions of search engines that we have become accustomed to will start to copy their mobile counterparts by embracing new methods and techniques like the human language search approach, thus providing accurate results. Fortunately these shifts are already being witnessed within the business sphere, and we can expect to see them being offered to the rest of society within a number of years, if not sooner.

Author : Gianpiero Lotito

Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/gianpiero-lotito/the-next-frontier-of-inte_b_14738538.html

Categorized in Search Techniques

All due respect to NASCAR fans, but this is the sort of race we’d rather watch: Companies competing to be the first to unleash the world’s first global internet. Because, hey, we need to be able to surf porn check our fantasy baseball team from anywhere on the planet. It would also be useful to work from any place on Earth, whether zipping across the steppes of Mongolia on a motor bike or posting content from a flop house in the Philippines or snowshoeing across the Rocky Mountains.

We’re talking the ultimate life-work balance.

You’ve probably heard something about using drones, balloons, satellites, even homing pigeons (well, not yet) to make the worldwide web truly worldly. Somewhere around four billion people on the planet are missing out on cute cat videos, not to mention the economic benefits that come with an internet connection. The company that can first plug those billions into a global internet system would not only be a humanitarian hero but make a more-than-modest profit along the way.

A Project Loon balloon in Christchurch, New Zealand.

To paraphrase an interview on The Verge with Mike Cassidy, lead on Google’s Project Loon, which is launching high-altitude balloons into the stratosphere as one technological riff on global internet:

Think about it: 4.5 billion people without internet access. Take five percent and you’re talking 250 million people. If those people pay just a small portion of their monthly income, say $5 a piece, you’re going to be in a billion dollars a month in revenue, tens of billions a year in revenue. So it’s good business, too.

Cassidy should know a good deal when he sees it: He ended up at Google after starting and selling four startups, including the search engine DirectHit to AskJeeves for $532 million in 2000—less than two years after he founded it. And Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize and co-founder of Singularity University, recently listed what he called hyper-connecting the world as the No. 1 trend that made the world better in 2016. Let’s take a closer look at the global internet race.


Project Loon

The craziest-sounding effort to bring global internet to billions of people around the world may actually be the one closest to reality. Project Loon is backed by Google. To be more precise, it’s funded by Google’s newly created parent company Alphabet Inc. in the conglomerate’s Bond-esque, semi-secret R&D lab called X.

The idea behind Project Loon sounds, well, a little loony. It would create a floating global internet by launching balloons with solar-powered electronics that connect a ground-based telecommunications network on the ground with mobile devices through local wireless providers. The concept has already been tested with partners in places like New Zealand and Brazil. A network of 300 balloons is planned around the Southern Hemisphere, according to a story in Singularity Hub.

Sound complex? It is. Sound impossible? Definitely not. Launching balloons into the stratosphere, the layer of atmosphere that starts about 20 kilometers (12 miles, for those of you still on ye olde imperial system) above the Earth, is a well-practiced trick. Scientists do it with much larger balloons, expanding to the size of a football field, above Antarctica to launch telescopes. They’re sort of the poor man’s version of satellites.

Project Loon has the logistics down to a precise science. Custom-built “autolaunchers” are capable of sending balloons into near-space every 30 minutes. They’re basically specialized cranes that work like slow-motion catapults. Operators choreograph the airborne balloons, which can stay aloft for several months at a time, using wind models of the stratosphere and algorithms to provide maximum coverage. Project Loon claims it has demonstrated “transmission between balloons over 100 kilometers apart in the stratosphere and back down to people on the ground with connection speeds of up to 10 Mbps, directly to their LTE phones.”

Check out this video to learn more about the technical bits:

Droning Out the Competition

Google doubled-down on global internet in 2014 when it bought Titan Aerospace, a company that developed low-cost, low-flying satellites. The tech giant had wrested the startup away from Facebook. Google had planned to launch a swarm of Titan’s solar-powered drones to beam the internet far and wide.


It appears that plan crashed sometime last year, though the news only came out this past January. Alphabet decided to end its bid to provide global internet via unmanned aerial vehicles, aka UAVs or drones. In a widely circulated statement, X lab said, “By comparison, at this stage the economics and technical feasibility of Project Loon present a much more promising way to connect rural and remote parts of the world.” (On a somewhat related note, Alphabet just announced this week that it’s further pulling out of the space biz with the sale of its satellite-imaging business, Terra Bella, to Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based private satellite company. Google had acquired the company, formerly known as Skybox Imaging, for $500 million the same year it bought Titan Aerospace.)

drone aircraft

Facebook’s Aquila drone has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737.

Facebook is still betting UAVs are a feasible way to provide global internet to the world’s unconnected (and unfriended) billions. The effort is led by the company’s Connectivity Lab as part of its Internet.org initiative. Facebook’s futuristic vision is a fleet of solar-powered aircraft with a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737. The drones will beam the internet and Facebook posts via lasers. According to Facebook, the technology is so good that it can send data at fiber-optic speeds using very little power.

The Aquila prototype took flight and stayed aloft for more than 90 minutes but was apparently damaged during its first test flight. Internet.org suffered an even bigger setback in September when another global internet initiative went up in flames after a SpaceX rocket exploded on the launch pad. The Falcon 9 rocket was to carry a $200 million internet satellite into space. Facebook had bought bandwidth to provide internet to sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with French satellite company Eutelsat.

Global Internet from Space

Of course, SpaceX has its own plans for global domination, er, global internet, which apparently has nothing to do with drilling a giant tunnel under Los Angeles. Company CEO Elon Musk just needs about 4,425 satellites in low-Earth orbit to bathe the world with broadband internet. That’s about equal to all the satellites currently in orbit around Mother Earth. Admittedly, both plans do sound a bit Bond villain in concept.


Singularity Hub’s Vanessa Bates Ramirez wrote that the satellite constellation would orbit between 715 and 790 miles above the Earth, providing speeds of one gigabit per second. SpaceX filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission, so at least the paperwork is out of the way. There’s no timeline on deployment, though TechCrunch reported late last year that Musk estimated the project would take at least five years and cost around $10 billion. We have to ask where even someone like Musk is going to find that sort of cash. SpaceX is backlogged and losing money, while Tesla is feeling (at least temporarily) some consumer backlash from Musk’s seeming coziness with the president of the United States.

A mock-up of the OneWeb facility to be built in Florida.

Another ambitious satellite system, OneWeb, appears to be on firmer financial ground after raising $1.7 billion since 2015, including $1.2 billion in December 2016 from the telecommunications and internet giant SoftBank. OneWeb’s 900-satellite system would offer global internet as soon as 2019, according to Diamandis. Among the leaders of that venture is Richard Branson, a sort of Elon Musk, but with a cooler accent and better hair.

Yet another player is U.S.-based ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT), which is working with Boeing to launch three satellites that will provide 1 terabit per second internet connections to remote corners of the world, according to Futurism.com. ViaSat claimed on its website that the first two of three new satellites could offer more than twice the total network capacity of the 400 or so commercial communications satellites currently orbiting the Earth combined.

And if all that—balloons, drones and satellites—fails, there’s still hope for global internet. Several companies, including Facebook and $63 million startup Starry (founded in 2014 by founder of defunct startup Aereo, Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia) are working on a whole different solution. They propose delivering wicked fast internet anywhere literally out of thin air by using millimeter waves. Check out the specs of this project on The Verge. We’ve got sunset over the Mekong River to catch. We’ll post some pictures as soon as we’re back in Wi-Fi range.

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Source : http://www.nanalyze.com/2017/02/global-internet-everywhere/

Categorized in Others

The company is going where no internet search engine has gone before — Offline.

They’ve been beefing up the offline abilities of Maps, Docs, Chrome, YouTube, and most recently, Search, so that users can still watch bad lip-dub videos, even when they’re off the grid.

But, it’s not just for remote camping trips…

It’s for developing nations. Nearly 1B users are surfing the web across India, Brazil, and Indonesia, where there’s no guarantee of an internet connection when not browsing from a traditional desktop connection.

And even when connected to a network, slow wireless speeds and strict data limits make streaming videos difficult.

This means things like Maps allowing you to download city maps to your phone, while Chrome has a Data Saver mode (saves up to 60% of mobile data while browsing) and allows you to save web pages ahead of time.

And now they’re going after the big kahuna: Search

As of last month, Google searches that can’t go through due to spotty connections will be put on a waiting list, so results populate and saveas soon as you’re back in-network (sorry Apple people, Android users only).

Because, as Shekhar Sharad, the product manager at Google Search says, regardless of the location, “Search should never fail.” But, unlike Maps, online searches present a unique challenge in that they’re always changing, and, in turn, are much trickier to predict.

(Fun fact: 15% of the queries Google sees on a daily basis have never been searched before)

Source  :  http://thehustle.co/google-search-offline

Categorized in Search Engine

Minority entrepreneurs contribute about $1.1 trillion to the U.S. economy every year. Yet when it comes to accessing capital, the juice that gets every business up and running, there’s a deep-seated divide at the race/ethnicity level. 

Black entrepreneurs are three times more likely ​than white entrepreneurs to see their business profits undercut because of a lack of access to cash flow. They’re also two times more likely to see profitability hurt because of how much it costs to access the little capital that’s within reach — like high-interest credit cards, for example — compared to white entrepreneurs.

It’s something that Shareef Abdul-Malik, founder of WeBuyBlack.com, has seen keep potential entrepreneurs at bay. Even when it comes to the relative low cost of running an internet business, which his website does for more than 2,000 independent black vendors.


“It’s hard for them to get loans, it’s hard for them to reach people because of a lack of resources,” says Abdul-Malik. “There are a lot of reasons why black businesses may actually fail, and I think a big part of that is the [lack of] community support.”

He started his online store as a “social experiment” to reverse that trend. WeBuyBlack.com, to him, wants to replenish the capital drought black entrepreneurs face in their communities by expanding that community to a global level.

According to a survey of 290,000 businesses with employees, 63.9 percent relied on personal savings or family contributions to get up and running. When studied by race, black entrepreneurs were more likely to depend on credit card debt than any other form of initial capital.

As black entrepreneurs move their products online, they may be carrying that disadvantage with them. A recent report by the Pew Research Center shows that while 20 percent of white adults made money by selling items online in the past year, only 11 percent of black adults used online platforms to sell. Nationwide, 18 percent of all adults were an online vendor in the same period, on average.

Abdul-Malik is optimistic that percentage will start to increase. “Blacks are about three times more likely than any other ethnic group to start a business, and I think everyone is sort of converting and moving over to an online platform,” he says. But the fear of failure is real, and that’s where he sees a website like WeBuyBlack.com, and apps like BuyBlack by Angie Coleman, come in. Now an artist from a small town in the United Kingdom can sell her paintings of Ugandan heritage to communities in Atlanta, Nairobi or Los Angeles. That’s a real-world connection that Abdul-Malik made happen, when the painter reached out to him over Instagram.


“She had a very hard time getting her work out there even though she felt like it’s very good work,” he says. “So I told her to join WeBuyBlack.com. All you need to do is set up a shop, add your information so you can get paid, and she agreed.” 

As he regularly does with new entrepreneurs, he posted some of her pieces to WeBuyBlack.com’s Facebook and Instagram pages, reaching a combined 200,000 followers. “She received a sale within the first hour, and it was like for $375. She was blown away,” he says.

“When they know there’s a community in place, somewhere to buy from where you already fit in, and you can just upload your product and know you’re going to receive visitors — I think that sort of gives them an incentive to join,” he says.

The market for his website is growing. Black entrepreneurs are some of the fastest growing in the country, jumping from a percentage total of 7.1 percent of U.S. companies in 2007 to 9.4 percent in 2012. Black women are taking on business leader roles at a rate faster than any demographic, spiking 322 percent between 1997 and 2015 among all entrepreneurs.

But if they want to keep that momentum going, says Abdul-Malik, they’ll need to start building the communities they came from into active consumers. Online marketplaces catering to black vendors are a good place to start.

“We have all of these social ills, many, many many social ills, and here is an opportunity for us to possibly fix that [through entrepreneurship],” he says. “I think that’s one of those proposals on the table that actually makes sense.”


Source : https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/even-on-the-internet-black-vendors-face-disparities

Categorized in Search Engine

A new internet traffic report indicates that bots are responsible for more internet traffic than humans.

The Bot Traffic Report 2016 was compiled by Imperva Incapsula. It’s findings are quite surprising, but understandable in hindsight.

For the report, Imperva Incapsula generated data by analyzing “16.7+ billion visits to 100,000 randomly-selected domains.”

The biggest finding of the report is that humans only account for 48.2 percent of all online traffic. So called ‘good’ bots account for 22.9 percent of the traffic and ‘bad’ bots for the remaining 28.9 percent. Of these bots, 24.3 percent are ‘impersonators’ that “assume false identities to bypass security solutions.” In other words, these bots are used to orchestrate DDoS attacks.

Image and data: Imperva Incapsula

Image and data: Imperva Incapsula

On the ‘good’ bot side, 12.2 percent of the traffic comes from ‘feed fetchers’ that move content mobile and web applications. An additional 6.6 percent of ‘good’ traffic comes from search engine bots that crawl the web for data, within legal bounds of course.


Good bots are those bots that make it easier for us to browse the web. Bad bots are, well, bad. They’re used to orchestrate malicious attacks, generate spam, scrape the web for personal information and more.

The good news here is that traffic from bad bots has remained roughly the same since 2012. If anything, it’s come down a bit. Traffic from good bots has gone up slightly since 2012.

Image and data: Imperva Incapsula

Image and data: Imperva Incapsula

The report also indicates that up to half the traffic on reasonably sized websites comes from bots. Interestingly, over 93 percent of total traffic on small websites (with 0-10 daily visitors) comes from bots. This ratio of bots to humans goes down as the sites popularity goes up.

Media company Axios suggests that these stats are significant because bots cost advertisers around $7 billion in annual revenue. Many advertising companies and media houses have also invested heavily in ensuring that ads are seen by actual people rather than bots, which costs money.

Source  : http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/bots-are-responsible-for-more-internet-traffic-than-humans-report-361185.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

Indian police have busted an internet scam in which around 650,000 people lost a combined 3700 crores rupees ($549 million) after sending money to a company that promised they would earn cash by clicking on web links, police said on Friday.

Police, who described the pyramid-style scheme as one of India’s biggest ever, said they had arrested three ringleaders on the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital, and seized more than 500 crore rupees ($74 million) from bank accounts.

“They learned that if you give some money back to members, the investments would go up exponentially,” Amit Pathak, head of a police cyber crime unit in India’s populous northern state of Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters.


The men ran a series of websites that promised would-be subscribers a chance to earn five rupees ($0.07) each time they clicked or liked web links sent to their mobile phones, police said.

The unsuspecting investors each paid thousands of rupees into the company’s bank accounts to join the scheme, but the web links they received were fake.

The company running the alleged scam had operated for years, but earned almost all the money over a few months from last August, after it began to distribute some of the proceeds, using the beneficiaries to draw in more investors.

Police said the ringleaders had not yet appointed lawyers as the chargesheet was still being prepared.

When police raided the company’s head office in the city of Noida they found 250 passports of employees and members who had been rewarded with a holiday to Australia.

The scammers planned to film the holiday and then post it online as promotional material to lure more subscribers.

The alleged mastermind spent some of the proceeds on houses, cars and celebrity parties. Pathak said it would take time to trace most of the money, and several bank employees were believed to be involved.

“It’s a very big task for us. We have brought in the income-tax department, and other government agencies, to trace the money,” Pathak said.

Cyber crime in India, home to the world’s second largest number of internet users, jumped 350 percent in the three years to 2014 as criminals exploited booming smartphone use, a study by auditing services firm PwC and industry lobby group Assocham showed last year.

Source : http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/indian-police-have-busted-3700-crore-pyramid-scheme-style-internet-scam-360854.html?utm_source=rhs_most_commented

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Angela Lawrence, senior lecturer in marketing in Staffordshire Business School at Staffordshire University, reflects on how the internet has not only changed our day-to-day working lives, but the way we live, and how it is important to be connected.

"I remember the first time I accessed the internet. It was 1996 and I worked as a research executive for a market research company.

Today I'll show you how to access the worldwide web," said my manager. I watched as she connected a strange looking plug to the phone socket, then opened a 'window' on the computer, clicked the mouse and dialled up a connection.

Suddenly a high-pitched sequence of beeping and screeching noises erupted from the speakers. It sounded like something was seriously wrong, but as silence returned she exclaimed “that's it, we're connected!"

We opened a search engine called Alta Vista (in those days Google wasn't a verb), typed in the search term “viewing facility London" and proceeded to search for a suitable location to conduct some focus groups. There weren't many results; a page or two at most. There were no sponsored results at the top of the page, nor advertisements down the side either. In fact, there were so few companies with a web presence.


Shortly afterwards the postman arrived with a pile of post, held together with several thick elastic bands and dropped it onto my desk. Invoices, letters from suppliers, bank statements, bills, CVs from job hunters.

It took me an hour or so to sift through the mail, filing documents appropriately in the rickety wire trays stacked on the corner of my desk – In, Out and Pending.

I loved my job and the amazing new world it opened up for me. I talked enthusiastically about it to my friends and family on long, lazy, work-free weekends. Let's face it, those were the days when nothing was done from the moment you left the office on a Friday until the moment you walked back through the door on Monday morning.

In the past two decades technology has revolutionised the way we work. We are a wireless, paperless, fast-moving, connected, global workforce which, like the Big Apple, never sleeps.

We are in touch with the whole of the world, twenty-four-seven. Business communications have never been easier or quicker; isn't it fantastic?

Well yes, it absolutely is, but it comes at a cost. The connected workforce is less tangible. It's possible to go for whole days or more without even seeing or speaking to business contacts.

Instead we message them, email them, tweet, post, blog, Google, we Skype and run webinars, we send information and documents electronically. And we're still messaging, emailing, tweeting and posting once the office doors are shut.

From our trains, buses, sofas and, sadly, sometimes even our beds. Work can invade our personal lives and the long, lazy weekends become brief gaps in time. We've not just changed the way we do business; we've changed the way we live.

You could argue that this is inevitable progression in society, much the same as Alexander Graham Bell's telephone revolutionised both business and personal communications. Personally, I love being part of the connected university.


The fact that we are becoming paperless that has huge benefits to the environment. I love the fact that I can allow my students the luxury of attending a virtual lecture, a webinar, so that they don't have to fight through traffic and pollute the atmosphere to get in to university for that day.

But I couldn't do it every day because I still need that face to face interaction with them. We are human beings after all. We can embrace technology and all that it represents, but I still want to do business with people, not machines.

I love to bump into my students in the corridor, say 'hi', catch up over a coffee. But like many, I like my personal time away from work too and the struggle to protect this is real.

Technology has indeed revolutionised the way we do business, but a word of warning; don't forget the human touch. I remember being taught that 'people buy people' and despite the digitally connected world that we live in, I still believe this to be true.

I also believe that you work to live, not live to work. Technology has allowed work to invade our precious and much needed personal time and we are the only ones who can police that (I have to admit that I am guilty as charged in that respect).

So switch off your laptop, phone, iPad once in a while. Switch them off when work is done. Roll back twenty-plus years, talk to people... and connect in person.

Author : The Sentinel

Source : http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/business-matters/story-30114928-detail/story.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

Youngsters are using social media and streaming content without supervision

NEARLY half of six-year-olds surf the web alone in their bedrooms, shock research shows.

The youngsters are now as internet savvy as ten-year-olds were in 2013.

Forty-four per cent are browsing the internet, on social media and streaming without adult supervision.

A study for Internet Matters to mark Thursday’s Safer Internet Day found a third of six-year-olds also use WhatsApp — despite its minimum age limit of 16.

A quarter are now on social media, up from 19 per cent in 2013, and three in five use sites such as YouTube.

A quarter of six-year-olds are on social media


A quarter of six-year-olds are on social media

Six year olds are using Facebook and Whatsapp despite the 16 age limit

Six year olds are using Facebook and Whatsapp despite the 16 age limit

Some even upload their own videos, according to the survey of 1,500 parents.

Almost half of six-year-olds can download apps and 47 per cent regularly use services such as iPlayer and Netflix.


Carolyn Bunting, of Internet Matters, said: “It’s vital for parents to set up devices safely and understand risks involved.”

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos added: “Parents need to set boundaries and arm children with the tools to stay safe online.

Parents need to set boundaries with their kids’ internet use

Parents need to set boundaries with their kids’ internet use

“Issues that a six-year-old may encounter can range from stranger danger to viewing inappropriate content such as violence or pornography.

“It’s vital you have parental controls in place and to ensure the websites and apps they are using are suitable for their age group.”

Internet safety checklist for young children

  • Agree boundaries
    Be clear what your child can and can’t do online – where they can use the internet, how much time they can spend online, the sites they can visit and the type of information they can share.
  • Explore together
    The best way to find out what your child is doing online is to ask them to tell you about what they do and what sites they like to visit.
  • Put yourself in control
    Install parental controls on your home broadband and any internet-enabled devices.
  • Use airplane mode
    Use airplane mode on your devices when your child is using them so they can’t make any unapproved purchases or interact with anyone online without your knowledge.
  • Stay involved
    Encourage them to use their tech devices in a communal area like the lounge or kitchen so you can keep an eye on them.
  • Talk to siblings
    It’s also a good idea to talk to any older children about what they’re doing online and what they show to younger children.
  • Search safely
    Use safe search engines such as Swiggle or Kids-search. Safe search settings can also be activated on Google and other search engines, as well as YouTube.
  • Check if it’s suitable
    The age ratings that come with games, apps, films and social networks are a good guide to whether they’re suitable for your child.

Author : JEN PHARO

Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2802345/nearly-half-of-six-year-olds-are-browsing-the-internet-alone-in-their-rooms-shocking-research-reveals/

Categorized in Internet Search

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