Source: This article was published windowscentral.com By DAN THORP-LANCASTER - Contributed by Member: Olivia Russell

Microsoft's visual search is graduating from beta, now rolling out for everyone on iOS.

following a short period of beta testingMicrosoft Edge is now rolling out an intelligent visual search for everyone. The addition brings the iOS version of the app up to par with its Android counterpart, which picked up a visual search in June. But beyond that, there are a few other neat features tagging along in this update as well, including paste-and-search and the option to choose from more default search engines.

As for the highlight feature of this update, visual search lets you quickly snap a photo or choose one from your camera roll, then search the internet for information based on whatever you snapped. Microsoft is talking up the feature's usefulness for shopping, helping to track down items of clothing, for example, that you like. That's also bolstered by a built-in barcode scanner, which can be used to find deals on items. Visual search can be used to find more information on landmarks around you as well.

Here's a full look at all of what's new in this update:

  • Intelligent visual search gives you a cool new way to find contact info, identify landmarks, or find similar images based on a photo
  • Support paste and go/search in address bar
  • Choose from more default search engine options
  • Performance improvements

And if you're signed in with a work or school account, there are a few other goodies to check out:

  • See your organization's home page
  • Securely access intranet sites from home
  • See mobile browser activity on your PC's timeline

If you're giving Microsoft Edge a shot on your iPhone or iPad, you can check out all of these new features by grabbing the latest update from the App Store now.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Deborah Tannen

Forget that blue Google search results interface for the local panel -- here is a new fresh look

Google is now rolling out a new look for the local panel in the mobile search results. The new look goes from the blue interface with text buttons to a white interface with rounded buttons. Here is the new look you might be able to see now when you search for a local business on your smartphone:


Here is what this looked like the other day, in the blue interface:


Google has been testing this new interface on and off since January of this year.

If you do not see the new interface now, it might require a bit more time for it to fully roll out.

We have emailed Google for a comment and will update this story when we receive one.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published searchenginejournal.com By Matt Southern - Contributed by Member: Corey Parker

Google’s John Mueller revealed that the search engine’s algorithms do not punish keyword stuffing too harshly.

In fact, keyword stuffing may be ignored altogether if the content is found to otherwise have value to searchers.

This information was provided on Twitter in response to users inquiring about keyword stuffing. More specifically, a user was concerned about a page ranking well in search results despite obvious signs of keyword repetition.

Prefacing his statement with the suggestion to focus on one’s own content rather than someone else’s, Mueller goes on to say that there are over 200 factors used to rank pages and “the nice part is that you don’t have to get them all perfect.”

When the excessive keyword repetition was further criticized by another user, Mueller said this practice shouldn’t result in a page being removed from search results, and “boring keyword stuffing” may be ignored altogether.

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“Yeah, but if we can ignore boring keyword stuffing (this was popular in the 90’s; search engines have a lot of practice here), there’s sometimes still enough value to be found elsewhere. I don’t know the page, but IMO keyword stuffing shouldn’t result in removal from the index.”

There are several takeaways from this exchange:

  • An SEO’s time is better spent improving their own content, rather than trying to figure out why other content is ranking higher.
  • Excessive keyword stuffing will not result in a page being removed from indexing.
  • Google may overlook keyword stuffing if the content has value otherwise.
  • Use of keywords is only one of over 200 ranking factors.

Overall, it’s probably not a good idea to overuse keywords because it arguably makes the content less enjoyable to read. However, keyword repetition will not hurt a piece of content when it comes to ranking in search results.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published marketingmag.com.au - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

The time for brands to begin tuning their online presence for voice has arrived, says Michael Jenkins. Here is a brief guide to navigating the data barrier to voice marketing, AI in voice SEO and improving your searchability.

‘Hey Siri, how popular is voice search?’ The short answer is: very.

According to Alpine.AI, there are now over one billion voice searches each month.

Voice search has come a long way since Siri snuck onto the market in 2011 with painstakingly slow – and rarely accurate – search returns.  Voice assistants are now programmed to understand nuances in conversation, humour and, as we saw with the launch of a mind-blowingtechnology from Google last month, can even book haircuts.

With these technological advances, sales of smart technologies like Amazon Echo, Siri and Google Home have also grown astronomically over the past 12 months. Outside of the home or office, brands like BMW ensure that every car is fully optimised for ConnectedDrive, placing connectivity alongside electrification and autonomous driving on the customer priority list.

This seismic technological shift toward voice controlled search is something marketers simply cannot afford be complacent about when employing an SEO strategy. Here’s why.

Voice data

One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is the massive amount of data required to do voice search correctly. If you want to understand voice search you need to start by examining how voice data works.

Artificial intelligences programs have become highly sophisticated by learning more about:

  • Intent and parameter – while becoming increasingly sophisticated, voice search has more intent than traditional search. For example, common words such as ‘king’ can be confusing. Computers do not know if you referred to royalty or Elvis Presley. A parameter such as, ‘play the king of rock and roll music’ provides helpful data to choose the correct version.
  • Paths – instead of simply relying upon the search, companies like Google and Facebook explore how users interact with brands and other channels to predict voice interactions. When they know you came to their site from another, they can see how you liked this type of site and use it as a predicator for future possible voice searches.
  • Errors – while this has dropped dramatically, voice search is still in its infancy. Mistakes occur, and it is important for marketers to be aware of this when optimising for voice search.

Currently, cumulative spending on data accounts for 20% of all voice marketing. Those who do not store, manage and utilise their data cannot compete against the companies who have volumes of data at the ready to help guide their decisions.

Voice search is one area where having more data can help set you apart from the crowd.

Experiment

Like any emerging trend in SEO, you must experiment to determine what works best.

For example, many companies have just transferred their websites to a mobile apps. Instead of experimenting with the channel to understand the needs of their customers or how to gain advantages over their competitors, companies stuck with what they knew.

However, the mobile experience is completely different from websites. The same holds true for voice search. You do not need to make huge changes, but you need to continually tweak your voice search efforts. Fortunately, the data you collect will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your experimenting.

Long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are those three and four keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever you are selling. What this means for marketers is that SEO now is about going for a larger keyword strategy. Searchers queries, particularly on voice are more conversational by nature. People are not typing – or saying for that matter – phrases like ‘clothing store’, they may, however ask, ‘best designer fashion stores to buy a cashmere coat near me’.

This behaviour highlights the importance of content. To do this a site requires more content on pages – content that is mapped to the search keyword strategy. Having more content means that you will also need to balance the user experience – ensuring that it both enhances usability and also enhances SEO. Most importantly, it’s imperative that longer tail keywords are seamlessly sprinkled through the syntax of website copy. This will allow search engines to see more context via voice-activated search and will result in pages appearing for a higher volume of phrases.

Structured data

Help search engines with voice search by including structured data in your website. A few years ago, the major search engines agreed upon a unified mark up structure that website admins should use on their website. This information is part of the data that search engines use for voice search to determine the relevancy of a website. Furthermore, this information is a goldmine for websites that want to get local search traffic.

Location plays a role in 80% of all searches, and voice search makes up a large percentage of these searches. Including micro-data on each page like location, product information and other essential details helps you improve your searchability when people ask for a local establishment.

This is one of the reasons we discussed why your name, address and phone must be correct on your website. Search engines extract this information when comparing users’ searches to nearby retail outlets – you can even it use it for keywords. We use structured data to let Google know some of the most important pages (e.g. social media agency, conversion rate optimisation, SEO agency and PPC) for them to index.

The structured data on your website provides the extra ammunition you need to increase your voice search traffic.

Final Thoughts

With voice search growing in popularity as voice queries improve in accuracy, it is vital that your company optimises your voice search efforts to reach consumers. Do this by looking at the data, testing and improving the structured data you have on your website to drive more targeted traffic.

Michael Jenkins is founder and director at Shout Agency.

Categorized in Search Engine

The evolution of executive search in recent years has seen tremendous shifts in the recruitment landscape. The acquisition of executives has become highly strategic. Disruptions within the digital economy, brought on by AI and automation technologies, have impacted all aspects of search.

From recruiting top talent to employing more sophisticated assessment techniques, executive search requires much more agility. To best serve their executive clients, many top recruitment agencies are turning to data analytics to develop and expand their service offerings.

When data analytics are complemented by a suite of technology-based tools, recruitment, talent selection, assessments, executive coaching and succession planning are enhanced at the executive level.

Leading recruitment agencies can attest how leveraging data analytics is crucial to attracting top-level talent in a fast-paced, ever-shifting business climate. Here are the five unparalleled benefits of leveraging data analytics in executive search.

1. Better decision-making

Data analytics is playing a critical, strategic role in improving decision-making. Today’s complex business environment makes analytics an important competitive resource for finding and attracting highly qualified talent.

Inefficiencies and costs are two areas in recruitment where data analytics drives ROI.

When recruitment agencies employ analytics capabilities to inform recruitment decisions, efficiencies are improved and costs are cut. This affords recruiting companies to boost or optimize their ability to inform recruitment decisions, providing a highly competitive advantage.

2. Increased quality of hire

Analytics drives the ability to mine actionable insights.

Adopting an analytical approach towards executive search helps headhunting firms increase the quality of executive hires. Employing structured data analytics functions helps focus data on the most important metrics relevant to recruiting and retaining qualified executives.

Data analytics allows recruitment agencies to dig deep into metrics to highlight the following factors:

  • Top talent characteristics
  • New hire performance
  • Qualified applicants per requisition
  • Resignations or involuntary turnovers within three months of service.

Utilizing analytics to the executive search experience allows companies to recruit the right talent for mission-critical roles.

3. Improved candidate experience

A critical step in the success of talent acquisition is the candidate experience. Research done by IBM Analytics shows that a great candidate experience is a “fundamental requirement” for hiring sought-after executives. The candidate experience has a far-reaching impact, determining important outcome measures like greater advocacy, job acceptance, employment branding, and potential sales.

Data analytics can be leveraged to improve the candidate experience. Incorporating analytics across every stage of the recruitment process informs recruiters with relevant information to enhance the candidate experience.

Analytics allows talent acquisition teams to better track a candidate’s progress across the recruitment pipeline.

Understanding the difficult steps that hinder the hiring process allows recruiting teams to take the correct steps to address potential hindrances, vastly improving the recruiting process and, more importantly, the candidate experience.

4. Improved speed of hire

With highly qualified executives in short supply across multiple sectors, businesses must optimize the speed and agility of the recruitment process. The use of analytics technologies addresses these talent shortages to sustain a competitive edge.

A data-driven approach to recruitment helps reveal bottlenecks in the hiring process. It also provides more accurate time estimates of each hiring stage. This enables talent acquisition teams to know with confidence how long the recruitment process will take to fill mission-critical roles.

Data analytics allows talent teams to work with agility, increasing speed and predictability to better manage the hiring process in a faster, more impactful way.

5. Creation of a diverse recruitment culture

A diversity- and inclusion-first culture unlocks numerous business benefits such as improving innovation and outperforming competition.

Implementing data analytics to the hiring process enables companies to set and achieve diversity targets. Unlike traditional recruitment methods, analytics eliminates the guesswork of determining demographic metrics. Acquisition teams can better monitor important demographic metrics like ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and education to increase diversity.

Analytics can further enhance diversity metrics to map acquired knowledge such as military experience, cultural fluency, and language skills to drive innovation and business success. Strengthening the leadership team with diversity and inclusion can be a strategic approach to succeeding in an evolving marketplace.

Employing a data-driven approach to recruitment

The application of analytics is key to remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced, evolving business climate. Taking a data-driven approach to the executive search enables your company to be successful in its recruitment process.

Today’s marketplace requires the power of analytics to recruit sought-after executives to meet every talent need and to achieve real business results.

AUTHOR BIO
A passionate recruiter with more than 12 years in the executive search industry, Payal Bhatia is an international headhunter and business partner for RM & Associates in the MENA region specializing in the FMCG, retail, telecom and engineering sectors.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Barry Schwartz - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

After killing off prayer time results in Google several years ago, Google brings the feature back for some regions.

The prayer times can be triggered for some queries that seem to be asking for that information and also include geographic designators, such as [prayer times mecca], where Islamic prayer times are relevant. It’s possible that queries without a specific location term, but conducted from one of those locations, would also trigger the prayer times, but we weren’t able to test that functionality.

A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land “coinciding with Ramadan, we launched this feature in a number of predominantly Islamic countries to make it easier to find prayer times for locally popular queries.”

“We continue to explore ways we can help people around the world find information about their preferred religious rituals and celebrations,” Google added.

Here is a screenshot of prayer times done on desktop search:

Google gives you the ability to customize the calculation method used to figure out when the prayer times are in that region. Depending on your religious observance, you may hold one method over another. Here are the available Islamic prayer time calculation methods that Google offers:

Not all queries return this response, and some may return featured snippets as opposed to this specific prayer times box. So please do not be confused when you see a featured snippet versus a prayer-time one-box.

This is what a featured snippet looks like in comparison to the image above:

The most noticeable way to tell this isn’t a real prayer-times box is that you cannot change the calculation method in the featured snippet. In my opinion, it would make sense for Google to remove the featured snippets for prayer times so searchers aren’t confused. Since featured snippets may be delayed, they probably aren’t trustworthy responses for those who rely on these prayer times. Smart answers are immediate and are calculated by Google directly.

Back in 2011, Google launched prayer times rich snippets, but about a year later, Google killed off the feature. Now, Google has deployed this new approach without using markup or schema; instead, Google does the calculation internally without depending on third-party resources or websites.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published techcrunch.com By Josh Constine - Contributed by Member:Jennifer Levin

Facebook  wants to help connect brands to creators so they can work out sponsored content and product placement deals, even if it won’t be taking a cut. Confirming our scoop from May, Facebook today launched its Brand Collabs Manager. It’s a search engine that brands can use to browse different web celebrities based on the demographics of their audience and portfolios of their past sponsored content.

Creators hoping to score sponsorship deals will be able to compile a portfolio connected to their Facebook Page that shows off how they can seamlessly work brands into their content. Brands will also be able to find them based on the top countries where they’re popular, and audience characteristics like interests, gender, education, relationship status, life events or home ownership.

Facebook also made a wide range of other creator monetization announcements today:

  • Facebook’s Creator app that launched on iOS in November rolled out globally on Android today (this link should be active soon once the app populates across Google Play). The Creator app lets content makers add intros and outros to Live broadcasts, cross-post content to Twitter and Instagram, see a unified inbox of their Facebook and Instagram comments plus Messenger chats, and more ways to connect with fans.

  • Ad Breaks, or mid-video commercials, are rolling out to more U.S. creators, starting with those that make longer and original content with loyal fans. Creators keep 55 percent of the ad revenue from the ads.
  • Patreon-Style Subscriptions are rolling out to more creators, letting them charge fans $4.99 per month for access to exclusive behind the scenes content plus a badge that highlights that they’re a patron. Facebook also offers microtransaction tipping of video creators through its new virtual currency called Stars.

  • Top Fan Badges that highlight a creator’s most engaged fans will now roll out more broadly after a strong initial reaction to tests in March.
  • Rights Manager, which lets content owners upload their videos so Facebook can fingerprint them and block others from uploading them, is now available for creators, not just publishers.

Facebook also made a big announcement today about the launch of interactive video features and its first set of gameshows built with them. Creators can add quizzes, polls, gamification and more to their videos so users can play along instead of passively viewing. Facebook’s Watch hub for original content is also expanding to a wider range of show formats and creators.

Why Facebook wants sponsored content

Facebook needs the hottest new content from creators if it wants to prevent users’ attention from slipping to YouTube,  Netflix, Twitch and elsewhere. But to keep creators loyal, it has to make sure they’re earning money off its platform. The problem is, injecting Ad Breaks that don’t scare off viewers can be difficult, especially on shorter videos.

But Vine proved that six seconds can be enough to convey a subtle marketing message. A startup called Niche rose to arrange deals between creators and brands who wanted a musician to make a song out of the windows and doors of their new Honda car, or a comedian to make a joke referencing Coca-Cola. Twitter eventually acquired Niche for a reported $50 million so it could earn money off Vine without having to insert traditional ads. [Disclosure: My cousin Darren Lachtman was a co-founder of Niche.]

Vine naturally attracted content makers in a way that Facebook has had some trouble with. YouTube’s sizable ad revenue shares, Patreon’s subscriptions and Twitch’s fan tipping are pulling creators away from Facebook.

So rather than immediately try to monetize this sponsored content, Facebook is launching the Brand Collabs Manager to prove to creators that it can get them paid indirectly. Facebook already offered a way for creators to tag their content with disclosure tags about brands they were working with. But now it’s going out of its way to facilitate the deals. Fan subscriptions and tipping come from the same motive: letting creators monetize through their audience rather than the platform itself.

Spinning up these initiatives to be more than third-rate knockoffs of Niche, YouTube, Patreon and Twitch will take some work. But hey, it’s cheaper for Facebook than paying these viral stars out of pocket.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published bizjournals.com By Sheila Kloefkorn - Contributed by Member:Anthony Frank

You may have heard about Google’s mobile-first indexing. Since nearly 60 percent of all searches are mobile, it makes sense that Google would give preference to mobile-optimized content in its search results pages.

Are your website and online content ready? If not, you stand to lose search-engine rankings and your website may not rank in the future.

Here is how to determine if you need help with Google’s mobile-first algorithm update:

What is mobile-first indexing?

Google creates an index of website pages and content to facilitate each search query. Mobile-first indexing means the mobile version of your website will weigh heavier in importance for Google’s indexing algorithm. Mobile responsive, fast-loading content is given preference in first-page SERP website rankings.

Mobile first doesn’t mean Google only indexes mobile sites. If your company does not have a mobile-friendly version, you will still get indexed, but your content will be ranked below mobile-friendly content. Websites with a great mobile experience will receive better search-engine rankings than a desktop-only version. Think about how many times you scroll to the second page of search results. Likely, not very often. That is why having mobile optimized content is so important.

How to determine if you need help

If you want to make sure you position your company to take advantage of mobile indexing as it rolls out, consider whether you can manage the following tasks on your own or if you need help:

  • Check your site: Take advantage of Google’s test site to see if your site needs help.
  • Mobile page speed: Make sure you enhance mobile page speed and load times. Mobile optimized content should load in 2 seconds or less. You want images and other elements optimized to render well on mobile devices.
  • Content: You want high-quality, relevant and informative mobile-optimized content on your site. Include text, videos, images and more that are crawlable and indexable.
  • Structured data: Use the same structured data on both desktop and mobile pages. Use mobile version of URLs in your structured data on mobile pages.
  • Metadata: Make sure your metadata such as titles and meta descriptions for all pages is updated.
  • XML and media sitemaps: Make sure your mobile version can access any links to sitemaps. Include robots.txt and meta-robots tags and include trust signals like links to your company’s privacy policy.
  • App index: Verify the mobile version of your desktop site relates to your app association files and others if you use app indexation for your website.
  • Server capacity: Make sure your hosting servers have the needed capacity to handle crawl mobile and desktop crawls.
  • Google Search Console: If you use Google Search Console, make sure you add and verify your mobile site as well.

What if you do not have a mobile site or mobile-optimized content?
If you have in-house resources to upgrade your website for mobile, the sooner you can implement the updates, the better.

If not, reach out to a full-service digital marketing agency like ours, which can help you update your website so that it can continue to compete. Without a mobile-optimized website, your content will not rank as well as websites with mobile-friendly content.

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was published digit.in By Shubham Sharma - Contributed by Member: Alex Grey

The new Google College search feature aggregates data on colleges like admission rates, student demographics, majors available at the college, notable alumni and more, and displays them as a search result.

After rolling out job search feature on Search, Google now aims to make it easier for students to find the college of their choice. The company is rolling out a new feature to Search, which will enable users to simply search for a college and get information like admissions, cost, student life and more, directly as a search result. To provide an idea of how much a college will cost, Search will also display information about the average cost after applying student aid, including breakdowns by household income. 

The feature is currently available only in the US and Google says that it displays the results based on data sourced from public information from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is a comprehensive data set available for 4-year colleges. We have reached out to Google for comments on whether or not this feature be made available for Indian users looking to study in the US or for those looking at colleges within India. The story will be updated once we receive a response. 

Google has also worked with education researchers and non-profit organizations, high school counselors, and admissions professionals to “build an experience to meet your college search needs.” When one searches for a college or a university, alongside the above-mentioned cost breakdown, there are also some other tabs that provide additional information about enrollment rates, majors available at the college, student demographics, notable alumni and more. There is also an ‘Outcome’ tab where one will find the percentage of students graduating from colleges or universities, along with the typical annual income of a graduate. In case you are interested in exploring other options, there is also ‘Similar Colleges’ tab.

Google states in its blog, “Information is scattered across the internet, and it’s not always clear what factors to consider and which pieces of information will be most useful for your decision. In fact, 63 percent of recently-enrolled and prospective students say they have often felt lost when researching college or financial aid options.” The new feature is now rolling out on mobile and some of the features will also be available on desktops.

Categorized in Search Engine

 Source: This article was published crixeo.com By A.J. SØRENSEN - Contributed by Member: David J. Redcliff

UNLIKE GOOGLE, THE DUCKDUCKGO SEARCH ENGINE DOESN’T TRACK YOU.

In 2006 Gabriel Weinberg sold a company for millions. A year and a half later, he founded his next project with the money: an alternative search engine named DuckDuckGo. Initially, the goal was to make it more efficient and compelling than Google by cutting down on spam and providing instant answers, similar to a Wikipedia or IMDb. The project launched in 2008, bringing Weinberg’s brainchild into public consciousness.

But Weinberg didn’t realize at the time that the main reason people were wary of Google wasn’t the user experience but how the search engine tracked its users. Being the astute entrepreneur that Weinberg is, he instantly saw this as an area for an opportunity and a way to compete with one of the largest companies in the world. As a result, DuckDuckGo became the go-to search engine for privacy — long before the NSA leaks in 2013, when the government got “Snowdened,” and Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica scandal — all with a better user experience.

Here’s why you should consider making the move to the “Duck Side.”

1. THE SEARCH ENGINE THAT DOESN’T TRACK YOU

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

According to a micro-site connected to DuckDuckGo — DontTrack.us — Google tracks users on 75% of websites. The information gathered from your site visits and search terms can be used to follow you across over two million websites and applications. Oh, and all that private information is stored by Google indefinitely. (Hint: Don’t use Google for embarrassing searches that might cost you money during a divorce, for example. All that information can be subpoenaed by lawyers.)

Even Facebook tracks you across the internet. According to Weinberg, the social media company “operates a massive hidden tracker network.” He claims they’re “lurking behind about 25% of the top million sites, where consumers don’t expect to be tracked by Facebook.” And, as of now, there is no way to opt out of this so-called “experience.” (Don’t forget: Facebook owns Instagram.)

And since there are no digital privacy laws currently active in the United States, at the time of this writing anyway, consumers are forced to vote with their attention and time once again. As it stands now, companies are not required by federal law to share what information they collect, how it’s used, and whether or not it’s even been stolen. You’ve got to protect yourself by choosing your platforms and tools wisely.

As for DuckDuckGo, they do not track you or store your personal information. And while they do have some advertising on their platform for revenue purposes, you only see ads for what you search for — and those ads won’t stalk you around the web like a rabid spider.

2. DUCKDUCKGO IS A COMPANY WITH SERIOUS BALLS

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

Weinberg resembles a younger, techier version of Eric Bana, and he’s got the same gall of the actor/rally racer. Case in point: in 2011, Weinberg pulled a highly successful publicity stunt for his alternative search engine by strategically placing a billboard right in Google’s backyard that called out the company for tracking its users. It earned the scrappy start-up valuable press from the likes of USA Today, Business Insider and Wired.

For those opposed to Google’s handling of users’ data, the billboard represented a major burn. Of course, it’s just one of the many ways Weinberg helped his company gain users. I highly recommend Traction, a wildly useful book co-written by Weinberg and Justin Mares. It’s a must-read for any start-up founder or creative entrepreneur.

3. KEEP YOUR SEARCHES PRIVATE & EFFICIENT

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

As for working with search engines, think of all the “embarrassing searches” you wish to keep private, whatever they may be. Now imagine that Google has all that information stored indefinitely — plus, it can be held against you in a court of law. Scary stuff, right? Turns out that what you search for online can be far more sensitive than the things you openly share on social media platforms. So how can you keep that stuff private?

In 2017 DuckDuckGo was able to integrate with the Brave Browser to provide a potential solution. With most browsers, websites can still track and monitor your behavior, even while you’re in “private browsing mode.” However, with this new combination of Brave’s privacy protection features and DuckDuckGo’s private search capabilities, you can surf the web without having your search terms or personal information collected, sold or shared.

But that’s not the only thing DuckDuckGo has to offer for a more empowered user experience. Another feature the search engine has become known for are “bangs!” Here’s how they work.

DuckDuckGo browser
DUCKDUCKGO

Random example: Let’s say you want to find Camille Paglia books on Amazon. If you were to search via Google, you might type “site: amazon camille paglia.” Your results might look like this:

DuckDuckGo browser

GOOGLE

Now let’s say you do the same thing with DuckDuckGo’s bangs. In this case, you would type “!a Camille Paglia.” Here’s what you’d get:

DuckDuckGo browser

AMAZON

Bang! You’re right there on Amazon, redirected to their internal search page from DuckDuckGo.

Of course, you might be thinking, “Why not just search Amazon.com for the answer, to begin with?” Well, bangs aren’t just for searching Amazon. You can use bangs to search nearly 11,000 sites (as of this writing), including eBay, YouTube (owned by Google), Wikipedia, Instagram and more. You can even suggest new ones.

Plus, with DuckDuckGo, you can see social media profiles by searching the user’s handle, explore app stores and discover alternative apps, shorten and expand links/URLs, generate complex passwords, find rhymes, determine whether or not sites are down (or if it’s really just you), calculate loan payments, receive instant answers to questions and more — all without having to leave the search engine.

4. IT’S GROWING — FAST

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

In a sense, Weinberg has achieved his initial goal of creating a search engine that offers a more direct and spam-free user experience. It just also happens to be much more private and way less creepy than the buzzword alternatives. Perhaps that’s why it’s growing so damn fast — 10 years after launching, that is.

In fact, 2017 was a monumental year for DuckDuckGo, accounting for 36% of all searches ever conducted through the search engine. It was also during 2017 that the company achieved 55% growth in daily private searches, crossing the threshold of 20 million private searches a day. Sure, the experience isn’t as highly customized as Google’s — which relies on your personal data to fine-tune results — but this little search engine that could still manage to provide solid, relevant results without infringing on your personal privacy.

5. BALANCING THE SCALES OF GOOD & EVIL

DuckDuckGo browser

DUCKDUCKGO

When Google first started, it touted the mantra “Don’t be evil.” Curiously, it’s since changed to “Do the right thing.” It’s only now that most users have started to ask, “Do the right thing for whom?” And in light of the recent Facebook scandals, these same users are starting to wonder, “What the hell is my data actually being used for? Who does it benefit? And who actually has it?” Unsurprisingly, these are turning into the biggest questions of our time.

In the past, users assumed they had nothing to hide, and that it was even shameful to consider hiding their internet histories or online preferences. “Nobody cares about me. I’m nobody.” But to a major data company, one without constraints, how you spend your time and money, with whom, and on what sites can easily be sold to the highest bidder at your expense. So while Dax the Duck may not need to say, “We’re a source for good,” the brains behind DuckDuckGo seem to be balancing the scales in that direction anyway.

Through their donations to private organizations, as well as their micro-sites providing eye-opening data, various email campaigns to help internet users maintain their privacy, and plenty of generous content outlining the trouble with “informed consent” online, DuckDuckGo has become a force for good in the digital age. Of course, Google doesn’t have to become obsolete in the process — they still offer some remarkable services — but there need to be more alternatives if only to provide a choice. What do you want as a search engine user? And how do you want your information to be handled?

That’s the real service DuckDuckGo provides: it gives you the option to say no to track. And without real policies in place in the U.S. to protect internet users, your best bet for privacy and data protection may just be to #ComeToTheDuckSide. end

 

Categorized in Search Engine

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