People Are Using Voice Search and They Are Looking for Local Services

August 31, 2016

The article titled 3 Voice Search Stats to Know for Your Local Marketing on ReachLocal describes some of the trends involving voice search. The most important number they provide is 40%- the percentage of voice searches with local intent. Other search inquiries relate to the weather and movie times, and huge amounts are devoted to asking for directions. So what does this mean for local marketing? The article offers some pointers:

“Create natural language-based content on your website that uses keywords and phrases people use when conducting a voice search. One tip is to include common questions about your business with specific answers, since search queries starting with question words increased 61% year over year in 2014. Optimize your business information on multiple search engines and directories including Google and Bing, and on sites like Yelp and superpages that can populate in organic search results.”

The article also mentions that 42% of adults and 55% of teenagers use voice search every day. Additionally, 20% of Google searches are voice. Bing has an even higher amount with 25% voice-based searches. The article does not have any stats related to incidents of users falling in love with their virtual assistants like Siri, but, marketing managers just might start to at a higher rate if they can really assist in local marketing and community outreach.

Chelsea Kerwin, August 31, 2016

More and More about NLP

August 31, 2016

Natural language processing is not a new term in the IT market, but NLP technology has only become commonplace in the last year or so. When I refer to commonplace, I refer how most computers and mobile devices have some form of NLP tool, including digital assistants and voice to text. Business 2 Community explains the basics about NLP technology in the article, “Natural Language Processing: Turning Words in Data.”

The article acts a primer for understanding how NLP works and is redundant until you get into the text about how it is applied in the real world; that is, tied to machine learning. I found this paragraph helpful:

“This has changed with the advent of machine learning. Machine learning refers to the use of a combination of real-world and human-supplied characteristics (called “features”) to train computers to identify patterns and make predictions. In the case of NLP, using a real-world data set lets the computer and machine learning expert create algorithms that better capture how language is actually used in the real world, rather than on how the rules of syntax and grammar say it should be used. This allows computers to devise more sophisticated—and more accurate—models than would be possible solely using a static set of instructions from human developers.”

It then goes into further details about how NLP is applied to big data technology and explaining the practical applications. It makes some reference to open source NLP technologies, but only in passing.

The article sums up the NLP and big data information in regular English vernacular. The technology gets even more complicate when you delve into further research on the subject.

Whitney Grace, August 31, 2016

Google Enables Users to Delete Search History, Piece by Piece

August 31, 2016

The article on CIO titled Google Quietly Brings Forgetting to the U.S. draws attention to Google have enabled Americans to view and edit their search history. Simply visit My Activity and login to witness the mind-boggling amount of data Google has collected in your search career. To delete, all you have to do is complete two clicks. But the article points out that to delete a lot of searches, you will need an afternoon dedicated to cleaning up your history. And afterward you might find that your searches are less customized, as are your ads and autofills. But the article emphasizes a more communal concern,

There’s something else to consider here, though, and this has societal implications. Google’s forget policy has some key right-to-know overlaps with its takedown policy. The takedown policy allows people to request that stories about or images of them be removed from the database. The forget policy allows the user to decide on his own to delete something…I like being able to edit my history, but I am painfully aware that allowing the worst among us to do the same can have undesired consequences.

Of course, by “the worse among us” he means terrorists. But for many people, the right to privacy is more important than the hypothetical ways that terrorists will potentially suffer within a more totalitarian, Big Brother state. Indeed, Google’s claim that the search history information is entirely private is already suspect. If Google personnel or Google partners can see this data, doesn’t that mean it is no longer private?

Chelsea Kerwin, August 31, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

The Equivalent of a Brexit

August 31, 2016

Britain’s historical vote to leave the European Union has set a historical precedent.  What is the precedent however?  Is it the choice to leave an organization?  The choice to maintain their independence?  Or is it a basic example of the right to choose?  The Brexit will be used as a metaphor for any major upheaval for the next century, so how can it be used in technology context?  BA Insight gives us the answer with “Would Your Users Vote ‘Yes’ For Sharexit?”

SharePoint is Microsoft Office’s collaborative content management program.  It can be used to organize projects, build Web sites, store files, and allow team members to communicate.  Office workers also spurn it across the globe over due to its inefficiencies.  To avoid a Sharexit in your organization, the article offers several ways to improve a user’s SharePoint experience.  One of the easiest ways to keep SharePoint is to build an individual user interface that handles little tasks to make a user’s life easier.  Personalizing the individual SharePoint user experience is another method, so the end user does not feel like another cog in the system but rather that SharePoint was designed for them.  Two other suggestions are plain, simple advice: take user feedback and actually use it and make SharePoint the go information center for the organization by putting everything on it.

Perhaps the best advice is making information easy to find on SharePoint:

Documents are over here, discussions over there, people are that way, and then I don’t know who the experts really are.  You can make your Intranet a whole lot smarter, or dare we say “intelligent”, if you take advantage of this information in an integrated fashion, exposing your users to connected, but different, information.  You can connect documents to the person who wrote them, then to that person’s expertise and connected colleagues, enabling search for your hidden experts. The ones that can really be helpful often reduce chances for misinformation, repetition of work, or errors. To do this, expertise location capabilities can combine contributed expertise with stated expertise, allowing for easy searching and expert identification.

Developers love SharePoint because it is easy to manage and to roll out information or software to every user.  End users hate it because it creates more problems than resolving anything.  If developers take the time to listen to what the end users need from their SharePoint experience than can avoid an Sharexit.

Whitney Grace, August 31, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph

Microsoft Changing Everything: At Least What Daesh Means in Redmond

August 30, 2016

I reported that Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer (I love that title) asserted that artificial intelligence will change everything. I pointed out that Microsoft has not been able to “change” China. Now Microsoft has learned that it cannot change the meaning of the word “Daesh,” which is one of the names of the Islamic State. I read “Bing Translates “Daesh” As “Saudi Arabia”, Angers Entire Kingdom.” The write up points out:

Bing Translation of “Daesh” the Arabic acronym for a global terrorist group backed by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to “Saudi Arabia” has put the Microsoft Corporation in hot water with the Kingdom. Apparently, when the Arabic word


was typed into Bing Translate, the words “Saudi Arabia” would appear as the English translation, according to Khaberni. The so-called technical error caused an uproar in Saudi Arabia, where many Saudi social media users called for a boycott of Bing and Microsoft. The Microsoft Corporation has formally issued an apology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, calling the error “unintentional”.

In what seems like the blink of an eye, Microsoft rolled out the bot which quickly learned to be somewhat interesting. The bot rolled away. Then Microsoft made Windows 10 Web cam hostile. Now Microsoft’s smart translation system has managed to anger the nation state Saudi Arabia. I assume Microsoft’s professionals anticipate smooth, seamless processing when entering the Kingdom from the USA. Now let’s think about the “change everything” statement. Doesn’t seem exactly correct, does it? How about some snap inspections of luggage to brighten one’s day? What’s the word for that? Sheesh? Oh, tay?

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016

Catching Dark Web Attacks before Zero Hour

August 30, 2016

Hacking still has an air of fantasy about it, because most people do not know how to do it. Some people cannot even wrap their head around how their information can be stolen off their computer, phone, or tablet, much less figuring out how to find the underbelly “Dark Web” Internet. Ignorance is a big hindrance, but thankfully there are experts who are striving to protect everyone else. Andrea Fortuna shares how “Scan The Deep Web Could Be Useful To Discover 0-Day Vulnerabilities?”.

A group at the University of Arizona wrote a paper called “Dark Net and Deep Net Mining For Proactive Cybersecurity Threat Intelligence” describing how they used machine learning and data mining programs to search the Dark Web for anything relating to malware and other malicious code sold for bitcoin. Their abstract states:

“In this paper, we present an operational system for cyber threat intelligence gathering from various social platforms on the Internet particularly sites on the Dark Net and Deep Net. We focus our attention to collecting information from hacker forum discussions and marketplaces offering products and services focusing on malicious hacking. We have developed an operational system for obtaining information from these sites for the purposes of identifying emerging cyber threats. Currently, this system collects on average 305 high-quality cyber threat warnings each week.

Andrea Fortuna includes an infographic about how the University of Arizona team’s data mining and machine learning system works. The system appears simplistic in its approach to scraping and parsing the Dark Web, but did the team encounter any problems by using the Tor browser and running through .onion addresses? Also, several years ago, a university Dark Web forum project produced an interesting demonstration of spidering text from the Dark Web.

Whitney Grace, August 30, 2016

Alphabet Google: Just Going Up and Up

August 30, 2016

Zero gravity. Remember that phrase from the pre Dot Com deflation? I noted this write up about Google: “Opinion: Google Shares Have Rocketed 1,499% Since the Company’s IPO 12 Years Ago Today.” I noted this statement in the source document:

Google went public 12 years ago today (Aug. 19), and while the company has changed its name, after expanding into different product lines and services from its original internet search specialty, what hasn’t changed is its ability to keep growing and enriching its loyal shareholders.

The old fashioned idea that a company cannot continue to grow and generate hefty payoffs for its stakeholders does not seem to apply to the Alphabet Google thing.

The write up includes a chart which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the GOOG is a winner:


The company has a string of recent successes too: Earnings per share and net income margins. My take on the write up is that only a silly person would not try to hop on the Alphabet Google hyperloop.

I did not a different tone in “5 Reasons Not to Use Google Search.” Why would a person find fault with Google? I learned:

  • Google tracks users. DuckDuckGo, on the other hand, does not, according to the write up.
  • Technical queries are not so hot on the GOOG. The fix is to use Wolfram Alpha, a system whose search syntax is indeed crystal clear.
  • Google allegedly does not index nor provide search results from the Deep Web. That’s a good generalization, but the author seems not to point to Google’s investment in Recorded Future, which does handle the Dark Web. The fix is to use the OnionDir, a Deep Web link directory. What is the difference between the Deep Web and the Dark Web, by the way?
  • Google does not deliver stellar video search results. The remediation for this weakness is Bing.
  • Finally, one can make money running Bing queries. I wonder why Bing is paying for searchers if the system is a Big Dog in information retrieval.

Methinks the weaknesses write up is at the other end of the spectrum from the Alphabet Google goes up and up article.

Where’s the truth? Everything I read on the Internet is accurate, right?

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016

Image Search: Colors and Patterns

August 30, 2016

When I search for an image, I often look for an individual. I have noticed over the years that the automatic search function for Google Images delivers facial matches (sometimes) and colors and patterns. Here’s an example.

This image comes from my snaps of a recent trip to a far off place far from Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.


When I plug the image into Google’s automatic image search, the system returns images like these:


To my untrained eye, it certainly appears that Google’s image search has returned images which evidence the colors and patterns of the original. Sure, none of these is a juice bar, but if I were looking for a similar image, it strikes me that the Google does the job.

Apparently not. 500px sees the world from its unique perspective. I like the word “unique.”

I read “500px Launches Way to Search for Photos by Colors or Designs.” Another image search system is a net gain. I learned from the write up:

500px has created a new way to discover photos, based not on textual descriptions but on swatches and colors. The company today launched Splash, a search engine that lets you simply select a color or design to begin filtering photos that match your mood.

I highlighted this passage:

“This is a way of searching images that has never been done before,” explained 500px head of product Kelly Thompson.

If I understand the system, I can draw a sketch and 500px technology will figure out what matches my drawing. Problem: I cannot draw. I can scan. I can trace. If I rely of these methods, Google can “match” my uploaded image.

Oh, the unique 500px search allows you, gentle reader, to purchase the image the system presents.

Poor Google, left behind again from some entrepreneurs’ point of view. For me, I am okay with the Google Images’ approach.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016

Business Intelligence: Four Generalized Hurdles

August 30, 2016

Business intelligence, like government intelligence, may be an oxymoron. Nevertheless, doing “intelligence” is a big business. That’s why Palantir Technologies is hoping lawyers can crack open the US Army’s coin purse.

I read “4 Huge Challenges Facing CIOs and IT Leaders.” I quite like the use of “chief information officer” and “information technology leaders” in the headline. CIOs seems to be struggling to meet their budgets, deal with security issues, and attend conferences. The notional “information technology leader” is busy reading reports from mid tier consulting firms, dealing with the all-too-frequent emergencies, and removing malware from senior executives’ computing devices.

The write up identifies four “challenges” these busy professionals must convert to opportunities in their spare time. What are these “challenges”? Here’s my translation of MBA speak into Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky lingo:

  1. Executives have to write checks and push aside bureaucratic baloney to that business intelligence can move forward. If the top dog doesn’t care, well, you can always check out Facebook and read Reddit.
  2. Get something done when  you said you would complete the task. Good luck with that. Meetings, approvals, crashes [see the comment above about information technology professionals’ time allocation], and software that simply doesn’t work are enemies of finishing a job. I assume that the people performing business intelligence know what they are doing most of the time when they are not sure what the objective of the project is.
  3. Normalizing, vetting, and processing data. Yikes, this challenge has been in the fast lanes of the information superhighway for more than 50 years. Hey, that XML is just great, isn’t it?
  4. Getting users to use the business intelligence outputs. If the users don’t understand the outputs, don’t trust the outputs, or prefer their own methods—up date that link graph thing on Microsoft LinkedIn.

When one steps back from this list of challenges, the issues are not new. The more chaotic the business environment is perceived to be, the less likely converting these opportunities into a career win may be.

Even when a system does deliver useful outputs like Palantir Gotham, getting acceptance is a very difficult challenge. A person without the resources of Palantir might find the conversion of these challenges a bit of a challenge in itself.

May I suggest that the solution is to start small, demonstrate value, and move forward? How popular is that approach? Not very.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 2016

HonkinNews for August 30, 2016, Now Available

August 30, 2016

If you want to learn how Beyond Search sends secure messages, view Honking News, August 30, 2016. Stories include IBM in Scotland and a possible new recipe for haggis with tamarind, Microsoft and its inability to change China, the US Army’s math challenge, and frisky algorithms. The program for August 30, 2016, is located in this YouTube cubby. We have added a video player to the Beyond Search blog too. Bet your bots — er, bet your boots — on that.

Kenny Toth, August 30, 2016

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