Bing Introduces an Image Feed

June 30, 2017

Here’s a short write-up about a notable addition to Bing —On MSFT reports, “Bing Image Search Updated with Image Feed, Taking on Pinterest.” After noting that the Tools menu has been renamed “Filter” and moved to the right of the screen, writer Jack Wilkinson explains:

A new feature has also appeared, known as Image Feed, which replaces where Tools originally used to be placed. Image Feed allows you to choose a feed of images…. When selecting an image feed to look at, it allows you to follow it as an ‘interest’, so that you can see new images in a feed. Your personalised image feed can be accessed here. By the looks of it, it appears as though Bing’s new image feed is taking a hit at Pinterest – bringing all the images you could want into one place via a feed, in similar fashion to Pinterest.

Yes, this could certainly replace Pinterest for many users, especially ones who already frequent Bing. I had noticed the refine-by-keyword list at the top of Google’s image results page is formatted much like the one on my Pinterest account. Will that online search platform, still number one by far, also implement a Pinterest-like image feed? Stay tuned.

Cynthia Murrell, June 30, 2017

Legal Media Search Site Baits Pirates with Keywords

June 26, 2017

How do you attract a (media) pirate? Apparently, with targeted keywords. Torrent Freak reports, “Film Industry’s Latest Search Engine Draws Traffic with ‘Pirate’ Keywords.” Interesting tactic. Apparently a Dutch answer to Hollywood’s legal-content-finder WhereToWatch, the search engine Film.nl returns legal content. However, they’ve peppered their descriptions with keywords associated with pirated content. For example, “Don’t Wrestle With Nasty Torrents. Ignore the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story torrent.” Intriguing tactic. Reporter Ernesto writes:

Those who scroll down long enough will notice that each page has a targeted message for pirates as well. The descriptions come in a few variations but all mention prominent keywords such as ‘torrents’ and reference ‘illegal downloading’ and unauthorized streaming. …

 

While the piracy related messaging is unusual, it’s actually quite clever. Since a lot of people are searching for ‘torrent,’ ‘streaming’ and ‘download’ related terms combined with movie and TV-show titles, it helps to keep search traffic away from pirate sites. In other words, it’s a smart search engine optimization trick, helping it to directly compete with pirate sites on this front. The big question is whether people who search for ‘Movie X torrent’ will be satisfied with the results Film.nl offers. That said, from a movie industry perspective, it definitely beats doing nothing at all.

Does it? When prospective viewers learn their desired content is not yet legally available, we suspect most will simply navigate away to more shady destinations. Will a significant number be persuaded to wait for the legal version by Film.nl’s combination of keyword bait and moralizing? I doubt it. But it is an interesting play to note.

Cynthia Murrell, June 26, 2017

Bookeyes for Free Classic Literature

June 15, 2017

We want to let you in on a nifty new resource—Bookeyes lets users download classic literature, in eBook form, for free. As of this writing, the site has 65 works to choose from, with the option to request something specific not yet on the page. (I requested Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.)

Despite the lack of Brontë sisters, the selection is pretty representative of the traditional Western-centric cannon, from Machiavelli to Thoreau. There’s your Homer, your Shakespeare, Jack London, Tolstoy, and Twain. Beowulf too, naturally. We also see books by Jane Austin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Frederick Douglas.

The search box works as expected—the first few letters of a title or author’s name narrows the list without reloading the page. To say the “About” page is succinct is an understatement; it simply declares:

Bookeyes is your home for book classics. Pick a title on our homepage and enjoy!

On the Contact page is a photo of site creator Kermitt Davis, who is either quite young or incredibly well-preserved. We applaud his effort to bring classic literature to the masses; perhaps he could use more suggestions for works that are out of copyright. Know of any good ones that might fall outside the syllabus for a Survey of Prominent Western Literature?

Cynthia Murrell, June 15, 2017

 

Decoding SEO and Traffic Generation

June 12, 2017

Businesses are desperately trying to get noticed online. However, most businesses focus on generating traffic while sidelining the ultimate motive of generating sales.

According to an article published on Business 2 Community titled The Ugly Truth: Why SEO Isn’t Driving Better Website Sales, the author states:

Driving traffic to your website with SEO is only half the battle. It’s also important to make sure your website is designed in a way that converts those leads into sales. When you have a website that has a solid conversion rate, it ensures the investment you make in SEO will result in a guaranteed boost in sales.

What business owners fail to understand is that traffic is just one part of the equation in generating sales online. You need to keep your potential customers engaged, develop trust among them, and offer them incentives among many other things. With millions of websites being launched every day, these are some of the key factors that can set you apart from the herd. Focus on generating sales and not just driving traffic, or resort to Google AdWords Campaigns.

Vishal Ingole, June 12, 2017

Tired of Google? Try These Alternatives

June 8, 2017

Though Google dominates 80% of the search engine market, your privacy is compromised, and the results mostly are sponsored. Numerous options exist if you do not want to use Google for finding something online.

Make Use Of in an article titled 13 Alternative Search Engines That Find What Google Can’t says:

There are some patches of green – because let’s face it – Google Search still can’t do everything. They just have close to a million data servers. A few alternative search engines have stepped in and mounted a challenge.

For instance, if you are an environmentalist, use Ecosia that will use 80% of its revenue from search to plant trees. Search engines like Qwant and Peekier are good at protecting user privacy. If your kids use search engines, give them access to Kiddle that will block out everything inappropriate for kids. For people who enjoy streaming, but are spoilt for choices, JustWatch is an excellent option. Who says Google has no competition?

Vishal Ingole, June 8, 2017

Yandex Learns Search Can Be Exciting

June 6, 2017

I am not sure if this Thomson Reuters “real news” story is accurate. I found it amusing. You are on your own with this item, gentle reader.

I read “Investigators Search Ukrainian Offices of Russia’s Yandex.” The main point struck me as:

Ukraine’s State Security Service (SBU) raided the local offices of Russia’s top search site Yandex on Monday in an operation that SBU spokesman Olena Gitlyanska said was part of a treason investigation.

The operative word is treason. Exciting, right?

Yandex has previously said it operates fully in accordance with Ukrainian law. It does not expect sanctions to have a material negative impact on its business.

Let’s assume that the “real news” is accurate. The idea that a Web indexing company is guilty of treason is interesting. I know that in my word with a parent’s group to identify potentially harmful sites for their children, I use Yandex as an example.

Ukrainian officials did not reference Yandex’s more interesting indexing policies. That’s a shame. Treason may be more important to the Ukrainian government that links to certain interesting types of videos.

Treason can have a “material negative impact,” however.

Stephen E Arnold, June 5, 2017

Crowd Wisdom Adjusted to Measure Information Popularity

June 2, 2017

The article on ScienceDaily titled In Crowd Wisdom, the ‘Surprisingly Popular’ Answer Can Trump Ignorance of the Masses conveys the latest twist on crowd wisdom, or efforts to answer questions by asking many people rather than specialists. Unsurprisingly, crowd wisdom often is not very wise at all, but rather favors the most popular information. The article uses the example of asking various populations whether Philadelphia is the capital of Pennsylvania. Those who answered yes also believed that others would agree, making it a popular answer. The article goes on to explain,

Meanwhile, a certain number of respondents knew that the correct answer is “no.” But these people also anticipated that many other people would incorrectly think the capital is Philadelphia, so they also expected a very high percentage of “yes” answers. Thus, almost everyone expected other people to answer “yes,” but the actual percentage of people who did was significantly lower. “No” was the surprisingly popular answer because it exceeded expectations of what the answer would be.

By measuring the perceived popularity of a given answer, researchers saw errors reduced by over 20% compared to straightforward majority votes, and by almost 25% compared to confidence-weighted votes. As in the case of the Philadelphia question above, those who predicted that they were in the minority deserve the most attention because they had enough information to expect that many people would incorrectly vote yes. If you take away nothing else from this, let it be that Harrisburg, not Philly, is the capital of Pennsylvania.

Chelsea Kerwin, June 2, 2017

Break into Netflixs Stockroom with This Chrome Extension

June 1, 2017

The article titled Search Hidden Netflix Categories and Save Your Favorites With This Extension on LifeHacker calls attention to Netflix’s treasure trove of hidden category codes. Using Netflix often feels like a very limited exercise, especially if you don’t use the DVD service. But part of that is because Netflix is only showing you titles based on what it thinks you will like. The algorithm has its perks, but it can also become a spiral of narrowing cultural interests. The article illumines,

Netflix has a ton of hidden categories codes you can use to find movies and shows you’re into. The aptly-named Chrome extension Netflix Categories helps you find and save the ones you like. The extension adds a button to your Chrome menu bar. Click it and you’ll see a drop down list of categories that you might not find on the Netflix site proper. You can search the categories by name to find something more specific.

What sort of categories are available? Everything under the sun, from “Movies for ages 0 to 2” to “Film Noir” to “Military Documentaries” to “Belgian Movies” to “Korean TV Shows.” These categories offer a great way to branch out and be exposed to content that might unlock new interests. Or they can help to pinpoint an area of interest and see everything that Netflix has to offer on the subject. At any rate, it is a helpful tool to navigate Netflix’s full inventory.

Chelsea Kerwin, June 1, 2017

HonkinNews for May 30, 2017 Now Available

May 30, 2017

This week’s HonkinNews tackles the “three peas in a pod” approach to certain online information. Some might call the approach used by China, Facebook, and Google censorship. HonkinNews understand that certain information should not be available to just anyone. Does censorship work? If the correct information is filtered, censorship is a champ. Google is into the side search business. The idea is not new, but Google’s approach is to use a euphemism for determining if an Adword leads to an actual sale from a retail outlet. Why position context analysis as something really new? Google wants to prove that online ads really work. Of course they do. Artificial intelligence has found its niche in life. Now smart software can name colors. What does one call that color your young child wants? We provide an answer. The Beyond Search team responsible for HonkinNews will be at the TechnoSecurity & Digital Forensics Conference. I know that sounds like a ton of fun. There’s nothing like the party atmosphere of more than 1,000 LE, security, and intel types. HonkinNews will be delivering three lectures/training sessions. Our next program will be on June 13, 2017, unless the Kentucky crowd becomes the guests of South Carolina. You can find the video at this link.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2017

Google: Fateful Advertising Decision

May 19, 2017

Has Google AdWords become indispensable for business? It is beginning to look that way, we learn from the StarTribune’s article, “How Google Decided to Take Ads on the Most Prominent Real Estate on the Web.” New York Times writer Daisuke Wakabayashi describes the company’s incorporation of search-based advertising:

In the 17 years since Google introduced text-based advertising above search results, the company has allocated more space to ads and created new forms of them. The ad creep on Google has pushed ‘organic’ (unpaid) search results farther down the screen, an effect even more pronounced on the smaller displays of smartphones. The changes are profound for retailers and brands that rely on leads from Google searches to drive online sales. With limited space available near the top of search results, not advertising on search terms associated with your brand or displaying images of your products is tantamount to telling potential customers to spend their money elsewhere. The biggest development with search ads is the proliferation of product listing ads, or PLAs. In a departure from its text-based ads, Google started allowing retailers to post pictures, descriptions and prices of products at the top of search results in 2009.

Another change is the ability for advertisers to link to more general search terms; for example, users see ads for a specific Nike design when they search for “running shoes.” The company has also put resources into optimizing ad placement on both computers and mobile devices. It has gotten to the point that many companies accept a Google AdWords initiative as a necessary expense. Can anyone topple Google from this unique marketing tower?

Cynthia Murrell, May 19, 2017

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