Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reality Apps the Future of Advertising?

Posted on April 30, 2014 by - Uncategorized

There used to be a clear line between the real physical world and the technology of “virtual reality.” But engineers and developers have been trying to merge the two realms for some time. Every other futuristic movie has some fusion of mind, body and tech to create the next-level reality. Until our brains actually become hardwired, smartphones and new applications are presenting the closest alternative.

Combining the digital and physical world is the goal of augmented reality (AR).

Combining the digital and physical world is the goal of augmented reality (AR).

Augmented reality (AR) is viewing the real and physical world but “augmented” or supplemented with computer-generated effects, graphics and/or sensory input. A simple example is preparing your digital camera for a picture. The frame of the shot, the date, a blinking red light, etc., can all appear over the actual image coming through the lens.

Marketers and advertisers are beginning to realize the power and originality of AR applications as billions of people own mobile devices and 86 percent of time spent on the Internet is done through Apps over the mobile web.

The Wikitude World Browser is a dominant AR browser that lets you point your smartphone at a city, building or area, and restaurant, travel, hotel and bar information will pop up on the screen.

Spec Trek is a game where you point your device at your surroundings and then track and eliminate ghosts. The creatures appear as you walk or drive.

Other AR apps let you place furniture in your home to see how it looks, turn your surroundings into a game mode where others can play with you and linking user reviews to landmarks as you pass by.

Advertisers are catching on quick. Jose Cuervo, for example, has a new AR app where if you view a bottle of their tequila with your mobile device, the bottle turns into animation and a history lesson.

The future of digital campaigns might just be AR.

Time Travel with Google Maps

Posted on April 24, 2014 by - Uncategorized

It’s hard to decide with what cliché to open—if we don’t learn from history we are destined to repeat it, something about a flux capacitor or maybe an hourglass analogy about the sands of time. Either way, humans have been fascinated by time and history, and from cave paintings to encyclopedias, we try to document the journey.

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Google is no exception. Earlier this month the search giant released a new feature to the Street View section of its mapping program. Street View came about after users wanted a more realistic view. Satellite images are nice, but it is hard to get a real sense of depth and structure. Street view allows you to act like you are standing at the very address you are searching. The new feature will let you time travel as you are standing there as well.

Dating back seven years, the new Street View feature will let you see the exact landscape at which you are looking, only many years before. You can see how different areas have been developed, what buildings have been torn down, refurbished or constructed. Ever plant a tree and curious to see how it is doing almost a decade later? This enhancement will allow you to do that.

To access the new feature, Google released an announcement stating, “If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.”

With a simple slide you can rehash your life from seven years ago or just gaze into the inevitability of change.

 

Sources: Google.com

What Heartbleed Taught Us About Security

Posted on April 15, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Or perhaps, the lack thereof. For the unfamiliar, the “Heartbleed Bug” was a piece of code that computer hackers could use to eavesdrop on private communications across multiple platforms.

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Conspiracy theorists have been talking about a “tracking information bug” for well over a year and blamed government programs and secret NSA tactics as the reason and source of the bug.

However, earlier this month German computer programmer Robin Seggelmann finally confessed to writing the Heartbleed code, which was added on the last day of 2011.

“It was a simple programming error in a new feature, which unfortunately occurred in a security relevant area,” Seggelmann said.

That relevant area dealt with encrypted SSL communications that users and administrators alike thought were being kept safe and private. Luckily, before the Heartbleed damage became catastrophic, the bug was discovered by Google Security and Codenomicon within the OpenSSL cryptographic software.

The bleeding may have stopped, by a lot of companies and businesses are trying to decide what to do with the wound and eventual scar.

“Website and server administrators will have to spend considerable time, effort and money to mitigate all the security risks associated with Heartbleed, one of the most severe vulnerabilities to endanger encrypted SSL communications in recent years,” reported Lucian Constantin.

And it wasn’t just small companies and businesses that were affected by Heartbleed. LiquidPlanner (LP) recently sent out an email telling their customers, “We [LP] took immediate action to assess and remediate any impact to our systems. As an additional security measure, we recommend that you change your password,” the email stated.

It may take months if not years to find out the true impact of Heartbleed on our Internet security.

 

Sources: Dailymail.co.uk, PCWorld.com, Google

User Experience Taking Over Search

Posted on April 8, 2014 by - Uncategorized

The biggest news coming from the largest and most influential search engines over the last couple of months has been all about makeup and vanity. Over the years we’ve grown accustomed to news related to back end processes along with algorithm and technical changes. Now, it’s basically a question of whether or not you like how it looks.

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Bing is rolling out new designs for their search results in hopes of increasing the user experience (UX).

“Bing is testing a new search results layout that changes the color of the logo from gray to the yellow/orange, changes the color of the search button and removes the gray background color from the right side rail,” reported Barry Schwartz.

The recent change with Bing is coming on the heels of Google making their own changes to their search layout. In May Google began showing results that weren’t underlined and the fonts were bigger. The larger “type press” is to accommodate mobile device users who view online content on a smaller screen compared to desktops and even laptops.

Since last year’s algorithm implementation of Hummingbird, the focus is on UX. That was the main focus of the algorithm anyway, to be able to handle more long-tailed searches that were typically done orally from a mobile device.

What it means for the search engine optimization (SEO) efforts across the country is that the content and layout of a website must combine to provide not only the visual stimulant and format, but also the access ability from different devices and platforms.

SEO—The Confusion Continues

Posted on April 1, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Panda, penguin, hummingbird—no, we’re not talking about animals at the zoo—we’re talking about the different updates and algorithm changes that have been released by Google throughout the past decade.

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Search engine marketers, or SEO professionals, have one goal—make your website appear very high on the search engine results page (SERP). A decade ago, SEO used to be a very easy and straightforward process. Basically, you just had to get a bunch of backlinks to point to your site, along with some keyword stuffed content, and boom, you were front and center on the SERP.

Google and other web crawlers eventually caught on and started punishing “Black Hat” processes. Finally last year in 2013, a new algorithm, Hummingbird, was launched with a goal of clean search without manipulation.

SEO teams panicked and tried to figure how to make the new algorithm work for them. While they were busy doing that, Google was already testing new versions.

According to Matt Cutts, head of the spam department at Google, a new algorithm is first tested offline. Searches are conducted and new URLs show up on the SERP. “Google can request these raters to rate the new URLs or compare the old search results to this new test set. Then based on those metrics, Google may decide to move the test to the next phase,” reported Barry Schwartz.

The next step is testing the new algorithm on the unsuspecting public. “If Google sees a higher click rate on the new search results, it may imply that the new results are better than the older ones,” reported Schwartz.

The final step for the new algorithm is getting approval from the Google Search Quality Launch Committee. Once it has that, it goes live.

Great SEO is all about staying one step ahead of the Google algorithm curve.