Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

In a new first, Internet monitoring firm StatCounter reports that more consumers are accessing the Internet from their mobile and tablet devices (51.2 percent) than from their desktop PCs (48.7 percent). According to TechCrunch, “this means going forward, companies that haven’t yet decided to focus on a mobile-first approach to their Internet services and Web properties really should, as the trend line is unlikely to reverse.” Mobile platforms are by far the method of choice for accessing the Internet in emerging markets such as India, while the gap is narrower in more mature markets like the U.S. and U.K. As of May, Google noted that more searches conducted through its engine originated from mobile platforms than desktop. Continue reading Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Google formally rebutted two antitrust charges made by the European Commission (the European Union’s executive body). The Commission claims that Google has used its search engine to boost Google Shopping, its price comparison service, and AdSense, its ad placement service. A third European Union antitrust suit claims that Google’s mobile OS is a ‘Trojan horse’ to promote its own products and services, injuring potential rivals. The EU says it “cannot at this stage prejudge the final outcome of the investigation.” Continue reading Google Offers Formal Response to Two EU Antitrust Charges

Google to Divide its Index, Enabling Improved Mobile Searches

During a keynote address at Pubcon in Las Vegas last week, Google’s Gary Illyes explained that the company is planning to create a separate mobile index soon that will serve as the primary index the engine uses for responding to search queries. There will also be a separate, less up-to-date desktop index maintained. The plan was first announced at last year’s SMX East. “It’s unclear exactly how the mobile index will work,” reports Search Engine Land. “For example, since the mobile index is the ‘primary’ index, will it really not be used for any desktop queries? Will it only contain ‘mobile-friendly’ content? How out-of-date will the desktop index be?” Continue reading Google to Divide its Index, Enabling Improved Mobile Searches

New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Microsoft is reorganizing itself to better address the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. The company says it has opened a new organization, staffed by 5,000 employees, that combines its sizeable research group and AI-enabled products including the Bing search engine and Cortana virtual assistant. The new group’s creation had a setback when computer scientist Qi Lu, who had overseen Bing and Microsoft Office products, suffered a serious bicycling accident and had to temporarily leave the company.   Continue reading New Microsoft Group Aims to Link AI Research with Products

Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Google just indicated one of its future initiatives when Amit Singhal, who oversees the Google search engine, stepped down, and was replaced by John Giannandrea, who oversees Google’s work in artificial intelligence and, by association, what’s called “deep learning.” Google has already used deep learning to reinvent Search, via RankBrain, a deep learning system to generate responses to search inquiries. As of October of last year, RankBrain has grown to handle a “large fraction” of the queries to the search engine. Continue reading Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Walmart Stores, with chief technology officer Jeremy King leading the charge, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul of its digital operations. The goal is to create a digital presence as powerful as its brick-and-mortar one and, in the process, break Amazon’s record of successfully squelching most traditional retailers online. To do so, Walmart has invested serious resources into its effort: 15 acquisitions, 3,600 new hires and billions of dollars in the project code-named Pangaea, named after the pre-historic supercontinent. Continue reading Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

Google is now relying on artificial intelligence, with a system dubbed RankBrain, for a small but significant part of its search business. Since Google is identified with search, keeping on the bleeding edge of search technology is critical to its dominance, and Google has been researching artificial intelligence — software that learns about the world — for over five years. Prior to launching RankBrain for search, Google has been a big corporate sponsor of AI, invested in it for videos, speech and translation. Continue reading Google Using RankBrain Artificial Intelligence Tech for Search

EU Regulators Gain Regulating Clout With U.S. Tech Companies

Brussels, where the European Union is primarily based, is becoming a mecca for U.S. tech firms to plead their cases. That’s because the EU has taken a hard stance on issues of antitrust and privacy among others, becoming the world’s first regulator to confront Google on antitrust charges… twice. The unintended result is that U.S. tech companies are now hiring full-time lobbyists to protect their interests. And aggrieved U.S. firms go there to lodge complaints that might otherwise have gone to the Federal Trade Commission. Continue reading EU Regulators Gain Regulating Clout With U.S. Tech Companies

Google Augments Search, Connects Users with Home Services

Google is no longer just a way to search for a good local plumber or electrician. Now, users in the San Francisco Bay area can make appointments via Google Home Services, a newly unveiled program that connects users with companies vetted by Google. So far, Google Home Services supplies plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and housecleaners. The move puts Google in direct competition with Amazon, which launched a similar service in March, as well as Angie’s List, Yelp and TaskRabbit. Continue reading Google Augments Search, Connects Users with Home Services

Google’s Fall From Grace in EU Culminates in Antitrust Suit

Google, which enjoyed enormous popularity and usage numbers in the European Union, now suffers blowback from information revealed in the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Not long ago, free-speech advocates in many countries applauded Google for shutting down its China site rather than face censorship, and Google has also been seen on the right side of history during the Arab Spring and in Syria. But now, the EU is accusing the tech giant of abusing its power — and it is looking for payback via an antitrust suit. Continue reading Google’s Fall From Grace in EU Culminates in Antitrust Suit

China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

The Chinese government stated it will place cybersecurity police units at the country’s major Internet companies and websites, to prevent fraud, other illegal activities and the amorphously phrased “spreading of rumors,” reports the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The Internet in China is monopolized by three major companies: e-commerce site Alibaba, Tencent for gaming and messaging, and search engine Baidu. Neither Facebook nor Google operate in China; LinkedIn, which has agreed to China’s cybersecurity measures, does. Continue reading China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

DNT (Do Not Track) has been an Internet standard that consumers can activate to prevent sites from secretly following and recording their online activities. But, despite DNT, many unprincipled advertisers continue to clandestinely track and record users’ Internet activity. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a group of Internet companies decided it was time to combine their resources to develop a stronger DNT setting. Continue reading New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

Nokia Sells Mapping Unit to German Carmakers for $3 Billion

Nokia has sold its Here digital mapping unit, a global competitor to Google Maps, to German automakers Audi, BMW Group and Daimler for $3 billion. Since the sale of its mobile phone unit to Microsoft for $7.6 billion last year, Nokia has been putting efforts into its telecom network infrastructure business, which supplies carriers like AT&T and China Mobile with communication equipment. The three German auto companies will use the mapping tech for autonomous driving plans, which they will license to other companies. Continue reading Nokia Sells Mapping Unit to German Carmakers for $3 Billion