Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Invest Significant Sum in Uber

Unnamed sources report that Microsoft has agreed to invest in Uber. Although details are not yet public, the company is expected to invest a significant portion of the upcoming $1 billion funding round that values Uber at around $51 billion. That new funding round — and the valuation — makes Uber one of the most highly valued private companies ever, along with startups such as Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company valued at around $45 billion and Airbnb, valued at more than $24 billion. Continue reading Microsoft Reportedly Plans to Invest Significant Sum in Uber

JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

JustWatch launched in February as a free search engine to help cord cutters and others find where to legally watch their favorite TV shows and movies online. The app, which recently expanded to mobile and is available on iOS and Android, allows users to filter by streaming subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video in addition to tracking rental and purchase options via services including Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. The app alerts users when new content arrives on their preferred service. Continue reading JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

ACSI: Customer Satisfaction of Facebook Users on Upswing

According to new data released by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, user satisfaction with social media platforms is on the rise, led by Facebook’s recent success with its mobile app and improved ad targeting. In terms of customer satisfaction, Facebook was ranked the lowest social media site in 2012, but has since worked its way up to the middle of the pack, behind Pinterest, Wikipedia, YouTube, Instagram and Google+ (in that order). ACSI currently has Facebook ranked ahead of Twitter, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Continue reading ACSI: Customer Satisfaction of Facebook Users on Upswing

Google Confirms it Will Include Buy Buttons in Paid Search Ads

Google’s paid search ads will soon help make online purchases even easier. According to Omid Kordestani, chief business officer at Google, the company is getting ready to introduce a “buy button” to accompany products featured in its shopping ads. “There’s going to be a buy button. It’s going to be imminent,” he said at the recent Code Conference. The buttons are expected to initially appear exclusively on mobile searches alongside the platform’s paid search ads. They are not expected to appear with the nonsponsored results of “organic” Google searches. Continue reading Google Confirms it Will Include Buy Buttons in Paid Search Ads

Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Photo sharing site Flickr is helping users store and organize their photos with new cloud computing and machine learning solutions. The service recently introduced a new automatic photo uploader for mobile and desktop and each user gets 1,000 gigabytes of free cloud storage. Sorting through photos is now easier with the new search function, which relies on machine learning tech to recognize objects, places, and people in photos. The new search engine works because the service automatically adds descriptive tags to uploaded photos. Continue reading Flickr Upgrade Includes Cloud Storage and Object Recognition

Google’s Search Criteria Now Includes ‘Mobile Friendliness’

Google has revamped its search criteria to make sure sites at the top of its search rankings are mobile friendly. The change went into effect earlier this week, along with other criteria that could dock a site for having hard-to-click links or a lopsided layout that requires too much scrolling. Google announced the new search criteria two months ago to give companies time to improve their mobile performance. The secret algorithm has about 200 factors that determine a site’s ranking. Continue reading Google’s Search Criteria Now Includes ‘Mobile Friendliness’

Google Implements New Ranking Signals for Mobile Web Results

Google recently announced that it plans to consider two new variables as ranking signals to help improve search results for mobile users of Google search. Google’s latest ranking signals will include a site’s mobile-friendliness and information from indexed mobile applications. The company is committed to helping website owners reconfigure their pages to be more mobile-friendly through various online guides and resources. The mobile-friendly ranking will take effect the third week of April. Continue reading Google Implements New Ranking Signals for Mobile Web Results

JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

JustWatch is a new service that allows cord cutters to search many streaming services simultaneously to find their desired video content. This streaming aggregator is unique because it is aimed at an international audience, instead of just a U.S. audience. JustWatch also provides updates on new content added to streaming services. The service debuted in the U.S., and will soon be available in Germany and Brazil. Eventually, the company wants to help movie studios target cord cutters using an integrated adtech system. Continue reading JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

European Union Expresses Privacy Concerns Regarding Google

The European Parliament recently voted in favor of breaking up Google in European territories. While the nonbinding vote holds no legal power, the decision to vote in favor of such a break-up shows the resistance that Google has encountered from the European Union. The vote comes in the wake of a recent appeal by privacy advocates and the EU to extend the “right to be forgotten” policy for European citizens beyond the European Google search engine. Continue reading European Union Expresses Privacy Concerns Regarding Google

Disney Creates a Search Engine That Filters Pirated Results

Disney has secured a patent for a new search engine that will not highlight sites featuring pirated content in the search results. The search engine filters the results based on “authenticity,” so that illicit content will be more difficult to find. Disney and other companies have been unsatisfied with Google’s efforts to hide pirated sites. Disney’s new search technology also goes a step further by making the authentic trademark holder’s page rank higher than product reviews or Wikipedia entries. Continue reading Disney Creates a Search Engine That Filters Pirated Results

The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is adapting his company to address the challenges of a changing market. The software company is now working on improving Microsoft products across all platforms, such as Android and iOS. Also, Microsoft is about to release a search tool, Delve, that can peruse emails, social networks and corporate documents to find information for work-related inquiries. Microsoft is placing emphasis on Delve’s machine learning and artificial intelligence. Continue reading The Future of Microsoft Focused on Productivity, Not Devices

The Future of Google Search May Be Like a Virtual Assistant

Tech giant Google may be tweaking the search engine that launched its success. The search engine of the future will use software based on inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s theory of intelligence. The software will be like a virtual assistant with the ability to understand questions and give fully developed answers, instead of a list of links. The search engine may even alert users when there are updates on a previous search query. Kurzweil joined Google 18 months ago to help develop the new software. Continue reading The Future of Google Search May Be Like a Virtual Assistant

Yahoo and Yelp Partner in Hopes of Optimizing Local Search

In an effort to better compete with Google and Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo has paired up with Yelp to optimize local search engine results. Yelp’s listings and reviews of local businesses will be integrated into Yahoo’s search functionality. The partnership follows in the footsteps of Microsoft’s recent deal with Foursquare, a mobile check-in software maker. As consumers become increasingly dependent on smartphones to navigate the world, data about local businesses in search engines has become more important. Continue reading Yahoo and Yelp Partner in Hopes of Optimizing Local Search

Notorious Markets List: MPAA Points Out Global Piracy Sites

Following last month’s report by major Hollywood studios stating that 82 percent of infringing URLS that point to pirate sites and torrent files come from Google’s search engine, the Motion Picture Association of America has released a list of major worldwide torrenting sites, cyberblockers, and brick-and-mortar marketplaces. The MPAA is not creating this list to facilitate piracy, but rather to raise awareness in an effort to combat it. Continue reading Notorious Markets List: MPAA Points Out Global Piracy Sites

Google Updates Search Engine to Handle Greater Complexity

Google announced that it is changing its search engine to handle more complex queries. This change has required one of the greatest modifications to the company’s search algorithm since 2000. Google will now focus on comprehending the meanings of searches as well as the relationships of words, as opposed to simply matching keywords. One reason for the change relates to the fact that users are asking longer and more complex questions. Continue reading Google Updates Search Engine to Handle Greater Complexity