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Yearly Archives: 2015

/2015

Is Facebook About To Introduce Speech Recognition?

In a move that could have major repercussions, Facebook has recently acquired the speech-recognition start-up Wit.ai, it has been confirmed.

Although neither company is presently prepared to reveal what they have planned to develop, Facebook have praised Wit.ai’s ability to “turn speech and text into actionable data” and confirmed that the existing Wit.ai platform would remain.

Facebook confirmed the deal to the BBC, although neither firm disclosed details of a fee.

A spokesman did however state: “Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them on board.”

What Could This Mean?

According to one analyst, the recent acquisition by Facebook could spark a move into voice messaging, or possibly even introduce the ability to voice control home Facebookappliances.

“If you have more than a billion users and you can connect them to multiple devices, that becomes a very powerful offering. Wit.ai also has the messenger agents and you could see those being incorporated into Facebook,” said Pamela Clark-Dickson of analyst firm Ovum.

She said that while the Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been struggling to get its own voice product to market, Facebook was unlikely to simply use Wit.ai to help out in that respect.

And she said she believed that the Facebook-Wit.ai offering, when it arrived, would be more than a Skype or Siri-like service for Facebook. “I believe it will add value,” she said.

‘Amazing Experiences’

Wit.ai, which has been described as “the Github, the Wikipedia, the Bitcoin of natural language” by founder Alex Lebrun said: “Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step.”

In a statement, it said: “Facebook’s mission is to connect everyone and build amazing experiences for the over 1.3 billion people on the platform – technology that understands natural language is a big part of that, and we think we can help.”

It confirmed its own platform would “remain open and become entirely free for everyone”. It said: “Developers are the life of our project and the energy, enthusiasm and passion of the community has helped turn what was once just a lofty dream, into a reality.”

For more information on this story, please visit – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30697254

By | January 22nd, 2015|Facebook|Comments Off on Is Facebook About To Introduce Speech Recognition?

A Warning About Data Risks

The BBC has reported that Google is proposing to warn people their data is can be at risk when visiting websites which do not use the “HTTPS” system.

Many sites have adopted the secure version of the basic web protocol to help safeguard data.

The proposal was made by the Google developers working on the search firm’s Chrome browser.

Causing Confusion?

Security experts broadly welcomed the proposal but said it could cause confusion initially.

The proposal to mark HTTP connections as non-secure was made in a message posted to the Chrome development website by Google engineers working on the firm’s A Warning About Data Risksbrowser.

If implemented, the developers wrote, the change would mean that a warning would pop-up when people visited a site that used only HTTP to notify them that such a connection “provides no data security”.

How Does This Work?

HTTPS uses well-established cryptographic systems to scramble data as it travels from a user’s computer to a website and back again.

The team said warnings were needed because it was known that cyber thieves and government agencies were abusing insecure connections to steal data or spy on people.

Rik Ferguson, a senior analyst at security firm Trend Micro, said warning people when they were using an insecure connection was “a good idea“.

“People seem to make the assumption that communications such as HTTP and email are private to a degree when exactly the opposite is the case,” he said.

Letting people know when their connection to a website is insecure could drive sites to adopt more secure protocols, he said.

A Major Shift is Needed

Currently only about 33% of websites use HTTPS, according to statistics gathered by the Trustworthy Internet Movement which monitors the way sites use more secure browsing technologies.

The Google proposal was also floated on discussion boards for other browsers and received guarded support from the Mozilla team behind the Firefox browser and those involved with Opera.

Many large websites and services, including Twitter, Yahoo, Facebook and GMail, already use HTTPS by default.

For more on this story, please visit – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30505970

 

By | January 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on A Warning About Data Risks

Google ‘to put Android directly into cars’

Do you fall on the Apple or Android side of the fence? If you spend a lot of time travelling in your car, a recent announcement may offer a persuasive argument towards making you sway in a particular direction.

“Search giant Google plans to use Android operating system to control a car’s entertainment and navigation features, but could also gather huge amounts of data about driving habits”.

Towards the end of last year, international news agency Reuters reported that Google is planning a version of Android which would be built directly into vehicles, which would result in drivers being able to experience all of the benefits offered by being connected to the interest without the need of a smart-phone.

Forward Progress

Although Google currently offers ‘Android Auto’ software, which comes with the latest version of its smart-phone operating system, it has to be plugged into a compatible Googlecar with a built-in screen to access streaming music, maps and other apps and therefore a fully integrated version would be a huge forward step.

Google, however, has never provided details or a timeframe for its long-term plan to put Android Auto directly into cars. The company now plans to do so when it rolls out the next version of its operating system, dubbed Android M, expected in a year or so, Reuters reported.

“It provides a much stronger foothold for Google to really be part of the vehicle rather than being an add-on,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice-president and Automotive Practice Leader of industry research firm Gartner, who noted that he was unaware of Google’s latest plans in this area.

Google declined to comment to Reuters.

Solidifying Market Position

If this move by Google is a success, it would see Android become the standard system for in-car entertainment and navigation features throughout the world and take steps towards solidifying Google’s position at the top of the market in the battle against arch-rival Apple.

Google could also potentially access the valuable trove of data collected by a vehicle. Direct integration into cars ensures that drivers will use Google’s services every time they turn on the ignition, without having to plug in the phone. It could allow Google to make more use of a car’s camera, sensors, fuel gauge and internet connections that come with some newer car models.

For more on this story please visit the Daily Telegraph website by clicking on the following link – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/electronics/11302829/Google-to-put-Android-directly-into-cars.html

 

By | January 12th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on Google ‘to put Android directly into cars’

Are You Getting The Most From Your Domain Name

The value of new gTLDs (or Generic Top Level Domains to give you its full name) for targeted marketing took another twist late last year with Amazon reportedly winning the ICANN auction for the right to run the .book domain name as well as the .pay domain.

With speculation that the .book domain on its own may have cost up to $10 million in addition to the $4.6 million it Amazon recently paid for the .buy domain name and $2.2 million it paid for .spot, it is pretty obvious that Amazon views these generic top level domains as hugely important.

However, why do you think that this is?

Improved Marketing Targets

With Amazon widely acknowledged as leading the way in global e-commerce, it is a natural next step for them to make effective use of the use of the world’s newest online Web Design Westerhamreal estate as well.

Whilst .spot and .buy are extremely likely to have been purchased for corporate use – the purchase of the .book gTLD looks to have been made in an effort to consolidate Amazon’s place (or .spot!) as THE go to place for books on the internet.

Opening New Horizons

Whilst the figures quoted above are a little mind-boggling and therefore very likely to be miles out of reach of most companies, this does not mean that some of the newer gTLDs hitting the market should be ignored.

Adding something along the lines of .club or a .dating or even a .expert (depending on your line of business of course) to your website may possibly offer a potential customer confirmation that they are already looking along the right lines before even visiting your website.

Impacting Search Engine Optimisation

Google and the other search engines are yet to provide any insight into how they are going to  deal with new gTLDs but will need to acknowledge the impact these domain names are likely to have in relation to the way people do business, both from a customer and from a business point of view sooner rather than later.

Changes to the value of an aged domain and the ability to group domains together to get full brand value could well be on the horizon if domain name marketing is to be given its full potential.

For a little more information regarding gTLDs, please click here.

 

By | January 5th, 2015|Domains|Comments Off on Are You Getting The Most From Your Domain Name

Help Getting Your Blog Noticed

So you’re posting regularly, but how do you go about getting your blog noticed?

Writing a blog that doesn’t get high traffic numbers can be stressful and feel like a waste of time. But fear not! Here are a few pointers that will help you up the numbers of people coming across your blog.

Getting Your Blog Noticed

Getting your blog noticed might seem difficult at first…

Before we go any further, however, it’s important to note that, although there are a plethora of slightly unscrupulous things you can do to increase your numbers, the real longevity of your blog will come from quality content and endorsements from real people.

So here’s a few tips to get you on your way to getting your blog noticed:

1: Learn from the best
Whose blog do you admire? Where are the success stories in your industry? Research is crucial for quality content, but it’s also useful for seeing what works in the blogosphere.

There are thousands and thousands of professional, successful bloggers out there; who are happy to impart their knowledge. Some even offering free webinars. Find one or two whose style you like and learn everything you can from them. When to they publish? What sort of language do they use? How do they structure their blogs? How do they use headlines and images to grab attention?

Remember – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but plagiarism will get you nowhere!

2: Get opinions
There are any number of local, national and international blogging groups out there. Getting involved with people whose opinions and styles you respect will mean you have a go-to group for advice. There’ll always be some people who’ll read into your words in a different way than you intended them. By asking people to critique your style and content you’ll ensure your writing appeals to as wide a range of people as possible.

3: Practice makes perfect
It’s important to stay on top of topics and trends in blogging, in order that your own content remains fresh and relevant. You should be reading new content all the time. Set up daily Google alerts to related subjects and writers whose content and style you admire. Our own writing becomes better by reading.

Above all, you should be writing every day. Very few people are born talented writers; like anything, it takes practice to be good at it. Any opportunities you get can be used to practice writing. A 1/2 hour here and there can be used to plan structures, wording, headlines, vocab – all things that will expand your knowledge and build your writing muscles.

4: Consistency is key
Regular posting is important. As mentioned in last week’s blog, posting less frequently that once a week just isn’t going to cut it. A few times a week is great, but, remember, if you’re just posting content for the sake of it you will lose readers.

Inviting guest-blogging opportunities is a great way to get new content and readers and also can be used to improve those all important backlinks.

5: Write in a way your readers will identify with

Blogs work so much better when the language used is more informal. We’re not talking textspeak or poor grammar, but written in a style that is much more conversational. Save the business or corporate language for your website.

Readers aren’t interested in where you position a semi-colon, whether you’ve split an infinitive, or that fact you’ve legitimately managed to shoehorn the word “antidisestablishmentarianism”  into your content. They’re only interested in that which is useful and appeals to them.

6: Be honest
As above, readers don’t respond to churned out sales pitches and rehashed content. They respond to reality and contact.

People want to be treated as if they matter. If your blog is honest, people will interact with it; if they do, respond to them. These readers are your potential clients, if you make them feel like their opinions are important, you’ll invoke loyalty in them.

7: Guest Posting – it really works

Getting yourself guest posting slots on other blogs will really ramp up the traffic to your own. However, it’s important that it is done right. Building strong relationships and networks with other blogs will ensure you have a steady stream of visitors to your blog.

There are a huge number of guides to guest posting out there. As above, pick the one that fits with your style and learn everything you can.

Further Information

Footprint Web Design have been at the forefront of SEO for a long time, and really understand what it takes to keep your website at the top of the search engine rankings.

Our team are experienced content and blog writers, and are committed to conveying the true voice of a business. If you are struggling to make your blog relevant and effective, then call us on 01883 372 488 and see how we can help you get your voice out there.

By | September 1st, 2015|Blogging|Comments Off on Help Getting Your Blog Noticed
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