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5 Things You Did Not Know You Could Use Google For

Without Google, the world would be a very different place. Its ability to as a search engine is well known but did you know that simply finding the results which are best suited to your searches is not the end of Google’s capabilities?

The world of Google can be a weird and wonderful place sometimes and below we have dug out some of more unusual uses for this brilliant search engine.

Exploring The Stars

Are you curious about what lives out there beyond the stars? Google will let you explore a well known distant planet, and if you’re lucky, even have a chat with an alien!Google Webmaster Tools

The Mars Feature on Google Earth 5 allows users to explore the surface of the red planet.  Simply type “Meliza” into the search box and watch as you are transported to a secret part of the planet where you can have a char with a local alien. We have our suspicions that it may not actually be a real alien, so let us know what you think!

Learn To Fly

Ever wanted to be a pilot? Why not give this a try to see how your skills measure up! Visit Google Earth, press CTRL + Alt + A (Command + Option + A for Mac), choose your aircraft, and fly!

You can even simulate flying an F16 Fighter Jet. Click here to learn the flight controls.

Are You a Trekkie

Star Trek is one of those timeless shows that it popular throughout the generations. It is also a show that its fans take very seriously! If your second language happens to be Klingon, your luck could be in. Try using Google’s custom Klingon search. It’s a fun way to put a new spin on Google. It will even correct your grammar! And if you don’t speak Klingon, don’t sweat it. Google has their own Klingon translator and dictionary to help you out.

Take a Trip Back To The 80s

Were you an 80s kid? It may sound odd, but typing a random string of letters into Google Translate, then hitting the listen icon will prompt Google to beatbox whatever you wrote down. Try it yourself by copy pasting “pv kkk pkkk pvpvpv ppkk pddd  bschk bschk pv zk pv bschk pv pv pv bschk bschk bschk kkkkkkkkkk bschk bsch” into Google Translate and giving it a listen. Or click here and try!

Follow Your Flight

Just enter the desired airline and flight number into Google’s search box and instantly see the arrival and departure times in the results. Now you can keep up-to-date with any flight without having to constantly check the airline’s website.

Further Information

Footprint Web Design have been at the forefront of web design and development for nearly 20 years. If you are looking for a website that truly represents your business, or advice on how to make your site stand out, then contact us today on 01883 372 488, or via email at info@footprint.co.uk.

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By | March 9th, 2016|Google, Google Maps, Uncategorized|Comments Off on 5 Things You Did Not Know You Could Use Google For

AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

In our quest to provide the most accurate reporting to our clients, the monthly figures play an essential role. However, this is not quite as easy as we would like it to (or believe it should) be.

For many years we have used a combination of Google Analytics (reports produced from Google) results and Awstats (visitor details pulled directly from the server) to produce a comprehensive overview for our clients.

The world of Google can be a very cloak and dagger place on occasion though and a previously Google announced some big news for website owners. google-485611_1920Going forward, when a search is made through the Google search engine (which in February 2014 was approximately 89% of all searches) and the result clicked, the search term would no longer be passed to the destination website. Instead, these visits would simply be grouped together in Google Analytics under the keyword “(not provided)”.

Whilst this does not affect the tracking of visitor numbers to a website (a key indication of growth and the success of an SEO campaign) it now makes it impossible to track which term a user typed in to find the website.

For example if you found our website by searching for SEO Oxted on Google, when you clicked on the link to visit our website, our unique visitor numbers would increase by 1 but we would not be able to identify how you found our website. Annoying isn’t it!!

What Made Google Do This?

A great question! On the surface, the official reason was that this was done in the name of privacy. Google is suggesting that those searching using their general services would not want their search term to be passed on to the destination site.

However, some people have other ideas regarding this……

To further clarify the situation, we recently contacted our hosts for their take on this issue and this was the response that we received.light-bulb-1002783_1920

“This is unfortunately a known issue with Google not passing referrer data from searches under certain circumstances.

Awstats parses information directly from Apache’s domain logs- which are the raw web server access logs. These logs contain various pieces of information (see the samples below), one of which is the referrer- i.e. the site the user was visiting prior to coming to yours. If the referrer is a search term, Awstats is intelligent enough to detect this, and also detect the search terms the user had entered in.

Unfortunately Google have been taking steps for a few years now (in the name of “privacy”) to restrict the visibility of these referrers. Initially this was only for users who were signed into google when they performed a search. Now, it seems to be that any search done over SSL (i.e. https) doesn’t pass the referrer over to the site. I’ve provided an example below based on my own testing:

To test this I searched for “footprint web design” on Google and Bing and then clicked through to your site. Here are what the raw access logs recorded:

Google:
83.223.125.4 – – [26/Jun/2014:10:27:47 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “
https://www.google.co.uk/” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”
Bing:
83.223.125.4 – – [26/Jun/2014:10:29:46 +0100] “GET / HTTP/1.1” 200 96724 “
http://www.bing.com/search?q=footprint+web+design&go=&qs=n&form=QBLH&filt=all&pq=footprint+web+design&sc=1-20&sp=-1&sk=&cvid=738cf01f67bd4d7b8f8f3e0d2b52f6d0” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/35.0.1916.153 Safari/537.36”

Notice the referrer (the sixth field) in the first line only reports “https://www.google.co.uk“. The actual referrer should be:

https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=0uqrU9qCKsfX8ge9tIDYAw&gws_rd=ssl#q=footprint+web+design

Because this is the URL of the page I was performing the search on. If this was the referrer Google sent, Awstats would pick up on the “q=footprint+web+design” bit at the end of the URL and record a search term of “footprint web design”. However, as Google doesn’t send the actual referring URL, Awstats can’t report it.

I hope this makes sense- unfortunately because this is a problem with the way Google are passing referrers there isn’t anything we can do at our end. I understand this will affect the SEO work you are doing as you won’t have visibility of many search terms.”

As you can see, whilst we are continually looking for an alternative method of tracking how visitors find our customer’s websites, this information is currently unattainable.

Some Good News Though!

Whilst the information provided by Awstats pay be incomplete (through no fault of the host server), the visitor numbers to your website are guaranteed to be accurate because these figures are generated directly from the server and cannot be altered in any way.

 

By | December 15th, 2015|Google, Uncategorized|Comments Off on AWSTATS v Google Analytics – Which is the winner?

Will Google’s New Service Change The Internet?

Whilst Google’s intention to offer a new wireless service to its customers is planned to operate initially on a significantly smaller scale than established competitors such as Verizon and AT&T (in the USA), the implications are still enormous.

Google revealed at the beginning of March that it would soon be “experimenting” with wireless services and how their customers may be able to use Google-Mapsthem. Whilst this may seem like a fairly innocuous first step, Google experiments have ultimately often found a way of becoming something far bigger and this is something that should be kept in mind when Google starts dabbling with something that may impact the infrastructure that drives the internet.

The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

“However small Google’s entry, the move by the creative and well-capitalized technology company is likely to send ripples through a business long controlled by Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc., Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc.”

“It is a strong signal that Google’s ambitions extend beyond selling advertising and services over the Internet to influencing how Internet access is delivered.”

For more on this story, please check out the following link – http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-confirms-plan-to-offer-wireless-service-1425308552

Expanding Coverage

As time passes by, there is every chance that Google may look to expand the scope of its ambitions as a wireless carrier, in a similar fashion to the work it has done with Google Fiber (it’s super high speed landline internet service).

However, perhaps a more important point here is that there is a strong possibility that Google’s experiments, may help to push the rest of the market in the same direction. The market is already moving this way thanks to other notable tech names, including mobile carrier T-Mobile, mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, and serial Silicon Valley inventor Steve Perlman, who recently unveiled a faster breed of wireless network known as pCell.

Initial Goals

Initially, Google has said that its goals are to create effective ways for phones to more easily move between cellular networks and WiFi connections, How Many Times Do You Think Google Is Searched Each Year?possibly even offering the ability to juggle calls between the two.

Other companies such as T-Mobile and Qualcomm, are thought to be working on similar services but with the leverage of Google’s own Android mobile operating system and general internet clout, Google has the ability to push things significantly further than many of its competitors.

Eventually, Google may even drive the market towards new kinds of wireless networks altogether, networks that provide connections when you don’t have cellular or Wi-Fi—or that significantly boost the speed of your cellular connection. Exciting times are certain to be ahead.

Despite the fact that Google’s initial steps into wireless technology are focused on the USA, if successful, it can only be a matter of time before they turn their attention to other areas of the world and the UK is sure to be near the top of the list.

For more information about how Google may be able to assist your business, please contact us on Tel. No. 01883 372488.

By | May 11th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on Will Google’s New Service Change The Internet?

Missed Out on Google Glass? You May Get a Another Chance

A recent report has highlighted that Google is wiping the slate clean in regards to its Google Glass project and is starting again with the development of this controversial invention.

Sales of the controversial smart spectacles were halted in January and development of the prototype was also believed to have been stopped.

However, this all appears to have changed as the glass development has been re-invigorated and is now being driven by former Apple gadget designer Tony Fadell, who has

Google Glass With Frame - Image sourced from Wikipedia

Google Glass With Frame
– Image sourced from Wikipedia

“reset” the project.

The report in the New York Times stated that the version will be developed internally and only released when finished.

Must Have Gadget?

From the initial reveal in 2011, Google Glass was considered to be the gadget to own from everyone ranging from techies to chief executives. It was the must-have toy that was going to set the gold standard for a new class of wearable computers.

Under Performer

Google Glass made a huge impact during 2012 when Google demonstrated some of its capabilities to the audience at its developers’ conference using skydivers and stunt cyclists.

Problems lay ahead though and many of the people who worked on the device were unhappy with the amount of exposure generated by its early reveal because it resulted in the final developments of the device taking place in public.

Will Things Be Different?

Now Glass is being overseen by Mr Fadell, who helped to bring Apple’s iPod and other gadgets to market.

Mr Fadell became a Google employee last year when the search giant bought his home automation company Nest.

Development on Glass was now reportedly all going to happen in-house with nothing released until it was ready.

Technology news site Ars Technica speculated that Mr Fadell’s “rebooting” of the project might take a long time because of the poor performance of the earlier versions.

“There is very little that Glass does well, so with a reboot, there isn’t much to currently work from,” it said.

 

By | April 10th, 2015|Google|Comments Off on Missed Out on Google Glass? You May Get a Another Chance

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Find Out Why It Needs To Be

Did you know that as many as 80% of all internet users now own a smart phone?* Did you know that smart mobile phones now offer the second most popular method of searching the internet?*

Whilst having a website optimised for display on a mobile phone may have been considered to be an added bonus for many businesses throughout the UK, a change in policy by Google in regards to how they display search results when viewed through a mobile device could leave you lagging behind your competitors if your website is not mobile optimised.

What Has Changed?

Previously, Google has added websites to its search results, regardless of how mobile friendly they are. However, from the 21st April this is all set to Googlechange.

Google is quoted with the following:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices.”

For more on this please visit the following link – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

What Does Mobile Optimised Actually Mean?

The mobile optimisation of a website means that your standard ‘desktop’ website will be converted into a specific user-friendly format which can easilyMobile Optimised be read on any smart mobile device.

This conversion will ensure that all of the hard work is done for the user, ensuring they get the best possible experience when visiting your website.

The need for ‘zooming’ in order to read the content will be eliminated and the navigation will become far easier, therefore minimising the risk of hitting the wrong link.

Does This Mean That I Need An ‘App’ Developing?

Fortunately the answer to this is no. Web users tend to have distinctly different habits when it comes to mobile internet browsing and user apps on a phone. Whereas apps are often the preferred choice when it comes to social networking and online gaming, mobile browsers are still the clear number one choice when it comes to conducting online searches, browsing, shopping and entertainment.

The good news is that creating a mobile optimised site is significantly cheaper than producing an app, as well as being easier to manage, and offering effortless syncing between your website and your mobile optimised site.

Introducing Responsive Web Designs

Because of the significant increase in the use of tablets and smart phones to view the internet, the need to design websites which display to their ipad-iphoneoptimum abilities has never been greater and this is an aspect of web design in which we possess great experience.

To achieve the best possible results, creating a responsive web design will ensure that your website is optimised for display on all platforms.

These designs ensure that as well as your normal ‘desktop’ version, in an addition you will receive a ‘mobile’ version as well and this is where the term ‘responsive’ comes in.

Due to the way in which the designs are created the browser will be able to identify the type of device being used to view the website and will display the correct version accordingly.

The Good News Is…

Even if your website is not currently ‘mobile optimised’, we possess the skills needed to ensure that this is not the case for long!

Contact Us

If you would like more information regarding the creation of a mobile friendly version of your website, please contact us on Tel. No. 01883 372488 or via e-mail info@footprint.co.uk at we will be happy to run through your options.

*Source – http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

 

 

By | March 19th, 2015|Google, Mobile|Comments Off on Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? Find Out Why It Needs To Be
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