Pop-up Sites Punished By Google

pop upsGoogle recently announced plans to punish websites that utilize intrusive pop-up advertisements. To do this, the tech mogul plans to update its algorithms for ranking search results so that pages with pop ups are more likely to get lower placings in the ranks. According to Google, the revision of the algorithms should come into affect starting on the 10th of January.

While Google does make most of its profits from placing ads on the internet, experts have seen this decision as more strategic than altruistic. The company likely hopes that, by making ads more sparse, users are less likely to use ad-blockers or search within ad-blocking apps when they surf the web.

Google claimed in its blog that the change would be coming about in an attempt to simply make using its results a little less frustrating:

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials [elements that cover the content] provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible,” it explained. “This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller,” it added.

google dockAs for the precise processes that the Mountain View-based company hopes to discourage, Google gave three examples: pop-ups that cover part of the main content of the website when a user clicks on a page, intermediary webpages that have to be dismissed before the main content can be seen, and ads that fill a web browser’s screen so that a user is forced to scroll down “below the fold” before they can see the material they actually hoped to access.

Google also added that it would be making some exceptions to its anti-pop-up stance. Pop-ups that tell readers about a webpage’s use of cookies, for example, are still kosher. Another exception will be pop-ups that require log-in details before a visitor can transgress a paywall.

“Google is one of the largest advertising companies in the world, but it’s in a very different position to Facebook, Snapchat and other global media consumption apps,” explained Daniel Knapp, senior director of advertising research at the IHS consultancy. “Google is still very reliant on the desktop and mobile web to make money, and it’s much more difficult to clean up that experience than the native app environments,” he continued.

“That’s why it needs to tighten the screws on everyone with this crackdown.”

googPerhaps the real reason that Google needs to “tighten up the screws” is that people are wising up to the pop-up game, and without a more powerful advertising-combating browser the mogul’s seat on the search engine throne may be compromised. After all, people are making web browsers that promise to block all ads except those that users consent to seeing. Pop-up blocking browser additions are normal and suggested, and apps devoted to blocking apps on mobile devices are widely used.

If Google cannot itself provide a less obnoxious advertising environment, it will risk losing its users to the entities working hard at the cutting edge of the internet media-advertisement relationship.

Let’s hope this tech race remains one where the consumer wins.

The New Kings of the Mobile Mountain

Believe it or not the long standing kings of the mobile tech mountain(the silicon valley) has been dethroned by China.  Hong Kong to be exact. There is Snapchat and Kik as we know when it comes to messaging services but which use bar codes that look like they came from a drunken checkerboards to connect people and share information with a snap of their smartphone cameras. Facebook is working on adding the ability to hail rides and make payments within their so called messaging app but a lot of variables remain to be seen. There are Still many questions that need to be answered and a lot of things need to unfold within the market to be totally certain, but we can be fairly certain that the next big thing is Hong Kong.

All of the so called developments have something that runs within it a common thread of market expectation and minimal access data reformation. And that is the fact that the technology was first popularized in China, not the United States which is in opposition to popular opinion. WeChat and their competition Alipay are both two Chinese big time money making apps. This is going to have ramifications that are immense but are not really being discussed because they are not really considering the scale to which they will be felt. Consider this before Venmo became an app for young people to send money here and there within the United States, both young and old in the land of China were investing, and thus reimbursing each other, and paying bills, and buying products from stores with their smartphones on a digital based wallet system.

“Quite frankly, the trope that China copies the U.S. hasn’t been true for years, and in mobile it’s the opposite: The U.S. often copies, China. For the Facebook Messenger app, for example, the best way to understand their road map is to look at WeChat.”

to be honest China is still king of lagging when it comes to some of the most important areas of the industry and frankly it will start to leave them in the dust in certain respects, and at the very least its in bad taste. The most glaring is the status of their environmental destruction within their city centers and more densely populated areas. In many ways China is going to take a lot of market potential from the Silicon Valley and that is a fact. But when it comes to the reality that the top engineers in the world are going to have to make the choice between living in the Bay area weather with Silicon Valley worker coddling in opposition to the poisioned air of urban China where you are not only in a less desierable physical environment you are forced to operate within the Chinese tech culture where you are essentially expected to live at your desk and put in upwards of 80 hours a week on your projects. I don’t know about you but I’m going Berkeley sunset every time. Still China is set to take a big bite of the market within 2 years.


Computing Competition Even Bigger in 2016

Seven fully autonomous computers are trying to face off this rear in a historic battle in Las Vegas early next month as each team tries to defend themselves and point out flaws without any human control. This is the biggest year by far, and has implications as to what the future of sport and competition will likely be in the United States and across the world going forward. What we can see is that now that Vegas has caught wind of this and is starting to see big moneysfgdsafg potential we can be sure that this trend is only going to get more robust and crazy for the American consumer. What we see is that there has been a real fundamental shift into the sensibilities of the American sport viewer. The reason being is that at the heart of this trend is the notion that safety is king, and for most of the historically most popular sports they are kind of undermined entirely from the decision making process. Lets consider what are the big money grabbers in Las Vegas sports gambling today, there is football which year after year is getting less and less kinds to sign up and participate in the pop warren program which will ultimately become a smaller aspect of the American experience. The other one is the sport of Boxing which may have had its final coffin nail last year in the form of the highly publicized and ultimately disappointing brute between Floyd Mayweather, and Manny Paquieo. The fight was being deemed the fight of the century but didn’t deliver. For this and many other reasons the American competitive better wants something and is getting noting.

Enter the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge whose finals take place in on August 4 right in the middle of the two biggest hacking conferences Blackhat USA and DEFCON, which is possibly proving that machines can beat even the best humans hackers. “Cyber grand challenge is about bringing autonomy to the cyber domain, what we hope to see is proff that the entire security life cycle can be automated.” Says an organizer of the event. He goes on to mutter that, “The machines have to comprehend the language of the software author the logic for that software, write their own network client, and arrive at the path of the new vulnerabilities entirely on their own.” Its kind of funny because the people who see the value in this and are competing heavily to this end are kind of striding towards their own obsolescence and necessity in their respective fields. That may be a real concern for the future but for the people who compete now their is a few things on their mind but mostly cashing in big time. Sure the 2 million dollar prize is nice but what about 750,000 dollars every year as an employee of a top defense firm. That is what you are likely to receive if you play your cards right in this regard so for them they want to cash checks now and ask questions later.


New Developments in the Race to VR

daydream4Google is already on its way to owning the rights to everything you could ever want or need. Now, they’re bringing you your own imagination.

As of the 2015 developer’s conference, Google has launched blueprints for its newest life-changing necessity, Cardboard. With Cardboard, users will be able to have a low-level Virtual Reality experience without having to refinance their cars or sell their homes, because Cardboard is essentially instructions to craft a headset using your own materials. That’s right, kids; a model airplane without the pieces, all to access a fairly unfamiliar platform. You can now walk through the desert or swim underwater, sort of, for only about 20 bucks!

Google’s idea is that this inexpensive new toy will encourage users to contribute ideas to existing Cardboard apps, and hopefully develop their own, new apps to further the growth of the Poor Man’s Headset. With the plastic – and – packaged alternatives pricing in the low hundreds, high thousands – the Oculus pricing anywhere from $900 to $1500 – it’s no wonder the idea’s popularity is skyrocketing. Cardboard and Daydream– a company who is building off the Cardboard platform – are already quoting downloads of over 50 million since its start-up last year.

google cardboardMarxent CTO Barry Besecker told TechNewsWorld that Google is “betting that mobile will be the key to VR proliferation, vs. desktop or console-based hardware like Oculus,” meaning the company hopes that, instead of creating and exploring a virtual world from the safety and comfort of their homes, users will venture out into public, wearing their cardboard headsets freely, unplugged and without need for backup PC power. If you thought Bluetooth to Public secondhand conversation interaction was confusing, just wait to be run over by a canoeist with a cardboard facemask, trying frantically to escape from the 450 foot drop just ahead, oh nooo!!..

However, even though Google’s VR efforts have firmly held the attention of the masses, Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, thinks it’s still too early to predict the successes of Daydream and Cardboard, as, despite high interest among buyers, Google has developed a reputation for failing to follow through, he told TechNewsWorld.

“Daydream VR appears to be the new strategic direction for Google VR,” Enderle said, but “be aware that Google has the attention span of a small child on sugar, so how long this will remain ‘strategic’ will likely be measured in months.”

ddreamAnd as we all know, Where there’s a “Will you buy my product?!” There’s a “Wait, no, mine’s better!” Any sign of hesitation on Google’s end could be an open door for its competitors to rush the market.

“Microsoft is betting on HoloLens, and we still have to see what’s up with Apple,” Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics told TechNewsWorld; “Often Apple comes a little bit later than the others, but then they do it a lot better. I think that’s the game plan here.”

While Cardboard eventually grew beyond Android to support iOS, Daydream is native to Google’s mobile operating system, which could be a death sentence all its own. As more and more eager startup companies enter the race to the future, trends still find consumers sticking by the big-name OG companies when it comes to new ideas.

But for now you could still, you know, go outside. But first, Google “cardboard bicycles”.

Factory Workers Lose Jobs to Robots

Foxconn, the major supplier for both Apple and Samsung, just replaced 60,000 of its workers with robots. According to one government official who spoke to the South China Morning Post, one factory has “reduced employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000 thanks to the introduction of robots.”

foxconnAccording to Xu Yulian, head of publicity for the Kunshan region, “More companies are likely to follow suit.”

China has been making major investments in the creation and implementation of a robotic workforce, much to the dismay of many human workers fearful for their jobs.

Foxconn Technology Group confirmed its automation of “many of the manufacturing tasks associated with our operations” but denied that this would necessary lead to long-term job losses.

“We are applying robotics engineering and other innovative manufacturing technologies to replace repetitive tasks previously done by employees, and through training, also enable our employees to focus on higher value-added elements in the manufacturing process, such as research and development, process control and quality control,” the company said in a statement.

“We will continue to harness automation and manpower in our manufacturing operations, and we expect to maintain our significant workforce in China.”

Factories across Dongguan, located in the Guangdong province, have invested over around $450 million into the creation of robots that could replace human workers since 2014.

Economists have expressed heavy warnings regarding the automation of jobs and the effect it could have on the job market and the quality of human life. Consultants with the Deloitte in partnership with Oxford University released a report that suggests that up to 35% of jobs may be at risk within the next 20 years.

foxconn2According to Ed Rensi, former McDonald’s chief executive, a minimum-wage increase to $15 would force companies to consider opting into robot workers:

“It’s cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who is inefficient, making $15 an hour bagging French fries,” he stated.

The automation of jobs and steady development of the tech industry may cause many to consider what has gone largely undiscussed in our internet era: what is the purpose of technology, and for whom is it supposed to function? To automate a process once performed by thousands of workers without creating some new jobs for those workers to complete would constitute an advancement in technology that can be argued is not for the betterment of humanity or the optimization of the robothuman standard of life. When technological advancements are made not with the intention of helping society at large but instead with the intention of helping one small pocket of society become powerful (technology of war and big business), the necessity for governments to step in and police advancement itself can be argued for.

But what would that policing look like, and what kind of government would be worthy to make such difficult and philosophical decisions? And who can really control whether a technologist creates something that will give power to a group of people or not? It’s a sticky situation and a moral quandry that is up to younger generations to decide.

The Future of Internet Free-Speech in the United States

We are in a major time of flux in the United States regarding the future of the internet and the state of free speech in

U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump makes a point as he formally announces his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid  - RTX1GRB9

the internet age. With so much hanging in the balance in the wake of several high profile news stories and cases it is important to become informed of what the most powerful seat in the world thinks of this regard and how their aim to influence policy here. With the election cycle wrapping up and with so little coverage being given to this topic voters should be aware of what they stand to gain from their next president, or tragically lose in this regard. Here are what the remaining presidential candidates views are in regards to Free Speech on the internet and the preservation or curtailment of it.

Hillary Clinton:

Hillary is a strong supporter of censoring the speech of terrorist groups and monitoring the internet closely to ensure “national security.” The problem in this regard is her vagueness in determine what defines a terrorist group and to what extent she is willing to go to obtain such information in this respect. Her word on the shutting down of online terrorists accounts are as follows, “Resolve means depriving jihadists of virtual territory just as we work to deprive them of actual territory. They are using websites social media, chat rooms, and other platforms to celebrate beheading, recruit future terrorists, and call for attacks. We should work with host companies to shut them down.”

I don’t think that many people have a problem with that broad explanation of things that are clearly wrong and should be stopped. however, what defines terrorism? as it stands today the measures Hillary is advocating for a broad and wide ranging and can apply to anyone who has an adverse view of the state. This is a scary president and should be taken into consideration at the ballot box.


Bernie Sanders:

Up next is Bernie who has resisted internet censorship in various forms throughout his career. He voted against the failed PIPA anti-piracy bill, which was pushed hard by the Hollywood lobby but ultimately failed back in 2012. Essentially the bill was branded as an anti piracy bill but went way further than was necessary in curtailing the rights of citizens on the web. His words when considering the black list this would make for internet users, are as follows “it is absolutely essential that the internet remain open and free of censorship or the chilling effects that result in self-censorship.”



Donald Trump:

The tiny hand crusader is not swayed by the “chilling effects” that result from the censorship and communications of terrorist groups on the internet. He’d like to actually help censor everyone a little bit more. he says that, “we have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say ‘oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people we have a lot of foolish people. we have a lot of foolish people.”


What’s a Graphics Card?

graphics card bGraphics cards are an integral element to your computer’s proper functioning, even if they’re not as widely discussed as the motherboard or CPU. They’re an important component to understand, especially if you’re in the market for a new computer. Read on for a better understanding of what a graphics card does and why it’s important.

When you look at your computer’s monitor, what you see is actually composed of over one million tiny dots of color called pixels that come together to create one cohesive image. In order for your computer to manage these pixels and ensure that they are all the correct color to create the correct image, it receives binary data from your computer’s CPU and turns it into the picture you can understand. While some computers have this graphics ability built directly into their motherboards, it’s much more common for this translation from binary data to visible image to occur on the graphics card.

Let’s zoom in a little further. Your computer’s CPU works with your computer’s software applications, which are written to send information about the preferred image to the graphics card. The graphics card then decides how to use the pixels provided by your computer’s monitor to create the image that the applications want to project. The graphics card sends that information to your computer’s monitor through a cable, ultimately allowing the image to appear.

g cardTo create an image using only binary data requires a tremendous amount of data. A graphics card attempting to cast a 3D image will need to create a wire frame out of straight lines, then rasterize the image and provide the lighting, texture and color. When this process it put to the test in fast-paced gaming environments, your computer is forced to go through this process around sixty times per second. The graphics card is essential to these fast-paced functions, which would overwhelm your computer were it working alone.

The graphics card functions with the help of four other computer components: the motherboard (for data and power), the processor (for directions regarding each pixel), the memory (to store data regarding each pixel and to store completed pictures), and the monitor (to output the final image).

g card2The graphics card itself is composed of a printed circuit board (much like a smaller-scale motherboard) with its own processor, called the graphics processing unit (GPU) and RAM, or random-access memory. It also contains an input/output, or BIOS chip, where the card’s settings are stored and diagnostics can be run on the memory, input and output upon startup. A graphics card’s GPU is specifically tailored for performing the difficult mathematical and geometric calculations necessary for rendering graphics, and top-tier GPUs can actually possess more transistors than the average computer. That kind of processing power can creates a lot of heat, so graphics cards tend to be located under a heat sink, fan, or both.

When the GPU creates images, the data that composes completed pictures are stored on the graphics card’s RAM. This data could include information about every pixel, from its color to its location on the screen.

That’s just a quick overview of the graphics card. Hope this was helpful!

Apple Is Expanding Familiar Platforms

In the latest week that has elapsed the company by the name of Apple has introduced not only a new iPhone but also a new and improved iPad. Traditionally, this duel unveil would be seen as a kind of blockbuster news in the tech world and it would be assumed that there was some new bell or whistle that would be coupled that worked in conjunction with the both of them. This was not the case, nor did Apple even intend for this to happen, it just kind of happen some experts say. This is due to the fact that both announcements were tactical business moves, products which lack break through technology but aim to appeal but both the owner of old Apple products, which is their bread and butter, because when people buy 2 Apple products in their lives it appears they are hooked and are in the stable for life. But this was something Apple was trying to do in a new way, which is go after the new people. They lack of breakthrough in these products was actually maybe part of the thing. The point being that if the technology was lacking, perhaps leaving it as the reveal of the story would divert people from seeming the lack of appeal. This has big international implications. gghg

To kick things off, is the iPhone SE

This is the large screen smartphone have been wildly popular and this is Apple’s own very strong sales exploded over the last could of months when it began making the iPhone with a 4.7 inch and even 5.5 inch screen it was considered to be correspondingly large bodies-than it had before. But the company noticed primarily as some of the Apple loyal were just handing onto their own originally small iPhone 5 series models so they could have the opportunity to upgrade in the big way. The reason being the big display seems to be the trajectory of what people want from their devices. We see that people are starting to in a large way want to watch videos and unlock their potential in a lot of different ways, but they also do not want to be restricted to the largeness of a tablet. The lage 5-5.5 inch display phones seems to be what the future is, but we shall see.

bbnUp next on the order is a 9.7-inch iPad Pro this beauty came out last fall and has a huge, 12.9 inch iPad with the option of the snap-on key board which is going to make a lot of waves. Microsoft has been effectively leaving Apple in the dust in this regard because they started. All this said Apple really needs to step up its game and innovate again. Since the post Jobs era it seems like they are trying to as a manner of speaking hold onto a block of ice without it going away. The problem is, its inevitable, unless they do something other than just hold it that puppy is going to melt. But if we know whats good we know its Apple.


Facebook Exec Jailed in Brazil Over WhatsApp

Last week, Facebook Regional Vice President Diego Dzodan had to be bailed out of a Brazilian prison. Brazilian police officers made the arrest in response to Facebook’s failure to produce the WhatsApp messages that Brazilian law enforcement demanded due to the messages’ alleged connection with a drug trafficking investigation.

diego dzodanThis dispute is one of an increasingly large number of examples of issues between national law enforcement agencies and tech companies that sell encrypted services to private users. In general, politics and tech are becoming more intertwined than ever.

Digital data is a relatively new element in the global political scene, meaning that laws vary widely from one nation to the next. Many European nations have laws in place that protect citizens’ privacy and tend to value it over the potential for government law enforcement to be more effective in certain cases. Other nations, especially those being ruled under authoritarian regimes, limit their citizens’ ability to access web anonymity in every way they possibly can.

This wide variance in approach towards cyber security is responsible for the mishap in Brazil, and many believe it will cause future incidents.

“These conflicts will continue, because the way foreign governments can obtain data stored with a U.S. provider is to go through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty Process,” stated Jadzia Butler. Butler is associated with the Center for Democracy and Technology, where she servers as a fellow on privacy, surveillance, and security. “Unfortunately, this process is extremely cumbersome. It can take up to 10 months for a foreign law enforcement agency to get the data it needs… so governments like Brazil and others have started to resort to extreme tactics in order to get data.” Such measures could include the issue of data localization mandates and the purposeful intimidation of relevant local officials.

facebookThis issue attracted the attention of the House Judiciary Committee last month during a hearing specifically on the subject of MLAT. MLAT stands for mutual legal assistance treaty and is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose creating compromising communication that will allow relevant countries to enforce public or criminal laws in a way that is consistent and understandable. Nations have developed particular methods for requesting and obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions held across borders.

The hearing that occurred last month attempted to establish which rules should apply in the event that two different countries claim jurisdiction over the same piece of data.

Gregory T. Nojeim, director of the CDT’s Project on Freedom, Security and Technology, had this to say:

brazil“Increasingly, one country’s law will require disclosure and another country’s law will prohibit it, or at least subject the disclosure to local rules that the requesting country may find difficult to meet. Because of the explosive growth of global communications and of the communications service providers, and because of the increasingly central role that communications content and metadata play in law enforcement investigations worldwide, this problem is growing…Moreover, because the largest communication service providers are located in the U.S., the volume of data demands coming into the U.S. from foreign governments far exceeds the volume of demands made by the U.S.”

This puts the U.S. at a particularly important position in terms of creating its own precedent for how to cope with government surveillance vs. privacy rights. Its jurisdiction will be the starting point with which foreign governments must compromise.

The Disconcerting Relationship Between Obama and Google

obama schmidtAlthough there are plenty of instances in which technological advances harness the power of the collective people to solve major issues, there’s also an unfortunate trend between tech goliath harnessing the power of politicians to further the tech goliath’s own (generally financial) agenda.

Unfortunately for Americans, this trend reaches all the way to the top of the political/corporate ladder (the difference between the two has been steadily blurring since the Citizens United ruling). That’s right, according to some sources, Barack Obama has been comfortably nestled in Google’s luxury pockets since his first campaign for presidency. Let’s take a closer look.

Google employees donated a total of $1.6 million to Obama’s two presidential bids, all around the time that Google was having some major issues with the United States Federal Trade Commission regarding antitrust concerns. It was investigated in 2011 and was later let off the hook instead of being sued and broken down by the FTC. The FTC has found that Google has manipulated search results in ways that favored its own products and put other companies like eBay and Amazon at a disadvantage. Around this time, Goodle chairman Eric Schmidt met with Obama senior adviser Pete Rouse in the White House and Google co-founder Larry Page met with FTC officials in late 2012. Two months after Obama won re-election, the government closed its investigation.

Then in the 2012 election, Google’s search algorithm customized results for Obama but not for Mitt Romney.

Also worth nothing: Google executives have left to work in the White House many a time, and a past Google executive currently holds the position of Obama’s chief technology officer. Hillary Clinton’s tech chief also came from Google.

And Google is, of course, big on lobbying. In 2014, it spent $16.8 million on lobbying, which was four times the amount spent by Apple.

kissSchmidt’s influence in Obama’s political career and Obama’s influence in Schmidt’s business and political career has been an ongoing relationship since 2007, when Obama visited Google’s California headquarters for a one-on-one interview viewed by 16,000 Google employees. The interview allowed for Obama to collect more tech donations than any other candidate.

Obama offered Schmidt a variety of political positions on his cabinet in 2012, from Treasury to Commerce to a new position known as the “Secretary of Business.” Schmidt declined but did take up a post on the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Schmidt was even working on Obama’s campaign on election day in 2012, overseeing the attempts to leverage Big Data results so as to better enable last-minute voters to enter the polls. His specialized software gave the then-Senator access to high-tech voter targeting algorithms in 2008 that Republican John McCain was totally unprepared for.

In fact, Obama’s successful campaigns have gone down as testaments to the power of effective utilization of technology in the political arena, and politicians after him have been mocked for not taking advantage of the same technology which gave Obama such a big boost. Without the kind of big data collection and analysis technology that Obama used in 2012, he likely would never have won 2012 despite having negative approval ratings.