Posts tagged Gets

TV Rank: Google Gets Patent On Using What You’re Watching To Influence Search Results

Google uses a variety of signals to determine how to rank search results, such examining linking patterns on the web, an individual’s geographic location, search history and more. Now, perhaps what you’re watching on TV might become a new factor. Bill Slawski, an SEO patent guru, posted…



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TV Rank: Google Gets Patent On Using TV Viewing Habits To Influence Search Results

If Google can use HTTPS as a ranking signal, why can’t they use your TV viewing habits as a signal for what content to rank for your query? Bill Slawski, an SEO patent guru, posted on his blog that Google was recently granted a patent around the concept of using TV listings within the search…



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Online Education Gets Fast-Tracked With Coursera Classes On-Demand

This is the year massive open online courses (MOOCs) come of age, says Daphne Koller, cofounder and president of Coursera. And the way her company’s helping that happen is offering up learning on-demand. 

Consumers are accustomed to getting everything as soon as they request it, Koller explained Wednesday at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. So Coursera is testing a way for learners to start classes immediately, right when they sign up, rather than waiting, sometimes months, for the class to begin. 

“We find the number of people who enroll for a class and immediately start taking it are twice as likely to complete it as those who enroll a month or two before it begins,” Koller explained.

See Also: I Failed My Online Course—But Learned A Lot About Internet Education

Coursera is currently testing this self-paced model in four classes, and  Koller said that the course completion is promising. The company is planning on rolling it out to more courses overtime.

But Completion Rates Are Still Low

One of the repeated criticisms of MOOC providers like Coursera and Udacity is the abysmal completion rates. People sign up for courses, they just don’t finish them. 

For Coursera, only 5% of people who click “enroll,” actually complete the class, Koller said. That number dramatically increases when students are offered the opportunity for completion certificates or credentials provided by online course providers.

One of the most popular credentialed classes, the Johns Hopkins Data Science specialization, not only gives students the benefit of learning the concepts of one of the most high-demand technological fields, but also provides them with the necessary skills and credentials to showcase for employers.

 The data science specialization is one of a handful of paid course programs that Coursera launched in January to help increase completion rates among students.

“The credentials are becoming much more valued in the workplace—70% of our learners want to post their credential on their resume,” Koller said. “Conversion rates among learners who are taking a course for the credential have more than doubled.”

According to a study by Duke University, employers are taking online course credentials seriously, too. Of the 398 employers that participated in the survey, 72% of those that were familiar with MOOCs “had used, considered using, or could see their company using MOOCs for recruitment.”

When paired with on-demand and self-paced learning, these accredited courses could provide a way for students to fast-track their careers inexpensively. For example, in the time it would take an unemployed student to sign up for a traditional MOOC course and wait for it to begin, he or should could’ve already completed a similar class via Coursera fast track option. 

Coursera, and others like it, are changing the way people can access and take classes—you don’t have to be in college to take a college course anymore. And the last two years have only scratched the surface.

“We have demonstrated our learners are seeing a big impact on their lives,” Koller said.

Image by Selena Larson for ReadWrite.

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With Apple’s Help, Google Search Gets Special Info Boxes For iPhone 6 & Apple Watch

Who says rivals can’t work together? If you search on Google for “iPhone 6″ or “Apple Watch,” you’ll discover new information boxes about each product that Google created with the help of Apple. Here’s how it looks for search on iPhone 6: And for the iPhone…



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Bing Search Gets Conversational

The search engine has added conversational understanding to its repertoire, meaning users can search for answers to related questions more easily.

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Bing Gets Technical: Rolls Out Code, Software Download & Microsoft-Related Search Updates

Aiming to make its search results more “developer friendly,” Bing says it has streamlined API, code and non-alphanumeric queries, made software download searches safer and added instant answers to the top of search results for Microsoft-related technology queries. Using a side-by-side…



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For More Accurate Shipping Rates In Google Shopping, Merchant Center Gets Shipping Configuration Tool

Google launched new features today to help merchants customize the shipping rates that display in Google Shopping. The shipping configuration tool is now available in Google Merchant Center, and a new shipping label attribute can be used in product feeds to group products with similar shipping…



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Zambia Gets Free Facebook Access! (And Internet, Sort Of)

Facebook wants to make sure everyone on the planet can access knowledge, job opportunities—and, of course, create Facebook accounts—through Internet access provided by the social network.

The company announced the Internet.org app on Thursday, a way for people in developing countries to use free data and access Facebook, Google search and other online resources. Through a partnership with telecom provider Airtel, the Internet.org app will be available for free, initially rolling out in Zambia.

The app is part of Facebook’s larger Internet.org initiative to help bring Internet connectivity to parts of the world where data can be cost prohibitive, and Wi-Fi is both expensive and spotty. In many of these regions, the only way people can connect to the Internet is through mobile devices.

Facebook plans to connect the world by deploying things like satellites and drones to power data connectivity in countries like Zambia, and partner with mobile operators like Airtel to provide free services.

This data doesn’t cost Facebook a dime, because Airtel pays for its users’ free access. This partnership works for both companies—if people can use Facebook for free, they’ll likely sign up for an account to stay connected to friends and family, and, when Internet.org users are ready to leave the confines of the free data, Airtel will be able to get more people to pay for it.

If users go outside of the 13 different free websites—say, by clicking on a link in a Facebook post—they’ll be notified that data charges will apply.

People using the Internet.org app aren’t required to have a Facebook account, a Facebook spokesperson told ReadWrite.

“Soon, everyone will be able to use the internet for free to find jobs, get help with reproductive health and other aspects of health, and use tools like Facebook to stay connected with the people they love,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook.

Of course, not everyone has a mobile device, but certainly everyone with Internet.org app compatibility will be able to benefit from this new partnership.

Subscribers can visit these 13 websites for free:

• AccuWeather

• Airtel

• eZeLibrary

• Facebook

• Facts for Life

• Google Search

• Go Zambia Jobs

• Kokoliko

• MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action)

• Messenger

• Wikipedia

• WRAPP (Women’s Rights App)

Lead image by Flickr user fromusing

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What Banana Republic’s “Startup Guy” Collection Gets All Wrong

Bravo, Banana Republic! We hail your valiant effort to inject some fashion sense into Silicon Valley. And purely from a fashion perspective, your new collection The Startup Guy is pretty on point; the clothes are unquestionably nice.

But we have to talk. It’s kind of tone deaf to try to “disrupt” Silicon Valley fashion without first understanding the culture and style that already permeates techland. Free startup-branded t-shirts, messenger bags, and hoodies are more on par for the real-life “startup guy.”

There’s also your approach to diversity in tech. With two white guys and one Asian male as models, The Startup Guy collection helps perpetuate the notion that there aren’t any women or many minorities beyond Asians in startups. (Neither is true.)

Still, I respect your desire to up SV’s male fashion game.

I scrolled through The Startup Guy collection on my daily ride into the city, and took a moment to close my eyes and imagine what a Caltrain car full of Banana Republic startup guys would look like. In my mind, there were jeans rolled up to the ankles, chunky wool sweaters, and all the loafers filling the seats. It felt a little “finance fratty,” if you get my meaning.

The fact is, people don’t look like this in Silicon Valley. I opened my eyes back into the real world, and it was peppered with backpacks, plaid shirts, and scooters. Your man-purses, salmon shorts, and earth tones would be more at home on a yacht off the Hamptons than they would be on Muni. The straight-out-of-university style rules in San Francisco startup land, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

But the biggest problem here might just be the simple idea that you went and named this collection The Startup Guy. That pretty much guarantees that no actual person from a startup will forgo all self-awareness and buy these clothes.

Images courtesy of Banana Republic, illustration by Nigel Sussman and Madeleine Weiss 

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