Posts tagged move

Does Paid SEO Content Move the Marketing Needle? – The Content Standard by Skyword

Does Paid SEO Content Move the Marketing Needle?
The Content Standard by Skyword
Search marketers are beginning to see top-of-mind awareness upticks from their paid SEO content campaigns, according to data from Google and Ipsos MediaCT. Throughout 2013, the pair conducted 61 simulated search experiments to determine the impact …

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Nest Makes Its Move In The Smart Home

Developers, you have a new smart-home platform to play with. Google’s Nest unit has formally unveiled an API (see our API explainer) that will let independent programmers create new applications for the company’s smart thermostats and smoke alarms. Nest’s press release is embedded below.

The main idea behind the program is to let a variety of other devices—everything from smartwatches to smart lighting to smart cars—connect with Nest’s products to share data and act together more intelligently. They’ll do so by way of their apps, which developers can modify to use Nest API functions that, say, read data from one of its smart smoke detectors or change the thermostat temperature.

Nest actually announced the developer program last September; today just marks its formal launch. Here’s a list of the functions provided by the Nest API.

Some Ideas To Get You Started

That opens the door to a variety of new applications, some of which Nest is showcasing as part of today’s announcement. For instance:

  • Logitech’s Harmony Ultimate remote will let you set the temperature on a Nest thermostat without getting up from the couch;
  • The popular online service IFTTT—a way of programming new behaviors into your existing online services by combining them using the formulation “if this then that”—will now work with Nest, allowing new “recipes” such as “if my detector senses smoke, text my neighbors”;
  • Google’s voice-activated smartphone search will let you set the temperature by saying “OK Google” and issuing a voice command, while its Google Now personal assistant can tell Nest when you’re nearing home and have it start warming or cooling your home before you get there (Updated: see below);
  • Smart LED bulbs from the Australian company Lifx will flash red if a linked Nest Protect detects smoke, helping you see through the haze and even alerting hearing-impaired people who might not hear the alarm.

Not all of those applications may strike you as equally exciting at first glance. And while almost all of them are available immediately (a few, such as the Google services, won’t debut until the fall), it’s also worth noting that the products involved may not be in widespread use yet. It’s not clear, for instance, how many people currently own Whirlpool washers they can control with an app—which, by the way, will now coordinate with the Nest thermostat to schedule cycles around peak energy-usage periods.

But these applications should give you a good sense of how Nest sees its future in the smart home—as a kind of traffic cop for other gadgets, one that leverages the data it’s collecting about residents to inform and work with other connected devices.

It’s worth noting that Nest officials don’t embrace the idea that their products are becoming “hubs” that connect and coordinate other devices, except in specific and user-friendly ways. “We’re building this symbiotic experience” between Nest’s gadgets and third-party devices, Greg Hu, director of Nest’s developer program, told me in an interview. “It’s not about a single side becoming the hub and controlling the other.”

Instead, Hu said, Nest wants to promote new applications that make life easier for people in straightforward and easy-to-understand ways that don’t ask too much of them. That emphasis on user friendliness and simplicity hews both to Nest’s roots in Apple (co-founders Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers both hail from Infinite Loop) and the spare design characteristic of its new parent Google.

Update, 8:30am, June 24: Hu emphasized to me that Google’s apps for the Nest use the same API as any other developer, and didn’t get any special access to data. Nest has also been clear that customers will need to authorize data sharing for apps that connect to its thermostat or smoke detectors.

This is contrary to the impression you’d get reading, say, this shoddy Wall Street Journal article, which hypes the notion that Nest will “share some user information with corporate parent Google for the first time since its February acquisition.” It’s technically true, but misleading in effect because Nest will share “some customer data” with any app developer whose users opt into the sharing.

Data, Data Everywhere

The data Nest gizmos collect on their households is central to making these new applications work. Its thermostat “learns” from the behavior of residents as they turn it up and down, eventually figuring out how to program itself. It will even turn down the heat or air conditioning when residents are away, a conclusion it will reach after a certain period in which no one adjusts the temperature and the thermostat’s built-in infrared sensors detect no motion. Nest’s Protect smoke detectors likewise carry eight different sensors, including four that detect movement.

And despite a recent setback for its Protect smoke detectors (including a product recall), Nest’s ambitions are clearly growing in this respect. On Friday, for instance, it acquired the home surveillance-camera maker Dropcam for a reported $555 million, providing it yet another platform for collecting data that can be mined and used in new ways.

Nest is careful to note that its privacy policy prohibits the sharing of that information without customers’ permission, including with its parent Google. Hu declined to comment on Dropcam, saying the company doesn’t yet have anything to add beyond its Friday blog post announcing the acquisition.

Battle Beyond The Hub

Nest, of course, is far from alone in its desire to infuse the smart home with some actual intelligence. Rival SmartThings recently launched a similar developer effort aimed at creating new applications that link together a variety of digital appliances, even launching a sort of app store you can browse for new features (albeit in a sort of convoluted way).

Crowdsourced product-maker Quirky is launching a new company called Wink to distribute its own software for connecting automated home gadgets; 15 companies reportedly have plans to launch 60 Wink-compatible products in July. And, of course, Apple is also testing the smart-home waters, having just announced HomeKit, another new software protocol also aimed at making a variety of smart devices controllable by “third party apps”—on the iPhone, natch.

Nest’s Hu said the company is playing a different game than its competitors. “Technology in the home is something we take seriously,” he said. “It’s about keeping things simple and easy to understand, not just connecting loads and loads of devices.”

Here’s the full Nest release:

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Google Updates Site Move Guidelines

Google has updated their guidelinesto help webmasters deal with moving sites, including issues that might come up due to moving a site to responsive design, moving a site with no URL change, and moving a site with completely new URLs, and more.

View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest

Apple’s Swift Move: How Its New Coding Language Could Shake Up iOS Development

Guest author Alex Salkever is head of product marketing and business development at Silk.co. This piece first appeared on his Tumblr.

At the 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple released an entirely new programming language called Swift. It is a higher level coding language that aims to provide the power of Objective-C with the flexibility of higher level scripting languages such as Node.js or Python.

In theory, Swift should make it far easier to write iOS apps that run as fast or faster than those scripted painstakingly within the more cumbersome, time-consuming and risky confines of Objective-C. If Swift delivers even partly on its promise, it could be huge boon for companies that want to build iPhone apps. iPhone developers have been the hottest ticket on the global software market for a number of years.

The good ones command nose-bleed level hourly rates of $250 to $300 per hour. Starting salaries for entry level iOS coders that have passed rigorous coding challenge tests run from $120,000 per year north. Senior iOS devs have commanded $200,000 from larger enterprises seeking their experience.

Why the high prices for iOS talent? Supply and demand. It’s very hard to learn Objective-C well enough to write compelling, high-performance apps. Learning how to manage memory in iOS and how to best take advantage of the capabilities of the hardware takes time, effort and a deep understanding of Objective-C.

A Swiftly Tilting Labor Market

Enter Swift, which—again, if it works as Apple clearly hopes—will with one stroke dramatically lower the bar for writing an iPhone app. The language is designed to make it much easier for coders to write iPhone apps both quickly and well. That should rapidly expand the market for coders with iPhone skills; in turn, the cost of building iPhone apps, which is primarily a function of wages for developers, will fall.

That’s bad for existing iPhone developers, but good for everyone else. Apple will enjoy a rush of new iPhone apps entering the market.

Startups and enterprises building iPhone apps will be able to pick from a wider talent pool, and in the not-too-distant future, they’ll build those apps with developers paid mere mortal salaries in the low six figures. The only folks who don’t win here, in addition to the iOS developers who have been making huge bucks, are the iOS education programs that charge devs top dollar to upgrade their iOS chops and move up the coding salary ladder.

For consumers, too, this is a big win. Better apps. More apps. Cheaper apps. Apple, too, may hope that the switch to Swift, which might turn out to be an easier development environment than Java for Android, could help Cupertino reclaim lost handset market share. Check back in on Swift in six months for a more complete verdict.

Lead image by Flickr user Sean MacEntee, CC 2.0

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Apple Makes Its Move In The Smart Home With HomeKit

After weeks of anticipation, Apple finally offered details on its smart home offering: HomeKit, a strategy designed to “bring some rationality to this space,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president for software engineering said at company’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

HomeKit is designed to unify the various, piecemeal experience in the connected home, with a variety of providers, systems and connectivity options under “a common network protocol,” Federighi said.

Specifics were scarce. Federighi said HomeKit will somehow allow iOS users to control their homes with their iPhones—and only their iPhones—to manage “locks, lights, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs, switches.” The mobile device will offer secure pairing, and can control separate gadgets or set automations for groups of devices.

And it will be controlled via voice, thanks to integration with Apple’s Siri personal assistant. So you can change modes by saying “time for bed,” and your house will respond by bringing down the lights and locking the front door.

Federighi’s presentation focused mostly on features, not specifics, but we look forward to unpacking this protocol in the days ahead.

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Foursquare To Move Check-ins Into “Swarm” App, To Focus Better On Local Discovery

Foursquare is doing something surprising, even radical. It’s removing some of the legacy features (i.e., check-ins) from its app and moving them over to a new app called Swarm (available soon). Check-ins, sharing and friend finding will now reside in Swarm, and Foursquare will evolve in a bid…



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Profit By Search Discusses Google’s New Move, To Ignore Original Page Title … – Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)


CBC.ca
Profit By Search Discusses Google's New Move, To Ignore Original Page Title
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release)
With the development and growth of the search engine giant, Google the task of performing successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is becoming a real pain in the neck. New York (PRWEB) April 29, 2014. With the development and growth of the search …
'Why do men have nipples?' and other strangely popular Google search termsCBC.ca (blog)

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The Aftermath: Clarifications & Expert Reactions To Google’s Move To Secure Paid Search Queries

Yesterday, Google announced it is expanding secure search to clicks on paid ads. The change means that the search query a user typed in before clicking on an ad will be dropped from the referrer string in the URL and won’t be passed to analytics or other software other than AdWords. The move…



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Facebook Releases Tool So Developers Can Move Fast And Break Things

Today Facebook open-sourced Tweaks, an application framework that lets iOS developers test changes to an app in real time, simply by using an iDevice, 9to5Mac reported. Incorporating Tweaks into an app provides a new settings menu by which developers can change parameters that affect how the app looks and feels—as it’s running on an iDevice.

Changing such parameters usually requires a developer to “recompile” an app, which can be time-consuming for repeated testing of different combinations. Some of the adjustments developers can make affect animation timings, colors and motion speed.

 

Facebook says it relied on Tweaks while building Paper, Facebook’s news reader application. You can find Tweaks on Github

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New Fitness Trackers Will Record Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make



ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.

Simple step trackers are going the way of the dinosaur, as a new generation of fitness devices cram more sensors and smarts into smaller and smaller shapes. This next wave will track our movements in three dimensions—and that’s a crucial difference.

Why? Because the kind of vigorous exercise that really advances our health is multidimensional, too. 

As someone who sprints up stairs, lifts weights at the gym, and dabbles in yoga and bodyweight workouts, I’ve long been dissatisfied with fitness trackers that count steps and stop there. And I’m not alone: One friend clipped his wrist-based Nike FuelBand to his shoes to get points for a bike ride. I’ve heard similar tales of gyrations done in the name of counting gyrations.

Tracking What’s Next

Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, AmiigoMoov and others are among the companies whose devices promise to work with the way we actually move—and quite possibly displace incumbents like Jawbone and Fitbit.

Two key developments are enabling these new devices: small sensors and big data.

Moov, for example, packs an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer into a package the size of a few quarters. The addition of a magnetometer allows it to consistently orient itself to the Earth’s gravity, Moov cofounder Nikola Hu told me. That means Moov can accurately track the motion of a fist jabbing through the air during a cardio boxing workout, with a virtual coach comparing your punches to a real boxer’s recorded movements. Moov started taking preorders Wednesday for its $59 device, which the company hopes to ship this summer.

Atlas’s tracker uses multiple accelerometers and a heart-rate sensor to track not just your movements—it counts sets and reps of exercises for you—but also the vigor with which you do them. Even though the device sits on your wrist, Atlas says it can detect distinct patterns that let it tell a pushup from a deadlift. The company is taking preorders on Indiegogo through March 8 for the $159 device, which it plans to ship in December.

The Lumo Lift could correct your posture—and do much more.

The Lumo Lift could correct your posture—and do much more.

Lumo is making a posture-oriented device, the Lumo Lift, that aims to prevent you from slouching. But the company could have greater ambitions: At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, founder Monisha Perkash demonstrated to me how a companion app for the Lumo Lift can accurately track your body position. A next-generation product might analyze your form throughout a sequence of yoga postures.

And I recently met with Stéphane Marceau, the CEO of OMsignal, which is planning a line of athletic shirts which will measure a full range of biological signals, down to your breath. It also takes much more detailed heart-rate signals, capturing the minute fluctuations known as heart-rate variability that provide deeper clues to your health and physical performance. The company plans to take preorders in the spring and ship its shirts this summer.

OMsignal’s shirt will even measure your breaths.

OMsignal’s shirt will even measure your breaths.

Fitness entrepreneurs have a lot of choices these days—build your own, or just rely on the sensors built into smartphones and smartwatches. Jamo, for example, introduced a dance-fitness app earlier this week that relies on the iPhone’s built-in accelerometers to tell you if you’re matching an instructor’s sweet moves. And Focus Trainr uses sensors in the first-generation Samsung Galaxy Gear to analyze your movements in a way that’s conceptually similar to Atlas’s approach. The “peculiar but impressive” wrist devices Samsung unveiled this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona promise even more fitness-related applications. 

A Flood Of Personal Data

While several of these hardware startups have succeeded in taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in preorders, it’s not clear if they’ll make the leap to the mass market the way simpler fitness trackers have. One big problem is taking all the data they’re generating and actually making it useful.

OMsignal, from what I’ve seen of the shirt’s companion app, gets closest to this idea with its “OM index,” a metric for stress. Even with simplified indexes and measurements, though, we can easily get more data without getting more information about our bodies. The best apps will provide context and behavioral cues.

As a gym rat, I’m drawn to the sheer butchness of the Atlas device. But I can’t recall ever struggling to count sets and reps. (I use a simple and efficient app, GymGoal, to do that.) I would like a device that doesn’t just evaluate my form but coaches me with audio prompts in the middle of an exercise to drop lower in a squat, say, or make sure my chest touches the ground in a pushup.

Or better yet, how about a device that can capture my workouts and report back high-level observations to my personal trainer, so I don’t have to do the fiddly work of analyzing the data and massaging it into usable form? It’s clear that inventors are doing clever things with the latest hardware, taking advantage of the ever-dropping cost and power consumption of sensors. But when it comes to tracking our performance in the gym, they must remember that their competition is a mirror, a notebook, and a pen.

Images courtesy of Atlas Wearables, Lumo BodyTech, and OMsignal

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