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Google is investing in new efforts to ward off vandalism in search results and ensure information remains relevant and reliable.
In addition, Google has provided details about measures already in place to get breaking news indexed many times faster than before.
Here’s more of what was announced today in relation to improving information quality in search and news results.Breaking News Delivered Faster
Google has developed an intelligence desk that actively monitors and identifies potential information threats.
This is an extension of Google’s crisis response team, which has tracked events around the world in real-time for years already.
“The Intelligence Desk is a global team of analysts monitoring news events 24/7, spanning natural disasters and crises, breaking news moments and the latest developments in ongoing topics like COVID.
When events occur, our analysts collect data about how our systems are responding and compile reports about narratives that are emerging, like new claims about COVID treatments.”
Reports from Google’s Intelligence Desk are used to ensure its systems are working as intended for the full range of topics people search for.
This effort has lead to a considerable improvement to how Google delivers information for breaking news and crises.
Now, Google’s systems can automatically recognize breaking news results in a matter of minutes – improved from 40 minutes in years past.
Google says this automated system is accurate and returns the most authoritative information available.More Accurate Information in Knowledge Graph Panels
Information in Knowledge Graph panels are more accurate as a result of partnerships with government agencies, health organizations, and Wikipedia.
“For COVID-19, we worked with health organizations around the world to provide local guidance and information to keep people safe.
To respond to emerging information needs, like the surge we saw in people searching for unemployment benefits, we provide easy access to information right from government agencies in the U.S. and other countries.”
As you may have noticed from time to time, Wikipedia information in Knowledge Panels are the target of vandalism.
This happens when Wikipedia pages are edited to intentionally provide false or misleading information.
Google can now detect 99% of Wikipedia vandalism cases, which allows its team to take action quickly.Improvements to Fact Checks
Google assists searchers with identifying false information through the use of fact checks in search results.
So far this year, searchers have seen fact checks in Google search results over 4 billion times. That’s more than all of 2023 combined.
Google is investing in making its fact checking system even more reliable by donating $6.5 million to organizations and nonprofits that specialize in fact checks.
In addition, Google has begun using BERT to improve the matching between news stories and available fact checks.
This allows Google’s systems to better understand whether a fact check claim is related to the central topic of the story.
Google then displays the fact checks prominently in the ‘Full Coverage’ section of news stories – a feature that provides full context from a variety of sources.Greater Protections for Search Features
Google has policies in place for what can appear in organic search results, as well as search features.
Autocomplete, for example, has policies around hateful and inappropriate predictions from being suggested.
Google is improving its automated systems for autocomplete to not show predications if it determines the query may not lead to reliable content.Other Highlights From Today’s Announcements
Google held a conference call in which I, along with many other reporters, got to hear Google deliver today’s announcements first-hand.
Here are some other notable details from the call:
25 billion spammy pages are detected every day
15% of all queries have never been searched for before (the greatest amount to date)
Google’s search rater guidelines are the “North Star” for understanding what algorithms are trying to do when ranking search results.
Google has 10,000 search quality raters around the world, including some in every state in the US
Google runs 1,000 search quality tests per day
Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT) are weighted more heavily for YMYL (your money your life) queries
COVID-19 is the biggest topic in the history of Google Trends
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In today’s world of Internet connectivity and social media, a surprisingly large amount of your personal information can be found through a simple Google search of your name.
This has many implications, but these implications are mainly seen in the areas of security and your reputation. Imagine that every drunk tweet, silly profile on a website you forgot about or damning photograph is available to potential bosses, romantic partners and even cyber criminals.
Because they are. Your personal information is a Google search away. Let’s talk about what you can do about it.Why is this information available?
On the Internet there are two types of websites: ones that are indexed by search engines and ones that aren’t. Social media outlets and many web communities are Googleable, but certain sites, like private community forums, won’t leave much to the public eye.What are the threats?
People find your information quite often. Applying for a job interview means people might look for you on sites like Facebook or Google. The same applies to meeting new people, maybe even someone you like.
However, it can also apply to malicious parties. People trying to break into your accounts may attempt to find personally identifiable information on you through your social media activity which they can then use to perform social engineering on support agents or guess passwords/security questions for your online accounts.
They can also potentially find things like your phone number or your home address. People can be malicious with the information they find and use it to defame you for something you said years ago. You may even end up a victim of something like swatting where people find out your address and call the local police department on you.
So yeah, the threats are very real.How can I find it?
Search for it yourself! Search for things like your full name, your phone number and your email address. The results you get for this information will show where it’s available on the public web. Also, cover your bases: be sure to search for yourself on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets, which is where people are most likely to run a search for you first.How do I remove it, and what should I be removing?
Once you’ve located your personal information online, it’s time to comb through and remove anything that you could probably do without. This includes:
Usage of your full name/phone number/email address where unnecessary. In my case my email address doesn’t link to anything embarrassing, while my full name simply shows my work on MakeTechEasier and Greenlit Gaming.
Personal photos and posts. Make these private or exclusive to friends, but keep them out of the public eye.
Embarrassing past posts. It’s okay to reflect on silly things you said or did a few years ago and decide to remove it. You don’t want someone digging up dirt on you, do you?
Unused accounts. If you don’t use the account anymore, there’s no reason to keep it. Use that site to clear your profile and delete your account.Conclusion
Overall, it’s important to mind what you put online. What you put online doesn’t go away on its own, and you can find a lot of embarrassing or worrying things. Be careful when uploading files to sites like Imgur or Pastebin, too – if these files contain personal information, they can end up saved and on some random person’s computer.
I’m a longtime gamer, computer nerd, and general tech enthusiast.
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Mac OS X’s Spotlight can be really useful when finding applications to launch, documents, images, files and many other items that you have stored in your user account. The shortcut to open up Spotlight is “Command + Space”, where you can enter a search term and have Spotlight return the relevant results. These results can be previewed and/or opened directly.
Spotlight can find seemingly everything, but one thing you might have not heard of is that Spotlight includes basic file functionality. You can cut, copy and paste files directly from the Spotlight windows, allowing to easily make duplicates in deep-buried files. This is done using the handy Finder’s “Cut and Paste” abilities, which happen to function directly from Spotlight in OS X.
So, without any further ado, here are three tips that you can use to easily copy, cut and paste files directly from Spotlight:How To Copy Files Directly From Spotlight
2. Search for the file/folder you want to copy. Highlight the item in Spotlight results either by hovering over with the mouse or selecting it with the arrow keys.
3. Drag the item directly to wherever you want to make an alias of the file, or press “Command + C” on your keyboard to copy it, follow by “Command + V” to paste it.How To Cut Files from Spotlight
1. Search of the file in Spotlight as usual, and press “Command + C” to copy the file to the clipboard.
2. Navigate to the location wherever you want to move the file to, and press “Command + Option + V” to move the file to the location.
Hitting the additional “Option” key will cut the file instead of simply pasting it.
Both of these tips can be extremely useful if you want to embed a searched item in a program that supports drag-and-drop embedding, such as Word, Pages, Mail, and others, or if you want to make a shortcut to an item in the Dock.
Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier’s resident Mac tutorial writer. He’s currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube
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Google is rolling out a new way for ecommerce stores to list deals in search results, which is currently free for all merchants.
The company reports people are looking for ways to save money even more than usual, with searches for “discount code” increasing 50% since last year.
Ahead of two major shopping seasons — back-to-school and winter holidays — Google is giving retailers in the United States more tools to reach deal-seeking customers.
Here’s more about the new features retailers can start using right away.Free Deals Listings in Google Search Results
As of today, Google is highlighting deals in the shopping tab of search results.
When searching for a product, the shopping tab will now organize and show product listings that are competitively priced or discounted from retailers across the web.
In October, Google Search will start showcasing the most popular deals for major retail sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
When people search for deals during major sales events, like “Black Friday deals” or “Cyber Monday sales,” they will see a new section highlighting relevant deals, alongside other related sales information.
When retailers upload promotions and deals in Google Merchant Center will be automatically surfaced for relevant queries in the Shopping tab.
Google will surface offers based on factors such as the discount itself, how popular a product is, how popular the site it’s listed on is, and more.
This creates opportunities for ecommerce stores to move inventory, drive sales, and attract new customers during important shopping events and peak holiday season.Customize Promotions in Google Merchant Center
Another update launched today in Merchant Center allows retailers to customize their promotions.
It’s now possible to indicate if a deal is only available to first-time customers.
For example, the title of the promotion can now say “10% off for new members.”
The promotions will be shown to all shoppers, but only those who meet a retailer’s specified criteria will be able to access the promotional price.Better Merchandising Insights
In one last update rolling out now, Google is adding two new features to the best sellers report:
Historical best seller data: Helps retailers predict sales trends for the upcoming season with insights into popular products from previous shopping events.
Relative product demand: Helps retailers gauge the relative demand between products in the same category and country, as well as the potential opportunity when stocking new products.
Merchants can access the best sellers report after opting into market insights within Merchant Center.
1] Make sure your Windows computer is free of malware. No amount of security in WordPress or on your web server will make any difference if there is an illegal keylogger installed on your computer.
2] Always make sure that you have the latest version of WordPress and your Plugins installed. Your web server can have vulnerabilities too. Therefore, make sure that your Web Host is running latest, secure, stable versions of server software on it. Better still, make sure you are using a trusted host that takes care of these things for you.
3] Use a strong username and a strong passwords. Best to go for mixed complex passwords using upper, lower case alphabets, numerals and special characters of length exceeding 15 characters. Enforce usage of strong passwords for all your Authors too.
4] Change the Administrator username of your WordPress installation from the default admin to something strong and unrelated to your own or sites name. You can create another administrator account, login as new administrator user and delete the old default admin username account. Or you could use Admin username changer or Admin renamer extended plugin or one of the security plugins mentioned below to rename the default admin username.
5] Use a Captcha for login purposes.
The Captcha plugin from BWS is a good one you may want to have a look at. It lets you choose the operations and the complexity levels.
6] The Limit Login Attempts plugin will limit the rate of login attempts, by way of cookies, for each IP. It will allow only the configured number of attempts after which the user will get locked out. You can configure all its settings like the number of attempts allowed, lockout period, allowed re-tries and so on. This plugin is useful in preventing brute force attacks.
If a user uses an incorrect username or password, he or she will see this message.
7] Change the WordPress Panel login URL from default /wp-admin/ to something else using Rename wp-login plugin. This plugin is useful in preventing brute force attacks too.
8] Use a Security Scanner plugin to scan your WordPress installation files periodically. The Sucuri Security – SiteCheck Malware Scanner plugin enables you to scan your WordPress site using Sucuri SiteCheck right in your WordPress dashboard. It checks for malware, spam, blacklisting, .htaccess redirects, hidden eval code, and other security issues.
Sucuri also checks if your site has been black-listed anywhere like Google Safe Browsing, Norton Safe Web, Phish Tank, SiteAdvisor, Eset, Yandex, etc and informs you about it.
Apart from Sucuri, Secure WordPress plugin, Exploit Scanner, WordFence Security, WordPress Sentinel, Quttera, VIP Scanner, iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security), BulletProof Security and All In One WP Security & Firewall are among the other good scanners and security plugins you may want to have a look at. Most of these plugins, apart from scanning your site for malware, will also help you Harden File Permissions, delete ReadMe files, hide WordPress versions, and more.
9] Minimize the number of plugins you use. Deactivate or even better, delete the ones you don’t use.
10] Keep creating backups of your site at regular intervals, and upload them to some Cloud service and/or to your desktop. BackWPUp, VaultPress, BackupBuddy, DropBox for WordPress, BackUpWordPress are among the good Backup plugins you may want to check out.
While this may be enough for most WordPress sites, if you need to go further, you could read this post on WordPress.org.
Read: Why are websites hacked?
Some of you might want to check out my post on Useful tips for new bloggers.
Two years after Google announced HTTPS would become a ranking signal, Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz has put together a study with revealing new findings about the adoption rate of HTTPS since the announcement was made.
When Google made its official announcement regarding HTTPS, some were quick to make the transition, while others believed the effort wasn’t worth the potential reward. Some have avoiding transitioning to HTTPS because they believe there are possible risks associated with doing so.
Dr. Pete Meyers has put together the data which suggests Google is slowing but surely accomplishing its goal of having more HTTPS sites on the web. Here is a summary of his finding.The Findings
Before Google’s HTTPS algorithm update, Moz’s data showed that only 7% of the pages featured on the first page of Google’s search results were HTTPS. A week later, that number rose to 8%.
Two years later, that number has multiplied to over 30%:
Dr. Meyers predicts than in a another 1–1.5 years we will 50% of first page search results being comprised of HTTPS sites. When this time comes, Dr. Meyers also predicts that Google will strengthen the ranking signal.The Risks
Google has been downplaying the risks of migrating to HTTPS, Dr. Meyers argues, as there is risk associated with any kind of sitewide change to URLs.
Before migrating to HTTPS, it’s recommended that you weigh the time, money, and possible risk against receiving a minor algorithmic boost. With that being said it’s still difficult to convince website owners that converting to HTTPS is worth it.
Dr. Meyers’ final recommendation is, if you’re still not sold on HTTPS, then at least be aware of how many sites in your industry are making the switch. Stay alert for another HTTPS algorithm update which could be coming within a year’s time.
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