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Archive for April, 2011

Typewriters join the floppy disk and polaroid cameras on the extinct dodo list

April 28, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, internet, Uncategorized

Typewriters are joining the list of other discarded technologies, including the polaroid camera and the computer floppy disk which will no longer be produced anywhere in the world.
Typewriters join the floppy disk and polaroid cameras on the extinct dodo listThe last company on earth to produce the typewriter — Godrej and Boyce — has shut down its production plant in Mumbai, India, according to reports that, fittingly, are making the rounds via the Internet.

The company’s general manager, Milind Dukle, told India’s Business Standard newspaper: “We are not getting many orders now.”

The announcement, if true, ends a long run for the device, which was once a mainstay of office life.

A prototype of the typewriter was introduced in 1714 by Henry Mill, but the first mass-produced typewriter came in 1868 when Christopher Latham Sholes, a printer-publisher from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, patented the device.

The typewriter hit its peak of production in the 1950s when Smith-Corona sold 12 million of the machines in the last quarter of 1953. But, thanks to the encroachment of the personal computer, only about 400,000 typewriters had been sold annually by 2009.

Though most of the world had abandoned the use of typewriters of late, India proved to be the one of the last bastions of use for the technology until recently.

Another niche market for typewriters is more fanciful: Despite their lack of functionality, typewriters are being fetishized, oddly enough, by young hipsters, who are drawn by the nostalgia and romantic image attached to the now-bygone technology.

Sony PlayStation data theft effects 70 million gamers

April 27, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, internet, Uncategorized

Sony has finally warned users of its PlayStation Network that their personal information- including date of birth, passwords and credit card details have been stolen.Sony PlayStation data theft effects 70 million gamersSony said that the data might have fallen into the hands of an “unauthorised person” following a hacking attack on its online service.

Access to the network was suspended last Wednesday, but Sony has only now revealed details of what happened yesterday.

In a statement posted on the official PlayStation blog, Nick Caplin, the company’s head of communications for Europe, said: “We have discovered that between April 17 and April 19 2011, certain PlayStation Network and Qriocity service user account information was compromised in connection with an illegal and unauthorized intrusion into our network”.

The posting lists the personal information that Sony believes has been taken:
* Name
* Address (city, state/province, zip or postal code)
* Country
* Email address
* Date of birth
* PlayStation Network/Qriocity passwords and login
* Handle/PSN online ID

Mr Caplin added: “It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.

“For your security, we encourage you to be especially aware of email, telephone, and postal mail scams that ask for personal or sensitive information.”

Sony admitted that credit card information, used to purchase games, films and music, may also have been stolen.

“If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, to be on the safe side we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may also have been obtained.”

Sony has not given any indication of how many PlayStation Network users may have had their information taken, but the service has around 70 million members worldwide.

As many people use the same password across a number of different accounts the data theft may effect millions of peoples’ other online accounts.

Apple in iPhone location tracking data snooping storm

April 26, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Cyber Security, data security, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Uncategorized

Apple is under pressure to explain why the iPhone tracks and stores users’ movements without users’ consent and agreement.
Apple in iPhone location tracking data snooping stormThe UK’s Information Commissioner has said that anyone who is concerned about the log of their whereabouts can make a complaint to his officials, who enforce the Data Protection Act.

Over the pond US Congressmen have been calling for Apple to explain itself over the way the iPhone logs users’ coordinates based on the mobile network masts to which they are connected.

The Federal Communications Commission meanwhile reportedly said it would look into the matter.

The location tracking file is stored on both the phone and the computer it is associated with, and is not protected by a password or encryption. The security firm F-Secure also claimed the iPhone reports location data back to Apple twice a day.

In a letter to Steve Jobs, the Democratic Senator Al Franken, who leads a Senate privacy panel, said: “Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of the user’s home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken over the past months or even a year.”

Senator Franken asked the Apple CEO to explain why the data is captured, what it is used for and why it did not seek “affirmative consent” from users.

The controversy was sparked on Thursday when two British security researchers, Alisdair Allan and Pete Warden, published their findings about the hidden file, which is enigmatically named “consolidated.db”. They released a downloadable application that plots users’ movements on web-based mapping software to illustrate the privacy implications.

In its statement the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “All businesses that are collecting people’s data should have clear and accessible privacy notices. This is especially important where users are unlikely to appreciate the privacy implications of a service they are using.

“Apple has a legal obligation to make clear how people’s information might be used when customers sign up. Equally, customers should make sure they carefully read through terms and conditions.”

“Anyone who has a data protection concern can bring their complaint to us and we will look into it.”

Apple’s privacy policy states that location data “is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services”.

But Professor Ross Anderson, a privacy and security expert at the University of Cambridge, argued the location log could not be considered anonymous data.

“If your location history were to be kept anonymous, it would have to be broken up into separate segments of a few hours or perhaps even less,” Prof. Anderson said.

“As it is, if our location histories were to be published without our names on, then anyone who knows where you were at a few definite times in the past can identify your location history from among all the millions of other people’s, and then work out where you were at (say) evenings and weekends.”

Apple has not yet publicly responded to the controversy.

Apple profits nearly double as iPhone sales soar but tablets flop

April 21, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Uncategorized

Apple released their latest profits figures last night- which have beaten analysts forecasts- helped by higher than expected iPhone sales.Apple profits nearly double as iPhone sales soar but tablets flopApple reported quarterly net profits of £3.6 billion, nearly double what it made a year ago. Revenue was £15.4 billion- an increase of 83%.

Apple sold 18.65 million iPhones, a rise of 113%. But iPad sales were 4.69 million, below analysts’ expectations.

However, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said in a statement: “We’re firing on all cylinders.”

Mr Jobs, who went on medical leave in January with an undisclosed illness, continued: “We will continue to innovate on all fronts throughout the remainder of the year.”

But the iOS – Apple’s operating system for the iPhone and iPad – faces huge challenges from the likes of Google.

A report last month from market research firm Nielsen found Google’s Android had become the most popular operating system among US smartphone users – accounting for 29% of the market, in comparison to iOS at 27%.

Google has released Honeycomb, the latest version of Android designed for tablets, and Canadian firm RIM, maker of the BlackBerry, recently launched their first tablet.

Sales of the company’s computers were strongly higher, up by 28% from a year ago driven by its improved MacBook Pro.

Apple’s figures were not uniformly positive. Besides the iPad, another disappointment was sales of its one-time star, the iPod, down by 17% on the year at 9 million units.

During Steve Jobs’s absense the day-to-day running of Apple is currently being done by chief operating officer Tim Cook.

Govt’s snooper charter wins Digital Economy Act court challenge

April 20, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Ecommerce, internet, Uncategorized, WiFi

A legal challenge to the Digital Economy Act has failed get the government’s controversial snooper’s legislation overturned.Govt's snooper charter wins Digital Economy Act court challengeThe judicial review, requested by BT and Talk Talk, rejected claims that Parliament had overstepped its powers with anti-piracy measures.

However, Mr Justice Kenneth Parker upheld one of the objections, relating to who pays for the law’s enforcement.

The act, which was rushed through Parliament by Labour before the 2010 general election, obliges internet service providers (ISPs) to co-operate with rights holders in identifying computer users who may have downloaded music, software or videos illegally.

BT and Talk Talk mounted a legal challenge in the High Court, claiming the legislation violated several European laws on commerce and privacy.

Justice Parker rejected four of the five points put forward by the ISPs but ruled in their favour regarding a piece of associated legislation that makes service providers liable for 25% of the cost of policing their users.

The government will now be forced to re-examine the draft costs sharing order, however it is unlikely that will significantly delay the implementation of the Digital Economy Act.

What they eventually secured was a law that compels ISPs to write to their customers at the rights holders’ behest, warning them to cease their behaviour.

If the the customer does not comply, their ISP may eventually be asked to limit the user’s internet access or, in extreme cases, make their personal details available so legal action can be taken.

Opponents of the Digital Economy Act claimed that it allowed for severe sanctions against computer users, based on little more than the word of a large corporation.

They pointed out that the act also failed to clearly define a route of appeal for those users targeted.

Given that legitimate UK broadband users have already been spammed by legal ambulance chasers for spurious demands: ACS the legal firm ambulance chasing alleged net file shares goes bust this red tape will extend the big brother attitude against genuine ecommerce in the UK.

Could Bing overtake Google in the search engine rankings?

April 19, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: bing, Customer Service, Google, Search Clinic, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, search engines, Uncategorized

Further to the Search Clinic post last week: Top UK search engine and social media websites- latest figures by HitWise research, new number crunching hypothesizes that if current search engine growth rates continue Bing will overtake Google in  2012.

According to the report from Hitwise, Bing dominated 30% of all searches conducted in the U.S. in March 2011. That’s an impressive 5% jump compared from February 2011 results.

Though Google still leads the market share with 64.2%, the search engine actually dropped 3% market share in March.

While these stats are good news for Microsoft, Google should be paying a lot of attention to these results. Its market share has been constantly dropping: from 69.7% in December to 68% in January to 66.7% in February to 64.4% in March.

So what would happen if this trend continued? Check out the chart below. Looks like Bing will take the number one spot by January 2012.
Could Bing overtake Google in the search engine rankings?Image Source: Mashable

Why is “search giant” Google seeing a decline in its market share? A WebmasterWorld forum discussion has many theories including the following from Brett Tabke:

Google has so screwed around with their serps this last year, that any alternative dependable and reliable that users can count on is going to gain share. Google has done something I didn’t think possible – they have broken the trust of the end user. While Bing has been busy showing that they are in it for the long haul and staying-the-course with a user experience that people are coming to trust.

I believe the reason for Google’s increase in market share is the fact that they have been playing around a lot with their SERPs over the last year. Such changes could have upset users who are looking for a more dependable and reliable source which Bing has been able to provide.

So while Google still controls two-thirds of the market, I think it should start getting concerned at Bing’s impressive market share growth.


Google denies Panda dance deliberate hit on MS rival Ciao

April 18, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Google, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, search engines, Uncategorized

Google has defended recent changes to its search ranking algorithm that reduced the prominence of some popular websites.

One of the worst hit websites by the “Panda” update was, a Microsoft-owned company that had been leading an EU competition case against Google.
Google denies Panda dance deliberate hit on MS rival CiaoIts web visibility fell by 94% according to analysis by Searchmetrics.

Google often changes the algorithms that determine the results that users sees when they search for something. Such updates are often done to weed out “content farms” – websites that copy material from other sites in order to get hits.

Where a keyword search may previously have returned their site on Google’s first page, afterwards it may be relegated to further down the rankings.

When the update, known as “Panda”, was rolled out on 11 April, Google published a blog post explaining that it was designed to “reduce rankings for low-quality sites-sites which are low-value add for users.”

Shopping and price comparison sites such as sometimes suffer when Google algorithms change because they carry comments and reviews replicated elsewhere on the internet.

However, experts said that it was unusual to see a legitimate website hit as badly as Ciao. was involved in initiating an EU investigation into Google in November 2010. Its parent company, Microsoft claims that the Google has used its dominant position to limit rivals’ products.

Searchmetrics analysed Google results in response to a range of keywords, both before and after the Panda update.

Alongside Ciao’s 94% reduction in visibility, it found that fell by 85% and dropped 53%.

A Similar analysis by Sistrix found a 81% drop in visibility for, 72% reduction for and an 84% fall for

Google’s rising costs cause sharp shares drop- despite 20pc profit rise

April 15, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Google, Mobile Marketing, search engines, Social Media, Uncategorized

Google shares fell 5% in New York last night after Wall Street worried about a sharp rise in expenses at the world’s leading search engine-, which Larry Page took the helm a fortnight ago.Google's rising costs cause sharp shares drop- despite 20pc profit riseExpenses at Google jumped 54pc to £1.72 billion in the first quarter, overshadowing an almost 20pc rise in profits to £1.43 billion.

Revenue in the quarter climbed to £4.09 billion- beating market expectations.

Mr Page, who co-founded Google 13 years ago with Sergey Brin at Stanford University in California, has indicated he will accelerate spending on research and staff in an effort to tackle the challenge posed by rivals such as Facebook and Apple.

Google, which had a workforce of 26,316 at the end of the first quarter, said it would be adding 6,000 employees this year and raising the salaries for non-executives by 10pc as the battle for talent in Silicon Valley heats up.

Dr Search points out that the jump in Google’s staffing costs should not have come as any surprise as Googler Matt Cutts- who is regarded as the unofficial search engine mouthpiece had mentioned in his blog on 4 th April Google search quality is hiring

Wall Street analysts apparently expect Mr Page to turn his focus to new areas of growth such ad mobile ads and social networking, rather than focusing on short-term profit margins- which the Search Clinic told you about a few days ago: Google’s staff future bonuses depend on social media success

Top UK search engine and social media websites- latest figures

April 14, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: bing, Facebook, Google, search engines, Social Media, Uncategorized, Yahoo, YouTube

The latest top UK search engine and social media figures have just been released by Hitwise for March 2011.

Google is still very much the dominant player in UK search, with Google Sites accounting for over 90% of all searches conducted by UK Internet users.

However, between February and March 2011, Google Sites lost 0.66% market share of searches, whilst Microsoft Sites increased their market share of searches by 0.28%.Top UK search engine latest traffic figuresThe growth of Microsoft sites, led by Bing, is more pronounced in the year-on-year figures.

Between March 2010 and March 2011 Bing was the only search engine to increase its volume of searches from UK Internet users.

Whilst Google, Yahoo!, Ask and other search providers all dipped in year-on-year change, Microsoft Sites improved their market share of searches by 1.43%.

This latest insight from Experian Hitwise underlines why it is important for brands to ensure they do not solely optimise content around Google at the expense of other search engines. Bing, Yahoo! and Ask each appeal to particular audiences and often send more of their traffic to key transactional industries such as retail, travel and finance.

“Microsoft is starting to make inroads into Google’s massive share of the search market, although Google remains the clear leader in absolute volume terms,” commented Experian Hitwise’s Research Director, Robin Goad. “It is vital that brands closely monitor the changing trends in the search market, as search typically accounts for between 40-50% of a website’s inbound traffic.”

As for social media- YouTube is the fastest growing social network in March 2011.Top UK social media websites- latest traffic figures

Facebook continued its dominance in the Experian Hitwise Social Networks and Forums category, accounting for over 56% of all visits to social networks from UK Internet users in March 2011.

However, Facebook’s market share of visits declined in March compared to February by 1.22%, mostly driven by increased visits to YouTube.

The UK’s most popular online video site accounted for 19.06% of all visits to social networks in March, up from 18.32% in February, making YouTube the fastest growing social network of March.

Year-on-year, the fastest growing social network was Facebook, increasing its market share of visits by 4.16% between March 2010 and March 2011. Despite Facebook’s slight drop in market share of visits in March 2011, the social behemoth is still attracting new visitors to its website every single day.

In the last three years Facebook has more than doubled its market share of visits to the Social Networks and Forums category, growing from 22% in March 2008 to 56% today.

Robin Goad commented: “The growth of Facebook is immense, and it is such an integral part of the online scene now that we would expect it to achieve a 60% market share of social visits at some point in 2011. Many companies are still apprehensive when it comes to exploiting social networks to promote their brand, but with such a huge online following, social networks are ignored at a marketer’s peril.  Facebook is now the second single biggest source of traffic to all websites after Google. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important that brands derive maximum benefit from this social network.”

The research is published by Hitwise at:

Google’s staff future bonuses depend on social media success

April 13, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Google, Online Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

Larry Page, Google’s new chief executive, has prioritised the company’s social media strategy in his first week at the helm, by making employees’ future bonuses dependent upon the success of their social media services.
Google's staff future bonuses depend on social media successLarry Page, the co-founder of Google, began his new role as chief executive on last Monday, taking over from Eric Schmidt, who is now the company’s executive chairman.

However, he has already made some changes to the focus of the business and Google’s senior personnel, in a bid to make the 23,000 strong company less bureaucratic.

Google has been consistently struggling to compete against Facebook and create a successful social product which can compete effectively for people’s time and personal data on the internet.

Last Friday Page sent out company wide memo informing them that 25% of their annual bonus will be tied to the success or failure of Google’s social strategy in 2011.

He wants all employees to be directly involved with Google’s social product releases and push them out to their family and friends, and give feedback to the company.

Since assuming the role he has also promoted six executives to Senior Vice President (SVP) positions, essentially dividing the company into six distinct business units, over which each SVP will have greater control.

They are: Alan Eustace (SVP of search), Vic Gundotra (SVP of social), Salar Kamangar (SVP of YouTube), Sundar Pichai (SVP of Chrome), Andy Rubin (SVP of mobile) and Susan Wojcicki (SVP of advertising).

Google’s latest social product release is Google + 1, a tool which allows people to rate search results and adverts around the engine, launched last week.