Posts Tagged ‘Google’

Google Will Auto-Delete Your Data by Default—Everything You Need to Know

Friday, August 14th, 2020

Google has been lambasted for collecting and retaining data that users don’t even realize it holds. A year ago, the company added some auto-delete controls that allowed you to set your Google account to delete its browsing history every 3 or 18 months. But it was long overdue. The information Google gathers from its users now holds an expiration date. Recently in the annual Google I/O developer festival, Google made one major announcement that it will soon start deleting your data automatically.  Location History, Web & App Activities will auto-delete after 18 months by default. However, YouTube history will delete automatically after three years by default. The default deletion only applies to new Google accounts, which means if you are an existing Google user leveraging the company’s services, you need to change your settings. For active Google users, the company has decided to send reminders and notifications about changing its auto-delete settings. Also, Google proclaimed to overhaul its privacy control settings with guided tips and suggestions to make the process more spontaneous.

“We will continue to challenge ourselves to do more with less, and today we are changing our data retention practices to make auto-delete the default for our core activity settings,” said Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. “The approach is to give users the convenience, accessibility, and benefits of everything including the recommendations that come from retaining 18 months of history while abolishing innumerable storage,” Pichai added further.  More than 200 million people have visited Google’s Privacy Checkup tool so far. The Auto-Delete features are approved by default so that privacy protection reaches everyone rather than the people who modify their settings.

Google is making it more comfortable to access incognito mode on elected apps. The mode allows you to browse or use apps confidentially, without letting Google save your browsing history, cookies, or site data. Google promised to let its users stay in incognito mode across its family of apps, so that they won’t have to turn it on in each app. Besides, it will also offer more proactive privacy controls and help supervise users by managing their privacy settings. Now, users will be able to access the key Google Account controls through search. Additionally, the Auto-delete features do not apply to services meant for long-term data storage, like Gmail, Google Drive, and Photos.

Below steps will guide you to turn on auto-delete if you haven’t done it yet:

  • Head to your Google account’s activity page on desktop or mobile.
  • Proceed to the auto-delete section under Web & App Activity, Location History, or YouTube History.
  • Select the auto-delete duration.

Google Meet Introduces AI and Machine Learning-Based Noise Cancellation Feature

Monday, July 13th, 2020

The immediate demand for Internet-based meetings has risen for a few months due to the increased number of employees working from home. The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down all the organizations and forced employees to work from home. To help everyone transition to a home office environment, Google is updating its premium virtual meeting app, Google Meet, with the much-required noise cancellation capability. The feature uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning algorithms to eliminate noise in the background for video calls/conferences. What’s more? The feature leverages supervised learnings that necessitate training an AI model in a labeled data set and comes handy in improving the quality of group meetings. Besides, the AI-enabled noise cancellation hit the web first, following with the iOS and Android coming later.

Here’s How It Works

The feature announced later in April for G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers, but since the rollout continued, it is now becoming accessible for Meet users on the web. However, the noise cancellation gets activated by default but can be turned off by heading over to the audio settings and turning the noise cancellation toggle off.

Serge Lachapelle – G Suite’s Director of Product Management says “The capability operates with the help of machine learning algorithms. The audio of the speaker is transmitted securely to the cloud where a machine learning algorithm analyzes it to identify the main voice and remove all the ambient noises surrounding it in real-time”. However, he adds “Once the processing takes place, the filtered out voice – free from ambient noise – is delivered to the person on the other end of the call. Overall, the quality of the voice comes out pretty clear, but the segments where the processing has been done sound a little degraded or low. But, it will improve eventually.

Serge Lachapelle – G Suite’s Director of Product Management says “The capability operates with the help of machine learning algorithms. The audio of the speaker is transmitted securely to the cloud where a machine learning algorithm analyzes it to identify the main voice and remove all the ambient noises surrounding it in real-time”. He further continued “Once the processing takes place, the filtered out voice independent from ambient noise is delivered to the person on the other end of the call. Overall, the quality of the voice comes out pretty clear, but the sections where the processing was been done sounded a little deprived or low. But, it will improve with time”.

Curious already? Here is the video featuring Serge Lachapelle- G Suite’s Director of Product Management. In this video, he is describing the working of “Denoiser” in detail using a snack bag, a clicking pen, and rotating a metal object in a glass.

Google Meet Introduces AI and Machine Learning-Based Noise Cancellation Feature

Friday, July 10th, 2020

The immediate demand for Internet-based meetings has risen for a few months due to the increased number of employees working from home. The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down all the organizations and forced employees to work from home. To help everyone transition to a home office environment, Google is updating its premium virtual meeting app, Google Meet, with the much-required noise cancellation capability. The feature uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning algorithms to eliminate noise in the background for video calls/conferences. What’s more? The feature leverages supervised learnings that necessitate training an AI model in a labeled data set and comes handy in improving the quality of group meetings. Besides, the AI-enabled noise cancellation hit the web first, following with the iOS and Android coming later.

Here’s How It Works

The feature announced later in April for G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers, but since the rollout continued, it is now becoming accessible for Meet users on the web. However, the noise cancellation gets activated by default but can be turned off by heading over to the audio settings and turning the noise cancellation toggle off.

Serge Lachapelle – G Suite’s Director of Product Management says “The capability operates with the help of machine learning algorithms. The audio of the speaker is transmitted securely to the cloud where a machine learning algorithm analyzes it to identify the main voice and remove all the ambient noises surrounding it in real-time”. However, he adds “Once the processing takes place, the filtered out voice – free from ambient noise – is delivered to the person on the other end of the call. Overall, the quality of the voice comes out pretty clear, but the segments where the processing has been done sound a little degraded or low. But, it will improve eventually.

Serge Lachapelle – G Suite’s Director of Product Management says “The capability operates with the help of machine learning algorithms. The audio of the speaker is transmitted securely to the cloud where a machine learning algorithm analyzes it to identify the main voice and remove all the ambient noises surrounding it in real-time”. He further continued “Once the processing takes place, the filtered out voice independent from ambient noise is delivered to the person on the other end of the call. Overall, the quality of the voice comes out pretty clear, but the sections where the processing was been done sounded a little deprived or low. But, it will improve with time”.

Curious already? Below is the video featuring Serge Lachapelle- G Suite’s Director of Product Management. In this video, he is describing the working of “Denoiser” in detail using a snack bag, a clicking pen, and rotating a metal object in a glass.

What made your favorite social networking site Google+ go down?

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Eight years after it launched Google+ with much fanfare, Google shut down its social network in April this year. Though the announcement to shut down Google+ comes after it was found that a bug that was present for more than two years led to the exposure of data of millions of users to external developers , Google+ was already dying.

And this is not the first time a social network has to be shut down.

In 1997, the first social networking site was launched, SixDegrees.com. At its peak, the site had around 3.5 million registered users. The platform was simple; users could send messages and share content by posting on bulletin boards. The network shut down just four years later in 2001.

Remember Orkut? Orkut was launched in 2004 by a Turkish software engineer and Google employee, Orkut Büyükkökten. Orkut was the result of the search giant’s failure to buy Friendster. Orkut, while not much of a success in the US, proved big in Brazil and India, its two key markets. Orkut had 19 million users in India and 34 million in Brazil when it lost the top spot to Facebook. Google finally shut Orkut on September 30, 2014. This site had a much longer tenure than SixDegrees but still ended up in the grave in 2014.

Another fallen giant was MySpace. It may be hard to imagine how big MySpace was. In 2006, it beat Yahoo and Google to become the largest website in the US by page views. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp had bought it the previous year for $580 million. Its valuation shot up to a staggering $12 billion in 2007 when it had 300 million users. But it was all downhill for the site from there as Facebook closed the gap with MySpace and became the largest social networking site. News Corp sold MySpace in June 2011 for just $35 million.

Obviously, social media has come a long way since then, and we’ve seen many social media platforms launch, experience relative success (or complete failure), then crash and burn a few short years later. While these sites went down, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Reddit have only seen upward graphs. So where did these companies lose the plot?

Why did they fall?

Facebook, the most popular social network on Earth, has over 2 billion users. Instagram has over 1 billion. If Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous in the world. This network shows no sign of slowing down, it seems the only limit left to its growth is the number of people on Earth who have access to the internet — something they are actively working on increasing.

So, why has Facebook succeeded where others have failed? What does Facebook have that MySpace and Friendster did not? For starters, Facebook maintained its scale as waves of users signed on and created accounts. Facebook focused more on the user offering unique features to connect and expand your circle while keeping in touch with older friends. Creating a timeline with life events, photo albums, videos, check-ins, events, and social gaming was something never seen before in the social networking space and contributed to the explosive growth and popularity of Facebook. Later on, support for businesses and marketplaces which gives them the opportunity to expand and attract customers also made sure that Facebook didn’t become redundant.

One aspect of Friendster’s downfall was that it was unable to keep up with how many members joined the site. As more people joined, the site grew slower and slower, so slow that people were forced to switch to Facebook or MySpace.

MySpace failed because it connected users to bands, celebrities, and strangers, rather than people you knew in real life. People wanted to interact with their friends and family to enhance and expand their existing social lives onto the internet.

iTunes Ping fell apart. Google+ offered integration with Gmail, hangouts, Drive and also introduced Circles, something which was new in the space but didn’t strike a chord with the potential user base. Users already had Facebook to accomplish anything that Ping and Google+ offered.

What is the takeaway from all this?

Staying Relevant

1. Successful social networks are original. New networks will not survive if they simply copy the concept of an existing service. They must build upon the services by fulfilling a need of the users, or introduce something entirely new that users did not even know they wanted.

2. Successful network scale. As social networks grow, they must be able to accommodate the influxes of new users. When platforms start to slow down and falter due to increased use, people will leave due to frustration.

3. Successful social networks evolve. As user bases grow, so do the wants and needs of those users. When platforms fail to address the feedback of their members, they provide an opportunity for another platform to step in and fulfill that need.

The Future of Social Networking

With the demise of Twitter and SnapChat looming on the distant horizon, the future of social media is up in the air. Facebook and Instagram will continue to dominate the market, but neither service offers everything that a citizen of the social realm looks for.

Facebook is great for news articles, updates from friends, and memes, but the enormous amount of content is overwhelming, and ads take up a lot of space in Newsfeeds.

Reddit is great for anonymity and non-censorship while sharing content but lacks the social part of media.

Instagram is the perfect medium for sharing photo and video but is an awful place to post a quick text update to your friends.

Google Bert Update

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Almost five years ago, Google introduced a development known as RankBrain to its search system. Now, it has rolled out a new change known as BERT, and the company calls it “the biggest change of the last five years”. This means that BERT is the biggest change to hit Google’s search system since RankBrain came out, and we can only expect a huge impact on searches.

BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a neural network-based technique for language processing. It is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) that has been pre-trained in the Wikipedia corpus and is capable of helping Google gain a better understanding of language, content, and queries so that it can serve better results to users, including enterprises such as top UX design firms and individual users.

Google said BERT helps better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better match those queries with more relevant results. It is also used for featured snippets. What makes BERT unique is that it can use the context and relations of every word that is found in a sentence, as opposed to one by one in order. This means that simply by looking at the words that come before and after a particular word, BERT is capable of figuring out and understanding the full context of that word.

Understanding BERT better

With this new technology, Google can gain a better understanding of the full list of a query that a user has. To better explain this, Google even gave a very simple example that is easy to understand. If a user searches for “2019 brazil traveller to USA need a visa”, the word “to” and how it relates to the other words used in the query is very important if Google is to give relevant and useful results for the users.

Initially, Google did not have the technology to understand the context of the word “to” and so, it would provide results related to U.S citizens who are travelling to Brazil, rather than a Brazilian travelling to the U.S. In other words, it was not capable of returning accurate, relevant results which the user was looking for.

However, with BERT, the search engine will be able to understand these words in queries a little more like humans do, meaning that it is able to understand the importance of the word “to” in this particular query. Thus, with BERT, Google is able to provide enhanced user experience by returning highly relevant results.

Google Ads Lead Form Extension- A New Way to Capture Leads

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Google Ads is doing it again — testing a new lead form extension so that its advertisers can capture more information about their customers. Will the new lead form extension work?

In 2010, Google came out with contact form extensions. Leads were sent to an advertiser’s email inbox. The contact form extensions never saw the light of day. In 2011, Google rehashed their plan and came out with cost-per-lead ads. Users could submit their phone numbers or email IDs directly from an ad to request more information. That idea didn’t work out well either.

Here’s the latest news. Google Ads is testing ways for businesses to capture customer information through lead form extensions. The extensions are currently in beta testing. These ad extensions help advertisers to capture leads from text ad campaigns.

Why it’s important?

The new lead extensions can significantly help advertisers generate more leads from search ads. However, the quality of these leads will remain questionable, and it is up to advertisers to ensure they follow up with these leads to find out if they are qualified leads.

The new lead form extension is designed to attract customers with exciting and innovative call-to-actions (CTAs). The CTAs can be in the form of a simple website link or as a direct download.

Businesses/advertisers can customize their lead forms using their unique title and description and then indicate what information they require from customers. Some information that businesses can ask for include:

  • Customer name
  • Phone number
  • Postcode
  • Email address

This might seem like very limited data to capture, but with the integration of webhooks, advertisers should be able to see an easy transfer of lead data to sales systems.

Better still- The new option is designed for mobiles as well

Why should we care? Simply because advertising on mobile can be super hard. Small screen sizes, slow connections, and customers’ short attention span make mobile conversion rates much lower than desktop conversion rates. The lead form extension will come up beneath an ad search on mobiles and tablets and allow a user to provide their contact information directly through an advertiser’s ad on the SERP.

What else can a business/advertiser do?

Businesses can design their own background images for each lead form to make them look more attractive.

Businesses can customize the message that appears once the customers submit their information.

What Google Ads support pages say:

A Google Ads support page states that these extensions can be integrated into the business’s CRM.

Another support page mentions that lead form extensions in search ads is a beta feature that is available to only some businesses. The page goes on to explain that other businesses may belong to sensitive verticals/sub-verticals that make it impossible to use these lead form extensions.

Inside Google’s Recently Launched Products

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

When it comes to innovation, Google is a pioneer. It is a brand that is associated with advanced technology and smart engineering so much so that we have come to rely on Google products and solutions for many of our daily tasks.

The company releases a wide range of ground-breaking products regularly, and with each product, it seems like they take tech innovation to a new level. Let’s take a look at its most recent releases below:

Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 is a smartphone unrivaled in its performance. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and with a 6 GB memory, the phone is known not just for its fast and powerful performance but also for its high-quality camera.

The Google Pixel 4 XL is larger than the Pixel 4, dons a larger 90 Hz screen, and a better battery as well. Exciting features such as fast and secure facial ID and motion sensor control increase its appeal.

Google Home Mini

This smart speaker from Google is a market hit ever since it was released, and it’s no surprise. It is highly functional and versatile, as well as extremely affordable. It works as a voice-controlled speaker, as well as a smart personal assistant that can help you create calendar appointments, a shopping list, and more.

Chromecast ultra

The Chromecast Ultra is a video streaming device that you can use. It allows you to stream various video content from your mobile device to your 4K TV, including Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.

Google nest hub

The Google nest hub, previously known as Google home hub, is a smart-screen that allows you to control all your compatible smart devices on just one single display, or using voice control. It acts as both a smart speaker and a smart display and has the Google Assistant built-in.

Pixel Buds

These are wireless, Bluetooth earbuds from Google that has a built-in Google Assistant. This means that apart from providing clear and immersive sound, the earbuds support web search and even real-time language translation.

Pixelbook 4

Google Pixelbook 4 can be a laptop or a tablet, or you can choose the tent and entertainment modes. This versatile device runs on a 7th Gen Intel ® Core ™ processor and has 512 GB of storage, making it ideal for both work and entertainment.

Stadia

Stadia is a soon-to-be-released cloud gaming service from Google. Set to be released on November 19, 2019, in select countries, it is integrated with YouTube. This enables a state share feature, which allows viewers of a stream to launch a game on the service on the same save state as that of the streamer.

Nest WiFi

This WiFi system from Google is like an upgraded version of your typical router, allowing every device in your house to enjoy a fast signal. In other words, range and coverage are extended and signal strength is made consistent.

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