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Social media interaction is in a constant state of evolution. Traditionally, progress has been limited to text-based interactions or static video; however through Google+ Hangouts, users are given the ability to ditch asynchronous social media interactions for real-time communication that delivers the ability to see the audience blink, follow hand and body gestures, eye movements and facial expressions. [pullquote]With Glass, expect commonalities to be out in the open, paving the way for apps to display information on an individual, your mutual connections and any common ground that could be useful in opening a conversation.[/pullquote]

Characteristics like these, only available through platforms that offer real-time, face to face communication, have triggered a shift in traditional social media to a new layer that I call Human Media.

The profound effect of shifting from social media to Human Media inspires raw conversation for a deep level of interaction and understanding of user opinions and feelings. And with the introduction of Google Glass, users are given the possibility of connecting to people and surroundings on a whole new level.

Increased Human Media Interaction

Even with the numerous other group video-chat services, Hangouts are the life-breath of Human Media. Hangouts are scalable, further allowing interaction with multiple parties in real-time while broadcasting to the masses. Glass will be no different.

Glass, mixed with the technology of Hangouts, poses a new reality of improved transparency, in-depth customer service or a customized DIY portal.

Charitable organizations and business have the potential to display firsthand the impacts of customer donations and purchases. After buying a pair of TOMS Shoes, imagine viewing the real-time effects of giving away a pair of shoes to a child in need, all in first person.

Or, from a customer service perspective, Glass opens the door to provide businesses with the ability to walk customers through any issues firsthand. Having trouble installing a new hard drive? Pull out Glass and have a customer service representative walk you through it. Is someone close to you in the need of emergency first aid? Let an experienced professional instruct your every movement.

Converging Social Interaction and Traditional Interaction

Glass has the unique ability to take connections past the screen and into the real world. With Glass, expect commonalities to be out in the open, paving the way for apps to display information on an individual, your mutual connections and any common ground that could be useful in opening a conversation.

To make this possible, researchers at Duke University have created an app for Glass that gives users a visual fingerprint, making it easy to identify an individual. The weakness with this app is that currently clothing is the primary determining factor when identifying a user; however in the near future apps similar to this will make it easy to spot friends, pickup colleagues at the airport or even recognize the seller of an item you may have purchased on Craigslist – all without a recent photo.

Integration into Normal Life

The data gathering properties of Google Glass has already ignited controversy over privacy concerns; however, the capabilities are no different than that of a smartphone. The argument lies in the potential to make data gathering less obvious.

Although critics are voicing opinions over privacy concerns, within two years, the reality of Glass, and competing devices, will become a prominent feature in everyday life. Just like the telephone, cell phone and internet, Google Glass will become a social norm – and possibly the third-half of your brain, as Google front man Sergey Brin said in a 2010 New York Times interview.

What many fail to understand is that Glass will be more than a portal for visual updates. This technology opens the door to alter the way we gather and process information, as well as how Google’s search engine serves information. This is the game-changer that has the potential to inspire a new movement of real-time interaction with users across the globe.

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Google Project Glass: Siri Or Clippy?

Google Project Glass: Siri or Clippy?

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could” Jeff Goldblum memorably said in Jurassic Park, ”that they didn’t stop to think if they should”; has Google done the same with Project Glass? Initial reactions to the wearable computing concept shown off publicly yesterday were predictably gobsmacked, the eye-catching demo video showing an idealized and alluring view of augmented reality. After the dust has settled, though, comes the question: is Project Glass Google’s Siri, or is it actually more like Microsoft’s ill-fated Clippy?

Some of us were quickly on-board, offering to open up our wallets to whatever Google wanted to take in order to get our hands on the wearable display. Others have been more reserved, wondering whether the AR system can deliver what Google has promised, and if so whether that’s something we’d actually want in our everyday lives.

Tom Scott, for instance, recreated Google’s concept video with a rather more cynical slant (be warned, some moderate profanity in the first couple of seconds), warning of what might happen if our reality gets just too augmented:

More serious, though, are the questions around practicality and privacy: can Google really deliver a user experience anything like its glossy promo, and even if it can, do we really want the search giant piggybacking on our everyday lives even more? Technical details, as we’ve already observed, are in short supply from Google; the slender prototypes in Google’s press shots are described as “design studies” with no indication as to whether the test hardware is anywhere near as minimal.

Practical experience with actual wearable displays from Lumus suggests Google’s UI mockup may not be quite what we can expect from the real deal. Single-eye overlays aren’t the issue – it’s actually relatively straightforward to incorporate extra information from one eye into your overall vision – but the amount of light coming through from the outside environment. That could potentially wash out the sort of pale, detailed graphics Google has shown us; bold strokes and wireframes generally work better.

Google Project Glass concept demo:

It’s speed and accuracy that is prompting the most questions, however. Microsoft’s maligned Clippy incurred the wrath of Office users because most of the time it got it wrong: sluggish, unhelpful and generally annoying, it failed the primary benchmark for a digital assistant, by actually detracting from usability.

In contrast, Apple’s Siri digital personal assistant on the iPhone 4S is useful because – although its palette of commands is relatively small – it generally gets things right. It adds to the usability of the device because it adds a new avenue of interaction, unlike Clippy with its attention-distracting and lackluster functionality.

Google needs to make sure Project Glass reacts swiftly and accurately if it wants users to don specialist eyewear. It also needs to make sure that user-expectations are in line with what’s capable of being delivered – not showing outlandish concepts if the practical implementation is significantly different, something which can turn off even the most enthused of early adopters. Finally, it needs to be upfront about legitimate fears around privacy and data protection, particularly when the reality that’s being augmented consists of plenty of people that haven’t signed up to the Project Glass terms of service.

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Google On Protecting Anchor Text Signal From Spam Site Influence

In a Google SEO office hours session, Google’s Duy Nguyen of the search quality team answered a question about links on spam sites and how trust has something to do with it.

It was interesting how the Googler said they were protecting the anchor text signal. It’s not something that’s commonly discussed.

Building trust with Google is an important consideration for many publishers and SEOs.

There’s an idea that “trust” will help get a site indexed and properly ranked.

It’s also known that there is no “trust” metric, which sometimes confuses some in the search community.

How can algorithm trust if it’s not measuring something?

Googlers don’t really answer that question but there are patents and research paper that give an idea.

Google Doesn’t Trust Links From Spam Sites

The person who submitted a question to the SEO office hours asked:

“If a domain gets penalized does it affect the links that are outbound from it?”

The Googler, Duy Nguyen, answered:

“I assume by ‘penalize’ you mean that the domain was demoted by our spam algorithms or manual actions.

In general, yes, we don’t trust links from sites we know are spam.

This helps us maintain the quality of our anchor signals.”

Trust and Links

Googlers talk about trust and it’s clear that they’re talking about their algorithms trusting something or not trusting something.

In this case it’s not about not counting links that are on spam sites, in particular, this is about not counting the anchor text signal.

The SEO community talks about “building trust” but in this case, it’s really about not building spam.

How Does Google Determine a Site is Spam?

Not every site is penalized or receives a manual action. Some sites aren’t even indexed and that’s the job of Google’s Spam Brain, an AI platform that analyzes webpages at different points, beginning at crawl time.

The spam brain platform functions as:

Spam Brain blocks sites at crawl time, including content that’s discovered through search console and sitemaps.

Spam Brain also catches spam that’s been indexed at the point when sites are considered for ranking.

The way the Spam Brain platform works is that it trains an AI on the knowledge Google has about spam.

“By combining our deep knowledge of spam with AI, last year we were able to build our very own spam-fighting AI that is incredibly effective at catching both known and new spam trends.”

We don’t know what “knowledge of spam” Google is talking about, but there are various patents and research papers about it.

Those who want to take a deep dive on this topic may consider reading an article I wrote about the concept of link distance ranking algorithms, a method for ranking links.

I also published a comprehensive article about multiple research papers that describe link related algorithms that may describe what the Penguin algorithm is.

Although many of the patents and research papers are within the last ten or so years, there haven’t really been anything else published by search engines and university researchers since.

The importance of those patents and research papers is that it’s possible that they can make it into Google’s algorithm in a different form, such as for training and AI like Spam Brain.

The patent discussed in the link distance ranking article describes how the method assigns ranking scores for pages based on the distances between the a set of trusted “seed sites” and the pages that they link to. The seed sites are like starting points for calculating what sites are normal and which sites are not (i.e. spam).

The intuition is that the further a site is from a seed site the likelier the site can be considered spammy. This part, about determining spamminess through link distance is discussed in research papers cited in the Penguin article I referenced earlier.

The patent, (Producing a Ranking for Pages Using Distances in a Web-link Graph), explains:

“The system then assigns lengths to the links based on properties of the links and properties of the pages attached to the links.

The system next computes shortest distances from the set of seed pages to each page in the set of pages based on the lengths of the links between the pages.

Next, the system determines a ranking score for each page in the set of pages based on the computed shortest distances.”

Reduced Link Graph

The same patent also mentions what’s known as a reduced link graph.

But it’s not just one patent that discusses reduced link graphs. Reduced link graphs were researched outside of Google, too.

A link graph is like a map of the Internet that is created by mapping with links.

In a reduced link graph the low quality links and associated sites are removed.

What’s left is what’s called a reduced link graph.

Here’s a quote from the above cited Google patent:

“A Reduced Link-Graph

Note that the links participating in the k shortest paths from the seeds to the pages constitute a sub-graph that includes all the links that are “flow” ranked from the seeds.

Although this sub-graph includes much less links than the original link-graph, the k shortest paths from the seeds to each page in this sub-graph have the same lengths as the paths in the original graph.

…Furthermore, the rank flow to each page can be backtracked to the nearest k seeds through the paths in this sub-graph.”

Google Doesn’t Trust Links from Penalized Sites

It’s a kind of an obvious thing that Google doesn’t trust links from penalized websites.

But sometimes one doesn’t know if a site is penalized or flagged as spam by Spam Brain.

Researching to see if a site might not be trusted is a good idea before going through the effort of trying to get a link from a site.

In my opinion, third party metrics should not be used for making business decisions like this because the calculations used to produce a score are hidden.

If a site is already linking to possibly spammy sites that themselves have inbound links from possible paid links like PBNs (private blog networks), then it’s probably a spam site.

Watch the SEO Office Hours:

Google Glass Creators Talk “Staring” And The Social Implications Of Wearables

Google Glass creators talk “staring” and the social implications of wearables

As Google Glass continues to be a unique sort of hardware / software platform in the industry, so too do the creators of the wearable computer stay hot commodities for question and answer sessions. In the feature you’re about to see, two members of the main Glass creation and development team discuss the social etiquette involved in the creation of the platform. Steve Lee, Product Director for Glass, and Charles Mendis, Engineer on Glass, spoke up during a fireside chat at Google I/O 2013.

As we saw a relatively large amount of users working with Glass at this year’s Google developers convention, it only made sense that sessions featuring the team that made the device would be rather popular. Every single one of the chats surrounding Glass were packed to the brim with developers, press, and the like. Steve Lee let it be known how the device began its life as a wearable.

Steve Lee: I’ve been on the project since the beginning, so almost 3 years now. So I have a pretty good view of how the product has evolved and what the team philosophy has been. And I can definitely say that from the beginning, the social implications and social etiquette of Glass, of people wearing Glass, has been at the top of our mind in how we design and develop the product.

And not only thinking about the people who will buy and use Glass, be wearing Glass, but really everyone. And the social implications for those around the people wearing Glass. 

So I’m proud of the team for taking it seriously and thinking about that early on. 

Lee: Lemme just give a few examples of how the design has evolved to accommodate some of that:

One is that the display is up above the person’s eye. We learned that very early on – some of our very early prototypes actually covered your eyes. We soon discovered how important human eye contact is with people around you. 

Lee: Another common question is about distractions – is Glass distracting? How do I know if you’re paying attention to me? Typically people who are asking that haven’t been around someone with Glass yet. Because once you’re around someone with Glass, you’ll know that they’re paying attention to you. Because they’re looking at you – you have eye contact. 

And if you’re looking at Glass, you’re looking up at the display.

So that’s one example of design. 

Lee: A second thing is with the camera. A lot of the privacy questions are around the camera and picture-taking and videos. That’s why to start recording a video, or to take a picture, the way you do it has clear social cues – a social gesture.

There’s a camera button right here – so I have to raise my hand, press the button to take a picture. Or speak to Glass, and say “OK Glass, take a picture. Or OK Glass, record a video.” So it’s a clear cue to people around you. 

The third example that I like to give is – and I want to really educate people about this about how Glass works – is that when Glass is active, the display lights up. It lights up not only for me to see, but for other observers to see that as well. 

So right now you can’t see a light emitting from Glass because it’s not active. So because of that, you can rest assured that I’m not recording you right now.

Q: Well it could be hacked, right?

Lee: Yes, that’s on Charles.

We take the trust and reliability of our software very seriously, like all other teams at Google. So by design, that’s not intended. Our design is to ensure that the display is active when Glass is active.

And that’ll be part of our SDK – our GDK – it’ll also be part of our policy. So applications won’t be permitted that don’t do that. 

Charles Mendis: Just to add to that, on the social cues – if I’m recording a video of you with Glass, I have to be staring at you. If I want to be recording you, I have to stare at you. And as a human being, if someone is staring at you, you kind of notice.

Like a girl’s walking down the street, and a guy’s just like. *STARE*

So I definitely think there’s going to be social cues. And again, like in the restroom. If you walk into the restroom, even without Glass, and somebody is just looking at you… I don’t know about you, but I’m going to get the heck out of there.

Do You Think Google Glass Is An Intrusion Of Privacy?

Now that Google Glass has been available more broadly, we’ll start to see it on more and more people in public. This means you could walk into a restaurant or library and have someone browsing, watching, recording right there. Is this an intrusion of your privacy?

Google Glass wearers have been somewhat limited until now, as only those receiving an invite from Google were allowed to buy the device for $1500. But after Google opened up the sale of the device to everyone for just one day, on Tax Day no less, we’ll start to see it turn up in all sorts of situations. We won’t know whether the wearers are simply just wearing it, or if they are Googling directions to their next destination or even recording us. While some people are quite excited about the release of this device, others are put off by it, seeing it as an intrusion on their privacy. After all, these devices were for sale to everyone, not just people who had the good morals to not record people without their knowledge. There’s already been one violent act related to Google Glass, as a wearer reported getting it ripped off his head and smashed.

What do you think? Will you be bothered walking into a business and seeing someone wearing Google Glass, not knowing how they are using it? Or does it not bother you as you are wishing you had the money to buy one of these devices as well?

Do you think Google Glass is an intrusion of your privacy?

Image Credit: Tedeytan and Loic Le Meur

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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Google Targets Microsoft, Will Launch Pc Os

SUN VALLEY, Idaho (Reuters) – Google Inc is planning a direct attack on Microsoft Corp’s core business by taking on the software giant’s globally dominant Windows operating system for personal computers.

Google, which already offers a suite of e-mail, Web and other software products that compete with Microsoft, said on Tuesday it would launch a new operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.

Called the Google Chrome Operating System, the new software will be in netbooks for consumers in the second half of 2010, Google said in a blog post, adding that it was working with multiple manufacturers.

Netbooks are low-cost notebook PCs optimized for Internet surfing and other Web-based applications.

“It’s been part of their culture to go after and remove Microsoft as a major holder of technology, and this is part of their strategy to do it,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. “This could be very disruptive. If they can execute, Microsoft is vulnerable to an attack like this, and they know it,” he said.

Google and Microsoft have often locked horns over the years in a variety of markets, from Internet search to mobile software. It remains to be seen if Google can take market share away from Microsoft on its home turf, with Windows currently installed in more than 90 percent of the world’s PCs.

The news comes as executives from the world’s biggest technology and media companies, including Google and Microsoft, gather in Sun Valley, Idaho for an annual conference organized by boutique investment bank Allen & Co.

Key to success will be whether Google can lock in partnerships with PC makers, such as Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc, which currently offer Windows on most of their product lines.

HP, the world’s largest PC brand, declined to confirm if it would sell PCs running on the new operating system.

“We are looking into it,” said HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak, referring to the operating system. “We want to understand all the different operating systems available to customers, and will assess the impact of Chrome on the computer and communications industry.”

Google’s Chrome Internet browser, launched in late 2008, remains a distant fourth in the Web browser market, with a 1.2 percent share in February, according to market research firm Net Applications. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continues to dominate with nearly 70 percent.


The new Chrome OS is expected to work well with many of the company’s popular software applications, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Maps.

It will be fast and lightweight, enabling users to access the Web in a few seconds, Google said. The new OS is based on open-source Linux code, which allows third-party developers to design compatible applications.

“The operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web,” Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, said in the blog post. The Chrome OS is “our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.”

Google said Chrome OS was a new project, separate from its Android mobile operating software found in some smartphones. Acer Inc, the world’s No.3 PC brand, has already agreed to sell netbooks that run on Android to be released this quarter.

The new OS is designed to work with ARM and x86 chips, the main chip architectures in use in the market. Microsoft has previously said it would not support PCs running on ARM chips, allowing Google an opportunity to infiltrate that segment.

Charlene Li, partner at consulting company Altimeter Group, said Google’s new OS could initially appeal to consumers looking for a netbook-like device for Web surfing, rather than people who use desktop PCs for gaming or high-powered applications.

But eventually, the Google OS has the potential to scale up to larger, more powerful PCs, especially if it proves to run faster than Windows, she said.

Microsoft declines to say how much it charges PC brands for Windows, but most analysts estimate about $20 for the older XP system and at least $150 for the current Vista system.

Li added: “A benefit to the consumer is that the cost saving is passed on, not having to pay for an OS.”

“It’s clearly positioned as a shot across the bow of Microsoft,” she said.

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