Saturday Social: Hummingbird, BlackBerry, Samsung Curves, CTL+Alt+DEL a Mistake, Joking Bad – The Finale
This week’s big news has to be the new algorithm from Google (yes … yikes), Hummingbird, billed as the first major upgrade to search for the last 3 years. However, don’t panic just yet, the algorithm has already been out there for a month and already affects around 90% of all Google searches.
According to a presentation held on Thursday, Hummingbird is designed to deal with longer, more complex queries, as well as being more natural and conversational. This means that it will be suitable for speech-based search on mobile devices.
It replaces the ‘Caffeine’ algorithm which was used to better index sites for inclusion in search results and it’s thought to be able to process a more intelligent understanding of requests.
The idea is that Hummingbird will be better able to understand the relationship between words, making for “more human” interactions.
“If you’ve been watching this space, you’d have already seen how they’ve integrated it into the [predictive search app] Google Now and conversational search,” said Danny Sullivan, founder of Search Engine Land. “To know that they’ve put this technology further into their index may have some big payoffs but we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
The news is bound to send some site owners into a spin, but there’s really very little need, especially if the quality of a site has been improved upon in the wake of Panda and Penguin. This is because for a start, the algorithm has already been out for a month, so it’s likely any effect would have already kicked in, and secondly, this one is concentrating more on the user experience in a different way.
It’s recommended that site owners include as much relevant and useful information as possible for users and for Google and Hummingbird to better understand what a site is about.
“We keep expanding features of the Knowledge Graph so it can answer more questions—even those that don’t have a simple answer,” said Google’s Amit Singhal. “Let’s say you want to get your daughter excited about a visit to the Met. You can pull up your phone and say to Google: “Tell me about Impressionist artists.” You’ll see who the artists are, and you can dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works. If you want to switch to Abstract artists, you can do that really easily with our new filter tool.”
“Or let’s say you want to compare two things: How much saturated fat is in butter versus olive oil?” He added. “Now you can simply tell Google: ‘Compare butter with olive oil.’ Our new comparison tool gives you new insights by letting you compose your own answer.”
The End for BlackBerry?
Mobile phone manufacturer BlackBerry has once more reported a loss following a drop in sales, despite the launch of its latest Z10 handset. The firm posted a loss of £600m in the second quarter of 2013, thanks to poor smartphone sales.
Last week the company also axed 4,500 jobs in a bid to control losses amid the news that it is to be bought out by a consortium headed up by its biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial.
The Z10 was released in January and it was hoped that the phone would help BlackBerry’s dwindling profits. However, sales were disappointing and compared to Q2 2012, profits for this year were down by around 50%.
Indeed, sales were so unexpectedly bad that the firm were forced to write off $934m in the second quarter to account for its losses.
The company has been struggling for quite some time now and many attribute this to its failure to invest during the early days of the smartphone. It’s thought that the company was so sure of its place in the business market that it failed to look to the future.
One mobile phone manufacturer that can’t be accused of not being forward-thinking is Samsung however. The world’s most popular smartphone manufacturer is now planning to launch of range of handsets with curved displays.
The devices will have plastic screens which are made with OLED panels and it’s thought that they will hit the market in October. No other details about the handsets are currently known, but it won’t be Samsung’s first foray into curved screen technology.
TVs are already available from the company and on Wednesday, LG launched their own 55 inch OLED TV in the UK.
“A curved screen isn’t going to radically change the user’s experience of a smartphone, but it does help Samsung differentiate itself in a crowded market where most phones are homogenous, flat-screen rectangles,” Ben Wood, analyst at research company CCS Insight, told the BBC.
CTL+Alt+Del a Mistake?
Computer users around the world are familiar with the combination of the Control, Alt and Delete buttons which when pressed together can be used to lock a computer, launch task manager or login as a different user.
However, according to Bill Gates, the combination of keys was never intentional and its inclusion was a mistake. It seems that it’s all IBM’s fault, as Gates always favoured a single button for the shortcut.
Invented by IBM’s David Bradley, Ctl+Alt+Del has been used by Windows for many years and was initially intended to trigger a reboot. Anyone that has ever worked in tech support in years gone by will be very familiar with that particular use.
Interestingly, the shortcut is also known as the ‘three-finger salute’ and was supposedly a quick fix for the infamous Windows Blue Screen of Death.
“We could have had a single button, but the guy who did the IBM keyboard design didn’t want to give us our single button,” Gates said at a Harvard University Fundraiser.
Joking Bad – The Pilot, The Finale
Unless you’ve been living in a cave away from every aspect of modern civilisation, you surely can’t have failed to have noticed the furore surrounding the incredibly popular TV series Breaking Bad?
Personally I’m a huge fan and am looking forward to the finale, which is due to hit Netflix on Monday in the UK and is looking like it will end on a moral (ish) note.
In the meantime, take a look at the spoof below. If you’re a fan, this really isn’t to be missed, it’s hilarious, albeit a little on the long side. Stick with it to the end for a few excellent surprises!
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