Search News

Is it Possible There Are Too Many Changes Being Made to Twitter?

ieplexus blog 1 1-28-16Recently Twitter has seen a whole host of changes both inside the company structure and on the website as a result of a massive drop in stock value. Investors started bailing because they were not seeing the level of growth that has been going on in other social media sites. With all of the changes being made to the platform and the people in charge of Twitter, one of the problems that many users are now experiencing is confusion due to way too many changes being made all at once.

In the last few months, there have been several major changes to Twitter as the social media site has been trying to redefine themselves. One main change was the order of the timeline with Twitter’s new Moments which shows tweets tied to specific events and news stories. Another shift was from favorited tweets to “likes” much like Facebook. Rumor has it that the newest change will alter the character limit from the 140 character limit to a much higher number.

All of these changes have come as major shocks to experienced Twitter users who are accustomed to the old way that Twitter was organized. Some users have become less fond of the site since they suddenly find it confusing and difficult to use. The changes that have been made to Twitter thus far seem to be causing Twitter to lose some of what makes it Twitter. There isn’t the same easy to use system as can be seen in other social media sites since Twitter keeps changing multiple parts of the website.

One of the big problems with this is that new users have trouble distinguishing between all of the different features. When they go on Twitter, it takes time to slowly learn how you are supposed to do almost anything. When they do something the wrong way, they receive corrections from other users that may further complicate the whole thing. Without being able to easily just use the site without looking up how to do every little thing, new users stop wanting to be users at all.

With the drop in stock prices it is clear that Twitter needs big changes and it has been getting them. The problem is that these changes are coming so fast and in such a confusing way that old users and new users are being dissuaded from being users at all. The many changes to at the executive level and within the website itself seems to be resulting in a confusing mess that is just too difficult for your average internet user to decipher. If Twitter can’t get its social network on par with others like Facebook, there is no hope for the future of this social media network.

Twitter Finds New Ways to Interact with Search Engines

Picture 2-5-2015One of the best ways for social networks to move up in the world is to pair themselves with the major search engines. Many of the larger social networks have some kind of history working with Google or Bing in different capacities. This is something that Twitter has recently been doing, as new features have been announced that directly implement aspects of these search engines. When it comes to Bing, Twitter has paired up with the search engine for translation reasons.

On the Twitter website, as well as in the mobile apps, users can now easily translate any tweet in a foreign language to the user’s default language. Though the translation tool is not perfect, it’s still a step up from not being able to read foreign tweets at all. Bing is not the only search engine that Twitter has found themselves recently pairing with, however. There has also been a deal made between Twitter and Google, which will ultimately allow tweets to appear in Google searches.

Yahoo and Bing already offer the ability to show tweets in their searches, but this will allow Google to have the same benefits. Twitter and Google had an agreement that was similar to this in 2009, but it was discontinued in 2011, around the same time that Google Plus launched. Google pairing themselves up with Twitter again may be yet another sign that they’re gradually removing support from Google Plus, which has been circling the drain for a while now.

Facebook and Bing Go Their Separate Ways

Picture 12-18-2014Facebook and Microsoft have had a long-standing relationship, which for quite some time has led to Facebook including Bing results in the Facebook search bar. Similarly, searching in Bing would allow Facebook users to find results from their friends. However, it appears that Facebook has been making some changes regarding the way their search function works. In particular, it looks like they have removed Bing from the equation, without fanfare.

One of the reasons that Facebook worked with Bing in the first place was because it has long considered Google to be a rival, especially with Google’s mostly unsuccessful plunge into social network territory with Google Plus. What this means for the future of the partnership between Facebook and Bing is currently unclear, though it is likely that these changes have been made in relation to Facebook’s new search functions, which I talked about last week.

It seems that Facebook wants to refocus their search functions to work within Facebook, rather than extending to the rest of the web. However, the refining of their search functions appears to be used to compete with other search experiences. A Microsoft spokesperson says that they continue to partner with Facebook in other areas apart from the search function. It still is possible that Facebook and Bing will work concurrently in the future, but under what circumstances is currently unknown.

Recent Security Breaches for Social Networks

Picture 1-2-2014In early December, it was revealed that there had been yet another massive breach in social network security, as 2 million passwords were stolen in a hack that affected accounts for Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and more. The hackers, who are believed to have originated from the Netherlands, were using a virus that allowed them to access information for more than 93,000 websites, including many major social networks.

More recently, it appears that the security of Snapchat has also been compromised. A recent hack resulted in information regarding 4.6 million accounts getting posted on a website known as SnapchatDB.info. Though the site has since been suspended, the hackers were able to get information regarding phone numbers and passwords for all of these individual accounts.

According to the people behind Snapchat, the hole that allowed for this security breach has been sealed. However, some people believe that Snapchat’s response to the hack is evident of their existence as a very young startup company. One particular issue is that a group of ‘white hat hackers’ – people who find holes in security so that companies can prevent these kinds of breaches – had explicitly told Snapchat that there were holes that could be exploited. Yet Snapchat ignored this and didn’t even admit to their mistake in not listening when they released a brief statement regarding the breach.

Though these breaches in security have been unfortunate for a lot of people, one website is trying their hardest to help people find out whether or not their account has been compromised. The website ‘haveibeenpwned‘ allows people to enter their e-mail addresses that are used for these accounts to find out if theirs are among the accounts that have been compromised by any of these recent breaches. The website checks Adobe, Snapchat, Stratfor, Gawker, Yahoo!, Vodafone, Pixel Federation, and Sony accounts.

Topsy: The Google for Twitter

Picture 9-5-2013

Twitter has long had a search function that allows users to search for certain words or topics that they might want to find tweets about. However, the search function has always been limited to a point, for the sake of reducing data usage and providing more up-to-date information to its users. Essentially, the search function on Twitter tends to show more recent tweets in the assumption that more recent tweets are more likely to be relevant to whatever the user might be searching for. However, Twitter has allowed a small number of data partners to have full access to the entire archive of Twitter data and one of these partners is Topsy.

Topsy’s goal is essentially to act as a Google service for Twitter’s entire archive. Recently, Topsy announced that they had indexed every single Twitter message since the very first tweet was posted in 2006, which ultimately contains about 425 billion pieces of content. Until this past week, Topsy’s archive only went back to 2010, but their recent update has included the years prior to this and the company has made the database free to the public. Before Topsy, the only ways to find this sort of information was through partners like Gnip and the Library of Congress, and it wasn’t presented in an easy-to-search manner nor was it free to access.

There are many ways that Topsy can be used beneficially, as it is very interesting to be able to look at trends regarding events, products, or people. Essentially, through the way that Topsy organizes its content based on relevance (using an algorithm that takes retweets and favorites into account), it is easy to see what Twitter users thought of a certain political figure or a news story at a certain time, as well as how those users’ attitudes have evolved over time.

Similarly, Topsy can be used for advertisers and others in the business world who want to see how Twitter users feel about a certain product or how their brand is being presented in social media. There are countless other ways that Topsy can be used as a resource to journalists, politicians, and simply those with a bit of curiosity. In the future, Topsy hopes to index public pages for other social networks such as Facebook and Google Plus.

Will Google Instant Change Anything?

The release of Google Instant yesterday has caused a lot of fuss in the online community, but will it really have any impact on searches? For those of you who don’t piously follow search engine news , Google Instant is a new feature that brings up search results as you type them into the search bar. Some people see this as a revolution for search technologies, while others find the flood of information overwhelming.

As you type your search into Google, results will automatically appear and change on the page. For example, when you type an “a”, Amazon comes up; but if you continue with a “p”, the results change and bring Apple to the top. In addition to providing instantaneous results, this revised version of Google also offers users predictions that are more accurate. If you don’t know what to type in, Google will bring up several oft searched for options after each keystroke, helping you pare down your search. Results are now catered to your geographic location and search history, further increasing the relevancy of the sites Google presents.

(more…)

New Businesses, Legislation Look to Address Online Privacy Concerns

The rampant use of social media sites and online networks has made personal information more readily available than ever. And with sites like Facebook constantly having their privacy settings and policies called into question, people are becoming increasingly concerned with monitoring and managing their online image. The issue of online privacy has helped spawn a completely new industry with startups offering a plethora of services centering on targeted marketing and persona information.

There are always two sides to any story, of course. Some of these companies are seeking to help businesses capitalize on this new and readily available personal information, while others take the opposite approach by helping individuals maintain online privacy and monitor how their information is being utilized. According to Forrester Research, online identity protection is now a $2.5 billion industry, and it continues to grow by 12 to 15 percent each year.

(more…)

Facebook Earns Patent for New Targeted Search Algorithm

With thousands of companies vying to be the next internet success story, protecting new software, algorithms and other proprietary information is always a concern. Companies are constantly fighting to prevent competitors from taking advantage of their innovations, and like most other industries, the best way to get legal protection is by filing for a patent.

Searches are one of the most lucrative and widely used aspects of the internet, as is evidenced by the massive success and ubiquitous nature of Google. On numerous occasions we’vediscussed how searches are becoming increasingly personalized, leading to more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Capitalizing on this trend is obviously a top priority for internet companies, and Facebook has just established itself as the leader in this race thanks to a patent on a new search algorithm.

(more…)

Share Your Content with the Push of a ‘Tweet Button’

One of the most remarkable aspects of social networking sites—and the internet in general—is the ever-increasing amount of interconnectivity between various sites and services. From RSS feeds that bring personalized news information straight to the never-ending web of social media outlets, there is an incessant drive to keep people connected. No site is as committed to this trend of continuous updates than Twitter, and they have recently made this easier than ever for their users with an official “tweet button.”

Twitter developed the button as a way for internet users to count how many times an article has been retweeted and to give readers an easy means of propagating information. Up until the release of the button, which Mashable.com originally reported on last week, TweetMeme had been the sharing service of choice for Twitter users, with about 750 million retweets per day. The company will now be teaming up with Twitter to improve the functionality of the button and troubleshoot some of the inevitable problems that will arise following its debut.

(more…)

Google and Verizon Reveal Details of ‘Open Internet’ Deal

Now that details of the potential deal between Google and Verizon have been made public, it doesn’t appear to be the diabolical plan that many made it out to be. But it still has great significance for the ongoing debate on net neutrality. On Monday morning, Google laid out the details of the proposal in a post on their Public Policy Blog.

According to Google, the purpose of the proposal is “to protect the future openness of the internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband.” Since both of the companies are monoliths in their respective industries, their proposal for an “open internet” is sure to spark some serious debate. Although the proposal is extensive and complex, you can understand the gist by looking at the companies’ two stated goals:

  • Users should choose what content, applications, or devices they use, since openness has been central to the explosive innovation that has made the Internet a transformative medium.
  • America must continue to encourage both investment and innovation to support the underlying broadband infrastructure; it is imperative for our global competitiveness.

(more…)