3 More Future-Tech Newsbites

It’s been a rocky couple of weeks for some of the big tech giants of the internet.

Still, it’s worth remembering that sometimes the most important news stories will be less publicised than, say, Kanye’s new trainers…

I always like to keep at least one (but preferably two) beady eyes on global tech news, so I’m ahead of the trend when World War III begins. I’ve got a survivalist bunker under my house and I’m determined to use it before 2025!

This week in the news – Uber massively screws over the world [again]; a new sleek, terrifying invention is unveiled and Google is watching you [if you know someone who owns a Pixel]:

You know Uber right? That super-friendly ride-app that pays it’s ’employees’ super fairly? Yeah – them: the California based company that rakes in over 6.5bn dollars last year but still operates at a loss in order to expand like a cancer across the face of the Earth.

Sorry – I think I temporarily lost control of my objectivity.

Anyway, those guys, fresh from their sexism controversies have rushed headlong into another – the defining difference being that this controversy is guaranteed to piss off pretty much every Uber user in the world. It was revealed earlier this month that Uber had concealed a data hack which affected 57 million customers (and drivers) all across the world. The breach in security is one thing, but the hiding of the hack is another altogether.

From a user’s point of view this is a clear sign to stay well clear from an app that is not safe or secure to use. Despite the handiness of Uber, I know I’m going to be avoiding it for as long as possible and simply calling a cab instead.

In other news – Google Lens is coming, effectively turning every Pixel and Pixel 2 into a walking eye for the bots to learn with.

Well – that’s probably exaggerating a little bit – still, the tech powerhouse is promising that it’s Lens tool, originally introduced as an update to the Photos function in the Pixel and Pixel 2, will be rolled out as a baked in feature of the Google Assistant.

Lens allows users to use the cameras in their Google phones to analyse and save information about  real-world objects in real-time. The applications of this kind of tech are endless: you can scan written addresses into Google Maps, get more information about landmark or even learn about books by scanning their covers .

At the moment, Lens is still in learning-phase, however the more objects it scans and learns about, with the help of its users, the more it will be able to recognise: not scary or portentous at all…

Loot Crates Under Attack Once More

There’s been a growing furore over the use (or misuse) of Loot Crates in video games, most notably after the release of EA’s hotly anticipated sequel, Battlefront II.

The argument that some politicians are making around the world is that the Loot Crate system used in this game and a few others, is essentially gambling and should not be made available to children. EA’s new game is based on the Star Wars franchise, a property that appeals today to as many children as it does adults, if not more.

Whilst both the UK’s Gambling Commission and the US lawmakers have stated that loot crates do not constitute gambling (based on the grounds that the player does not win any ‘real’ property) many others have argued that the introduction of in-game reward systems is normalising gambling habits and taking advantage of young players, who might seek an in-game benefit by endlessly spinning an arbitrary roulette wheel at the cost of themselves or their parents.

5 Ways Your Site’s Speed Could Be Costing You Money

[And 5 tips that could help you get up to scratch.]

Site Speed Has Never Been So Important – Don’t Get Left Behind!

The longer it takes your site to load, the less time potential clients are going to have for your brand – get up to speed so you don’t lose out on precious custom.

User Experience

There’s a direct correlation between how easy-to-use your website is and how much money it makes. If your site loads slowly and makes the user wait around for some ridiculous flashy gimmick, they won’t hang around.

user-x

[The best way to combat this is with simple Q&A testing. Get a wide range of people to try out your site and get some honest feedback. You’ll probably find that you’ll need to cut back on some of those gimmicky features and simplify your UI.]

SEO

Yes – Google does take page loading speed into account when they rank you in the SERPs. If your page loads sluggishly then this will reflect in a poorer ranking. It’s important to take this with a pinch of salt, as there are dozens of signals which Google uses to rank your website – however, an optimised site will always result in a better ranking.

sep

[To test your page loading speed go to: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ – this tool will even give you a list of things to improve on!]

Sales

It follows that if you’re not ranking as high as you should do and if your site’s a little clunky – then your sales are going to suffer. Bing reported that as little as a 2-second delay could lead to a 4.3% loss in revenue per visitor, whereas AutoAnything reported a 13% increase in sales after they managed to cut their page load speed in half.

money

[Refining the User Experience on both Desktop and Mobile is crucial to boosting your sales – assess your customer’s journey and make sure they’re getting to where they need to be ASAP.]

Conversions

Your rankings may well be excellent and you might have optimised your UX to the very limit, but if your page speed is slow – people will leave your site. Just a 1 second delay in site loading means that you could lose a 7% reduction in conversions. Make the most of every impression by getting your user to where they need to be – quicker.

conversions

[One of the leading issues leading to slow page-loading is the excessive use of plugins. If you separate the wheat from the chaff, you’ll speed up your loading time and also make your site more secure in the process!]

Revenue

All of these factors, boil down to how effective your site is at generating revenue. Regardless of the product or service that your site provides, if it’s slow, it’ll make less money. After edmunds.com cut 7 seconds of their load time, they saw a 17% increase in page views and a 3% increase in ad revenue.

revenue

[For the techies out there, a reduction in CSS will see your site speed massively increase. Cut the fat from the meat, and watch your site speed shoot through the roof.]

If all this sounds a little complicated to you, then why don’t you shoot me an email, I can explain things a little and put you in the direction of someone who can help!

 

 …

Tech News Update – November

3 Tech-News Updates That You Should Read

tech-nes

Every week a whole raft of news stories are published. Some of them signal seismic shifts in the way our business works, whereas some are just…guff. 

Here are the 3 most interesting articles that I’ve found in the last week, make sure to click through to check out the full articles:

Wi-Fi Hotspots Just Got More Dangerous – You’ve Been Warned!

hackers_2Most people are aware of the threat that Public Wi-Fi Hotspots pose to Phones and Laptops using them.

The controversial use of Stingrays to mimic cellphone towers, granted law enforcement agencies, as well as well funded cyber-criminals, with the means to trick users into connecting to them – intercepting calls and internet usage.

Stingrays weren’t easy or cheap to setup, but Researchers Piers O’Hanlon and Ravishankar Borgaonkar from Oxford have found a new method of attack that requires far less effort and financial backing. Masquerading as a reputable Wi-Fi Network, attackers can fool smartphones into connecting automatically and intercept Wi-Fi calls to steal the unique identity number (known as the IMSI number), allowing a person’s internet activity and identity to be stolen.

Google Showcase Phone (That Might Make Them Money This Time)

google-techRemember all your friends who bought Google Nexus phones when they were released?

No? That’s because no one bought one. Google has been trying (and failing) to get their smartphone devices into the hands of more people, but now they’ve finally decided a change of tack might well be the best plan.

Instead of selling low to medium range smartphones at next to no profit, the tech giant is now moving to muscle in on the high-end market. They’re selling their new phone for just under $750, the same price as Apple’s iPhone 7 (they’re even releasing a premium version, at the same cost of the Plus). Maybe this will be the tipping point for Google’s hardware sales – if not, they can always take a gamble on the huge range of other products that they’ll be pushing out over the next few years.

India Is Not Ready For Cyber Attacks

cyber-attackerOh dear, India.

Although hundreds of companies in the world out-source their telemarketing, programming and security offices to one of the world’s fastest developing countries, their cyber-security is yet to catch up with the rest of the world.

This was proven as the websites of Indian Embassies in seven different countries were successfully hacked – with hackers leaking personal details of Indian citizens currently living abroad.

Security testers going by the names of ‘Kapustkiy’ and ‘Kasimierz’ claimed responsibility for the attacks, in communications made with The Hacker News, the duo insisted that they did not perpetrate the attack for ‘the lulz or something’. They were, instead, hoping to highlight the weaknesses in India’s cyber-security, in the hope that it could be improved in the future.…