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The State of the Internet

By on Sep 17, 2013 in Internet |

Here are some interesting stats about the Internet as it stands today. While on the one hand users have dramatically increased their online activity and engagement, on the other, they have become extremely pick about how they choose to associate with. You can gain a lot by being on of the top websites on the Internet. But at the same time, you can lose a lot if you are not able to capture the attention of the visitor. googletechtalks.net

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Blamed for Killing Traditional Photo Albums

By on Jul 6, 2013 in Internet |

There’s no denying that social media has completely transformed the way people interact with the world. Chances are there are some friends and relatives you never see in the real world, and only know through your Facebook interactions. Even with those you keep in touch with regularly, you probably utilize the social networks to solidify plans, share about upcoming events and then post pictures of said events for all the world to see. Facebook actually uploads more than 300 million photos every single day through their platform. So it probably won’t come as any sort of surprise to learn that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may well be responsible for killing the traditional photo album. The real surprise is just how complete that takeover has become. Samsung recently released the results of a study they ran in Great Britain, looking to determine how the social networks have impacted the traditional ways in which people share photos. Through a partnership with service company OnePoll, Samsung checked in with more than 3,000 people. The results were clear, and damning for any companies making a living through printed photo albums. According to those results, more than 60% of those polled would rather catalog and share their photos through digital means, and now have no use for standard photo albums. Only 30% of the people polled admitted to still having albums around. More than half of all the participants declared Facebook their favorite service for sharing photographs. If you explore the results returned by the younger poll participants, the results are even more clear. Just 13% of those who fall within the 18 to 24 age range admitted to ever even using a photo album. Just think about that for a second. More than one in ten young adults in 2013 have never had any sort of interaction with a traditional book of photos. When you consider this was the primary way that families maintained a living history for the past one hundred and fifty odd years, such a change in such a short amount of time is absolutely staggering. Much of the shift begins when the photos are being taken. 20% of responders said that when they snap a photo, the end goal is to put it up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Around one in ten responders admitted that the photos they take end up on one of these sites less than a minute after being snapped. Traditional film is now obsolete, and people crave instant results. No longer do you have to wait for the lengthy exposure and printing process. And most people take their photos on a tablet or smartphone which are already internet connected. Would you rather tap a button and share a photo with your friends, or send it off for printing and binding that could take weeks? More and more casual photographers are now turning the camera around as well. If you’ve ever seen a “selfie”, you know this to be the case. In fact, those same young adults now snap more photos of themselves in various situations than they ever take of family or friends. It’s now the most popular image upload, accounting for one third of all pictures taken by this age group. Chances are none of these random snaps would ever end up in great custom photo albums. So don’t expect your friends to sit for any photo album review sessions these days. They’ve probably already seen your pictures...

InstaEDU Breaks Into Online Education

By on Dec 27, 2012 in Internet |

We live in the age of the Internet, and while this has given us a pretty great deal of frivolity, like Instagram and Tumblr, it’s also yielded some incredibly positive results towards the betterment of humanity as we know it! Technology has advanced in staggering ways over the last several years, and it doesn’t matter if you work in container shipping, zoology, or retail — it’s helped you do what you do better, and more efficiently. Tablets and smartphones are great, and they certainly make us able to do a lot of things that we weren’t able to do in the past, but it really doesn’t take a lot of thought before one realizes how little we might actually use these tools if we didn’t have the global network of the Internet basically connecting them all together. Thanks to the wonders of the world wide web, we’ve been able to digitize and share things in ways that we thought never before possible, and education just so happens to be one of those things that’s been digitized and is being shared more and more. Education has always been a fan of new technology, but it seems that there have been some incredible new steps made in the direction of an online classroom model over the course of the past year, and new developments just keep on coming. Many of us are familiar with World of Warcraft — it’s a “massively multiplayer online role playing game,” with the “massively multiplayer” part meaning that a ton of users are connected to one shared experience in real time. This idea is being applied to education, with online classrooms becoming available for free from top universities. Another way that tech is being used to develop new solutions in education is a startup called InstaEDU that’s based out of San Francisco. Started by a 25-year-old young lady who worked in marketing at Google and her 22-year-old brother and a 25-year-old friend, InstaEDU began as a simple tutoring business. Soon enough, however, the three realized that tutoring is costly, and that the demand for a physical presence is a limitation that seems unnecessary today. They were right. By going virtual with its tutoring, InstaEDU has been able to cut costs in a huge way, making educational assistance a lot more affordable for its clients. Over 1,200 different tutors have signed up to help, and a lot of them are from top-tier universities. Clients have an option to video chat, instant message, or collaboratively edit a document, and now have an opportunity to speak with online masters of education to get the help they need. Technology is playing a bigger and bigger role in the development of education, and InstaEDU is only one of the ways that it’s helped us bring the learning experience to a wider audience. With more developments like these, there are almost no limits to how far we can take education in the...

Study Reveals That University of Phoenix Is Google’s Biggest Advertiser

By on Nov 2, 2012 in Internet |

Over the years we’ve all become used to the expanding reach and scope of advertising campaigns. From the catchy slogans and animated spokespeople of television commercials to the over-the-top billboards and million dollar product placement campaigns in movies, advertising is truly all around us. And the internet is no different. While the world wide web is free for anyone with a wireless device and an internet connection, achieving visibility among the competition from millions of websites comes with a hefty price tag. The more noise a company wants to make online, the more money they must spend. Google has created an empire out of the desire of advertisers and corporations to monetize web browsing, and they are one of the ways companies can judge their online reach. But while some of the largest companies in the world come together to spend over $100 million in advertising each and every day on Google, an online university is quite unexpectedly the largest advertiser they have. According to a recent study performed by WordStream, an advertising firm that focuses on the online space, the University of Phoenix was the top spender on Google last quarter. In fact, they dropped down almost $200,000 in AdWords purchases each and every day. The University of Phoenix is an online continuing education program, and in order to maintain their hold within this expanding market they have upped their advertising spend on television and the web in the past several quarters. But the sort of companies that they beat out make the figures even more shocking. WordStream published a graph depicting the biggest advertisers on Google’s slate, ranked by their daily spend over the third quarter of 2012. University of Phoenix led the charge with over $160,000. The only other companies to break the $100,000 mark were Ask.com, Amazon.com, Zappos.com and Hotels.com. Each are international corporations that you would think post far higher revenues than an online school. Even if that is the case, it isn’t slowing down the University of Phoenix when it comes to ad spending. AdWords manages online advertising for Google, as well as several of the larger search engines. And while Google has other solid revenue streams, including their smartphones and mapping services, more than 90% of the company’s revenue is made through advertising. And that profit has risen over 15% this quarter, proving that online advertising is one product that is completely recession-proof. While the University of Phoenix must reap significant benefits from this sort of spend, they are an uncommon advertising behemoth. Financial businesses were the most likely to advertise with Google this past quarter, and some of the big names in that world included Geico, Bank of America and State Farm. Travel remains close behind, with online deal sites such as Priceline and Expedia leading the way. All in all, more than five billion advertisements are seen on Google’s network of web pages each and every day. That’s close to one ad for every person on the planet. With that kind of reach, even a business offering nothing more expensive than a counseling masters degree online can afford to drop over $5 million a month to fill their...

Digital University Udacity Raises $15 Million

By on Nov 2, 2012 in Internet |

It is no secret that major changes in our education system must be considered. American students are not keeping up with the rest of the world, especially in math, science and technology fields, and more and more high-level positions are being handed to foreign employees. Technology has helped many businesses improve dramatically, as innovations almost always inspire growth. And according to Sebastian Thrun and his new startup Udacity, tech will be the future of education. Clearly many influential people agree, as Udacity recently announced a $15 million funding raise. Thrun is no newbie in the field. He is counted as one of the pioneers of robotics and AI. He teaches at Stanford and was one of the inventors of the autonomous car that Google and Toyota are currently testing across the country. The $15 million Udacity just landed brings their total capital raise to more than $21 million in the last year. Current investors in the startup include Charles River Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Steve Blank, also a Stanford professor and a well-respected startup entrepreneur. Although Udacity was launched as a for-profit education and technology company, the goal is to help people all over the world receive a higher education, even if they can’t pay for it. The company created their first online educational programs last year, offering courses in math, computer science and a wide range of other sciences. All courses are free, and more than three quarters of a million people have taken advantage since the beginning of 2012. Peter Levine, one of the partners in Udacity investor Andreessen Horowitz and a Sanford lecturer as well, addressed this important need in a statement released this week. He referred to the educational disparity around the world as an issue of supply and demand. There’s no question that millions of people want to experience college education, but for most the expense of an American-quality university education is just impossible. Udacity will draw from its deep Stanford roots to inform the quality of the course content that will be made available. And no one will be left out of the loop. Levine will make sure that remains the case, as he will also serve on the Udacity board. Udacity isn’t the only education and technology startup receiving significant support from the venture capital community. A pair of Stanford computer science lecturers started Coursera with $16 million raised earlier this year. Online tutoring service 2U brought in an additional $26 million this year to expand the degrees they could offer online. And Codecademy brought in $10 million in venture capital in June alone to help people learn computer programming. All told, educational tech startups received more than $450 million in VC financing to date in 2012, already besting the tally from all of 2011. It’s clear that internet connectivity is the key. There are more than 1 billion smartphones in circulation, and almost 2.5 billion internet users worldwide. So it seems that if you build it, they will come. Whether it’s grade school tutoring or a masters degree in criminal justice, any educational service that offers value online will receive a long look. But how will these companies make money? For Udacity, the key will be employers paying to find talent through its network, or corporations looking to provide their current employees with specialized degrees and skill sets. At the same time, Thrun wants to make the process more fun. Users can expect interactivity and a game-focused style, transforming learning into a more enjoyable...

Google Gives the Public an Inside Look Into Its Secret Data Centers

By on Oct 18, 2012 in Internet |

Perhaps the most interesting thing about Google continues to be exactly how many absolutely interesting thing the company is actually working on, even if we don’t all know about it. Everybody’s familiar with how Google’s innovative design and forward-thinking idea of what search can and should be revolutionized what it actually is. Few know the nuts and bolts of how something like this was done, however, and it’s within secrets like this that the true genius of Google’s founders lie. Google isn’t simply famous because it made searching the Internet a whole lot easier. It’s famous because it made searching the Internet a whole lot easier by way of incessantly refining, tweaking, and adjusting their algorithm and the other building blocks of the Google search and general online experience. For this reason, and many others, Google has been able to stay ahead of the curve, and keep at the vanguard of online design, engineering, and development. Now, of course Google is one of the most ubiquitous presences in the world. Their influence and importance has bled out of the computer and into the real world, as Google how has their stake in smartphones, maps, and more. Curious, though, is exactly how Google goes about having the capacity to serve as many people as it does. Obviously there have to be massive amounts of server space to provide all these millions of people with their Gmail, cloud storage access, search information, and more — and recently, Google let us take a look at them. Impressively enough, Google’s massive infrastructure over pretty much the entire world, with what are known as massive data centers in just about any location you can think of. Cities with more arbitrary-sounding names than you might have ever thought, in places like the midwest and foreign countries are home to many of Google’s labyrinthian data centers that help basically process what the world is doing on the Internet. Why would Google never let anyone take a peek before? Well, considering the business it’s in, Google’s big old proprietary network and all of its massive server and storage space are pretty much its largest competitive asset. It’s important that users know the story, and understand Google’s beginnings, however, and it’s likely for this reason that the search and tech giant has opened its doors at last, like some kind of modern, technological Willy Wonka. When Google first began it was using rented server space (next to eBay, interestingly enough) that barely met its needs in terms of storage and information transfer. Several years and countless millions of dollars later, Google is a tech giant helping bring things like rural broadband to the corners of the globe. By giving the public a glimpse into its innermost workings, Google has allowed us to take a peek at how we conduct our lives on the Internet, and has helped us understand exactly what goes into powering one of the most-used tools in the entire...