Web Technology Advancements: HTTP/2

Every once in a while, a revolutionary piece of technology surfaces that changes the way we live our everyday lives, and changes and tweaks are made to these technologies to continually make them better. Web technology has no doubt changed the way we live our lives, and though minuscule changes and advancements have been made over the years, one new change is being referred to as the greatest advancement in web technology in the last 20 years: HTTP/2.

If you look at a URL, like the one for this blog (URL), it begins with HTTP. The HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol – an application protocol for information systems – and is the foundation of data communication for the World Wide Web. It works like a request. Excuse me, Internet. May I please see this information? Then the servers process the request and deliver the HTML files we requested in the form of a website.

Just like with any other type of technology, as changes are made, new versions are released. Well, HTTP/2 is finally here and it’s the first new version of HTTP since HTTP/1.1, which was standardized in 1997. This new update will bring advancements in speed, efficiency, and security to your website by using less resources and other major improvements, which you can read about here.

HTTP/2 is currently supported on 77 percent of browsers used in the U.S. and 68 percent globally, but with a few caveats. Internet Explorer 11 will only support HTTP/2 on Windows 10, and Firefox and Chrome will only support it over HTTPS. You can see how this could affect your website visitors by going to Audience>Technology>Browser & OS in Google Analytics.

If you’ve been following our blog you’ve seen our posts about search engine optimization and how page load speed affects your rankings. This now means you could see a boost in your search rankings as a result of your site loading faster with HTTP/2. Website speed also provides a better user experience and has been linked to increases in leads, sales, and conversion rates.

There has yet to be a proven downside to upgrading and industry influencers are shouting from the rooftops encouraging people to make the switch. As Savannah’s Web design company, we are doing our due diligence to ensure this is the right move for our clients and potential clients. Feel free to give us a call at (912) 921-1040 if you have any questions about HTTP/2 or about how it will affect your website.

Image Recognition Tool Changes The Way Brands Use The Visual Web

When managing a brand’s social media, it is imperative to track the user-generated content (UGC) that is being curated about the brand. Whether it’s positive or negative, you need to know what is being said. That task has become increasingly difficult as the way people use the Internet changes.

Text, hashtags, comments, and other types of tagging have made it relatively easy for marketers to track what people are saying, however, users are now using less text and more photos, making the tracking process more difficult. According to Brian Kim, Director of Product Management at GumGum, 80% of images that feature a brand are never seen by that brand, but thanks to Mantii, that’s about to change.

Mantii is a new image recognition tool by display advertising platform GumGum that finds photos across the Web that are relevant to a brand, even if they aren’t labeled with hashtags or captions. It can even track imagery associated with a competitor’s brand. Intrigued yet?

This image recognition tool can help PR firms, agencies, and brands control their visual identity as it relates to UGC, from tracking campaigns and social reputations to connecting with top influencers and gaining user insights. This new ability will change the way marketers use social media and the visual web.

Further reading:

http://www.adweek.com/brandshare/new-image-recognition-tool-will-change-how-brands-use-social-media-166522

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150826005655/en/GumGum-Launches-Mantii-Real-Time-Image-Recognition-Social#.Vfru0dNVhBc

http://adage.com/article/digital/social-media-visual-invisible/298720/

iOS brings Ad-Blocking

At the recent Apple event, many new product announcements were made, including a discussion about the newest operating system, iOS 9, which launches at the end of the month. The new iOS system is full of enhancements in performance, security, and battery life, and will give users the ability to do more than ever.

Another feature available on the new operating system is ad-blocking. Users will now have the ability to block mobile ads in Safari, which is Apple’s default browser. Now let’s be clear, Apple is not creating ad-blocking software, but rather allowing third-party blocking extensions to be added to the browser. According to Apple’s developer prerelease documentation, “The new Safari release brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS. Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.” However, your mobile experience won’t be completely ad-free. Advertisements will still be shown within applications, which are where 90% of users spend most of their time, according to Nielsen and comScore.

Advertisers need not worry. Though 70% of users said if they had the ability to block ads, they would, according to a Google consumer survey, this doesn’t mean they will actually do it. Ad-blocking ability has been available on Android devices for a while, and yet the majority of users have not employed that function. In addition to what will be an enhanced user experience, this new iOS feature may motivate a renewed effort on mobile apps and improvements in ad quality. The mobile advertising world is not over, but it is definitely shifting. Do you notice a lot of mobile ads? Will you employ ad-blocking ability on your Apple devices? We’d love to hear from you!

From AdWords to Zeitgeist, Google Alphabet is Here

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Google started as a search engine in the late 1990s, and over time it has evolved into a multi-international technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products. Some of Google’s services include search, online advertising technologies, software, cloud computing, social networking, mobile operating systems, and so much more! Because of the large growth and diversity of Google’s products, as well as the growth and change that is constant within the industry, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have decided to make the company cleaner and more accountable by creating a new company called Alphabet.

Instead of Google being the umbrella for hundreds of different products and services, Google’s subsidiary companies, including Google itself, will now become their own companies, with their own CEOs, all housed under the holding company—Alphabet. This restructure will allow each entity to prosper through strong leadership and independence.

Investors need not worry. “Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity,” says Alphabet CEO Larry Page, “and all shares of Google will automatically convert into the same number of shares of Alphabet, with the same rights. Google will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Our two classes of shares will continue to trade on Nasdaq as GOOGL and GOOG.”

Alphabet is not only beneficial for the companies involved, but it also allows the holding company to venture into areas that might be unlikely for Google, and allows Page and Brin to stay in control of the bigger picture of the company they founded almost 17 years ago. This new found freedom could be world-changing.

The Next Age of the Internet: Over-the-Air Connectivity

While the FCC has been applying new rules to hardwired Internet service providers, the next age of Internet technology is already in the works.

Whitespace Internet TV Tower

Companies worldwide are exploring the means of delivering Internet service via whitespace radio waves, sometimes called Super WiFi. We in the United States know those gaps in radio frequencies best as those that once delivered analog local television channels to our rabbit-ear TV antennas, until 2009, when TV networks migrated to DTV digital signals. Nowadays, these radio frequencies are largely unused except for emergency services communication. Whitespace frequencies are better at penetrating walls than traditional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and have been approved for Internet service by the FCC. In fact, the frequencies have already been used to deliver Internet connectivity at a handful of sites around the US, Europe, and India.

In developed countries, whitespace radio frequencies are an untapped resource waiting for an enterprising company to acquire the rights, develop a device that can accept Super WiFi signals for home and office use, and then sell subscriptions or even offer free over-the-air service (as broadcast TV networks do). The first commercial uses of Super WiFi technology are expected in Great Britain by the end of 2015, and then the possibilities are endless in providing Internet access to underserved rural areas, remote islands, and Third World countries. In fact, Microsoft is already experimenting with whitespace Internet networks across Africa and Asia.

So as the FCC quibbles about what speed constitutes “broadband,” companies are already starting to blanket the world with over-the-air Internet connectivity.

Further reading:

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/white-space-the-next-internet-disruption-10-things-to-know/

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/free-super-wifi-tv-white-space-proposed-new-study-1476446

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Wi-Fi

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/534786/microsoft-starts-slashing-african-internet-prices-with-white-space-networks/

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/jason-hope/prweb12530125.htm

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-02/13/white-space-spectrum

Search Engines Surpass Traditional Media As Most Trusted Source for News

For years, traditional media has been considered the most trusted source for information. Before there was radio or television, people sought out newspapers to get the news. In later years, in addition to newspapers, people turned to the radio and eventually television as their go-to authorities for official word of the day’s events. But, with each passing year, our affinities have evolved, and in 2015—for the first time ever—traditional media is no longer considered to be the most trusted news source.

According to survey data from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, Online Search Engines have become our primary platforms of choice when seeking out news and information. In recent years, search engines had been a close second, but this year was the first time they surpassed Traditional Media by two percentage points.

Search Engines

Following Traditional Media is Hybrid Media, then Social Media and Owned Media—platforms over which a brand has complete control, such as a website or a blog. The latter two have seen a steady increase over the last two years, whereas Hybrid Media, which is the combined use of traditional and new media, has steadied. In a world where information is instantaneous, these findings aren’t too surprising.

Millennials’ trust in overall digital media is much stronger than the average population, and the gap between the percentages of trust is much more drastic with 72 percent of Millennials trusting Search Engines, as compared to the 64 percent of the larger, informed public population. For Traditional Media, Millennial’s trust is at 64 percent and the average population’s trust is at 62 percent. Trust in Hybrid Media is at 63 percent for Millennials and 53 percent for the public. Trust in Social Media is at 59 percent for Millennials and 48 percent for the public and Owned Media trust is at 57 percent for Millennials and 47 percent for the public.

Another interesting point iterated in the survey is when it comes to creating content for social networking sites and other online-only sources, journalists aren’t considered to be the most trusted source. Instead, one’s family and friends are considered more trusted. In fact, a company creating content is a more trusted author than a journalist.

What is fascinating about these findings is that it’s Search Engines that are most trusted, not the sites whose content is aggregated to the search engine. The websites that aggregate to search engines would be considered Owned Media, which according to this survey is the least trusted media. If people don’t trust the websites, then why do they trust the search engines that aggregate them? Is it because that is the easiest and fastest way to gather the exact information you need? We suppose kudos can be attributed to recent Google algorithms that have ensured that good, trustworthy information lands on its front page, in turn making itself a reliable source.

Further Reading:

http://qz.com/329211/google-is-now-a-more-trusted-source-of-news-than-the-websites-it-aggregates/

http://searchengineland.com/google-overtakes-traditonal-media-become-trusted-source-news-online-213176

http://www.edelman.com/insights/intellectual-property/2015-edelman-trust-barometer/trust-and-innovation-edelman-trust-barometer/executive-summary/