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Quick access to home and work locations on Google™ Maps

Google Inc. has made it easier for the users of Google Maps to save and re-visit the places that matter to them. Once the user signs in to his Google account, he can access the places that are frequently visited by him virtually. This has been made possible after the release of a recent Google Maps update for the web version. The update enables the user to define specific home and work locations that will stay attached to his Google account, no matter how much PC-hopping is done by him.

Saving home and work locations on Google Maps

To set home and work locations, the user needs to sign in with his Google Account. Once logged in, he has to click the ‘My Places’ tab in Google Maps and save the home and work locations. From the ‘My Places’ panel, the user can also edit or delete his saved locations by clicking the drop-down to the right of the home or work icons.

News source: Google Lat Long Blog

Hoppit™: The Ultimate Ambience Search Engine for Restaurants

What are the basic things that you consider while choosing a restaurant? For many of you, great food and hygiene are among the top considerations. There are many web services and websites that let you choose a nearby restaurant based on such parameters. But, what about the ambience of the restaurant or the eating joint that you have selected? Yes, here comes the world’s first website that can help you find the right restaurant by taking into consideration the ambience of that place.

Known as Hoppit, it is the world’s first ambience search engine that will make it easier for you to find the perfect restaurant and bar. Apart from dishes and locations, you can also filter your searches depending upon the ambience of the restaurants, such as Classy & Upscale, Romantic, Hipster, Cozy & Quaint, and more.

“We’ve all been tasked with the proverbial ‘where should we go’ question at some point. How many of us then scour web reviews or email friends or family for their suggestions? Let’s face it: that gets annoying. So, we made the Hoppit app and the Hoppit site to solve this problem,” said Steven Dziedzic, CEO of Hoppit. “Hoppit is a personal concierge that knows the interior and vibe of every restaurant, bar, lounge and café in your city and makes personalized recommendations based on the ambience you are looking for and the type of guests in your party,” he added.

Currently, you can access Hoppit through your mobile or desktop computer, but soon the company will launch specific apps for iPhone and Android devices.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRBT816QQI0]

Keyword data of Google™ offers huge benefits to businesses

The keyword data retrieved by the search engine of Google is bringing big benefits to businesses. Taking advantage of the next generation’s obsession with smartphones and mobile phones is a new application from Google – Mobile Keyword Tool. This tool provides comprehensive data on local, paid and other SEO based mobile searches which have grown over the past 2 years to five times. Your advent to the small screen is now better and easier with mobile advertising on Google. The keyword tool is updated to serve the purposes of two such tools that have been combined in making one new search keyword tool. The functions of search based keywords and the URL based search keyword tools are being combined to give you a single SEO based search engine.

The answer to the question as to what are the factors responsible for local search rankings is that among many other things it is the business category you are in, your location and the search terms that you use that will fetch results. For a location you better list your location for the available city on the search engine instead of the townships. The chances are better with a broader definition of your location. It is better to have yourself categorized than to have the keyword in your business name.

One of the most fascinating search services is the Google Trends. It is a service that online marketers, data enthusiasts, curious individuals and bloggers cannot do without. The self professed dedication of Google sets its own standards to its search engine. Google Trends is updated with daily data of search terms. It is an indispensable tool for the Internet marketers. Google Trends displays the search index for specific keywords. Along with this is the news reference where a particular keyword is analyzed for its occurrence in the news items. Apart from these two facilities, Google Trends also lists the top 10 searches in the US. It also lists search terms simultaneously for more than a single search term.

The latest search engine is Google Instant which allows more intense keyword searches. Understanding the target audience for these SEO based keyword searches only got better. Small businesses search under long tailing keywords which are SEO based results. Relevant and popular queries are offered according to the location of the searcher. You could use Google Scribe to figure out how to use Google Instant. It is very useful for people who want quick searches enabled. You need to understand as a search engine optimizer that what stage your searcher is in of his search. Once understood, it is easy to provide content for keyword based SEO searches.

Yahoo!® Japan and Google™ Form Partnership

Yahoo! is famous for services and software such as Yahoo! Mail, search engine, Yahoo! Maps and Yahoo! Messenger. Google is the owner of the most popular search engine and also offers software such as Google Chrome. Yahoo! and Google both are leaders in their own right and since a while there has been speculation about a partnership between Yahoo! Japan and Google. Recently they were evaluated by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure that no monopolies or unfair trades happen in the country. Yahoo! Japan had verified in July 2010 only that it was in line with Japan’s laws, but there were some groups who were apprehensive about the legality of the proposed alliance. There were concerns like when Google US supplies the search technology for Yahoo! Japan, they will become one of the biggest suppliers for Japan’s search volume.

There is also other issue like both Microsoft and Yahoo! US were concerned about the partnership and raised some doubts about the fairness of this partnership. These issues are not limited to US groups only but it also concerns some Japanese firms as well like Rakuten Inc, which is a web-based domestic retailer in Japan. However, the deal has been approved by Japan’s FTC. Yahoo! US cannot do much about it because it only holds a third of Yahoo! Japan.

Japan FTC will continue monitoring the deal and regulate monopolistic practices. The partnership is looking controversial but several market analysts had been predicting this decision for relatively some time. The surprise part is the choice of Google over Microsoft. The competition over Internet searches is getting bigger and in the Asian market, this deal will influence the nature of other companies also. The deal has taken place due to the different conditions in Japan and also the demand by users. Yahoo! is surely going to boost its presence in Japan and moreover in other Asian countries also.

Researchers: Google™, Yahoo!® Search Results Favor Their Own Services

Two Harvard professors claim that their researches on search and search results on Google and Yahoo! search engines return biased results favoring the two search engines. It has been seen that a search on Google returns Gmail, YouTube, etc., which is exactly the kind of algorithms they follow. So much for their claims of using other websites, they return three times more results pertaining to their own sites than would other search engines. The two Harvard professors further stated that in the case of Yahoo!, the search engines interests were more served than that of the users. You could well say that Google seems to be backing away from keeping its word on their search engine results not being biased. Their top results are found to be biased to their own websites.

So does Google favor its own websites? Is it true to say this? The EU is conducting a thorough study on this aspect and to answer these questions. Meanwhile, it is not entirely wrong to say that Google and other such search engines do prefer to project their websites on search engine results. According to an anti-trust campaign by a UK-based company accusing Google of bringing search results of their own websites as top results, this is true  when in-spite of algorithms being used to fetch search results. Google’s hard-coding and other biased methods of beating the algorithms in the search, brings in their own websites to feature on top. In directing users to their own websites, a major portion of offerings is taken up be it the health sector, or finance or maps or otherwise.

The European Union’s anti-trust committee looked into the alleged activity of Google demoting rival search results. Google’s arguments that it is difficult to behave as a monopoly over the web and that the Internet does not allow for powerful players to get listed first. While many such allegations have been made over the period, Google steadfastly maintains that its use of algorithms demotes sites with less useful content.

What does this mean to searcher and the marketer? Bing makes the search results look more like Google’s results for paid searches. This does not mean that results are never based on merits. Google, Yahoo!, Ask or Bing’s method would not work if searchers do not click on these results. Or if the searchers start doubting the honesty in the searches then these would be done for. However, this does not only affect large businesses. It affects small businesses too. A search for heart diseases on Bing and Yahoo! bring in results of a clinic and treatment in a certain part of the world with descriptions of the diseases. There is no mention of a Mayo clinic in the search. A survey conducted by Ben Edelman from Harvard, an assistant professor at Harvard, noted that 15% of the times, the Google search engine places its results over those of the others. He also notes that this has reduced considerably over the past years to a small percentage.

Bing™ now taps user location, history for relevance

Bing is a search engine that was launched by Microsoft with some additional features. The basic functionalities of Bing have been kept the same. Bing has a variety of specialized search options.

On 11th February of 2011, Microsoft announced that Bing has been incorporated with software that makes use of user location to know a little more about the location of the user. This new feature in Bing has revolutionised the way search results are given. This further encompasses that if a user searches for a house then Bing will take upon itself to locate houses at nearby areas from where the search is being made and present a list of houses that fall under the category. Although the same location feature was added by Google last year but Bing has surged ahead in the localized feature by arranging information in categories. This has made it easier for users to enter their requirements in the search engine and getting information that is localized from where the search has been requested.

If the user clicks and chooses a result from lower down a list of search results then Bing will put the selected result at the top in case the same inquiries get repeated next time. Bing officials have clarified the incorporation of this particular feature by saying that it has been found to be a common trend followed by most users that when they repeat their inquiry for a particular topic they do so by searching with the same name. Research done by the team members of Bing before the launch of the search engine showed that users commonly reuse the search queries every time they are looking to acquire certain information and this trend rarely changes. Bing has been customized keeping in mind this feature of human nature. When a user input’s data and the user is trying to re-find or revisit a past accessed site, Bing displays the relevant data at the top of the site.

Both the current features that is localisation and site search have been offered to users in United States only presently. Microsoft is carrying out further research before launching the feature in other parts of the world. The biggest competition is Google that is well established and much more popular than Bing. Although launched with some very innovative features, Bing still needs to get marketed and made popular before capturing the market.

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