Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune

Apple and Twitter and Snapchat use human editors, but Facebook doesn’t – Fortune.

Using human beings to do curation or aggregation works for some purposes, but not for others.

It’s gone from one or two examples to a bona fide trend—which, as any journalist knows, occurs whenever there is least three of something. The trend in this case is the hiring of human editors to filter through the news, music, and other forms of content that are being produced and/or hosted by a variety of platforms. So Apple is hiring editors for its News app, which it announced at its recent developer conference, as well as editor/DJs for the streaming music service the company is rolling out soon.

Meanwhile, Snapchat is also hiringjournalists to report and edit content related to the upcoming U.S. election, and Twitter is looking to add editorswho can filter and aggregate tweets and links related to trending topics on the network, as part of what the company calls Project Lightning. LinkedIn also recently announced it is adding human editors to its Pulse news-recommendation feature, and Instagram has started doing some curation for its new Explore page.

There are a couple of big names missing from this list that are pretty influential when it comes to news: Namely, Facebook and Google. Facebook is launching a new featurecalled Instant Articles with partners like the New York Times, but the site’s staff won’t have anything to do with the selection of stories that become part of the program—and the choice of who sees them and when will be left to Facebook’s all-powerful algorithm. Much like Facebook, Google’s services are also powered completely by algorithms.

Of course, algorithms aren’t autonomous robots, but software that is written and programmed by human beings to have certain attributes. So in a sense, the “humans vs. algorithms” debate is based on a misconception. But it’s probably fair to say the human input in an algorithm-driven model is one step removed from the action, compared to human editing.

So if Apple and Twitter and Snapchat and LinkedIn see the value of having human editors selecting news or curating content of various kinds, why wouldn’t Facebook and Google do the same? Because each of the latter two companies are involved in content that’s on a completely different scale than Apple or Twitter—and human beings don’t scale very well.

Technology analyst Ben Thompson made this point in a recent blog post, entitled “Curation and Algorithms.”There are some things that human curation is good for, and some things that it isn’t, he argues. For example, music and other emotional forms of content can be good candidates for curation because human beings perceive things about that content that algorithms might miss. So when Jimmy Iovine talked about the launch of the new Apple Music service, he said:

“The only song that matters as much as the song you’re listening to right now is the one that follows this. Picture this: you’re in a special moment, and the next song comes on… BZZZZZ, Buzzkill! It probably happened because it was programmed by an algorithm alone. Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional task. You need a human touch.”

But there are cases in which curation done by human beings simply doesn’t work, Thompson says—and Google and Facebook are two examples of that, but for very different reasons. Google’s job is to filter through all of the billions of webpages and content on the web and find the one thing that a user needs or wants to find, and that’s a task that would be impossible for even a gigantic group of human editors to accomplish (although Google does use small teams of humans to check link quality). That’s why Yahoo stopped trying to run a human-edited directory.

Facebook, by contrast, isn’t trying to filter all of the world’s information—or at least, not yet. It’s trying to find the right combination of text and photos and links and video that will appeal to every one of its billions of users, and get them to engage with the site as much as possible. So unlike Google, the supply of information it is trying to filter may not be infinite, but the personalization of that content for each of its users involves so many permutations and combinations that it would also be almost impossible to accomplish with a staff of human editors, even a large one.

“Google is seeking the single best answer to a direct query from an effectively infinite number of data points… For most queries there is one right answer that Google will return to anyone who searches for the term in question. In short, the data set is infinite (which means no human is capable of doing the job), but the target is finite. Facebook, on the other hand, creates a unique news feed for all of its 1.44 billion users… what is infinite are the number of targets.”

The news, by contrast, is something where human editors can perform a fairly useful function, and even add things that algorithms can’t, Thompson says (which is one reason why Techmeme founder Gabe Riverastopped using only algorithms to power his news portal in 2008, and started hiring human beings). The pool of information isn’t infinite, as it is with Google, but neither is the personalization required for the potential audience, as it is with Facebook. That’s why newspapers existed.

As Thompson notes, however, the risk is that human-edited services face—rightly or wrongly—much more criticism when they make decisions about what to show and what not to show than algorithm-powered networks. So Facebook and Google can to some extent argue that they don’t control what gets displayed directly, it’s just the algorithm (although there are a lot of problems with this defense, obviously).

If Apple’s human editors remove news stories about specific topics, there’s going to be a lot of negative attention. What journalistic considerations—if any—do platforms like Apple and Snapchat and Twitter have when it comes to the news? As distribution shifts to these large-scale networks, those kinds of questions are going to become even more important.

42% of Organic Search Visits Now Coming Via Mobile Devices (US)

According to the Digital Marketing Report Q4 2014, a quarterly digital marketing analysis produced by search marketing agency Merkle|RKG, mobile devices are now delivering 42% of the organic search traffic across the three major search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing.

The report also notes that mobile organic traffic grew 54% in the fourth quarter of 2014 from the same time period one year ago.  In addition, more than half (52%) of all visits to social media sites are from mobile devices(smart phones and tablets).

To anyone paying attention to consumer habits these days, this should come as no surprise.  Nor should it be any surprise that you are missing out on a big chunk of traffic for your website if you don’t optimize it for mobile.

Here are some more reasons you need to go mobile with your online marketing presence:

Mobile users are different.  Mobile users want information in quick, digestible bites so your mobile design should match how they will be using your site.  For more law firms, it is essential to provide an easy way to contact you — a click-to-call button that the user needs to merely tap to initiate a phone call.  You want to include essential information only on your mobile site, and keep the design simple.  Good load speed is critical — 57% of mobile users will abandon your site if they have to wait three seconds for it to load, according to research by Strangeloop Networks.

SEO.  Search engines are now penalizing sites that are not optimized for mobile, so you could see your search rankings suffer if you don’t have a mobile site that works on iOS and Android platforms (smart phones and tablets).

Lead conversion.  Mobile users are much more inclined to take action than desktop users, so your calls-to-action should be highly conspicuous on your mobile site.  If you are using email marketing for lead conversion, realize that 26% of all email is opened on a mobile phone and 11% is opened on a tablet.

Engagement.  Mobile users accessing a standard website will not engage when they have to pinch or zoom to find your content.  If you provide them with a good mobile experience, they are much more likely to return to your site later on a desktop (Google reports that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal).

Loss to competition.  Google says that 41% of mobile users will go to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience!

8 Google Glass business apps that are changing the world – Computer Business Review

8 Google Glass business apps that are changing the world - Computer Business Review

by Amy-jo Crowley| 15 August 2014

CBR presents eight real-life examples of the specs in action at work.

1. Warehouse management

E-fulfilment firm Active Ants, which ships products for 50 online stores, has developed an order-picking App for Google Glass, which it says has helped its staff pick up online orders faster.

The Netherlands-based company gave Google Glass, along with a custom-built stock app, to its warehouse workers in May. Initial results showed that it reduced error rates by 12% and an increased stock picking speed by 15%.

2. The Military

Soldiers on battlefields could also benefit from Google Glass, which would allow them to shoot without needing to be in a position to see their target.

Firearms company TrackingPoint has developed an app called Shotview for its smart rifle, which streams video in real-time from the Heads Up Display of the rifle to Glass.

This allows soldiers to aim and fire from around corners and behind walls at distances up to 1,200 yards away.

The Air Force is also testing Google Glass for possible battlefield applications.

3. Hospitality

Acme Hotel Company began offering Glass to guests as a complimentary loan during their stay In June, according to the New York Times. The gadget is being offered as an exclusive free amenity at the Chicago-based hotel.

San Francisco-based Stanford Court Hotel also started lending Glass to guests who book the ‘Google Glass Explorer Package’ in May. The deal includes two nights stay during which time guests will be given a tutorial on how to use the device. It also includes a guide on how to avoid appearing creepy while wearing it.

4. Airlines

Virgin Atlantic staff will soon be wearing Glass at Heathrow airport in efforts to speed up check-ins for business class passengers and improve customer service following a successful six week trial earlier this year.

Virgin said Glass will be used to update passengers on the latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate foreign languages.

The technology could also be used to tell airline staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshments requirements.

5. Museums

GuidiGO, a startup that provides apps for art and culture, says it is partnering with museums around the world after being one of five companies selected by Google for its Glass at Work programme in June.

The Paris and New York-based firm says it has been testing its Guido for Glass app at two museums in the US for the last few months successfully.

The app, which uses image recognition technology, allows glass wearers to identify paintings and other works of art at museums and galleries. It also includes voice commands, such as “start a tour” or “take a picture”, narrated audio guidance, video, maps and indoor and outdoor navigation to guide users around the sites.

6. Journalism

Film makers in New York used Google Glass for a documentary to show what life is like the Caribbean islanders and Orthodox Hasidic Jews who live there.

Hannah Roodman told the use of Glass provided a more subtle approach to film-making that helped to relax the subjects.

“I think Glass takes you to a place you can’t go by yourself or with a regular camera,” she said in January.

“For instance, as a film maker, I’m not going to get the same quality and personality of a church pastor as he addresses his congregation. I’m not going to be able to get that intimacy that Google Glass captures when he’s up there on the altar.”

It’s also being used in the academic field. Robert Hernandez, a web journalism professor at the University of Southern California, has developed a ‘Glass Journalism’ course, which includes a module on how to create journalism content with wearables.

7. Police Force

Police in New York and Dubai have begun testing Google Glass this year to see if the wearable computer could be useful in law enforcement.

In February, a New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat: “We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we’re trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes. We’re looking at them, you know, seeing how they work.”

The Dubai Police Smart Services Department are also testing two applications for traffic violations and helping authorities to identify wanted cars.

8. Medicine

Drchrono, a California-based startup, developed an app that it claims is the first “wearable health record” that allows doctors and health professionals to store and access patient data.

Developed in June, doctors can use the free app to record consultations with patients or in surgery, with videos and photos stored in the patient’s electronic medical record or in Box, a cloud-based storage and collaboration service.

The firm, which produced the first mobile electronic health record for the iPad, said: “Our vision of making providers more mobile began with the announcement of the iPad in 2010, which eventually led to us creating the best mobile EHR on the market.

Since then, we’ve been striving to push the envelope with new technologies to optimise your ability to provide the best care available.

“Enter Google Glass. As a companion to the tablet, imagine being able to chart, take photos, and see your patient’s vitals without lifting a finger… And that’s just the beginning.”

Google a accordé 16 millions d’euros aux innovations des journaux en 2013 (France) – Challenges

Google a accordé 16 millions d’euros aux innovations des journaux en 2013 – Challenges.

Paris, 15 mai 2014 (AFP) – Google, via son nouveau fonds d’aide à l’innovation numérique dans la presse, a accordé en 2013 quelque 16 millions d’euros à 23 médias français, en tête Le Nouvel Observateur, L’Express, Le Figaro et Le Monde, dotés de près de 2 millions chacun, a annoncé Google jeudi.

A travers ce fonds, créé par Google pour apaiser la presse française qui lui réclamait des droits au titre du référencement, Google a financé l’an dernier 23 projets. Ce fonds, cogéré par les éditeurs de presse et Google, a surtout aidé les projets des quotidiens (11 projets), des sites “pure players” (5) et des news magazines (3).

Le Nouvel Observateur, le mieux loti, a reçu 2 millions d’euros pour créer QuotidienObs, une édition numérique quotidienne. Le groupe Express-Roularta a obtenu 1,97 million pour une plateforme d’analyse de ses données utilisateurs, la clé pour mieux cibler ses offres commerciales. Le Figaro a reçu 1,8 million d’euros pour renforcer son site vidéo, qui veut monter en puissance jusqu’à plus de 100 vidéos par jour, et Le Monde1,8 million pour une future édition du matin pour mobiles.

Ouest-France s’est vu accorder 1,4 million d’euros pour lancer deux éditions en ligne par jour, La Voix du Nord 840.000 euros pour créer 1.524 portails hyperlocaux payants, La Croix 835.000 euros pour l’analyse de son audience et le site Slate 758.000 euros pour un service d’analyse des conversations numériques.

Viennent ensuite Sud Ouest (700.000 euros pour développer des abonnement multi-supports), Libération (649.000 euros pour une édition numérique du soir et des ebooks à la demande), Le Télégramme (640.000 euros pour créer une offre payante d’informations locales) et Les Echos(588.000 euros pour une application mobile de veille économique pour les entreprises).

Doté de 60 millions sur trois ans, ce fonds, unique au monde, est né d’un accord entre Google et l’Association de la presse d’information politique et générale (AIPG) début 2013.

Les éditeurs français réclamaient à Google des droits sur les bénéfices publicitaires réalisés en référençant leurs titres, et Google menaçait de ne plus les référencer. L’Etat français était intervenu, enjoignant Google de trouver un accord avec la presse française, faute de quoi une loi serait votée.

36% of people still don’t realise that Google Adwords are ads | Econsultancy

36% of people still don’t realise that Google Adwords are ads | Econsultancy.

Last year, we published the results of user tests which found that 41% of users were unaware of the distinctionbetween paid ads and organic listings. 

Well, thanks to UX firm Bunnyfoot, we have an updated version of the test, which finds similar results.

This time, 36% of people tested still do not realise that Google Adwords are ads.

Furthermore, about a quarter of people don’t know that Google had any advertising at all. And this despite the yellow text box proclaiming ‘ads’.

Why this research?

The original research came from Bunnyfoot’s work for a car insurance client who were investigating the effectiveness of Google Adwords.

During the research, the team found that 81% of users clicked on PPC ads rather than organic results.

Further investigation found that 41 of the 100 individuals tested did not know that Adwords were paid-for adverts, instead believing them to be the most authoritative links.

Since that last research Google, as is its prerogative, has changed the way its presents ad listings, possibly as a result of EU anti-trust measures.

This, in theory, should have made it easier for users to tell the difference between ads and organic results, though the issue is muddied by the fact that Google has removed the grey shading behind the ads.

That said, the word ‘ad’ with a bright yellow background is a bit of a clue…

Current PPC ad format:

Old ad format:

So how has this change affected users’ perception of search results pages?

Research methodology

The user testing was carried out in multiple locations across London. 103 participants with arange of internet abilities were tested, all of whom used Google as their primary search engine.

The participants covered a wide range of demographics and were aged between 18 – 65 years[≈ average human life expectancy at birth, 2011 estimate].

An eyetracker was used throughout the sessions in order to record where the participants were looking, and this generated aggregated heatmaps (Bunnyfoot looked at other factors of search result understanding and only report a subset here).

All participants were then asked a series of post-test interview questions to gather further insight as to their understanding of Google’s results pages.

The results:

  • When asked, 36% of users did not realise Google adwords were ads (a small change from 40% in 2012)

  • When asked, 27% of users did not realise that Google had any advertising. 

Note for the stats gurus amongst you: we of course realise that we have used a relatively small sample size (albeit a large one for user testing and eyetracking studies) and whilst the figures above have considerable sampling error it does not detract from their impact and surprise.

Have the changes to Google adwords made any difference?

The research suggests that the changes have made little difference to users’ ability to distinguish between paid and organic results.

Despite what I would assume was a clearer labelling of ads in the new formats, a significant portion of users still aren’t seeing the difference.

If I was a Google sceptic, I would suggest that the big G itself may have carried out similar tests to find the format that would satisfy the EU, yet still attract the most clicks. If clarity was the main factor, why remove the shading?

It also highlights the propensity for web users to miss what might seem obvious to those designing and working on websites.

The fact that 27% of those in the study when questioned did not realise that Google were doing any form of advertising in their results, further supports this, as well as being jaw-droppingly surprising in its own right.

What are the implications of this?

Pay-per-click is a very effective way of advertising your brand and reaching your target audience. It looks like about a third of people unknowingly click on ads and assume that ‘this is the best match’.

For the rest of those ‘in the know’ then the ads and the brands that pay for them still receive prominence, but the user can make an informed choice about whether to click a promoted link or not, depending on the context of the search.

Also, web designers and others ‘in the know’ should be wary of assuming ‘common’ knowledge on behalf of our customers.

According to Bunnyfoot CEO and co-founder Jon Dodd:

As our hundreds of user tests over the last decade have shown, it is very difficult to predict what customers’ knowledge or understanding is. When you do the tests, you are often humbled and surprised with how far off your assumptions are.

Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief at Econsultancy.

Google étudie l’influence du contexte sur la perception des publicités sur smartphones – JDN Média

Google étudie l’influence du contexte sur la perception des publicités sur smartphones – JDN Média.

Le fait d’être chez soi ou entouré de sa famille joue un rôle sur la perception et l’efficacité de la vidéo publicitaire

Google/YouTube présente aujourd’hui, au Printemps des Etudes, les résultats d’une étude sur le contexte de réception d’une vidéo et son influence sur la perception de la publicité, réalisée en collaboration avec iligo et MRL.
Près de 300 utilisateurs réguliers de YouTube ont été interrogés via leur smartphone suite à leur exposition à une vidéo publicitaire.
Premier enseignement : l’agrément de la publicité est directement corrélé à l’adéquation de cette publicité avec les contenus audiovisuels visionnés, comme le montre le graphique ci-dessous.

Adéquation entre contenu publicitaire et vidéo © Google

Deuxième enseignement de l’étude : le fait d’être chez soi ou entouré de sa famille joue un rôle sur la perception et l’efficacité de la vidéo publicitaire. En moyenne, les vidéos regardées avec ses enfants ou son conjoint sont notées 7,5 sur10, vs 7,3/10 si elles sont regardées seul et 7,1/10 avec une autrepersonne. Les vidéos visionnées chez soi recueillent une note de7,4 sur 10 versus 7 sur 10 à l’extérieur de chez soi. De plus, les niveaux d’intentions mesurés dans l’étude sont supérieurs quand les expositions sont réalisées chez soi : 63% d’intention de renseignement et 40% de considération de la marque en cas d’achat, vs 59% et 38% à l’extérieur de chez soi.

29% des expositions étudiées ont été réalisées en compagnie d’autres personnes : 13% avec son conjoint, 11% avec son/ses enfant(s), 8% avec quelqu’un d’autre.
83% des vidéos vues l’ont été chez soi, dont 51% dans le salon, 22% dans la chambre et 10% dans d’autres pièces, 11% ont été vues sur le lieu de travail et 6% en mobilité.
Les 291 répondants sont des utilisateurs fréquents de YouTube (plus de 3 fois par semaine). 19 vidéos publicitaires ont été étudiées dans un contexte réel de réception. Au total, 1 925 expositions ont été analysées, dont 1 036 en première exposition, 549 en deuxième et 340 en troisième.


L’enquête a été réalisée avec mobiligo, une plateforme d’interrogation sur smartphones, et avec les technologies d’audio matching de MRL afin de recueillir le contexte réel d’exposition. Le système de MRL se base sur une application, téléchargée par les participants sur Google Play, qui détecte l’exposition à certains sons dans l’environnement du panéliste.

840 millions d’euros investis par 6 227 annonceurs dans le paid search en 2013 (France) selon Kantar Media – Offremedia

840 millions d’euros investis par 6 227 annonceurs dans le paid search en 2013 selon Kantar Media – Offremedia.

Intéressante valorisation du paid search par Kantar (SEA) en France.

Le 12/02/2014

nl608-logo-kantar media ad intelligence

 840 millions d’euros, c’est le montant des investissements nets en référencement payant (SEA) sur l’année 2013 en France, selon la nouvelle mesure de Kantar Media Ad Intelligence lancée en janvier 2013 (voir archive). Ils sont réalisés par 6 227 annonceurs, dont 991 annonceurs exclusifs search.
L’institut publie un bilan annuel du paid search, sur la base de divers indicateurs (investissements, impressions, clics…). La saisonnalité des investissements est peu marquée : les pics de janvier et décembre dépassent les 80 millions d’euros tandis que les creux d’août et septembre flirtent avec les 60 millions d’euros. Le mois moyen est à 70,04 M€. Janvier-mars est le trimestre le plus investi (228 M€) tandis que juillet-septembre est le moins investi (188 M€).


Les 10 premiers secteurs économiques représentent 86% des investissements avec en tête les Etablissements financiers et Assurances (131 M€), le Voyage Tourisme (129 M€), la Distribution (109 M€) et les Services (102 M€).


La concentration est forte et a tendance à s’accentuer : 1,64% des annonceurs réalisent la moitié des investissements search en 2013 versus 2% en 2012. Les 10 premiers annonceurs pèsent 16,43% du total. Le top 5 est composé de Orange France (22,8 M€), Odigeo,, Cofidis et Cetelem. Orange est également l’annonceur qui a généré le plus de clics vers son domaine, devant Amazon qui n’est pourtant que le 7ème investisseur.
Tous secteurs confondus, Kantar Media a relevé 1,9 milliard de clics et 54 milliards d’impressions liés au SEA en 2013. Les 3 secteurs recueillant le plus de clics sont le shopping et les petites annonces (24%), le secteur Voyages (17%) et les Télécommunications (12%).
Ce bilan annuel intègre également des focus sectoriels sur les télécommunications et sur la distribution. Kantar Media relève une faible saisonnalité des investissements search des telecoms alors que leurs investissements TV présentent de fortes variations mensuelles, ce qui dénote une faible corrélation entre le search et la TV pour ce secteur. En revanche, la complémentarité TV/search est en phase avec la saisonnalité pour le secteur de la distribution.