Monday, February 29, 2016

Google Starts Including AMP Content in Mobile Search Results

Google Starts Including AMP Content in Mobile Search Results

Company promises faster access to news articles and other content from mobile devices

 
An AMP article by Mashable
An AMP article by Mashable PHOTO: GOOGLE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Google has begun including links to “Accelerated Mobile Pages” in search results, which it said will help Internet users access news articles and other Web content faster from their mobile devices.
When users search for news stories or topics on Google from mobile devices, Web pages created using the new technology may now appear in a dedicated “Top Stories” section at the top of search results pages.
Google announced the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP, in October, and publishers and media companies have since been preparing their websites and publishing systems to deliver AMP versions of their content. In early testing, Google said AMP content loaded an average of four times faster and used 10 times less data than equivalent non-AMP pages.
“The feedback from publishers so far has been very enthusiastic. Everyone is excited to make the Web faster,” said Dave Besbris, Google’s vice president of engineering.
Dozens of companies are already publishing content using the AMP specifications, including the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Time Inc., BBC, Vox Media, ABC News, Gannett, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. Now, that AMP content will be accessible through Google search results and highlighted with a green lightning bolt icon.
Despite the speed and data advantages for consumers, the question remains whether AMP will prove beneficial to publishers in terms of increased traffic, engagement, or revenue.
“We’ve been working with Google for a number of months. We want to be an early adopter, and we recognize AMP as an opportunity to get stories into the hands of our users faster,” said Colby Smith, vice president of digital at ABC News.
Popular blogging platform and content management system WordPress is also supporting the initiative, potentially adding AMP versions of content to millions of websites using WordPress software.
“We want to make it really easy for publishers of all shapes and sizes to publish AMP-formatted pages, from the New York Post all the way down to people running their own personal blogs,” said Paul Maiorana, vice president of platform services at WordPress.com parent company Automattic.
Under the hood, AMP works by simplifying and streamlining the HTML code that powers Web pages to prioritize speed. Google also “caches” pages, or saves copies of them on its own systems, in order to deliver them quicker when users access them. It’s an open-source initiative, meaning anyone is free to use it.
According to Google’s Mr. Besbris, over 5,800 developers have now engaged with the AMP project, including publishers, but also online advertising and publishing technology companies wanting to ensure their tools function with AMP.
“This really is the Web ecosystem. That means the publishers get a choice of a wide variety of tech solutions including analytics solutions and ad providers,” Mr. Besbris said.
Indeed, technology and advertising companies have been quick to announce their compatibility with AMP, including content recommendation services such as Taboola and Revcontent, online analytics providers including Chartbeat, Parse.ly and Adobe, and a range of ad networks.
“We are huge believers in advertising, and we believe content needs funding whether that’s through ads or through paywalls. We want ads to perform well and publishers to have a wide variety of ad networks and ad tech to choose from,” Mr. Besbris said. “It’s our goal to ensure these pages monetize very well.”
However, publishers’ AMP pages do not currently have all the functionality of their regular pages. For example, some ad formats, such as interstitials, will not work with AMP, as well as some complex online ad sales technologies. Mr. Besbris said those limitations are primarily in place to help promote the speedy loading of AMP pages.
Google’s AMP initiative is just one of many content delivery options now available to online publishers. Facebook, for example, recently launched its own Instant Articles product, which enables publishers to host content directly with the social network instead of driving users back to their own websites. Part of the sales pitch for Instant Articles was that news stories would load faster on mobile devices.
The difference with AMP pages, however, is that publishers host the content themselves, with Google saving or “caching” AMP pages temporarily to speed up their loading times.
“We haven’t heard concerns around caching from publishers. The difference here with caching versus hosting is control over the content. It’s fully under publishers’ control because it’s their file hosted by their site,” Mr. Besbris said.
Because of this distinction, some publishers say they are less leery of Google’s approach.
“I think of it as very different arrangement to Facebook Instant Articles. We feel much more in control of the content because of the fact this is hosted on our servers and our business model travels with it,” said Kate Harris, a mobile product director at the New York Times.
Google is the first company to begin distributing AMP pages through its services, but others may follow. Twitter group product manager Michael Ducker said users generally consume more pages through the company’s mobile application when they load quickly.
“It’s better for Twitter to have a mobile app that’s fast”, Mr. Ducker said, adding, “We’re not announcing anything now around integrating AMP pages into our clients, but we do believe AMP is the way forward.”

Friday, February 26, 2016

Visa's in-car app

Visa's in-car app payment tech gives your car purchasing power

Visa has developed two proof-of-concept in-car apps that allow drivers to make payments via their car's ...
Visa has developed two proof-of-concept in-car apps that allow drivers to make payments via their car's display
Just as it is possible to pay for products and services using apps on your smartphone, Visa is making it possible make payments using in-car apps. The firm has opened up its Visa Token Service to carmakers, meaning drivers will soon be able to pay for things like fuel from the comfort of their car.
Launched in 2014, the Visa Token Service provides a means of authorizing payments without exposing the details on bank and credit cards, such as the 16-digit card number, expiration date and security code. It allows consumers to make payments through devices such as smartphones and tablets and, now, two proof-of-concept in-car apps show what sort of functionality Visa Token Service might offer for carmakers and drivers.
Working with Honda, Visa developed a fuel app that integrates with the vehicle's head unit and is able to detect when the car is low on fuel and provide directions to a gas station. Once the car is parked next to a pump, the app is able to work out exactly how much fuel is required and calculate the cost of fuel accordingly.
The driver can then send payment for the fuel via the app on the in-car display, which features Visa's online payment service (meaning the car will need to piggy back a smartphone's internet connectivity or have its own).
The second app, developed with parking space finder and booking app ParkWhizz, tracks the amount of time a user's car has been parked at one of ParkWhizz's partner locations and allows the driver to pay only for that time. Once the driver is ready to leave, the elapsed time and cost are shown on the in-car display and the driver can press a button to make the payment.
The two apps are being shown off this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and point to a future where drivers need not struggle to find cash or reach for their wallets. The apps follow on from demonstrations over the last year in which Visa has shown how in-car payments might simplify the likes of fast-food ordering, hiring a car or paying road tolls.
The apps are to be tested in the US over three-month periods starting shortly. Visa says it has also been working on technologies aimed at expanding the use of mobile payments, such as new standards for Bluetooth and QR codes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Contactless booms in Europe

Contactless booms in Europe as MasterCard surpasses 1bn transactions


Mastercard card
Adoption of contactless payments continues to boom in Europe, with payments made using MasterCard and Maestro surpassing 1bn in 2015. According to a new report from MasterCard, that’s a 150% uptick in transactions compared to a year earlier. The firm says 13% of transactions made in-store across the continent in the last three months of the year were made on cards, phones and other devices using contactless technology. It’s not just the number of transactions that is increasing, but the size of payments, which the report says climbed 183% compared to a year earlier.
MasterCard trails Visa, which put out its numbers at the end of last month and said that it has processed 1.7bn contactless transactions in the first three months of last year alone.

Infrastructure

One reason for this growth is that consumers are increasingly comfortable with making contactless payments, with MasterCard citing research that more than two thirds of consumers saying they think contactless is “just as safe” or actually more secure than traditional forms of payment.
MasterCard contactless
The other reason is that the infrastructure to support contactless payments in terms of acceptance and devices or cards is improving. According to MasterCard, the number of devices and cards issued that can make contactless payments climbed 50% year on year in 2015. The firm says the UK is taking the lead in Europe, with the number of contactless cards up 188% and spend up 375% year on year in Q4.
The report says that in Europe today there are more than 10 countries with 5m contactless cards or devices in circulation and that they are accepted in 74 countries in the world. That now includes Estonia and Iceland. On the acceptance side, merchants are also getting on board, with a 72% rise in the number of contactless locations in the period.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

FCC Votes to Free Up Set-Top Boxes

FCC Votes to Free Up Set-Top Boxes

Comcast X1 DVR
Sorry, cable companies: The Federal Communication Commission on Thursdayvoted to "unlock the box."
The proposal, introduced last month by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, aims to spur innovation, competition, and choice in the set-top box marketplace by allowing anyone — from Apple to Netflix — to create devices or services that compete with traditional set-top boxes. According to the FCC, 99 percent of U.S. consumers lease a set-top box from their pay TV provider, in large part because of outdated government regulations.
"Lack of competition has meant few choices and high prices for consumers  — on average, $231 in rental fees annually for the average American household," the FCC said. "Altogether, U.S. consumers spend $20 billion a year to lease these devices."
The cost of cable set-top boxes has risen 185 percent since 1994, while at the same time the price of computers, TVs, and mobile phones has dropped 90 percent, the agency said.
The new rules would basically open up TV data to innovators so they can create new hardware or software consumers could buy instead of a traditional set-top box; another box or even an app on your tablet, for example. That data includes information about programming (a channel listing and video-on-demand lineup), entitlements (how that content can be used, like recording), and delivery (the actual content).
 
The vote was 3 to 2, with Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly dissenting.
The proposal will now be opened up to public comment, after which the agency will take a final vote.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Yahoo forms panel to explore strategic options

Yahoo forms panel to explore strategic options

Yahoo Inc said its board has formed a committee of independent directors to explore strategic alternatives, alongside its plan to revamp and spin off its Internet business.
The move comes two days after Bloomberg reported activist investor Starboard Value LP was taking initial steps toward a potential proxy fight with Yahoo.
Starboard, which owns about 0.75 percent of Yahoo, has been pushing for changes at the Internet company since 2014, asking it to separate its Asian assets and sell the core business.
Shares of the company were up 2.6 percent at $30.19 in premarket trading.
Yahoo and its Chief Executive Marissa Mayer are under growing pressure from impatient shareholders to turn the web pioneer's flailing Internet business around.
Yahoo announced this month it was considering strategic alternatives for its core Internet business, and said it would cut about 15 percent of its workforce.
In December, Yahoo shelved plans to spin off its stake in Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and said it would create a separate company that would house Yahoo's Internet business and its stake in Yahoo Japan.
"Separating our Alibaba stake from Yahoo's operating business is essential to maximizing value for our shareholders," Mayer said in a statement, while emphasizing that everyone at Yahoo wanted to return the "iconic company to greatness".
The committee and its advisers are working on a process for reaching out to and engaging with potentially interested strategic and financial parties, the company said on Friday.
Yahoo had earlier this month engaged with interested parties individually, but had yet to run a formal auction process, according to people familiar with the matter.
The committee will recommend any proposed transaction to the board which it feels is in the "best interests" of Yahoo and its shareholders.
Verizon Communications Inc is among the technology, media and telecommunications companies seen as potential buyers of Yahoo's core business. Verizon's chief financial officer said in December such a sale could make sense though it was premature to discuss.
The committee has engaged Goldman Sachs & Co Inc, J.P. Morgan and PJT Partners Inc as financial advisers, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP as legal adviser.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Grocery Gourmet online shopping

Grocery Gourmet online shopping.

grocery gourmet

CanAmShop distributes organic and natural products spanning 775 brands in over 125 product categories totalling 26,500 products for shipping in the US and Canada. No order is too small!
Allergy Free, Baking Pans, Tools, Bags, Totes, Baking Essentials, Breakfast Foods, Condiments, Drinks, Eco-Home, For Baby, Pets, dog treats, Fruits, Vegetables, Gift, Ideas, Grains, Beans, Sides, Health, Beauty, Meal Ideas, Paper, Disposable, Snacks, Soups, Bouillon, Teas, Vitamins, Supplements, organic, natural products.
Daily and weekly specials.
The CanAmShop has over 25,650 products spanning 50 different categories and 750 brands.
CanAmShop is regularly forming new product relationships to offer our customers a greater selection each month.
Key features of CanAmShop:
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  • No minimum orders per month or per delivery (no order too small).
  • Split cases or singles available on many items.
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From bakeries, pharmacies, cafes, small grocery outlets, schools, businesses, and online merchants, CanAmShop organics has a service that is designed for your business. With a customer satisfaction rating of over 95% you can’t go wrong.
Dog Treats.
Save On Newman’s Own Organics 6X 10 Oz Chicken Medium Dog Treats. Newman’s Own Organics Launches New Formulations For Dogs And Cats We Are Pleased To Introduce Four New Holistic Formulas Based On The Newest Concepts In Animal Nutrition. (Note: This Product Description Is Informational Only. Always Check The Actual Product Label In Your Possession For The Most Accurate Ingredient Information Before Use. For Any Health Or Dietary Related Matter Always Consult Your Doctor Before Use.)
Can you name a dog that doesn’t long to eat off of your plate? That’s where our new recipes for Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Canned Food for Dogs save the day. These new options are made from hearty cuts of all-natural meat and vegetables in recipes so enticing you might just slobber reading the labels. Plus they’re grain-free for easier digestion.
Products are added weekly so check back soon!
CanAmShop Organic and Naturals
Vitamins and Supplements.
At CanAmShop  we are shipping vitamins, diets and supplements you products from Alacer and American Health to name a few.
All products shipped from Seattle Washington U.S.A.
Since 2003 eComTechnology has many reseller and distribution agreements with leading companies worldwide for your discount shopping with CanAmShops.

Monday, February 01, 2016

WinRAR compression for large emails

WinRAR 5.31 compression utility tool at eComTechnology

WinRaR is your 100% answer to all of your file compression needs. Whether you want to unpack (unzip), or create your own archived and compressed files, WinRar is the only program you'll need. Very intuitive and easy to use makes this free program for compressed files the one to have.

WinRAR 5.31

Compress, Encrypt, Package and Backup with only one utility

Over 500 million users worldwide make WinRAR the world's most popular compression tool today.
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WinRAR compression at eComTechnology

Ontario won't stop double-ending

Ontario moves to tighten rules around real estate agents 'double-ending,' but won't ban the practice If legislation is pa...