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Back up your photos, Google may delete them

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) Google is halting image backups on certain types of files to reduce bandwidth. However, this could lead to permanent deletion of these images, if you’re not careful.

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Well, Google has went and done it again. In the wake of numerous changes to its Google Photos app, the tech giant has made one more teeny-tiny announcement about how it’s going to manage your stored images and files moving forward. And by tiny, we mean the announcement itself was tiny, not the impact it’s going to have on literally billions of users. The impact it’s going to have, to say the least, can have a major effect on how you think about file storage on your phone.

Yep. What kind of changes are we looking at here, exactly? Let’s go ahead and break it down together, shall we? We’ll call it the “good,” the “meh,” and the “well, this stinks.”

Well, for starters, there’s the good. Google has completely overhauled its Photos interface. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you thought the old style was clunky and unwieldy. I mean, I never really had a problem with it, but hey. Google thought it could benefit from a revamping, so I’m not complaining. According to their updates, the Photos tab now boasts larger thumbnails. They’ve also made changes to their “Memories” carousel, making it easier to pursue your awkward selfies and random minutiae of your life. This can be pretty fun, so I’m feeling pretty happy with this new update. Nice. Good job, Google!

What’s next? Okay, so then they did something that was definitely a little bit strange. About four months ago, and with little fanfare, they started offering a new photo printing service. This one is kinda a head scratcher, if I have to be entirely honest. This new feature was offered about four months ago, and it was a neat idea on paper. (No pun intended. Okay, I lied. I totally meant a pun here.) The gist was that select users could pay a fee of $7.99 to get ten random pics from their photos printed out and mailed to them.

This was a disaster from the start, though. For starters, it was ridiculously expensive for what it was (especially considering that most printing services are less than a quarter a pop, and these were almost a dollar each). And then there was the weird issue of them mailing completely irrelevant pics to users, leaving them wondering what exactly they took a picture of and why Google thought to print it out and send it to them. It was kind of like when your cat brings you a half-dead mouse, and you want to praise them and thank them for the sentiment, but you undoubtedly did not want that dead mouse on your duvet cover.

Well, if you’re not a fan of dead mice in your bed or getting random photos mailed to you from Google (which, in retrospect, seems strangely ominous — to me, it conjures up creased manila envelopes without a return address), then your time to rejoice has come. While Google had big plans of making this an ongoing service, they abruptly pulled the plug on it this month, stating that they will no longer be offering this option at the end of June.

And then there’s the bad. What makes this announcement so troublesome isn’t the fact that it could lead to the permanent deletion of sentimental and valuable pics on your phone, but the fact that it was almost like an anti-announcement. In short, Google will no longer be automatically backing up your images from certain apps to their online cloud-based storage service. These apps include messaging apps such as Kik, WhatsApp, and Messages. Failure to manually turn the backup back on could mean that if you lose your phone or accidentally wipe it somehow, then those pictures are lost forever. Gone. Donezo.

Look, I totally understand why Google is doing this. They’ve already made similar announcements to a similar tune, citing an overall goal of reducing bandwidth. This is a fairly smart decision, as bandwidth usage had skyrocketed after the coronavirus pandemic kept people sequestered at home with no other source of entertainment. The issue arises that they really didn’t warn anybody about this new change, which could lead to permanent loss of these pics if your phone hiccups.

Long story short, friends? If you don’t want to lose these pics forever — and they will undoubtedly be done for, no more, bereft of life, ceased to be — then please make sure you double check your backup settings on your phone. Otherwise, you may find yourself unexpectedly disappointed if you go to recall a happy memory from your messenger app, only to find the picture of the said memory deleted forevermore.

Karyl is a Southern transplant, now living on the Central Coast with her husband. She's proud to belong to two very handsome cats, both of which have made it very clear as to where she ranks on the social hierarchy. When she's not working as an optician, you can either find her chipping away at her next science-fiction novel or training for an upcoming race. She holds an AAT in Psychology, which is just a fancy way of saying that she likes poking around inside people's brains. She's very socially awkward and has no idea how to describe herself, which is why this bio is just as dorky and weird as she is.

Real Estate Technology

Secret list of reasons why your Facebook ad was rejected

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Save your marketing team time with this secret list of Facebook ad rejection reasons.

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facebook ad rejection

You read the rules, spent time optimizing target audience, double checked all the visual elements, and your Facebook ad is finally ready to go to market. You’re expecting the latest email from Facebook to be about billing details, and instead receive the dreaded (albeit common) rejection letter.

You’re left wondering how your your content have possibly violated the Community Standards. Turns out text like “Meet other seniors” or “Depression getting you down?” violates a “personal attributes” rule.

Directly addressing the user with terms like “you” or implications about identity like age, race, and gender aren’t permitted. So you remove that, only to find your ad rejected from the ad auction once again. There are hundreds of reasons the site can reject your ad.

You can quite literally spend hours pouring over Facebook’s Advertising policies, but we have a shortcut – Jane Manchun Wong put has together the most extensive list we’ve ever seen (click to enlarge).

facebook ad rejection reasons

Understandably, illegal content is rejected. You won’t find ads for drugs or counterfeiting services. Likewise, anything even kind of sexual or potentially offensive (like someone flipping the middle finger) violates the standards. No ads for mail order brides or anything the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would regulate either.

Okay, so obviously you can’t advertise illegal things on the mainstream internet. Especially not when Facebook is asking users to respond to surveys about if the company is good for the world.

However, there’s some grey area once you move past obviously unacceptable content. QR codes, a popular ad novelty, are a reason for rejection. Likewise, if your ad features a picture of Mark Zuckerberg, it’ll get slapped down.

Feel like mentioning the spy cameras? Nope. Have an ad about lasers? Nah. Animals? DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT. Oddly enough, Instagram references aren’t allowed either even though Facebook owns the company.

Although Facebook is trying to uphold their values about safety, voice, and equity, enforcement of these principles is often flawed.

Bra and underwear retailers struggle to get their ads approved even if the content is not sexual in nature. An ad by Harper Wilde, an online bra startup, featuring a plain bra on a colored background was rejected on the grounds that the link leads to a site featuring adult content.

Since Facebook rejects anything focused on a single body part or that is too zoomed in, exposed bodies on an underwear site certainly violate the terms. While Facebook is attempting to hold up a moral code of not offending users, implementation isn’t consistent.

Although Facebook technically has a link to appeal disapproved ads, users report the link is either broken, or returns an auto-generated response with no way to follow up with a person.

We can certainly appreciate that Facebook now bans the obnoxious “before-after” gifs of someone’s belly fat disappearing to the backdrop of a tape measure, and rejects blatantly offensive material.

facebook ad acceptable

Attempting to provide higher quality content that doesn’t shame or offend users is a noble goal.

But when everyday products can’t be advertised, and robots are enforcing grey area, it’s time for a better appeals process. At least now you know what not to include in your next Facebook ad, even if it is legit.

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Real Estate Technology

By now, all brokerages should be using Click-To-Call tech

Click-to-call tech is not just a sales tool, but an expectation of consumers, leading to a much healthier pipeline.

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click-to-call technology

Consumers are doing more and more online these days – but that doesn’t mean that the era of the phone call has ended. In fact, research is confirming that, when people are shopping or looking for a service, they often combine mobile web searching with a phone call to the business. Users first research the products online on their mobile device, then call the business to get more details or make the purchase.

That is why having a click-to-call option on your mobile website or app is more important than ever.

Invoca reports that 45 percent of all calls to businesses are inspired by a mobile search, compared to just 9 percent of phone calls prompted by a desktop search.

A study in the UK found that 94 percent of customers expect that your site will have a call-to-click option, and we would suggest the findings would be similar in America.

redfin-tap-for-help1

In a survey of 1500 mobile users, 42 percent of users reported that they had used click-to-call, usually because they simply wanted to speak to a real person. Needing a fast answer to a question, or wanting more information than was listed on the website were two other oft-cited motivations for using click-to-call.

And these calls aren’t just casual chats – more often than not, they are inquiries that lead to sales. Click-to-call phone calls last an average of six minutes, with a high rate of sales conversion.

Mobile phone call conversation rates are four times higher than desktop. Take pause to think about that.

While the benefits of having a click-to-call option are obvious, it’s also important to note that not having click-to-call could actually hurt your business.

The study found that customers are more likely to trust a business when they list a phone number; a business with an unlisted phone number makes customers suspicious and unlikely to buy. The aforementioned UK study found that about a third of customers will actually be frustrated, annoyed, or disappointed if you don’t have click-to-call.

With an estimated $1.94 trillion in sales coming from click-to-calls by 2019, there’s really not excuse not to have it.

This story was first published in 2016.

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Real Estate Technology

How deepfake images could infiltrate the market

(REAL ESTATE TECH NEWS) The rise in quality of deepfakes has even lead to the development of fake images in geography and housing. Here’s what to look out for.

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A digital map open on a computer, where one has to be wary of fake images.

With the onset of the computer age, we have seen a great deal of false information spreading around the world. From photoshopped images to presidents broadcasting fake information, there is a lot to be wary of. The internet is rife with data that truly needs to be verified at any given turn. The dangerous part is not only what people can do with that information, but also how they can hide things with it.

Satellite imagery has been on the rise for a few decades. An image that is already grainy and hard to see would be child’s play to alter. Maybe even to create from scratch. Tagging GPS coordinates are a simple alteration inside of photoshop too. Fakes, upon fakes, upon fakes.

In 2019, the US military warned about the possibility of fake geographical information being perpetuated across the internet. It then actually came true to the embarrassment of the Chinese government. Satellite “evidence” was used to report detention camps hidden away in the countries. The “camps” turned out to be re-education facilities for China’s mentally deviant populace. However, that’s another rabbit hole to run down. The point here is that the images that were released in 2015 showed absolutely no facility and then pictures in 2018 showed a massive facility.

An assistant professor, Bo Zhao, with the University of Washington decided to illustrate this again with a study. His opinion was “the first step to tackling these issues is to make people aware there’s a problem in the first place”. He and his colleagues published a paper on “deep fake geography.”

They conducted experiments in generating and detecting imagery for suburban homes, which clearly demonstrated the affect of this technology on our economy. They were able to easily convert the shape and layout of a neighborhood in their images.

From this work we have a few new terms to be aware of. Threats of “paper towns” and “trap streets” are two of the new resounding terms. These new ideas can lead to a modicum of potential issues. The team actually created a software that has the ability to create these fake images. They did the work themselves, leading one to believe that the basic knowledge is there for anyone with a little know-how.

The moral of the story is, don’t trust anything from the internet. It’s all an opinion coming from some other flawed human being, and you don’t ever really know why people are putting that information out there. Always know and check your sources.

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