In the early years of the Internet, before Google became synonymous with the term “search engine”, the Internet was a vast space, booming with new businesses focused on leveraging the new tech. You may even be familiar with some of the key players like AOL, SBC Global, and Nexus, which debuted their first search engine in the 90s. But there’s another big name we haven’t mentioned yet – one that was once a giant – Yahoo (Yahoo! Inc.).
Yahoo was started in 1994 when two Ph.D. candidates, Jerry Yang and David Filo, were looking for an easier way to find websites and to keep track of their favorite pastimes on the Internet. When they couldn’t find a tool that did what they wanted, they decided to make it themselves. The first iteration of their website was simple, with categorized links to various pages related to art, business, education, and so much more. It was less of a search engine and more of a central hub to find news and information on special-interest topics – much like a newspaper.
It didn’t take long for Yahoo to start getting some serious attention from users and potential partners. In the fall of 1994, the company had its first million-hit day, with about 100,000 unique visitors. After that, Yang and Filo saw the need to bring on new team members (executives, primarily) and to start raising some capital. So, they brought on Tim Koogle (of Motorola) as the Chief Executive Officer and Jeffrey Mallett (founder of Novell’s WordPerfect consumer group) and by 1996, they had 49 employees and $33.8 million in funding.
In 2017, Verizon purchased the company’s one-time web portal, and its assets, for $4.48 billion. By this time, they owned AOL, too, which they eventually merged with Yahoo, creating a new entity called Oath. Verizon had a lot of work to do, continuing to invest in existing properties, and promising loyal users that they wouldn’t lose any of their favorite tools.
Fast forward 20+ years and the company has seriously petered out. It even lost its name when it sold its assets to Verizon, leaving the remnants of what was once Yahoo with a new name and mission. The company was renamed Altaba and turned into a closed-end management investment firm. But in October of this year, the company filed a Certificate of Dissolution, meaning they’re closing their doors as a legal business entity.
Now that the company is gone, all we have left of the Yahoo name is what Verizon has made of it. It continues to be an email provider and news portal for many, but how does its search engine stack up against current search big-wigs like Google and Bing? According to StatCounter, Google is the most-used search engine (no surprise here), with 92.6% of searchers using their search tools.
After that is Bing, which accounts for 2.44% of searchers, and finally, Yahoo, with a mere 1.86% of searchers using the site to find their engine results. Compared to its early successes, the amount of people using their service now is a total drop in the bucket compared to what it was like in its heyday, so it’s no surprise that they’re now actively advertising to get more business. But the way they’re approaching it is certainly a little odd.
Yahoo has begun to retarget people who are searching for specific products. Now, retargeting is a very popular marketing strategy for brands and services, but typically, what you’re being retargeted for makes perfect sense. As an example, let’s look at the branded stickers I was on the hunt for a couple weeks ago. I had already completed my search and purchase with Sticker Mule when I decided to take a break and head on over to Instagram. While scrolling through my feed, I noticed an ad from Yahoo.
I was a little surprised, as I haven’t seen a Yahoo ad in many years, so I took a deeper look. Turns out, they weren’t just targeting me as a search user, but they were actually re-targeting my need for stickers and using it to try to get me to use their search engine to find my stickers. Here’s a quick look at their ad:
Then once it is clicked, you are taken here.
When it comes down to it, it feels like the company is grasping at straws to get searchers to use their engine, but is this their final plea for attention? Only time will tell.
Infinity Maps is the most mind-blowing visual workspace ever
(TECHNOLOGY) Infinity Maps is bringing together whiteboarding, diagramming, and real-time collaboration all in one neat tool.
Digital tools should be effective and efficient. They should help you plan, create, and manage your projects so your team can build solutions to your overall goals. While many tools say they are the all-in-one tool solution, this is a pretty bold statement to make. Each company is different, and one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.
However, there comes a time when such a tool comes slightly close to filling that spot. Infinity Maps seeks to do this by marrying some of the best qualities of different tools and adding its spice to the mix.
What does Infinity Maps offer?
The web application is partially an online whiteboard tool. In your workspace, called Canvas, you create your content by using cards. In these cards, you can add text, images, and files. Cards can be nested indefinitely creating hierarchies while still maintaining a “clear and concise” structure. You can do this by simply dragging a card into another card.
To visualize how each card correlates to one another, you have the option to link cards with arrows. These arrows are further organized by changing the color of each one or changing the color of the card itself.
Infinity Maps lets your team collaborate in real-time. To work together, you can invite users to your map. When you share your workspace, you assign people different roles so they have the correct permissions to read or write on your map. Like Google’s web tools, you can see who is using the map because each username will show up next to their cursor and be assigned a different color.
Navigating through Infinity Maps is easy and works just like Google Maps. By double-clicking, you are taken directly to the card you selected. You can also scroll up and down and use the trackpad to zoom in and out of your map. This feature is super helpful when you have hundreds of cards on your map.
Why Infinity Maps?
The company says Infinity Maps is a “revolutionary new product that allows you to organize vast amounts of information visually & spatially”. It is a combination of Miro, Notion, and Google Maps all into one.
“What are we doing differently?” asks Infinity Maps CEO & Co-Founder Johannes Grenzemann. “With Infinity Maps, we are building a knowledge management system that allows you to create vast, huge knowledge bases [that] depict high complexity and depth while staying mind friendly because it’s a visual approach,” Grenzemann said.
Overall, Infinity Maps is a neat knowledge tool. It can be used in several ways, from students trying to organize their thesis to startups managing their product launches.
If you’re interested in checking them out to see if they are indeed the all-in-one tool solution, you can sign up to start mapping. A free account gives you access to 3 maps, up to 150 cards per map, and 50MB of cloud space. If you need more space to map out your ideas, you can unlock additional cards by inviting a friend or purchasing cards. Pro, unlimited, and team subscriptions plans are also available for purchase.
China cracks down on user data collection, allegedly cares about privacy
(TECH) Either China’s government just grew a conscience, or they’re trying to compete on a global stage. Either way, they’re implementing new laws.
In an uncharacteristic looking move for end-user privacy and choice, China has passed sweeping new legislation entitled the Personal Information Protection Law. It’s set to take effect on November 1, 2021, and includes provisions governing consent in user data collection of tech applications and specifies how companies can use that data, especially if that data is to be transferred out of China.
This is the second of two pieces of legislation to emerge this year as China takes a hard look at their cyberspace and try their hand at oversight.
The Data Security law, which came into effect on Sept. 1, set classification frameworks for data based on “its economic value and relevance to China’s national security” as cited in Reuters.
According to experts, both laws will require companies to reevaluate how they collect and store data on a massive scale. As regulations continue to develop rapidly during China’s re-examination of their tech industry, companies are scrambling to meet the stringent new requirements and adjust their infrastructure for compliance at a break-neck pace.
- The Personal Information Protection Law similar in design to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation
- China’s top cyberspace regulator, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), issued an investigation into Didi Global Inc, their version of Uber, with accusations of user privacy violations
- An extensive set of rules targeting business practices that undermine fair competition, such as cultivating reviews, were implemented by China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR)
- 43 apps were accused of illegally transferring user data and called out by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and required to make “rectifications”
Similar cyberspace scrutiny is happening in the US regarding monopolies held by some of the biggest players in tech like Google, Facebook, and Amazon but is moving very slowly through the legislative process.
In terms of how this impacts Americans, TikTok is currently one of the single most downloaded apps in the US and owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance. According to The Sun, ByteDance is now the most valuable startup in the world with an estimated value of 1 billion USD.
Many doubt that China actually cares about privacy, but some believe that keeping up the appearance of playing by modern corporate rules benefits their government as they seek global dominance.
Apparently, the chip shortage is NOT easing up this year…
(TECH NEWS) If you’re a tech person who has tried to buy anything with a chip in it, you know there’s been a shortage and therefore a buying frenzy. Which apparently isn’t ending soon.
It appears that the chip shortage, a phenomenon that has plagued production for the last six or so months, is not easing up like people had initially predicted. The real-world effects of this shortage are varied, but impactful.
The Daily Brew’s Dan McCarthy reports that the average wait time for chip deliveries is up to over 20 weeks at this point, a number that (despite postulation that the second half of 2021 would see increased chip production) is higher than the wait times in both July and June of this year.
The chip shortage has a few different roots, but the primary one as of late is a slew of COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia – specifically near locations that produce large numbers of semiconductors for the rest of the world. It’s thought that the wait time will increase in the coming weeks, even as companies slash predictions and hunker down for a hit to their profits this season.
For context, manufacturers were having to wait for a little over 12 weeks for their semiconductors this time last year. It’s clear that we’re going in the wrong direction if we’re planning to keep up production going into this next year.
The implications of such a shortage range from baffling to sobering. Earlier this year, people struggled to find PS5s for reasonable prices; more importantly, though, is the effect this shortage is having on the automobile industry. A couple of weeks ago, Toyota announced a 40 percent cut in production plans for September.
With GM, Ford, Stellantis, and VW adding that they will most likely cut back on production as well, it looks like the 2022 vehicle market will be the latest casualty to lower-than-optimal supply in a time of moderate demand.
While the chips used in cars, appliances, and other common electronics are profoundly affected by the shortage, it appears that “power management” chips (the ones used in smaller devices, namely smartphones) have a decreased wait time from last month. This somewhat contradicts a shortage warning by Apple in late July, though we’re clearly not out of the woods regarding production efficiency yet.
It is extremely likely that this shortage will impact auto and appliance production in 2022.
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