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.
Chrome can now group and color code your open tabs
(TECH NEWS) Do you have too many tabs, and can’t tell what’s what? Google has tab groups that make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
Are you a tab collector? That’s Google’s name for people who have tabs upon tabs upon tabs open on their Google Chrome browser. And while third party apps are already available to help collectors manage tabs, Google is now stepping in with Tab Groups.
Tab Groups, try it here, allows users to color-code, group and add text or emoji labels to separate clusters of tabs in their browser.
Right-click on any tab and choose Add to New Group. A gray dot will appear to the left of the tab and outline it in the same color. Clicking on the dot lets users update the color, label and name the group. Once grouped together, the tab groups can be moved and reordered. They’re also saved when Chrome is closed and reopened.
Google said after testing Tab Groups for months, they noticed people usually arranged their tabs by topic and that appeared most common when people shopped or were working on a project.
“Others have been grouping their tabs by how urgent they are, “ASAP,” “this week” and “later.” Similarly, tab groups can help keep track of your progress on certain tasks: “haven’t started,” “in progress,” “need to follow up” and “completed.”
Of course, this new feature does nothing to dissuade users from opening too many tabs, despite research that says multitasking may change the structure of your brain and Chrome is notorious for using too much RAM. So now you can’t concentrate, and your computer is running hot and slowing down.
A solution? Use Chrome extensions such as The Great Suspender, which suspends tabs that have been inactive for a specific amount of time. Don’t worry, you can whitelist specific websites so if you always need a tab for Twitter open, it won’t be suspended.
Another tip is to focus on one task at a time using the Pomodoro Technique, breaking tasks and your workday into 25-minute bursts of productivity with five-minute breaks in between. FocusMe uses a timer and website blocker to reduce the risk of getting distracted. You’re on the internet, after all.
Quarantine bod got you down? AI trainer Artifit lifts you up
(TECH NEWS) If staying home has caused some unfortunate weight gain, Artifit can help you keep your home body fit during and way after quarantine is over.
Mandatory lockdown’s have changed people’s routine’s in every conceivable way. From the way we work and cook to how we exercise. Home workout routines have been a hot topic in the last couple of months. People are trying to find a way to retain some sense of normalcy and maintain their healthy lifestyles We’ve all heard jokes about the so called “Quarantine 15” online and maybe you’ve even made a disparaging comment or two about your weight since gyms closed.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with a little weight gain the face of a global pandemic. The world is changing, your life is changing, and times are scary. Be gentle with yourself and those around you.
If you are looking for a way to get regular workouts back into your life and YouTube videos just aren’t cutting it, there is a high-tech solution. Artifit is an AI personal trainer designed to make your solo workouts safer and more effective. The app acts as your personal trainer by creating your workout plans, tracking progress, and providing posture corrections.
The app uses your phone’s camera to track your reps and spot errors in form while providing real time audio feedback. According to the app creators, [Artifit] recognizes 20 major joints movements via mobile camera, and we are constantly working on adding new joints and improving the algorithm.”
Beyond the workouts, Artifit taps into your competitive side by providing you with a score at the end of each work out that you can then share with friends. The app measures and analyze your progress over time and uses this data to create a workout plan that is best suited for you.
There are a ton of reasons you might be looking for a tech-driven approach to your workout routine. Most of us already rely on technology to track out movement in one way or another – think about the Health app on your phone or your Fitbit. Working out from home isn’t for everyone, but some are thriving under a more flexible schedule and want to keep it that way.
If you are not sure when you’re going to feel comfortable going to the gym again or you no longer want to fuss over scheduling appointments with a personal trainer, this could be the app for you. Artifit can help you keep your homebody tendencies intact way after quarantine is over.
Google has another video conference tool, but are they too late?
(TECH NEWS) Google is making their Google Meet, available for anyone with a gmail account, leaving us to wonder if it’s a little too little, too late.
Google Is now making its business video meeting tool available for free to everyone with a Gmail account. Wait! What? We already have that, don’t we? We do, kind of. Google has long offered free Google Hangouts, a messaging function that includes chat and video chat features for groups of up to 25 people. Google Duo is a video meeting app that has been available for cell phones and tablets, previously available for up to 8 people, but now for up to 12 people.
Sooooo, why do we care about free Google Meet? Isn’t this taking us back to, say, 2009? The difference is that with Google Meet, you can include up to 100 participants. This service used to be available only to paid G-Suite customers. Video conferencing has never been more popular or necessary, with Zoom leading the pack. Google wants you to blow off the others and give Google Meet a shot.
Why should we care? If you are already using a video meeting tool that works for you, what’s the incentive to switch? If you’re using Skype, you can only have up to 50 participants, while you can have up to 100 participants on Google Meet. On Zoom, you can also include up to 100 people on a video meeting. With a free Zoom account, you can meet for up to 40 minutes, and Google Meet has expanded their free Meet calls to 60 minutes.
Zoom has had serious issues with security and privacy. While Zoom is scrambling to enhance the safety and privacy of users, including ways to prevent illegal Zoombombing. Yet, it will be harder to trust Zoom again, now that the damage has been done. Google Meet already has a robust security system, including end-to-end encryption of all video calls. All calls go through Gmail, which already lives behind a bunch of protections, which has to be a good thing.
Google Meet also offers easy live captioning through their own voice recognition service and other accessibility considerations such as screen readers and magnifiers. People who are already familiar with Google chat/meeting tools will likely try Google Meet right away to see how it compares to Zoom, Skype, and other video conferencing tools. Google is betting on it.
However, if you already have a tool you love, you might be like, “Meh.” If you are the type who loves researching all of the tools to find your perfect match, then this is likely exciting news for you. Options are always good, though. The strangest thing is that Google has had this capability all along. When schools started shuttering during the pandemic, Zoom immediately stepped up and offered educators its professional tools for free–a clutch move that garnered them loads of positive press and help propel them past competitors into the top spot.
Google Meet will have to prove to be at least as clear, fast, easy to use as Zoom. With Google’s collection of launched and abandoned video tools, though, we have to wonder if it will be. At least Meet is already starting out more secure, which is a superb start. With the launch of Zoom 5.0, though, will it be too little, too late for Google Meet to capture a good chunk of the video tool?
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