Google has unveiled several updates to its search to mark the company’s 15th year anniversary.

Most prominent among the new features is Google’s new search algorithm called “Hummingbird.” It is designed to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers returning better results. In general, Hummingbird Google says — “is a new engine built on both existing and new parts, organized in a way to especially serve the search demands of today, rather than one created for the needs of ten years ago, with the technologies back then.”

What type of “new” search activity does Hummingbird help? ‘Conversational Search’ is one of the biggest examples Google gave. People, when speaking searches, may find it more useful to have a conversation. 

For example: “What’s the closest place to buy an apple computer near my home?” A traditional search engine might focus on finding matches for words — finding a page that says “buy” and “apple compute”.  Hummingbird might focus on the meaning behind the words. It might understand that the word “place” means you want a brick-and-mortar store. It might know that “apple computer” is a particular type of computer carried only by certain stores. Knowing all these meanings may help Google go beyond only finding pages with words that match. The whole sentence or meaning — is taken into account. The end goal is to find the pages that correspond to the meaning in its entirety.

Google has been doing conversational search, but it had only been doing it really within its Knowledge Graph answers. Hummingbird is designed to apply the meaning technology to billions of pages from across the web, in addition to Knowledge Graph facts, which may yield better results.

The new algorithm doesn’t mean page rank or SEO is dead. Page rank is one of over 200 major factors that figure into the Hummingbird mix. Guidance remains the same, it says: “have original, high-quality content.”  Signals that have been important in the past remain important. Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

Hummingbird was implemented about a month ago, but Google announced the change late last week.

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Social Media giant Facebook is now offering embedded posts that allow all users to add public posts from Facebook to other destinations on the Web, such as blogs and websites.  These posts can include photos, videos, hashtags and other content. Readers can also ‘like’ and ‘share’ directly via embedded posts.  The posts which were introduced at the end of July for select media pages are now available to everyone who uses the social media site. Embedded posts offer sites an easy and quick way to enhance the content on their site. 

To access the feature, users click on a new icon being made available in the top right corner of public posts. After clicking on the icon, users then copy and paste the code to their own webpage.

Based on the feedback from the five test sites where it was initially introduced Facebook made some changes to the initial embedded posts feature. The width was reduced to make the posts fit smaller screens and enhance Facebook users’ mobile experiences.  Also, videos can now play directly on websites or blogs. Posts can now be embedded directly from third-party websites. The feature is now supported by an updated version of its plugin for WordPress.

There are a number of ways businesses and organizations could get value from embedded Facebook posts including featuring testimonials from customers on their sites and posting updates on their company Facebook page.

Users’ ability to embed Facebook posts will allow Facebook to extend its reach and potentially attract new Facebook users. Embedded posts could represent a future revenue source for Facebook as well. Facebook ads will not show up with embedded posts initially. Having them show up in the future might be a new way for Facebook to make money.

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The latest version of Mozilla’s browser Firefox 23 has been redesigned to include a “share” button at the top navigation bar bringing social media elements to the forefront of the free web browser.

The “share” feature is more or less your own personal share button that works in similar fashion to the share buttons you find embedded on many websites these days. This is great for marketing and it is convenient to use, as you do not have to visit the social network to share links anymore if the site itself does not offer buttons of its own. The new button “allows a user to post an interesting article to your profile, share ideas in a private message or email, all without leaving the Web page you are visiting.” The share button connects to Facebook Messenger for Firefox and Cliqz and will eventually integrate with other social media services and apps. Other popular services such as Twitter, Google+ or Tumblr are not available as of now.

In order to use the new feature you have to have added one of the supported providers to the browser.  The new share button is added on the left of the first button. It always looks the same but the small overlay that opens up is customized based on the service that you select.

The Facebook Share button for instance lets you share the website that is in the active tab in the browser. You can select to share it to your timeline, on a friend’s timeline, to a group, in a private message or on a page that you manage / administrate.There is also the option to change the visibility of the information before you hit the share link button. You can switch between all installed providers without closing the window.

The company started incorporating social media into the web browser last year with a Facebook integration and soon added Cliqz, Mixi and msnNOW. Other social features on Firefox include the persistent sidebar, which shows status updates and instant messages from friends that follow the user as they browse the web.

 

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