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and Student Created Vibrative iPhone Keyboard

It’s been less of a newsworthy month so far and more a collection of mutterings across various blogs, which is slightly surreal given the internet’s penchant for shouting as loud as it can. I’ve been perusing these mutterings and have gathered the more interesting ones into this week’s newsletter.

Bing Looks At Ranking Social Factors

Social networking is still relatively new, however surprising you may find that. Facebook was only launched in 2004, Twitter in 2006. So the search engines are still working out what to do about it all. We’ve covered before that Bing introduced Quora and other social share options into their search feed and we know Google has the obligatory +1 button on theirs.

“the more weight you carry in the social world…the higher your website may appear”

But Bing, in their ever increasing endeavour to clutch some of the search market share from Google, may just be taking this a step further. A recent patent filed shows they may be looking to include social networks as future Bing ranking factors which decide URL prioritisation.

This basically means that the more weight you carry in the social world, potentially via authorship mark-ups, the higher your website may appear in the search results.

Webmaster Still Has Link Penalty After Disavowing 100% Of Links

A few weeks ago website owners everywhere rejoiced in scenes not unlike the closing sequence of ‘Return of the Jedi’ when Google released their disavow tool; a way to finally get rid of any spammy links and manual penalties without sending the offending webmaster your life savings and your daughter’s hand in marriage.

But is it actually effective? One webmaster claims that he disavowed 100% of his inbound links and, after submitting a reconsideration request, was told that he still had violating links pointing at his domain.

Now, either Google aren’t showing webmasters all their spammy links, or they’ve simply labelled the guy an idiot for even attempting it. Whatever their reasons, it’s a concerning finding in what was always going to be a tense period of investigation by enthusiasts and site owners alike into what this tool actually does.

Google Redesign Search Page

It seems Google like nothing more at the moment than playing around with the way the search results look. Who knows why – maybe they’re simply experimenting with different functionalities or maybe they recently hired a user experience developer with chronic ADHD.

Either way, as recently as today, there has been a low, humming buzz about a new layout appearing in the search results. Instead of having the familiar side bar on the left hand side, Google have now placed it just under the search bar.

This means there is nothing either side of the search results – just blank space. We know the right hand side edge is reserved for the knowledge graph and viewing the most recently cached version of the site. There’s also the list feature just under the menu that we mentioned in the last newsletter. So maybe the left hand side is being reserved for some other function – social factors maybe?

Whatever they choose to do, it’s sure to be another step closer to a rich, dynamic page of results that attempts to offer the user a wealth of contextual knowledge.

The Days of Relying on Autocorrect May Be Over

Ever been rushing to type a text to your friend only to realise you’ve said “I’ll bear the spoon” instead of “be there soon”? Granted you don’t have to put up with my sausage-like thumbs, but even so it can be a nightmare trying to hit every single key as deftly as you’d like to.

So maybe this new programme, invented by a UK student, has all your answers. By utilising the iPhone’s accelerometer which measures vibrations, he has managed to create a ‘proof of concept’ external keyboard.

By measuring the strength of the vibrations via the distance away from the phone, it’s possible to match that signal up to a letter. While only right 80% of the time, it’s a nifty idea that may catch on when newer smart phones develop more advanced accelerometers.

Vibrative Virtual Keyboard from Florian Kräutli on Vimeo.

Image Source: Burning Image on Flickr

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