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It sounds like a silly question when it seems like anytime you have a question, can’t remember an actor’s name or want to download a song, you turn to good old Google to find the answer for you. But have a second think and answer this – do you use it all the time, for every search, to find everything you are looking for on the wide, wide world on the web?

Now the yes doesn’t come so easily does it? No, I don’t use Google for everything either, not for every single thing because sometimes I feel like I would be better results if I looked somewhere else, in a different way. Depending on the product or service I’m looking for, before turning to Google, I’ll look in the Yellow Pages, or the local directory under the industry I am looking for.

Doing this kind of search I feel as though I get better results because rather than typing ‘graphic designer’ into Google and coming up with results for companies in Australia, companies which are either too big or too small for what I need, or just results which happen to have ‘graphic designer’ as the keywords, in the Yellow Pages I can judge the size of the companies by the size of the ads, and choose one in my area.

So does my search technique have a fatal flaw or do other people have this problem?

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Hot off the heels of unveiling their protégée at the Wall Street Journal: All Things Digital conference in California last week, Microsoft launched their brand new search engine BING into the world 2 days earlier than planned.
BING is designed to take over from Microsoft’s current search engine Live Search, and its already being tipped as a dangerous contender for the mighty Google. Early reviews of the site have been extremely encouraging. Bing differs from other search engines in as much it aims to give you less choice as opposed to more. It offers a more targeted results list, with the option of displaying further results. Instead of bombarding the user with a blanket response to questions BING provides a narrower but more select response to questions.

Another key feature of Bing is that instead of directing the user to an external site to view, for example, videos, listen to music, read articles, or shop online, it allows you to do all this without ever leaving Bing. It also offers an exclusive video search service as part of the package. In theory this should lead to greater ease of use and accessibility.

Whether or not Bing can rival the other major search engines such as Google and Yahoo remains to be seen. What is certain however is that the search engine as we know it is evolving, and that can only be good news for internet users the world over.

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There is a lot of emphasis put on natural search engine optimisation results and studies of how people use the internet have shown that between 60-70% of people will choose websites which rank in the natural results, over those displayed in the sponsored links, or the pay per click advertising.

The natural results are the ones which have ranked highly because their sites are seen by the search engine to be the most useful, while the sponsored results have paid to be at the top. The studies of user habits would suggest that people realise that sponsored results have paid for their position but do the results transfer to real life?

Do you really choose the natural results which a search engine presents or do you go with the first site you see? Or maybe you try to choose the natural results but sometimes you just see a listing in the sponsored links which seems more relevant to what you were looking for, because let’s face it, there are times when Google can let you down too.

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Facebook have announced that they will be tightening their security controls to safeguard the personal information of their users. The move comes weeks after Facebook confirmed their plans to simplify their privacy settings.

The social networking site has come under fire from the authorities in recent months over concerns about the safety of minors on the site. There have been calls for enhanced security in order to protect younger Facebook users from potential abusers. Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Chris Kelly, promised that security settings would be beefed up to ensure the safety of minors on Facebook.

However there have been police reports in the US in the past few weeks of sex abusers using Facebook as a tool to groom young girls, so privacy standards still remains an issue.

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner led a report recently to investigate the effectiveness of security controls on Facebook. The report concluded that “over-sharing of user’s personal information with third party developers who create popular Facebook applications such as games and quizzes” were one of the biggest threats to security.

The Commissioner confirmed that Facebook have agreed to bar application developers from accessing personal information, unless they receive direct consent from the user. The site will also inform members of the difference between deactivation of an account, and account deletion and how this affects information. Plus Facebook will also make clear that the profiles of users who have passed away may be kept active in order to serve as a memorial for friends of the deceased member.

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Facebook has become the world’s most popular social networking site after it was announced that it currently holds 300 members worldwide.

The news was broken by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a news blog post. In the announcement he wrote: “Facebook now serves 300 million people across the world. It’s a large number, but the way we think about this is that we’re just getting started on our goal of connecting everyone.” The announcement suggests that Facebook bosses are unlikely to rest on their laurels having reached the milestone, but instead, intend to use it as launching pad to further the company’s development.

The last two months have seen Facebook member numbers multiply dramatically with the site gaining 50 million extra users between July and September. One area where Facebook is gaining ground is in attracting members from countries where online resources are internet usage is not as prevalent as it is in the West.

Since the launch of Facebook Lite, which is designed for users with slow internet connections, the organization has been making headway in attracting members from countries such as South America and India, whilst still retaining a healthy sign-up rate from tech-savvy markets such as the UK and the States.

Zuckerberg plans to invest in developing software systems which will further boost Facebook’s prowess and enable the company to deliver a high speed service with innovative features.

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Just after the news broke that Microsoft would start indexing Twitter updates through their newly launched search engine Bing, Google also revealed that they have plans to follow suit and will also begin delivering status updates from Twitter in the near future.

The real-time Twitter search feature was announced by Microsoft at a web summit in Australia this week. The organisation said they also have plans in the pipeline to start delivering status updates from the other giant in social networking, Facebook.

Microsoft’s Bing is already displaying the Twitter updates. The service brings the user tweets related to a topic typed into a search box taking into account, the author, content, and how many times the tweet has received comments or been re-tweeted. It is not yet known when they will begin delivering the Facebook updates as well.

One of the biggest players from the world of search engines, Google who currently command an estimated 65% of the US market, confirmed that they too have come to an agreement with Twitter and their update service will swing into action in the coming weeks.

Not ones to be left out in the dark, Yahoo! are also believed to be in the process of negotiating a deal with the micro-blogging site Twitter.

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Facebook have been awarded £430 million in damages after winning their case against Sanford Wallace who is nicknamed, the Spam King.

The case centred on an allegation made by Facebook which claimed that Mr Wallace had been sending huge numbers of unsolicited emails from Facebook user’s accounts after gaining access to the accounts without permission. The emails which were sent would invite the recipient to click onto another site, Wallace was paid for every hit that site received.

The court in California heard that Facebook estimated that Wallace had committed at least 14 million violations which come under the offence of spamming.

District judge Jeremy Fogell said in his ruling that Wallace had shown “blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook users.” A spokesperson later added that he could face a possible jail sentence for his crime as well.

Wallace, along with his partner Walter Rines, was successfully sued by MySpace back in 2008 after they were found to have bombarded their members with spam.

Although Facebook say they don’t expect to recover the full amount of damages, they hope that the verdict will go some way to acting as a deterrent to any would-be spammers who are considering targeting Facebook.

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Facebook’s decision to change its privacy settings this week has been met with anger from some users who are concerned that their personal data could be at risk due to the alterations made to the social networking site.

The privacy settings have been simplified as part of the changes, however some argue that vital controls which protects personal data from being picked up by third party organisations has been lost putting 350 million users worldwide in a vulnerable position.

The main cause of the changes to privacy settings is to enable Facebook to continue to complete with rival social network site Twitter. Facebook has taken the step of making all status updates public by default to encourage the use of updates for publicity, in the same way people use their Twitter blogs to advertise information.

Another issue which is worrying Facebook users is that personal information such as profile pictures, networks, current city and friend’s lists and other basics info is classed as “publically available information”. However Facebook has defended itself as they say that the “overwhelming majority” of users make this information public by their own admission so most people won’t notice a difference.

Facebook say that the simplifying of the privacy settings does seem to be working as 24 hours after the alterations were made some 20 million users had used the new system to modify their information.


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An internet blogger has uncovered a list of passwords which micro blogging website Twitter has banned from use on its website.

The social networking site is clamping down on passwords which could be used as by hackers to infiltrate private accounts and post fake Twitter updates. The list of banned passwords may include those which have been used in the past by hackers, either successfully or unsuccessfully to break into Twitter accounts.

Obvious passwords such as 112233, and abc123, are high on the list of those not accepted during the sign-up process, along with popular film names such as matrix, batman, superman, star trek and star wars. Also movie characters like bond007 and Gandalf will also be given the red light by Twitter.

Larry Seltzer of believes many of the banned passwords may have been flagged up because Twitter has detected potential hackers attempting to use them previously. The computer expert says it’s advisable to change your password if it resembles anything similar to those on the black list to avoid falling victim to hackers.

The list of over 350 forbidden passwords was uncovered by internet blogger VILERICHARD after he did a bit of digging on the social networking site.

Twitter is currently ranked as the world’s third most used social network site with 55 million monthly visits.

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Yahoo! has signed a deal with the popular micro-blogging site Twitter which will see Yahoo! users able to access Twitter via a whole host of Yahoo! products.

It’s not unusual for search engines to partner up with social networking sites such as Twitter. Only last year Google and Microsoft’s Bing signed a deal with Twitter to start indexing their updates on their search pages.

However the Yahoo! deal will go beyond simply indexing Twitter updates. Users of Yahoo! will be able to access their Twitter accounts from the company’s homepage, and from their Yahoo! email account, bridging the gap between social networking and other technology packages more than ever before.

Bosses at Yahoo! say the new venture will enable their customers to access their social networking pages more quickly and effectively by integrating Twitter services into several areas of the Yahoo! brand. Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president, consumer products group, Yahoo! described the new partnership as “simplifying people’s lives by bringing their social worlds — and the world —- together for easy access.”

How the service will work has not yet been revealed, neither is it known how much the deal between Yahoo! and Twitter has cost.