Start up: Google’s image search ads, Intel’s iPhone deal, Tabooillion!, Runkeeper confesses, and more

Is mommy blogging about to hit a speedbump? Montage by Mike Licht on Flickr.

Why didn’t you sign up to receive each day’s Start Up post by email?. Unless you’re reading this on email.

A selection of 12 links for you. Indefatigably. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Google is including ads in image search results for first time • Digital Trends

Trevor Mogg:

»Perhaps the most surprising thing about the news that Google is now including ads in its Images search results is that it didn’t do it sooner.

It’s true – the company that makes all its cash from search ads has until now included not a single sponsored message among its image results. But that’s all changing.

The initiative is designed to tempt the shopper in you, so if, say, you do a Google image search on your smartphone for a coffee table, among those many pages of lovely photos of gorgeous tables you’ll also see ads for them. These will link directly to a merchant’s site, enabling you to part with your cash in just a couple of clicks. The merchant wins, you win … oh, and Google wins, too.

«

Every place Google can put an ad, it’s going to put an ad. Google News next?
link to this extract

 


Intel obtains up to 50% of modem chip orders for upcoming iPhone • Digitimes

Julian Ho and Jessie Chen:

»Intel will supply up to 50% of the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2016, according to industry sources.

Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.

«

link to this extract

 


The main reason why people are not already using ad blockers should worry publishers • Business Insider

Lara O’Reilly:

»The principal reason why most people haven’t yet switched on an ad blocker is simply because they are not aware they could block ads — a stat that should worry businesses that rely on online advertising to make money.

Wells Fargo Securities and Optimal.com — a startup that offers an “ethical” ad blocker — surveyed 1,712 US smartphone users to ask about their attitudes to ad blocking.

Of the 1,320 respondents who don’t already block ads (either on desktop or mobile,) 45.6% said they were not aware they could do so.

«

(That survey number suggests 23% already blocking ads.) Notice also of those not yet blocking, there are 22% who either know of it but can’t figure out how, or else intend to when they “have the time”. Those who don’t mind ads, or don’t want to harm content creators: 18.1%, or less than one in five.

Rob Leathern of Optimal goes into more detail about what the figures mean.
link to this extract

 


Taboola crosses the one billion user mark, second only to Facebook as the world’s largest discovery platform • Globe Newswire

»Taboola has achieved a significant “network effect” within the discovery space, more than doubling its reach from 500 million unique users just one year ago. As more users around the world are exposed to Taboola’s personalized recommendations, more Fortune 500 advertisers are achieving scale across the platform. In the US, where the company first launched its discovery platform in 2010, every American Internet user sees Taboola at least 70 times a month, and the platform reaches 95.3% of the 15+ year old demographic, surpassing Google, Facebook, and Yahoo Sites (according to comScore’s monthly Demographic Report, March 2016).

“For the past eight years, our team has been committed to building the best predictive technology in the world, and it’s been incredible to see how that personalization-driven mission has resonated across new markets in just the past twelve months,” said Adam Singolda, founder and CEO at Taboola.

«

A billion?? Flipping heck.
link to this extract

 


MCX postpones rollout of Apple Pay rival CurrentC, lays off 30, will focus on bank deals • TechCrunch

Ingrid Lunden:

»As merchants like Walmart move ahead on their own mobile payment strategies, a consortium that once counted Walmart — along with a number of other big retailers and brands — behind it, has taken a step back. Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) today announced it would postpone a nationwide rollout of CurrentC, a smartphone payment initiative originally conceived as a mobile wallet rival to smartphone-led services like Apple Pay and Android Pay. As a result, MCX said it would lay off 30 people as it shifted its focus to working with financial institutions.

«

Dead.
link to this extract

 


Indian smartphone shipments declined for the second consecutive quarter in Q1 2016 • IDC

»According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 23.5m units of smartphones were shipped in India in Q1 2016 registering 5.2% growth over the same period last year. However, smartphone shipments shrank by 8.2% over Q4 2015, dipping consecutively for two quarters.

According to Karthik J, Senior Market Analyst, Client Devices, “The first quarter of the year is usually expected to be slow after the festive season in the last quarter of the year. However, the contraction in Q1 2016 is mainly propelled by the decline in shipments from all the Top 5 smartphone vendors of previous quarter. Shipments of key Indian vendors Micromax, Intex and Lava put together dropped 20.4% sequentially as they struggled to push their inventories into the market.” On the other hand, new entrants like Reliance Jio grew sharply over previous quarter as they prepare before the official launch.

«

India and China have about the same population; the Indian smartphone market is about a quarter the size of China’s, which has already peaked.
link to this extract

 


China quietly targets US tech companies in security reviews • The New York Times

Paul Mozur and Jane Perlez:

»Chinese authorities are quietly scrutinizing technology products sold in China by Apple and other big foreign companies, focusing on whether they pose potential security threats to the country and its consumers and opening up a new front in an already tense relationship with Washington over digital security.

Apple and other companies in recent months have been subjected to reviews that target encryption and the data storage of tech products, said people briefed on the reviews who spoke on the condition of anonymity. In the reviews, Chinese officials require executives or employees of the foreign tech companies to answer questions about the products in person, according to these people.

The reviews are run by a committee associated with the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s Internet control bureau, they said. The bureau includes experts and engineers with ties to the country’s military and security agencies…

…Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

«

Would also explain Apple investing a billion dollars in Uber-rival Didi.
link to this extract

 


When the data bubble bursts, companies will have to actually sell things again • Co.Exist

Douglas Rushkoff:

»How can a company with no revenues still make money? It’s not a trick question. The answer is at the very foundation of the digital economy: advertising.

No matter how dire things get for musicians, writers, movies, websites, smart phone apps, video games, or whole social media platforms, no matter how hard it might be for companies to charge for content, services, or convenience, almost everything we are doing in the digital marketplace can serve as the advertisement for something else. The video game promotes a movie, the movie promotes an app, and the app promotes a video game. Heck, this article indirectly promotes a book.

The trouble is, if everyone is in it for the advertising dollar, who is left to advertise? At no point in history has advertising, marketing, and research ever accounted for as high a percentage of GDP, or total economic activity (and that’s being extremely generous). But right now, it’s pushing at the very top of that range. The reason it can’t go higher is that only so much economic activity can go to promoting the rest of our economic activity. The coming crash in the tech market—and quite possibly beyond—will be triggered by the growing realization that every company in the world can’t be a marketing company.

«

Rushkoff is usually ahead of the curve; I remember how in 1999 he said he was going to buy all his Christmas presents via Amazon.
link to this extract

 


Nate Silver unloads on The New York Times • Columbia Journalism Review

Bill Wyman:

»The catalyst for Silver’s unleashing was a column from [Jim] Rutenberg, who stepped into the vacant David Carr job at the beginning of the year. The piece ruminated on the myriad errors made by the media over the course of the utter mayhem that has been the 2016 presidential race. The column wasn’t entirely focused on Silver; it mentioned failures in Times prognostications as well. But Rutenberg did seem to go out of its way to bring up FiveThirtyEight, especially in noting a bad call for the Indiana Democrat primary, in which FiveThirtyEight had favored Hillary Clinton to win but Bernie Sanders ended up taking in a romp.

There was subtext there, too. Several times in the piece, Rutenberg advocated for “shoe-leather reporting”—talking to “actual humans,” as he put it—and concluded:

»

That’s all the more reason in the coming months to be as sharply focused on the data we don’t have as we are on the data we do have (and maybe watching out for making any big predictions about the fall based on the polling of today). But a good place to start would be to get a good night’s sleep, and then talk to some voters.

«

«

What Rutenberg overlooks is that Silver writes stories which are based on people talking to voters – for polls. Rutenberg (in his article) also doesn’t seem to understand Monte Carlo simulations: a 90% chance for Hillary in a state doesn’t mean she was going to win 90% of the votes. He describes Sanders winning by a “comfortable” 5%: that would be 52.5-47.5? Hardly comfortable either way.

I think Silver’s data journalism has a better chance of telling us the outcome ahead of time than “shoe leather”.
link to this extract

 


A message to our users • Beyond the Miles

Runkeeper CEO Jason Jacobs, following yesterday’s complaint about its app:

»Recently, the Norwegian Consumer Council filed a complaint regarding how Runkeeper handles user data. We immediately began investigating the issue and have found a bug in our Android app involving the app’s integration with a third-party advertising service. Like other Android apps, when the Runkeeper app is in the background, it can be awakened by the device when certain events occur (like when the device receives a Runkeeper push notification). When such events awakened the app, the bug inadvertently caused the app to send location data to the third-party service.

Today we are releasing a new version of our app that eliminates this bug and removes the third-party service involved. Although the bug affected only our Android app, we have decided to remove this service from our iOS product too out of an abundance of caution. The iOS release will be made available once approved by Apple.

«

Apologies and regrets. My thought: doesn’t this mean that its privacy policy was either meaningless, or ignored? Sure, it was a bug; but “we made a mistake” doesn’t wash for the people in accounts. Why for programs? And why did it take the Norwegian Consumer Council, rather than Runkeeper’s testing, to spot it? This opens up more questions than it answers.
link to this extract

 


The BBC are removing recipes from their website. This blog is free and always will be. • COOKING ON A BOOTSTRAP

Jack Monroe:

»In light of the BBC announcement that they are removing a lot of their recipes from their website, I will be publishing all of my recipes in full on http://www.cookingonabootstrap.com over the next few days. This includes 220 recipes from both of my books and around 100 more Guardian recipes. There are also recipes from Waitrose Kitchen and Sainsburys, the Daily Mirror, restaurants I have consulted for and others that will go on too.

It’s a big job but an essential one.

I learned to cook on the dole using free recipes online and for the BBC to reduce this vital service is an abomination. (Apologies to all of my friends who work there, but I just don’t understand this.) I hope I can go some way to filling the gap left for free, instructional, simple recipe resources and cookery guidance, which is vital for so many people.

«

The reaction to the BBC move – which still leaves a lot of recipes on its site, as well as a BBC food site – was fascinating: people who might never have looked up a recipe are outraged. What wasn’t explained is why these recipes had to be removed rather than just moved to the remaining BBC food site.

And lo and behold, by the end of the day that’s just what happened. The question of what cost saving there would have been remains as mysterious as before.

One non-BBC media source suggested to me that this was a perfectly executed PR stunt by the BBC: “they picked the puppy everybody loves”. The Tories want to shut down bits of the BBC; the BBC is showing them that people won’t stand for it.
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Dear Mommy Blogger • Josi Denise

Denise goes on an absolutely epic must-not-miss rant about the whole “mommy blogging” scene:

»//NOBODY IS READING YOUR SHIT

I mean no one. Even the people you think are reading your shit? They aren’t really reading it. The other mommy bloggers sure as hell aren’t reading it. They are scanning it for keywords that they can use in the comments. “So cute! Yum! I have to try this!” They’ve been told, like you, that in order to grow your brand, you must read and comment on other similar-sized and similar-themed blogs. The people clicking on it from Pinterest aren’t reading it. They are looking for your recipe, or helpful tip promised in the clickbait, or before and after photo, then they might re-pin the image, then they are done. The people sharing it on Facebook? They aren’t reading it either. They just want to say whatever it is your headline says, but can’t find the words themselves. Your family? Nope. They are checking to make sure they don’t have double chins in the photos you post of them, and zoning in on paragraphs where their names are mentioned.

Why? Because your shit is boring. Nobody cares about your shampoo you bought at Walmart and how you’re so thankful the company decided to work with you. Nobody cares about anything you are saying because you aren’t telling an engaging story. You are not giving your readers anything they haven’t already heard. You are not being helpful, and you are not being interesting. If you are constantly writing about your pregnancy, your baby’s milestones, your religious devotion, your marriage bliss, or your love of wine and coffee…. are you saying anything new? Anything at all? Tell me something I haven’t heard before, that someone hasn’t said before. From a different perspective, or making a new point at the end at least if I have to suffer through a cliche story about your faceless, nameless kid.

«

By this point she’s only just getting started, and it gets better and better. I like to imagine her declaiming this from a podium at a mommy blogging conference.
link to this extract

 


Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified.

One thought on “Start up: Google’s image search ads, Intel’s iPhone deal, Tabooillion!, Runkeeper confesses, and more

  1. There’s so many agendas swirling around 538 and the implications. On one hand, there’s the fact that it became famous for essentially being the most prominent demonstration that virtually all political punditry is complete nonsense. This wasn’t unknown, any serious examination would demonstrate it. But previously that was the province of a relatively tiny number of insular intellectuals. With 538, it was one part of mass media showing another part of mass media there was no there there. And that leads into the other hand, the hucksters who sell replacing expensive labor-intensive investigative journalism with cheap data-analysis and slick graphics. Opponents of the hucksters tend to jump on any wrong model result as if that means all of mathematics is flawed. The problem here is that political punditry is almost never investigative journalism.

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