By: JAMES VINCENT
Google are experimenting with a new form of advertising, trialling large banners ads that run above search results. This is contrary to a statement made by the company in 2005 promising that they would never run “banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages”.
The search giant has confirmed that the ads are running only as a “very limited test in the US” with additional reports from SearchEngineLandclaiming that for the 30 advertisers involved ads only appear on “less than five per cent of search queries”.
Many have noted that the ads’ introduction contravenes a promise made by Marissa Mayer in 2005 when the Yahoo CEO was then Google’s vice president of search products and user experience.
“There will be no banner ads on the Google homepage or web search results pages. There will not be crazy, flashy, graphical doodads flying and popping up all over the Google site. Ever.”
A Google spokeperson has described these “informative visual elements” as simply the latest progression in content-rich ads, building on services such as Image Extensions (first introduced in June 2013) that pairs text adverts with approved pictures.
The new banner ads, shown in the screenshot below, seem to directly match the user's search query – reducing the likelihood that customers will be annoyed by their introduction whilst allowing companies to reinforce their brand.
However, the experimental ads do push search results further down the page and Google’s reluctance to fully explain the tests may worry users about the ‘slow creep’ of intrusive advertising.
By Lauren Hockenson, Giga Om
Facebook on Thursday announced the final phase of removing an old privacy feature from the social media platform. The feature, which allows users to be hidden from search, will finally be taken away for users who have it enabled.
The feature, called "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" was removed from Privacy settings last year (noted in a December blog post) for those who didn't have it enabled. When enabled, the setting removes the ability for users to access a Timeline profile via search, even when a user puts in the exact name of the person he or she is locating. Now, users that still have that feature enabled will begin to see removal notices from Facebook, indicating that they will be present and visible in Graph Search along with the rest of the Facebook user base.
Facebook says in the blog post that the feature is a vestigial precaution that reaches back before the platform had a sophisticated search algorithm. When Facebook search acted as a mere directory, removing oneself from search made it more difficult for strangers to access a given profile. But now, as Open Graph opens up to search more settings and there is greater visibility of Timelines for friends of friends, the importance of finding a person through search has diminished while controlling the content on any given Timeline has become more important. Facebook says that the feature also caused hiccups in the user experience:
"People told us that they found it confusing when they tried looking for someone who they knew personally and couldn't find them in search results, or when two people were in a Facebook Group and then couldn't find each other through search."Of course, the sunsetting of this feature for those who care about it the most only stresses the importance of checking and updating Facebook privacy settings often. Now, it's more important to consider the content of the Timeline itself: a "private Timeline" is only such when content is marked explicitly "Friends Only." As Facebook continues to make search easier, it's important to keep in mind how these changes impact social media privacy at large.
by Chelsey Wilkins in Beauty
Our royal highness, King Beyonce Knowles-Carter, found herself in quite a hairy (heh) situation while on stage during last night’s stop on the Mrs. Carter World Tour. In the middle of her performance for "Halo," Bey's GLORIOUS blonde wavy tendrils were snatched up by a fan! If you’re anything like us, you’re saying to yourself, "Who dare approach the throne to commit such a maleficence!?!" But Beyhive, before you go summoning Jay-Z and the rest of “La Familia” to initiate a manhunt for this audacious audience member, note that the offender was only a stage fan—as in, an inanimate object.
The same stage fan that helps create Bey’s signature hair-blowing-in-the-wind moments turned its back on its fearless leader, leaving her stuck and unable to whip her hair back and forth in true Sasha Fierce fashion. We’re sure audience members refrained from breathing during this frightening ordeal, praying Beyonce’s mane remained intact and unscathed. All the while, Bey continued performing like the boss chick she is, as body guards and concerned stans standing by removed B’s luxurious locks from the metal hands of this unapologetic machine. The show must go on, right?!
Beyonce, aware of the effects of social media and the hundreds of video cameras in the arena, took to Instagram early this morning to make fun of the situation before anyone else could (of course WE’d never poke fun at the Queen!). After uploading an Insta-video of the near disastrous hair experience, she posted a picture with reworked lyrics for her smash hit “Halo”. The remixed version goes something like this:
“Gravity can’t begiiiiiiiin
To pull me out of the fan again.
I felt my hair was yankiiiiiiiin
From the fan that’s always hatiiiiiiiin
Virgin remy & malasiiiiiaaaaaan”
HILARIOUS, right?! She signed her witty note with the message, “I got snatched ‘2 snaps.’ Goodnight all, B.” Well said, Beyonce. Well said.
by James Hibberd
NBC has locked down judges for the next two cycles of The Voice.
Speculation have run rampant as to who will sit in the red swivel chairs this fall and spring, with major media outlets declaring Shakira will exit the series for good after the singer said told reporters she wasn’t planning to return. There have also been rumors that Usher was finished with the show, too.
And it was all partly true. Shakira and Usher won’t be back … in the fall.
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According to sources close to the negotiations, this fall’s edition will reunite the original lineup: Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and, yes, Cee Lo Green. In addition, Carson Daly will return as host for both cycles.
For next spring, cycle 6, The Voice will then switch back to its current lineup, which has made for a surprisingly successful shakeup this season. NBC is finalizing deals with Shakira and Usher, who will take the stage along with Levine and Shelton.
The addition of Shakira and Usher were so popular with fans that some even urged NBC to add the duo full time. But this strategy will help maintain both variety and continuity next season — the judges are all familiar faces, yet not the same faces all season.
Meanwhile Fox’s singing competition panels are still partly in limbo, with American Idol andThe X Factor having multiple gaps in their judges panels. US Weekly reported that Nicki Minaj will depart Idol next season, which would whittle down the current panel from four to two (Mariah Carey and Keith Urban, the latter today saying he wants to stay on the show), with two more exits potentially to come. Factor has executive producer Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato set to return as judges, but also has two other seats to fill. Factor has to find its panel soon since production on season three needs to start before the end of the month.
Author: Mack Rawden
The other day, Miley Cyrus acquired a unicorn costume. Whether it was through her publicist or an impulse purchase or something she sewed herself is unclear, but like any sensible human being, she put it on once it was in her possession and tweeted out a picture of herself wearing it. Because she’s Miley and Miley just has to be Miley, however, she didn’t stop there. Yesterday, she decided to throw the unicorn suit back on, and after turning on some music and grabbing a camera, she recorded the above video of herself twerking like a madwoman.
Not surprisingly, the clip has attracted an outrageous amount of attention. In fact, it’s somehow gotten people to stop talking about her on again, off again relationship with fiancé Liam Hemsworth, which might have been the point all along. If so, Miley might be a public relations master, or she might just be a woman that understands how much fun twerking in a unicorn costume can be.
Personally, I find the footage pretty endearing. I suppose it’s sort of goofily sexual, but more than that, I just see a girl killing some time and enjoying herself. That being said, my opinion is definitely not universally held. There are some who have watched this clip and been annoyed by how much the singer craves attention and how far she’s willing to go to get it.
What do you think? Let us know by committing!