The State of Internet Privacy & Security in America Today

Courtesy of technotification.com
By Hector Cisneros

Our world is an ever widening set of connections, growing in complexity and diversity every day.  With each new type of connection comes the potential for hacking.  Every new Internet of things (IoT) device comes with the potential for loss of privacy. With each new type of counter-surveillance comes the potential for abuse from the government and criminals as well. Most of the technology we have invented sprang from an idea of how to make things easier, more user-friendly, and more useful to the average person. This approach often neglects the necessary safeguards needed to protect unsophisticated users from very intelligent and sophisticated criminals bent on taking advantage of the loopholes present in technology that has been rushed to market. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will cover the current state of US internet privacy and security, so that every consumer will be prepared for the onslaught of loss of privacy that is coming. So read on and learn how to protect yourself in the current era of Internet insecurity.

How did we get here? The road to perdition is not a straight and narrow one. It is full of ups and downs, winding curves and lots of dead ends. Our love affair with technology goes all the way back to the Stone Age. Technology for the most part is designed to make life easier. In fact, it expands our capabilities. Some would argue that our ability to create and use technology is what separates us from the animal kingdom. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Especially if that “good thing” is not well thought out! Technology evolves faster than does our wisdom to employ it safely. That occurs for the most part due to the fact that our mental evolution is not linear.

Courtesy of grtcorp.com
Our society is not homogeneous when it comes to understanding, using and even being responsible for the proper implementation of technology. (The Manhattan Project is an example of the yin and yang inherent whenever mankind makes a technological leap.) Using technology requires training, lots of learning and practice. To make matters worse, new tech products are often released with minimal testing. In fact, the release of today’s Internet-enabled products is often tested in the real world. This laissez-faire attitude with products connected to the internet (i.e. The Internet of Things) has left us very vulnerable to all kinds of malicious hacker attacks. At the same time, it has made it possible for a massive invasion of our privacy.

Big Brother Built-In - Many of these new products are designed to listen in and track most of what we do in our everyday lives. Some would say that the scenario can’t get any more Orwellian, but it can and will. Many of these new IoT products have artificial intelligence built into them as well. This new technology is being implemented with minimal privacy safeguards. Since all of these IoT devices are connected via the Internet, the possibility of losing control of the infrastructure of our lives depend is extremely high.

What do I mean by losing control of the infrastructure of our lives? That’s simple. Today, traffic lights, water systems, electricity, banking, gas lines, security monitoring, cell phone communications, air traffic control, our nation's defense, food distribution scheduling, you name it, all most everything is now managed via some kind of internet connection. Now many of these services are becoming more automated. That means these new AI IoT devices are very susceptible to hacking! Criminals, enemy governments, and terrorist groups no longer have to possess weapons of mass destruction to do this country real harm.  All they have to do is master the hacking of IoT.

Today evrything from Barbie Dolls to your Jeep Grand Cherokee can be hacked. According to an article in WIRED called How the Internet of Things Got Hacked-
Courtesy of hackersnewsbulletin.com
“Security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek forever altered the automobile industry’s notion of “vehicle safety” in July when they demonstrated for WIRED that they could remotely hack a 2014 Jeep Cherokee to disable its transmission and brakes. Their work led Fiat Chrysler to issue an unprecedented recall for 1.4 million vehicles, mailing out USB drives with a patch for the vulnerable infotainment systems and blocking the attack on the Sprint network that connected its cars and trucks.”

Another example is The hacking of smart TV’s. In an article from alphr.com in their Technology section written by  Nicole Kobie states: “One of the first devices to go “smart” was the TV – so it’s unsurprisingly one of the first to be hacked.

Columbia University researchers Yossef Oren and Angelos Keromytis revealed a vulnerability in the main spec for the Digital Video Broadcasting consortium, Hybrid Broadcast-Broadband Television (HbbTV), which is used by the vast majority of smart TV makers.

Dubbed the “red-button attack”, this man-in-the-middle hack could be used to intercept data – including sound and pictures – and use the stream to takeover apps being shown on the TV, letting hackers post to your Facebook, for example.

My last example is one from MIT Technology Review written by Tom Simonite where he discusses how the Chinese were caught trying to infiltrate U.S municipal water control systems. The article states: “The group, known as APT1, was caught by a research project that provides the most significant proof yet that people are actively trying to exploit the vulnerabilities in industrial control systems. Many of these systems are connected to the Internet to allow remote access (see “Hacking Industrial Systems Turns Out to Be Easy”). 
Courtesy of securityaffairs.co

APT1, also known as Comment Crew, was lured by a dummy control system set up by Kyle Wilhoit, a researcher with security company Trend Micro, who gave a talk on his findings at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

The attack began in December 2012, says Wilhoit, when a Word document hiding malicious software was used to gain full access to his U.S.-based decoy system, or “honeypot.” The malware used, and other characteristics, were unique to APT1, which security company Mandiant has claimed operates as part of China’s army (see “Exposé of Chinese Data Thieves Reveals Sloppy Tactics”).”

If you do an Internet search you will find hundreds of examples of how IoT devices are being hacked. I know that security experts are working on plugging the security holes, but a lot of that work is happening after the fact, not in pre-release testing! No one is testing cheap Chinese electronic devices being sold everywhere (Including on the internet). Heck, I would be willing to bet that some smart hacker is going to start selling his own vulnerable IoT devices to the unsuspecting public so that they can have their own crew of zombie devices in the field, ready to do their bidding – without having to actually hack them. They will just use the built-in back door already there.

Courtesy of  ilkleyitservices.co.uk
What can we do as individuals? Make sure you take responsibility for your own privacy and internet security by thoroughly completing your due diligence on any IoT product you plan on purchasing or using. Make sure you have proper safeguards in place to protect your personal information and assets. We have written blogs about how to protect yourself from hackers in the past. Check out the recent article we wrote called “The Crypto Crunch – Ransomware Run Amuck” - to find 13 things you can do to protect your digital devices.

What can we do as a Business to protect itself? A lot! Read our article called “Are You Prepared for the Onslaught of Cyber-Attacks?” It provides more than two dozen ways a business can implement procedures, security products and techniques to protect themselves.

You can purchase dedicated security devices to increase network protection for the office. You can also employ intruder traps and a variety of hardware, software detection devices to help stem the tide of cyber-attacks by hackers. Using a commercial grade secure smartphone can also be a wise move as well. US government officials use specially hardened smartphones to protect their communications. Anyone can purchase a Blackphone or encryption software from Silence Circles (and others) to exponentially increase their privacy and security.

Use a VPN to Mask your IP Address - Something that has been getting a lot of attention
Courtesy of arkwebshost.com
lately is the use of VPN’s. Virtual Private Networks are not new. However, using them as a gateway to get on the internet will hide your IP address is. Hiding your IP address makes your IP address anonymous and thus eliminates many forms of censorship and tracking.  An Article on Guiding Tech by Yadon provides a great explanation on what it is and how it works. By using a VPN, you can mask your IP address which ensures a greater level of privacy and security.

There’s More - There are also many plugin’s and browser settings that can increase privacy and security.  You can always turn off cookies in your browser and many browsers have an incognito mode (although not totally private) as well. I use SearchLock in my Chrome Browser and it provides a higher level of privacy than just using the incognito setting. If you go to the browser store and search for privacy plug-ins you will find several you can try. Along these same lines you can get popup/Adware blockers you can add to your browsers as well. We have mentioned many ways to protect your systems privacy and security in other articles. In my article the “Piracy of Privacy - The looting of Privacy in America”, I provide 12 ways you can improve your privacy without breaking the bank. In my article entitled “Is Google Watching you”, I further provide another half dozen ways to protect your privacy on the internet. 

To these 18 ways to protect yourself, I would also add:
Courtesy of  dailymail.co.uk
  • Minimize the use of Artificially Intelligent devices. These devices keep your private information on tap to function.
  • Use a throw away email address whenever possible (one you get from Gmail, yahoo etc.).
  • Use one-time use credit cards to limit your financial exposure.
  • Only use https addresses when browsing on the internet. These addresses are more likely to be legit, which is why Google gives them a higher ranking factor.
  • Use PayPal to add an additional layer of protection to your purchases.
  • When traveling (especially overseas) use a prepaid smart phone without installing any of your private info on it.
  • If you want the best security, buy a secure smart phone like the Blackphone from Silent Circle.
As a society, we are now dependent on the internet for many daily activities. These include: banking transactions, product and service purchases, travel reservations, TV access, most of our communications, you name it, we rely on the internet for too many things to be without it now. Americans would go through tremendous withdrawal pains to say the least. With this in mind, we need to step up to the plate and take responsibility to protect ourselves and to urge the business community and our government to take decisive action to make the internet safer. This responsibility starts with educating ourselves and taking action using what we have learned.

Here is a list of articles we have written that can help you get a broad overview and a deep understanding of this subject. 
Courtesy of t3kd.com/internet/hp-report
  1. Dirty Tricks Can Deep Six Your Business
  2. The Hack Attack Is Back
  3. I-Spies Are Looking for You
  4. The Trouble with Texts - New Text Virus Hits Europe
  5. The Grinch Goes Digital
  6. How to Safely Whet Your Appetite for Smartphone Apps
  7. It’s Time for Some Hi-Tech Spring Cleaning
  8. How Do I Hack Thee? Let Me Count the Ways – A Cyberstalking Primer
  9. How to Survive a Big Mac Attack
  10. Attack of the Botnets
  11. Who Wears a Black Hat on the Wild, Wild Web?
  12. How Close is the US to Experiencing a Digital Pearl Harbor?
  13. Cyberstalking for Fun & Profit - Is There a Cyberstalker in Your Future?
  14. Big Data Comes Wrapped in Big Danger
  15. Spring Cleaning Means Taking Out the Cyber Trash
  16. Chinese Hack Attack!
  17. Trick or Tweet? The Vulnerabilities Inherent to Twitter and All Social Networks
  18. How Freeware Can Cost You BIG
  19. Are You Prepared for the Onslaught of Cyber-Attacks?
  20. The Crypto Crunch - Ransomware Run Amok
  21. The Byte Before Christmas
  22. Working the Web - Is There a Cyber Attack in Your Future?
  23. Cyber Security Shuffle
  24. Is Google Watching you
  25. Piracy of Privacy - The looting of Privacy in America

 

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I hope you do the research necessary and take the time to learn and understand this grave threat tour modern life. It is one of the gravest threats to our generation (even greater than that of ISIL terrorists). The above articles will provide a broad understanding along with a wealth of links and information to help protect you and your businesses. Since the government is asleep at the switch when it comes to cybersecurity this problem is ours to deal with. I hope you decide to roll up your sleeves and do your part.

 

That’s my opinion, I look forward to hearing yours.


In this article I have discussed the current state of privacy and internet security in America today. I have provided many examples of what we can do to improve our privacy and security, to keep cybercrime and hackers at bay. I have also included dozens of links to other articles that provide further details and options to help you improve your privacy and security, both in business and your personal life.


If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family and co-workers. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “marketing” or your desired search term in the search box at the top of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.

Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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Courtesy of  Babble.Com

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Telemedicine: Is there a doctor in your browser?


Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
By Danny Murphy
Every year there are tremendous advancements in science and medicine. One arena that is taking off like a rocket to the moon is Telemedicine. Just a couple of years ago Telemedicine was often referred to as a novel idea that wasn’t quite practical. Well babe, all that has changed. Today doctors and insurance companies are starting to embrace Telemedicine, partially because of the rising cost of healthcare and partially because it is practical. In this article about Telemedicine, we will explore just how quickly doctors are adding this tool to their medicine chest and how it will affect you the consumer of modern day medicine. So read on and learn from this week’s Working the Web to win as we explore - Telemedicine: Is There a Doctor in your Browser?
The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) defines telemedicine as the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.
Telemedicine is changing the way healthcare is being delivered. A long time ago, before most of the baby boomers were born, doctors went on housecalls where they actually made visits to the homes of their patients to check them out. Things changed. Whenever possible, patients would go to the doctor’s office for checkups and issues that didn’t require visits to the emergency room or to the hospital.  Since doctors didn’t have to spend time on the road getting to and from patients’ homes, it was much more efficient for them. It enabled them to interact with many more patients in a shorter period of time. Through Telemedicine, the housecall is making a big comeback.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
NASA was at the forefront of the Telemedicine movement. When NASA began sending astronauts into space, they needed a way to deal with medical situations that could come up. It wouldn’t be possible to send a doctor to see a patient in space, nor would it be possible for a patient to return from space quickly for an office visit.
“In situations where a quick return to Earth was not possible, the ability to not only monitor biometric data, but also to engage at least rudimentary guided medical treatment by non-physicians was critical: if a medical emergency arose, astronauts would have only their crewmates to accurately diagnose them.” A Brief History of NASA’s Contributions to Telemedicine
Along these same lines, war was also an impetus for the evolution and development of Telemedicine. During any battle situation, it is imperative to keep soldiers alive and get them well as soon as possible. Armies have limited numbers of Doctors, and even though they have medics in the field, the U.S. Army felt that Telemedicine would be a great way to improve the survivability of their soldiers in the field. In the early nineties, just before the invention of the internet, the Army tested using radio and microwave telemetry to achieve Telemedicine. The internet was a giant step forward towards making Telemedicine a reality.
Telemedicine has evolved. Doctors are increasingly connecting with patients via the Internet. This allows patients to receive personalized care without driving to the doctor’s office and sitting in the waiting room. Also, robots are now being used in situations where physical examinations are needed. Instead of visiting a doctor’s office, patients can visit their doctor’s robot’s office. Doctors can see patients all over the world without leaving their offices. One company, iRobot, has created a robot which combines autonomous navigation and mobility with Telemedicine technology from InTouch Health. It’s called InTouch Vita.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Prescriptions
Patients can order prescriptions online. Unfortunately, there are thousands of websites that sell illegal and counterfeit drugs. They operate out of compliance with US pharmacy laws and standards of practice. Some distributors don’t even require a valid prescription. Many of the drugs being sold online have not even approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
When you order drugs online, it’s hard to be certain that you’re getting what you’re paying for. Organized crime networks have been switching from dealing in illicit drugs to manufacturing and distributing fake pharmaceuticals. The penalties are far less if they are caught and the profits are as good or better.
The Patient’s Perspective
Telemedicine is a very convenient way for patients to find all sorts of information. Patients can now check a doctor’s malpractice history and look at reviews by patients who have seen him or her. Patients can also go to websites like WebMD, Mayo Clinic, and many others to see what conditions their symptoms might be associated with.
Some people diagnose themselves. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re not. One thing people should remember is that those of us who have not been educated and trained as doctors should not pretend that we are doctors. Without the rigorous study that is required to become a doctor, people don’t have the breadth of knowledge that doctors have. 
People have been known to read about a rare side effect of a medication they have been taking and, without consulting their doctor, discontinue it. For a patient to take things into his or her own hands that way can be dangerous.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
The Practitioner’s Perspective.
In addition to the convenience of Telemedicine for patients and practitioners, another factor that may be driving the growth in Telemedicine is the economics of it. The cost of setting up a portal to interact with patients is much lower than maintaining office space and paying employees to run it. A Teleconsultation where patients and doctors have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers can be very effective for dealing with many health concerns.
Home Healthcare is experiencing phenomenal growth and Telemedicine is one of the ways doctors are providing healthcare to patients in the comfort of the patients’ own homes. Doctors are using technology in some very interesting ways. For example, there is a tiny device that can be added to a pill which sends out a signal when the pill has been digested. The purpose is to make sure patients are taking their meds.
In addition to connecting with patients, doctors are also connecting with other medical professionals. There are now social networks that cater to doctors. One prominent social network for the medical industry called MedMasters.com.  The MedMasters website says, “By combining the best features of social media and professional networking with that of traditional job boards and lead sourcing, we are the natural evolution of the career management and fulfillment process.” This network provides a searchable database of doctors, nurses, medical IT providers, medical recruiters and pharmaceutical sales representatives.
Courtesy Wikipedia
What we can look forward to?
An increasing number of people are turning to the Internet for everything from diagnosis to treatment options.  Doctors are using Telemedicine for everything from consultation to Telesurgery.   For those of us who lead active lives, turning to the virtual doctor can save time and money. For people who have difficulty getting around, Telemedicine can be especially helpful. It can also produce good health outcomes.
Doctors have begun using a new class of artificially intelligent computers to diagnose problems.  IBM’s Watson, which became famous by beating the world’s best human players on Jeopardy, was repurposed to serve the healthcare industry. Watson can compare millions of bits of data to make a diagnosis.  Also, since Watson is cloud-based, it is available 24/7 anywhere in the world.
Telemedicine technologies are changing people’s lives. In the future, new applications will be developed which will increase the capabilities of doctors to serve their patients using Telemedicine.
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In this article I have discussed Telemedicine, how it was developed, and how the use of it is increasing. I’ve discussed the history of Telemedicing, ordering drugs, and how doctors interact with patients through Telemedicine.
If you liked this article, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. Working the Web to Win has previously produced several blogs about Telemedicine. For more information, I recommend reading, New Advances in Telemedicine - Taking Your Medicine Online, and The Doc in the Box. 
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If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we'll email it to you. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.




Danny Murphy is the Lead Blogger at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the author of Humor 101: How to Tell Jokes for Power, Prestige, Profit, and Personal Fulfillment which is available from Amazon on Kindle.Bottom of Form

Google is Playing Musical Chairs with Ranking and it will Cost Us Billions

Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
By Hector E Cisneros

Yes - Google Gone Ga Ga - Again! Every year Google, spins their secrete algorithm roulette wheel to see what they want to emphasize. This year is no different. Now Google is changing the game in a big way. Google is making core changes to how they search page looks, feels and list SERP's (search engine results pages). They have changed how many paid ads are listed and, where they are listed. On top of that they have also changed how many organic listings show up. Plus, there are many backend changes that are not visible to the naked eye that directly affect ranking. So, if you want to know what these Google Algorithm changes have in stored for you, read on and learn what Googles game of, Algorithm Musical Chairs means to you.

In my opinion, Google doesn’t just make these changes to its search engine, only to make it better. Many of their changes are designed to increase the use of their paid search advertising product. This article will lay out evidence how these changes are costing US business (and the world) billions, as business owners attempt to chase Googles musical chair strategy for web page ranking.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org
Google has been releasing updates to it search engine algorithms on a regular basis since early 2000. This is not news, however, since Google’s search engine has grown to dominate (some would say a monopoly), they have stepped up the process significantly. Most can remember several of the big updates. With cuddly animal names like - Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird and Pigeon, or the more recent scarier named update called Mobilgeddon. Many of the updates have been named after cute animals, but their results have been anything but cute. In fact, they have been deadly to many websites ranking positions.
Most webmasters work hard to optimize their websites to rank well. Most of them focus on making Google happy since it controls over 70 percent of all search traffic. They provide the website updates needed to give Google what it’s looking for.

Obviously Google can do whatever it wants with its search engine. It’s a private company. But since it receives the vast majority of all traffic, any changes to its results algorithm can cause ranking changes. Any radical departure from their previous algorithms causes mayhem for most webmasters and owners alike.  More importantly, this cost billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars every time it happens.

Courtesy of  www.youtube.com
Over the years, many of Google algorithm changes have been designed to thwart black hat techniques meant to trick Google, while at the same time improve the search experience for its users. I have read many reliable reports that Google makes hundreds of algorithms changes during each year. Some are tests, others are tweaks and others are major changes to their search listing.  Google has admitted to making many changes annually in their press conferences and on YouTube announcements.

Now let’s talk about the sheer number of these updates and the effect they have on the business community. Google made dozens of major updates over the past five years. They have included Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, Pigeon, Knowledge Graph, Rank-Brain, in-depth Article ranking, Authorship Shake-up, Mobilgeddon, Https/SSL ranking, In The News ranking and dozens of other named and un-named major updates. On top of that they have been actively tweaking many of the major changes over that same time period. Check out Google Algorithm Change History on Moz,  for a timeline and more details.  

New 4 Line Adwords Ad's - PPC 
Major changes to Paid Ad Listings - Another new twist to the search engine advertising game is Google latest decision to change the number of paid listings at the top and bottom of search pages. For highly competitive keywords (only Google determines what that means) only four ads will be shown at the top of the page and three more will be listed at the bottom. On top of that, these same criteria will lower the number of organic listings from around eleven to seven. And just to make this scheme even more complicated, Google has added, “Featured Snipped boxes” and “Google My Businesses Map Boxes”. Both of which take up large parts of the top of page one, moving non paid links even further down below the fold. Every business wants to be on page one above the fold. However, these constant changes are making it nearly impossible to reach these goals.

All of these updates have shifted the ranking landscape, causing many businesses to become winners and losers over the years. Yet I can’t help but think about the hundreds of billions of dollars that businesses have had to spend chasing these massive changes.

Google decides what You’re Looking For - My partner, Carl and I, have written many articles discussing these changes over the last five years. We have always contended that businesses need to concentrate on giving Google what it says it wants.  Primarily, Google has stated or leaked information, that indicates that their primary desire is to provide the user the fasted and most appropriate answer to the questions they are asking, when entering a search term. In essence, Google wants to provide not only the best content (best meaning high quality, timely, relevant and authoritatively safe content) but also finding what the search participant was “actually/really” looking for.

Google my Business Map in search.
This is a very tall order! I know that many times, when I enter a search term, I’m not sure of what I am looking for, so how will Google know what you’re looking for? The fact is, Google’s Rank Brain is filtering the results for us. It is making the decisions of what we want or don’t want and that my friends are where the dangers lie.

Today, every business has to take into account hundreds of ranking factors if they want to be on page one of Google Search. Google’s Rank Brain is actively changing the game every day without exception. It learns from what traffic occurs on a daily basis and adjust the results as it deems fit. Getting on page one organically is becoming an almost impossible task, because Google keeps changing the rules. Let’s look at some of the recent updates, for example:

  • Pigeon - affected local business rankings. It rewarded those in directory and penalizing those who were not!
  • Mobilgeddon - rewards those websites that are mobile friendly by serving them up for mobile search and penalizing the ones that were designed for desktop usage.  
  • Featured Snipped - rewards websites with in-depth high quality, relevant, timely and authoritative content. These “Featured Snipped” (aka Answer Boxes) get major SERP real state. They take up a large portion at the top of the search listing.
  • Structured Data update further rewards websites with in-depth content along with ones that also have the content laid out to make it easier for the search spiders to understand it.
  • The Secure Website update favors websites that employ Https/SSL security because it is safer that those without it.
  • Penguin - The original and recent Penguin update affect site with bad or irrelevant links, solely determine by Google. 
  • Google My Business - Google had favored sites listed in Google Local, and now they have shifted that to the latest version of this ranking factor, Google My Business. This means if you haven’t gone in and set up your Google My Business you get penalized!
Courtesy of pixabay.com
Now let’s talk about Rank Brain. Rank Brain is Google’s Artificial Intelligence Search Ranking Factor program. According to Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai. “Machine learning is a core transformative way by which we are rethinking everything we are doing,” He further defines its use as - “Rank Brain is Google’s new machine-learning algorithm with artificial intelligence at its core, which better interprets search queries and learns from each action taken by searchers. Last year (2015), a very large fraction of the millions of queries a second that people type into the Google’s search engine were interpreted by Rank Brain.” According to Google, the results – “were better than expected.” Meaning that they like what they saw and are now utilizing it even more that before. Some say as much as 50% of Google search results are now controlled by Rank Brain.

Which brings me to the main point of the article. There have been lots of studies showing that many pay per click transaction are really Bot clicks, not people. I know Google is actively trying to thwart these bots, but the fact remains that bot clicks are not going away time soon, and these bots are stealing money from businesses running pay per click.

Courtesy of  www.youtube.com
In December of 2015, I wrote about the widespread emergence of AI programs on the web and on smart devices. I also discussed the widespread implications of Programmatic (another type of advertising, buying and selling AI). My story included the benefits and dangers that the widespread implementation has on the business community and society in general. My conclusion was that although these new AI applications bring many benefits to our society as a whole, they also bring a huge potential for fraud, abuse and in the worst case scenario, apocalyptic results.

We as a society cannot depend on a single business entity to control such a large aspect of the World Wide Web. It diminishes safety, reduces competition, increases cost to business and all consumers. We must not become over depended on the use of Artificial Intelligence. That will lead to a weak society as a whole and it increases the danger professor Stephen Hawking spoke about when he stated that, "The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." 

Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org
 It is imperative that people and businesses alike, make decisions, not just based on convenience, but on what is the most effective long term strategy for their benefit. We are currently at Google’s mercy as long as they are in charge of 70 percent of search! If you add up the minimal cost (say $500 time a million of the 500 million websites) to update a website for any one of Googles algorithm changes, you would quickly conclude that it cost the US many billions of dollars each year. I urge everyone to diversify their use of the search engines and pay per click platform. This increase in competition will lower the cost of these advertising elements for businesses and it will insure competition and more freedom for the World Wide Web.

I suggest that we ask our representatives to put in place, safeguards to protect us from the potential of fraud and abuse that can come from one company controlling a majority of the search traffic on the web. Google has been sued in the past for miss use of it search rankings. Just last year, its pigeon update corrected the fact that Google was serving up Google+ sites over more appropriate sites when someone asked for a specific restaurant.

Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org
I further suggest that we demand that safeguards be put in place to include hard and fast controls for all Artificial Intelligence programs being developed today. We need safeguards that will keep AI applications from totally making decisions on their own. It not only possible, but likely that they will make decisions not in our favor. Either way, these safe guards are in our best interest. We need to be able to unplug them at will, no if ands or buts!

That's my opinion, I look forward to hearing yours.

In this article I have discussed many of the recent major changes that Google has implemented as part of their search algorithm strategy and how these changes have and will affect business search advertising. I have included information on Rank Brain, Mobilgeddon, Answer boxes, paid listing changes and much more. I also make recommendations to businesses on what they need to do to be effective and to have a long term effective strategy for success.

You can find more articles about Google’s algorithm changes by entering that phrases in the search box, at the top of this blog. I also recommend reading these articles: 
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·         The Evolution of Internet Advertising

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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

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