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Google Search Quality: Hacking the Most Problematic Spam

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Google Search Quality: Hacking the Most Problematic Spam

A member of Google’s Search Quality team, Duy Nguyen, was interviewed on Google’s Search Off the Record podcast where he described the most problematic kind of spam facing the Internet today.

[00:13:05] John Mueller:

“Yeah. So what kind of things do you still find problematic on the web? Like where does our impact come to its limits or… I don’t know how to frame it.

[00:13:16] Duy Nguyen:

“I would say hack spam is still a problem for the ecosystem. Many sites still run on older versions of CMS or they use outdated plug-ins or templates.

If you think about it… Well, personally, I don’t know anyone that still runs Windows Vista.

And if you have friends that still run Windows Vista, you’d probably judge them, right? So can we do that as the web ecosystem if people still run really outdated CMS? Can we help them to get on a version that is extremely more secure?

A lot of the hack spam that took place today is barely any hacking. A lot of the tools and scripts that people discover like five, six years ago sometimes is still being used today to exploit websites, especially like older websites.

I think at the very least, we should make it a lot more difficult for these spammers to hack into sites and spread spammy or malware content.

Because when users visit your website, like if they visit Martin’s tech blog, they don’t expect to walk away with ransomware or malware.

I think we have enough resources and cooperation in the ecosystem to make that happen. I really look forward to that.”

[00:14:31] John Mueller:

“…there are a lot of small companies that just have their site running like that where it’s like, “Oh, people can’t find my phone number and that’s good enough.”

And they don’t realize that they’re potentially causing a problem for the bigger web just by keeping things running on something that is essentially outdated.”

[00:15:22] Duy Nguyen:

“I would also say that the very least they can do in those situations is to sign up for Search Console. Because then they would have more data where they would realize that, oh, yeah, running this very old version of CMS really hinders the site’s potential.”

Maybe it’s just a whole lot slower if you have a bunch of improvements that Search Console say you should do, it’s just extremely difficult. So now, suddenly they realize there’s a
lot more incentive to keep the sites up to date.

And obviously, if you’re signed up with Search Console, we find hack or any problems, we would notify you immediately. Now we’re pretty fast and we’re pretty effective at
detecting hacks, so, yeah, that’s the least you can do.

And hopefully by signing up for Search Console, you’ll find more incentives to keep your sites up to date, do all these improvements that, in the end, would benefit users a lot.”

John Mueller Suggests Not Using a CMS

Google’s John Mueller suggested that for some sites where content isn’t updated it might be better to have a static HTML site and not use a CMS (like WordPress).

He then asked if a hosted solution outside of a CMS might be a good way to have an up to date site that is resistant to hackers.

Duy Nguyen answered:

[00:18:38] Duy Nguyen:

“Yeah, I think that would be a good solution.

Actually, we just published a number that in 2020, we sent over 140 million messages to site owners in the Search Console. That’s a lot more messages than previous years, right. And the bulk of that was from sites that were coming onto Search Console for the first time.

So a lot of businesses, because of the pandemic or whatnot, realized that they need better online presence.

So suddenly they invest a lot more into building the website. Even simple things like menus were suddenly updated a lot more frequently or now you can order online to pick up or get delivered.

And I notice they also work with a lot more hosted platforms.

So I think that’s a good solution if you don’t have your dedicated team to manage your websites or social media presence. You can go with the hosted platform and that’d probably take care a lot of the overhead.”

Spam that is Problematic for the Web

Duy Nguyen’s answer about hack spam being problematic for the web is a good answer. The damage to site visitors, to other websites and to the rankings of the hacked site cannot be overstated.

Hacking events seem to be becoming more aggressive and widespread and as Duy said it doesn’t have to be that way. Keeping a website fully updated can go a long way to preventing a site from getting hacked.

Citation

Tackling Web Spam, Search Quality, and More!

Searchenginejournal.com

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Exploring the Evolution of Language Translation: A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

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A Comparative Analysis of AI Chatbots and Google Translate

According to an article on PCMag, while Google Translate makes translating sentences into over 100 languages easy, regular users acknowledge that there’s still room for improvement.

In theory, large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT are expected to bring about a new era in language translation. These models consume vast amounts of text-based training data and real-time feedback from users worldwide, enabling them to quickly learn to generate coherent, human-like sentences in a wide range of languages.

However, despite the anticipation that ChatGPT would revolutionize translation, previous experiences have shown that such expectations are often inaccurate, posing challenges for translation accuracy. To put these claims to the test, PCMag conducted a blind test, asking fluent speakers of eight non-English languages to evaluate the translation results from various AI services.

The test compared ChatGPT (both the free and paid versions) to Google Translate, as well as to other competing chatbots such as Microsoft Copilot and Google Gemini. The evaluation involved comparing the translation quality for two test paragraphs across different languages, including Polish, French, Korean, Spanish, Arabic, Tagalog, and Amharic.

In the first test conducted in June 2023, participants consistently favored AI chatbots over Google Translate. ChatGPT, Google Bard (now Gemini), and Microsoft Bing outperformed Google Translate, with ChatGPT receiving the highest praise. ChatGPT demonstrated superior performance in converting colloquialisms, while Google Translate often provided literal translations that lacked cultural nuance.

For instance, ChatGPT accurately translated colloquial expressions like “blow off steam,” whereas Google Translate produced more literal translations that failed to resonate across cultures. Participants appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to maintain consistent levels of formality and its consideration of gender options in translations.

The success of AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be attributed to reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), which allows these models to learn from human preferences and produce culturally appropriate translations, particularly for non-native speakers. However, it’s essential to note that while AI chatbots outperformed Google Translate, they still had limitations and occasional inaccuracies.

In a subsequent test, PCMag evaluated different versions of ChatGPT, including the free and paid versions, as well as language-specific AI agents from OpenAI’s GPTStore. The paid version of ChatGPT, known as ChatGPT Plus, consistently delivered the best translations across various languages. However, Google Translate also showed improvement, performing surprisingly well compared to previous tests.

Overall, while ChatGPT Plus emerged as the preferred choice for translation, Google Translate demonstrated notable improvement, challenging the notion that AI chatbots are always superior to traditional translation tools.


Source: https://www.pcmag.com/articles/google-translate-vs-chatgpt-which-is-the-best-language-translator

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Google Implements Stricter Guidelines for Mass Email Senders to Gmail Users

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Beginning in April, Gmail senders bombarding users with unwanted mass emails will encounter a surge in message rejections unless they comply with the freshly minted Gmail email sender protocols, Google cautions.

Fresh Guidelines for Dispatching Mass Emails to Gmail Inboxes In an elucidative piece featured on Forbes, it was highlighted that novel regulations are being ushered in to shield Gmail users from the deluge of unsolicited mass emails. Initially, there were reports surfacing about certain marketers receiving error notifications pertaining to messages dispatched to Gmail accounts. Nonetheless, a Google representative clarified that these specific errors, denoted as 550-5.7.56, weren’t novel but rather stemmed from existing authentication prerequisites.

Moreover, Google has verified that commencing from April, they will initiate “the rejection of a portion of non-compliant email traffic, progressively escalating the rejection rate over time.” Google elaborates that, for instance, if 75% of the traffic adheres to the new email sender authentication criteria, then a portion of the remaining non-conforming 25% will face rejection. The exact proportion remains undisclosed. Google does assert that the implementation of the new regulations will be executed in a “step-by-step fashion.”

This cautious and methodical strategy seems to have already kicked off, with transient errors affecting a “fraction of their non-compliant email traffic” coming into play this month. Additionally, Google stipulates that bulk senders will be granted until June 1 to integrate “one-click unsubscribe” in all commercial or promotional correspondence.

Exclusively Personal Gmail Accounts Subject to Rejection These alterations exclusively affect bulk emails dispatched to personal Gmail accounts. Entities sending out mass emails, specifically those transmitting a minimum of 5,000 messages daily to Gmail accounts, will be mandated to authenticate outgoing emails and “refrain from dispatching unsolicited emails.” The 5,000 message threshold is tabulated based on emails transmitted from the same principal domain, irrespective of the employment of subdomains. Once the threshold is met, the domain is categorized as a permanent bulk sender.

These guidelines do not extend to communications directed at Google Workspace accounts, although all senders, including those utilizing Google Workspace, are required to adhere to the updated criteria.

Augmented Security and Enhanced Oversight for Gmail Users A Google spokesperson emphasized that these requisites are being rolled out to “fortify sender-side security and augment user control over inbox contents even further.” For the recipient, this translates to heightened trust in the authenticity of the email sender, thus mitigating the risk of falling prey to phishing attempts, a tactic frequently exploited by malevolent entities capitalizing on authentication vulnerabilities. “If anything,” the spokesperson concludes, “meeting these stipulations should facilitate senders in reaching their intended recipients more efficiently, with reduced risks of spoofing and hijacking by malicious actors.”

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Google’s Next-Gen AI Chatbot, Gemini, Faces Delays: What to Expect When It Finally Launches

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Google AI Chatbot Gemini

In an unexpected turn of events, Google has chosen to postpone the much-anticipated debut of its revolutionary generative AI model, Gemini. Initially poised to make waves this week, the unveiling has now been rescheduled for early next year, specifically in January.

Gemini is set to redefine the landscape of conversational AI, representing Google’s most potent endeavor in this domain to date. Positioned as a multimodal AI chatbot, Gemini boasts the capability to process diverse data types. This includes a unique proficiency in comprehending and generating text, images, and various content formats, even going so far as to create an entire website based on a combination of sketches and written descriptions.

Originally, Google had planned an elaborate series of launch events spanning California, New York, and Washington. Regrettably, these events have been canceled due to concerns about Gemini’s responsiveness to non-English prompts. According to anonymous sources cited by The Information, Google’s Chief Executive, Sundar Pichai, personally decided to postpone the launch, acknowledging the importance of global support as a key feature of Gemini’s capabilities.

Gemini is expected to surpass the renowned ChatGPT, powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, and preliminary private tests have shown promising results. Fueled by significantly enhanced computing power, Gemini has outperformed GPT-4, particularly in FLOPS (Floating Point Operations Per Second), owing to its access to a multitude of high-end AI accelerators through the Google Cloud platform.

SemiAnalysis, a research firm affiliated with Substack Inc., expressed in an August blog post that Gemini appears poised to “blow OpenAI’s model out of the water.” The extensive compute power at Google’s disposal has evidently contributed to Gemini’s superior performance.

Google’s Vice President and Manager of Bard and Google Assistant, Sissie Hsiao, offered insights into Gemini’s capabilities, citing examples like generating novel images in response to specific requests, such as illustrating the steps to ice a three-layer cake.

While Google’s current generative AI offering, Bard, has showcased noteworthy accomplishments, it has struggled to achieve the same level of consumer awareness as ChatGPT. Gemini, with its unparalleled capabilities, is expected to be a game-changer, demonstrating impressive multimodal functionalities never seen before.

During the initial announcement at Google’s I/O developer conference in May, the company emphasized Gemini’s multimodal prowess and its developer-friendly nature. An application programming interface (API) is under development, allowing developers to seamlessly integrate Gemini into third-party applications.

As the world awaits the delayed unveiling of Gemini, the stakes are high, with Google aiming to revolutionize the AI landscape and solidify its position as a leader in generative artificial intelligence. The postponed launch only adds to the anticipation surrounding Gemini’s eventual debut in the coming year.

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