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LinkedIn launches Stories, plus Zoom, BlueJeans and Teams video integrations as part of wider redesign

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With the employment market remaining sluggish as the world continues to struggle with COVID-19, a company that has built its popular businesses largely around recruitment is launching a redesign that pushes engagement in other ways as it waits for the job economy to pick up.

LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned site now with 706 million registered users, where professionals network and look for work, is today taking the wraps off a new redesign of its desktop and mobile apps, its first in four years.

Within that, LinkedIn is introducing several new things. First and foremost, starting in the U.S. and Canada and then expanding globally, LinkedIn is rolling out its own version of Stories — the popular, ephemeral video and photo narratives that have become a major engagement engine on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. It’s also updating its direct messaging service with several new features like video chat. And it’s rebuilt its search feature to net in a wider set of parameters.

The message to LinkedIn’s user base is this: We can be useful in other ways.

LinkedIn has been, to be sure, working on ways to make itself and its job tools particularly relevant to people in the last eight months, which have been truly outside of everyone’s previous norms, with its own takes on helping connect people. But it’s also come under fire for not necessarily acting fast enough when its hat as recruitment network hasn’t been used very well.

Today’s news, in a way, doesn’t draw a line under all that — indeed, LinkedIn will very much hope to continue being a recruitment go-to as it picks up, even if job posting has really slowed down of late — but it is the company’s demonstration of its other purposes.

“The effort didn’t start with COVID, but over the last few years we’ve tried to diversify by bringing the social network and conversations aspects of our platform to the forefront,” said Kiran Prasad, LinkedIn’s VP of product, in an interview.

Stories have been one of the most notable developments across all social media in recent years, so it’s not too much of a surprise to see LinkedIn also jumping on the bandwagon. To be clear, this isn’t the Stories effort it worked on a couple of years ago focused on building its credibility and profile with college students, but something completely different and aimed at all its users, just as Stories have evolved in the wider market to be used by everyone, not just young Snapchat users.

LinkedIn has been testing this newer version for the last three months in a handful of countries — Brazil, the Netherlands, UAE, Australia and France — and the company said that “millions” of Stories have been shared in that time across hundreds of thousands of conversations.

As you would expect, the subjects focus more on work life, influencer types speaking to their LinkedIn audiences — the video equivalents, in other words, of the kind of content LinkedIn is already known for, but now in a more engaging, image-first format. For now, Prasad said that there are no ads in these, but the plan will be to bring in paid content eventually. In wider LinkedIn, advertising, along with premium subscriptions, sit alongside recruitment in LinkedIn’s business model, so that would make sense.

Messaging, meanwhile, has been one of the more popular services on LinkedIn, allowing for more private conversations between connections and would-be contacts. The site doesn’t disclose usage numbers but says that messages sent are up by 25% in the last year.

That will be something LinkedIn also hopes to boost, again with a turn to video. In this instance, it’s announcing integrating with Zoom, BlueJeans [disclaimer: owned by Verizon, which also owns us] and Microsoft’s Teams for video chats.

It’s good to see LinkedIn expanding outside of the Microsoft ecosystem to bring in tools that are already popular elsewhere, similar to how Facebook’s Workplace has done with its integrations. But I have to admit, I’m really surprised it’s taken LinkedIn so long to bring video chat into its messaging service, but better late than never.

It’s also bringing in the ability to recall, delete and edit messages (hear that, Twitter?); respond with emoji’s (already widely used in business communication thanks to them being a part of Slack and other collaboration tools, as well as smartphone keyboards); and tools that flag incendiary and other harassing content.

The search updates, finally, are one more way that LinkedIn is trying to improve how people engage across the whole of its platform. Results now will include not just people and companies, but jobs, courses, events and other content, “making it easier for members to find what they need, and also explore other aspects of LinkedIn they may not have known existed,” in the words of new CEO Ryan Roslansky.

Keywords will still be king, but if you search on a word like “Java,” he said, results will include not just people with that skill, but jobs, courses, groups and, yes, Stories, focused on it. 

The bigger design focus of the redesign, meanwhile, is best described as a shift to more “warmth.” That might seem like an odd term to associate with LinkedIn, and I’m frankly not sure how well a social networking site for professionals will wear it, but the company is shifting to less of the cold “LinkedIn Blue,” bigger lettering for more accessibility and more images with less text.

We may still be in the knowledge economy, but LinkedIn’s new approach seems less intent on trying to remind you of that. Indeed as work and home life become one for many of us, so too is LinkedIn trying to cross that chasm itself.

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What can ChatGPT do?

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ChatGPT Explained

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI that is trained on a massive amount of text data. It is capable of generating human-like text and has been used in a variety of applications, such as chatbots, language translation, and text summarization.

One of the key features of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is similar to human writing. This is achieved through the use of a transformer architecture, which allows the model to understand the context and relationships between words in a sentence. The transformer architecture is a type of neural network that is designed to process sequential data, such as natural language.

Another important aspect of ChatGPT is its ability to generate text that is contextually relevant. This means that the model is able to understand the context of a conversation and generate responses that are appropriate to the conversation. This is accomplished by the use of a technique called “masked language modeling,” which allows the model to predict the next word in a sentence based on the context of the previous words.

One of the most popular applications of ChatGPT is in the creation of chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation and can be used in customer service, sales, and other applications. ChatGPT is particularly well-suited for this task because of its ability to generate human-like text and understand context.

Another application of ChatGPT is language translation. By training the model on a large amount of text data in multiple languages, it can be used to translate text from one language to another. The model is able to understand the meaning of the text and generate a translation that is grammatically correct and semantically equivalent.

In addition to chatbots and language translation, ChatGPT can also be used for text summarization. This is the process of taking a large amount of text and condensing it into a shorter, more concise version. ChatGPT is able to understand the main ideas of the text and generate a summary that captures the most important information.

Despite its many capabilities and applications, ChatGPT is not without its limitations. One of the main challenges with using language models like ChatGPT is the risk of generating text that is biased or offensive. This can occur when the model is trained on text data that contains biases or stereotypes. To address this, OpenAI has implemented a number of techniques to reduce bias in the training data and in the model itself.

In conclusion, ChatGPT is a powerful language model that is capable of generating human-like text and understanding context. It has a wide range of applications, including chatbots, language translation, and text summarization. While there are limitations to its use, ongoing research and development is aimed at improving the model’s performance and reducing the risk of bias.

** The above article has been written 100% by ChatGPT. This is an example of what can be done with AI. This was done to show the advanced text that can be written by an automated AI.

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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Survey says: Amazon, Google more trusted with your personal data than Apple is

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survey-says:-amazon,-google-more-trusted-with-your-personal-data-than-apple-is-–-phonearena
 

MacRumors reveals that more people feel better with their personal data in the hands of Amazon and Google than Apple’s. Companies that the public really doesn’t trust when it comes to their personal data include Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.

The survey asked over 1,000 internet users in the U.S. how much they trusted certain companies such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon to handle their user data and browsing activity responsibly.

Amazon and Google are considered by survey respondents to be more trustworthy than Apple

Those surveyed were asked whether they trusted these firms with their personal data “a great deal,” “a good amount,” “not much,” or “not at all.” Respondents could also answer that they had no opinion about a particular company. 18% of those polled said that they trust Apple “a great deal” which topped the 14% received by Google and Amazon.

However, 39% said that they trust Amazon  by “a good amount” with Google picking up 34% of the votes in that same category. Only 26% of those answering said that they trust Apple by “a good amount.” The first two responses, “a great deal” and “a good amount,” are considered positive replies for a company. “Not much” and “not at all” are considered negative responses.

By adding up the scores in the positive categories,

Apple tallied a score of 44% (18% said it trusted Apple with its personal data “a great deal” while 26% said it trusted Apple “a good amount”). But that placed the tech giant third after Amazon’s 53% and Google’s 48%. After Apple, Microsoft finished fourth with 43%, YouTube (which is owned by Google) was fifth with 35%, and Facebook was sixth at 20%.

Rounding out the remainder of the nine firms in the survey, Instagram placed seventh with a positive score of 19%, WhatsApp was eighth with a score of 15%, and TikTok was last at 12%.

Looking at the scoring for the two negative responses (“not much,” or “not at all”), Facebook had a combined negative score of 72% making it the least trusted company in the survey. TikTok was next at 63% with Instagram following at 60%. WhatsApp and YouTube were both in the middle of the pact at 53% followed next by Google and Microsoft at 47% and 42% respectively. Apple and Amazon each had the lowest combined negative scores at 40% each.

74% of those surveyed called targeted online ads invasive

The survey also found that a whopping 82% of respondents found targeted online ads annoying and 74% called them invasive. Just 27% found such ads helpful. This response doesn’t exactly track the 62% of iOS users who have used Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature to opt-out of being tracked while browsing websites and using apps. The tracking allows third-party firms to send users targeted ads online which is something that they cannot do to users who have opted out.

The 38% of iOS users who decided not to opt out of being tracked might have done so because they find it convenient to receive targeted ads about a certain product that they looked up online. But is ATT actually doing anything?

Marketing strategy consultant Eric Seufert said last summer, “Anyone opting out of tracking right now is basically having the same level of data collected as they were before. Apple hasn’t actually deterred the behavior that they have called out as being so reprehensible, so they are kind of complicit in it happening.”

The Financial Times says that iPhone users are being lumped together by certain behaviors instead of unique ID numbers in order to send targeted ads. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says that the company is working to rebuild its ad infrastructure “using more aggregate or anonymized data.”

Aggregated data is a collection of individual data that is used to create high-level data. Anonymized data is data that removes any information that can be used to identify the people in a group.

When consumers were asked how often do they think that their phones or other tech devices are listening in to them in ways that they didn’t agree to, 72% answered “very often” or “somewhat often.” 28% responded by saying “rarely” or “never.”

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