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Goodbye Google+, but Hello to Emojis and Search Engine Electioneering

Is Google+ Giving Up the Ghost?


Google+ may be on the way out. At the end of last month, the search engine announced that having a Google+ account would no longer be required for things such as creating YouTube channels or commenting on videos. The photo editing service will also be phased out and replaced by the standalone products Google Photos and Google+ Collections.

Missing Google+ profile links in local search results are another sign of the imminent demise. The change isn’t showing up across the board, but many users are reporting that they have seen it. Meanwhile, Google continues to offer new features for business owners through the Google My Business venue.

Researchers Show Search Engine Influence on Elections

Photo courtesy of blog.pkids.org

Photo courtesy of blog.pkids.org

Users trust web pages that show up high in search results, and manipulation of those rankings could affect elections by a margin of 20 percent, according to scientists from the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology.

A new study published this month named this phenomenon the search engine manipulation effect. In countries dominated by a single search engine, having one candidate consistently rank above the others “would be as if Fox News were the only television network in the country,” according to the report. The peer-reviewed research will be published in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

The researchers conducted a series of five experiments in the U.S. and India. They found that users generally can’t tell whether results are being manipulated, that some demographics are particularly susceptible to being swayed by search engine results, and that the search engine effect could easily sway the results of elections.

Bing Tests First Emoji Keyboard

Bing is testing a full emoji keyboard, and it could be a sign that graphical communication is the way of the future. Here at OnlineImage®, we don’t see much difference between the emoticons of today and the hieroglyphs of centuries past, but perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that.

In fact, they say pictures are worth a thousand words. As demonstrated by DJ Kody Schwanny, a friend of Onlineimage®, emojis may be even better. He wrote this for his wife just the other day:

DJ Kody Schwanny composed an emoji song for his wife.

DJ Kody Schwanny composed an emoji song for his wife.

For the uninitiated among us, an emoticon is a text-only representation, such as :-). Emoji, which were created in the 90s in Japan, are actual pictures such as those shown above.

The Emoji keyboard isn’t publicly available yet, but Ruben Gomez from allgoogletesting.blogspot.com released a demo showing how it could work.