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Net Briefs: Cortana, Certificates & Communication


Consumers Prefer This Method of Brand Contact

It may seem that consumers want to connect with brands on social media, through chat bots or mobile apps, but the truth of the matter is that a majority still actually prefer email. In fact, 61 percent of consumers report preferring to receive offers via email as opposed to other communication methods according to a recent Adobe Campaign survey.

From Instant Articles to Subscription Revenue

Facebook has confirmed it will soon add the ability for users to subscribe to publications after viewing content within Instant Articles, in what many industry-watchers are suggesting is the social network’s attempt to curry favor with publishers that for some time have struggled to stand out in the News Feed. Facebook also indicated it is making an update where people who search for an article or see one that is trending, will see the publisher logo next to the article as well.
facebook + Quick Hit: According to new data from Unmetric, there was a 77 percent drop in content published on Facebook from consumer packaged goods brands between 2013 and 2016. 

Local Maps in Motion

Google Local Guides are likely to flood Google Maps listings with video in the future, as they can now capture and publish a 10-second video from within the Android Google Maps app (or upload a 30-second video from their desktop) that will be visible from search. In a perfect world, Google’s Local Guides will upload videos of the inside of their favorite store or show the menu at their neighborhood restaurant. Some retailers have, however, expressed fear that enabling anyone to upload video will require more oversight than is currently allotted.

Flat UI Design is Weak

nngroup investigated how strong clickability signifiers (traditional user-interface design clues such as underlined, blue text or a glossy 3-D button) and weak or absent signifiers (e.g., linked text styled as static text or a ghost button) impact the way users process and understand Web pages. On average, participants spent 22 percent more time (which means slower task performance) looking at the pages with weak signifiers (commonly used in flat design).

Alexa & Cortana Hit It Off

Amazon and Microsoft have announced that soon “Alexa will be able to talk to Cortana, and Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa.” By the sound of his or her voice, a person using a Windows 10 PC at work, for example, can ask Cortana to open up Alexa to place an order on Amazon and get back to work quickly. Likewise, users can leverage Alexa to access work schedules or even read work emails (with voice). The possibilities are really only limited to the skills that are built by third-party developers. Security experts warn, however, there are risks associated with smart homes “talking” to smart workplaces.

So You Wanna Be a Mobile Web Specialist?

The Google Developers Certification Team recently introduced a Mobile Web Specialist Certification, which aims to highlight those who have skills as mobile Web developers. It is a timed, performance-based exam that costs $99 and includes up to three test attempts. Those who earn this new certification will be able to display a digital badge on their résumé and social media profiles.
+ MapR Technologies, which sells a commercial version of the Hadoop data framework, has raised $56 million in new funding – to add to its $50 million raised in 2016. The company will use the recent funding to continue expanding overseas with a particular focus on Australia, Japan and South Korea.

+ Web content management system (CMS) DNN was acquired by ESW Capital. The new ownership is expected to invest in the CMS platform as well as the DNN open source ecosystem (something some developers feel was neglected). DNN looks to change in regard to how it balances the interests of the open source community and its commercial interests.

+ In April 2017, Amazon launched a beta program that would allow influencers to receive and share a custom URL to introduce followers to products and earn fees for purchases they drive through their social media platforms. Recently, Amazon announced the program is officially live. As of now, it seems that a person’s YouTube following is the only criteria for being selected into the program.
  • What Makes a Good Backlink?
    Web professionals going through the trouble of obtaining links, should at least ensure they are ones Google will reward.

  • Really Good Email Design
    Designing really good emails that convert does not have to be difficult; just follow the tips in this infographic checklist.

  • Not All Content is Created Equal
    Google is still very much paying attention to who is writing what content; and there is value in expert authors in AI-driven search engines.

  • Nivo: Provides a set of data visualization components.
  • Drip Scripts: Quickly create automated email sequences.
  • Startup Framework 2.0: Build a responsive website in under one hour.
  • Studio: A next-generation design tool for digital products.
  • WhatRuns: Discover which technologies are used to run a website.
  • Logo Rank: Artificial intelligence that critiques logo design.
  • TwoTap: Sell products from other brands inside an online store.
  • Hourly: Time tracking and analytics.
  • Eventline: Routing and handling events for bots/applications. IFTTT for developers.
  • Botdesk: Quickly turn frequently asked questions into a chatbot.
  • Boost Editor: An intelligent text editor that runs emotional analysis.
  • CustomerJet: Record users’ behavior on e-commerce stores.
  • SocialWeaver: All-in-one social media listening, engagement and publishing tool.
  • An AI decision-making platform for developers.
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