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Google Stocks Take a Nosedive

April 16, 2014 was a gloomy day for Google and its investors. Stock prices dipped three percent in after-hours trading.

This is the first time this quarter that earnings and sales alike fell short of expectations. The biggest concern was the massive nine percent loss in payments that came from marketers per ad on the many Google sites.

Google is charged with encouraging marketers to pony up cash for mobile ads just like they do for desktop ads, but that’s been a tough sell.

It’s no secret that mobile users have outpaced desktop users recently, but for some reason marketers haven’t been willing to make that jump with them just yet. With so many expert marketing agencies Google has to woo, Chief Business Officer of the tech giant, Nikesh Arora, says that “The journey is just beginning for advertisers on the mobile side.”

As retailers scramble to play catch-up and incorporate responsive design to make themselves mobile-friendly, ads get moved to the back burner.

Google’s clock is ticking

That’s an understandable conundrum, but it does nothing to support Google’s stock values. Arora notes, “Right now, we can lead the horse to water, but we can’t make it drink.”

The company is pushing an enhanced campaign that debuted in 2013, and centers on making advertisers purchase across multiple platforms. But it hasn’t been the segue piece that Google had hoped would take off.

But the picture is not all doom and gloom. Google reports sales of $15.4 billion in 2014’s first quarter, which represents an increase of 19 percent compared to 2013.

Plus, people are clicking on 26 percent more advertisements in comparison with last year, and total earnings are at $3.45 billion, which is also better than 2013. This comes on the heels of the two-for-one stock split in early April 2014, which provoked considerable controversy.

A classy move

Google now has new Class C shares, which are traded under the GOOG ticker but do not allow investors to enjoy any voting rights at the annual shareholder meetings. If you have Class A shares, you still get voting rights.

The split was approved in court after a group of shareholders filed a lawsuit to block it from happening. That may have contributed to the 5.5 percent stock decline in the past 30 days.

Be that as it may, Google is moving forward, and spending big bucks on new technologies such as the recent purchase of Titan Aerospace. Purchasing a startup to get hold of solar-powered drones might give Google the boost it needs to drive stock prices back in the right direction.

If a drone can’t save Google, what can?

 

Social:

Why Multimedia is Crucial for Personal Branding

We’ve entered a new era of social media branding, one that thrives on photography and video content. It’s no longer enough to post a simple text tweet online. Social media analytics companies have shown that graphics and video increase engagement. You’ll need to start thinking outside of the box if you expect people to check out what you’re posting. Take a look at how multimedia is turning the tides of social media engagement. gr_multimedia

Visual Insights

With multimedia, your fans and followers get a more intimate look at your experiences. You’re not just giving them insights via text anymore – photos and videos can help capture your environment, demonstrate products, show the mood, and share the total experience. Just take a look at the enormously popular selfie that Ellen DeGeneres took at the Oscars. That single picture, featuring a dozen different celebrity faces, was retweeted over 3 million times as of April 2014. Graphics and videos can help put your followers in your shoes, sharing an exhilarating moment with an audience of millions.

Expanded Creativity

If you are an artistic individual, then you have the opportunity to showcase talents that you normally wouldn’t get to explore on a textual basis. Some people have discovered that they excel at making short Vine posts, ones that fans love to watch and comment on. Just like the YouTube celebrity boom, new voices and faces are becoming well known due to social media platforms like Vine and Instagram. Your favorite social media comedians might be on their way to producing the hottest entertainment in a few years!

Informative Capacity

Some people have a difficult time learning from text. You can appeal to visual and auditory learners by delivering information via multimedia. For example, if you are trying to demonstrate a DIY home improvement technique, it might just be easier to record it, rather than trying to write out each step as a blog post or series of tweets.

Increased Reach

Multimedia posts on Vine, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram usually track higher rates of engagement, including shares, reposts, and comments. This increases your overall reach, which is crucial to your ability to draw in new viewers and get new followers. Multimedia truly helps you build stronger customer relationships.

Multimedia posts are the name of the game in today’s current social media environment. Individual creators and organizations are striving to make their mark with interesting video and graphic posts. Start exploring your creative side, and share your experiences with multimedia!

 

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last update: October 31, 2014

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Cleaning Up Your Social Media Act for Job Recruiters

When you’re in school, you might not think twice about posting those pictures of you shot gunning beer in the student dorms. However, it is no secret that job recruiters are scouring the social media profiles of prospective employees to see who they’ll hire or reject. If you plan to search for a job any time soon, you’ll need to put your best foot forward online, and make sure job recruiters see your best qualities.

Privacy Settings First thing’s first: you shouldn’t have to censor yourself just to get a job. However, there are probably some personal posts that you don’t want the public to have access to. Information about where you live, party details, and potentially embarrassing snapshots should be for your friends’ eyes only. You can keep this information away from the public by digging around in your social media privacy settings and securing your posts for friends’ eyes only. Whenever you post news items that might be of interest to the general public (recruiters included), then you can always toggle that post to “public.” Tagged Photos While you might have locked down you own profile, there might be awkward pictures of you on other people’s profiles. For example, old college drinking pictures might be on the pages of your frat brothers or sorority sisters. You can unlink these photos from your account on Facebook by clicking on the “Remove tag” button. Next, contact the person who uploaded it, and ask them to please remove the offending picture. Search Listings There’s a common online culture saying: The Internet never forgets. This is partially true. You might be surprised to see what comes up when you search for your legal name and your old screen names. For example, you might dredge up old blogs, forum posts, and accounts that could send the wrong message to recruiters. Before you actively hit the job listings, make sure that you clean up your search listings by deleting old and unwanted accounts and posts beforehand. Know Your Rights In the U.S., recruiters cannot reject you based on your race, color, sex, religion, national origin, race, age, ability status, sexual orientation, and parent status. So you should not need to hide these things on your social media, because it is illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on these facets of identity. Searching for employment can be a stressful period in your life, but you can make the process much smoother by making sure that your public social media activity does not set off red flags. Use a combination of privacy settings and untagging photos to put your best foot forward. At the same time, make sure you know your rights, since you should never have to suppress your identity for recruiters.

Mobile:

What’s Going on With Those Funny Looking Modular Smartphones

If you’ve been paying attention to tech news for the last few days, then you’re probably scratching your head over the latest designs to grace Google’s line of Android smartphones. They look like a crazy art project, a blend between retro-futuristic design and De Stijl blocks. No, this isn’t some contest entry from an art student – it’s Google’s new foray into modular phones, starting with Project Ara. modular smartphone

Beyond Just Looks

These Frankenstein phones aren’t just characterized by a blocky aesthetic – the entire phone is actually built out of several miniature parts, which are essentially “plug and play.” Did your camera just break? Well, instead of replacing your entire phone, you can just swap the camera out for a new one. This concept was demonstrated at the Project Ara unveiling, when the phone was dropped. The screen cracked, but that wasn’t a big deal, since the display could easily be swapped within seconds.

Build Your Own Smartphone

The current smartphone market locks consumers into a certain amount of selections, made available by cellular carriers. Device upgrade options are traditionally limited to one new device every two years for a subsidized price. Google’s modular smartphone will challenge what we mean by a “new device,” because in theory you could keep swapping parts to upgrade your phone incrementally. It’ll be interesting to see how Project Ara challenges the current model of phone upgrades.

Modular phones will also challenge the way we think about phone warranties. Companies like Apple thrive on Genius Bar charges and iPhone upgrades, especially for the unfortunate people who haven’t invested in their AppleCare Plus warranties. IPhones have proprietary parts that are extremely difficult for DIY techies to fix on their own. When modular phones hit stores, repairing broken components might be as simple as plugging in a new piece.

Niche Markets

While it’ll be some time before modular phones become a part of everyday society, we might begin to see niche markets surface. Just take a look at the PC world: you’ve got hardware tailored for gaming, business, and casual use. We might begin to see a rise in specialty phones once modular components come out, with special features for gaming or business software solutions.

Modular, customizable phones will completely change the landscape of smartphone sales. Google’s Project Ara has the potential to disrupt current upgrade and warranty policies, while giving consumers greater control over their hardware. It’ll be very interesting to see how the cellular market shifts in preparation for modular phones.

Social:

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Career in IT

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some very promising news for prospective college students considering IT degrees and future careers. IT roles have career outlook rates that are much higher than the national average for all careers. Those exploring roles like computer and information systems management have a career outlook of 15% growth in the years before 2022. Those looking into computer systems analysis have a 25% career growth rate to look forward to. Many of these roles only require an undergraduate degree in technology, along with professional certification. Here are some of the main reasons why you should think about a future degree and career in IT.  IT

High Education ROI

The cost of college tuition is only getting higher, and students are taking out enormous loans to cover the cost of college. Careers that require graduate level degrees can make the burden even worse, causing students to become mired in debt. A degree in IT can quickly pay for itself, since employees in this field can make an average of $60,000 – $100,000 with just a bachelor’s degree.

Job Security

It is unlikely that our future job market will ever stop relying on IT professionals. Businesses are becoming increasingly data driven, and they need professionals to manage network operations, hardware, data storage, and security. If anything, there will be an increased demand for IT workers in the coming decades. Network systems and computer work is an industry that professionals can count on for steady growth.

Degree Flexibility

Due to the nature of the curricula, students can often find IT degree programs and training courses offered both online and on campus. Distance learning options are ideal for those who want to earn a degree around their work schedules and family commitments. Online courses can be accessed at any time of the day from any location, giving students ultimate schedule and area flexibility. And students who need some classroom face time can always select a college that uses blended format curricula or hosts classes exclusively on campus.

Countless Specializations

It is unlikely that you’ll ever get bored in tech industry. There are countless IT education opportunities for various business software solutions, networks, and cloud systems Those who take specialized education programs are more likely to be hired by employers who rely on these systems. Before you enter a job, make sure to carefully examine the systems they rely on.

Career outlooks for IT professionals are extremely favorable. These forecasts, combined with a high ROI on IT training make this a compelling field to enter. This is an excellent time to consider new training and career opportunities in technology.

 

 

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Lifestyle:

Impulse Hack with Oreo

Break all the rules with Oreo and Starry Kitchen by hacking the Oreo cookie. Using common items from the corner store, a new dessert is born. Impulse is everything. Watch and have your mind blown. When you’ve put your mind back together, get more hacks by visiting oreo.tumblr.com.

Lifestyle:

Cell Phone Users Now Cause More than 25% of Car Accidents

Although drivers are continually reminded of the dangers of cell phone usage while driving, the numbers continue to rise. Presently, more than 25% of car accidents are attributable to a driver talking and texting on the phone.

Of the 25% cell phone-associated car accidents, only 5% happen as a result of the driver texting. Most crashes involve drivers who are distracted when talking on either a hand-held phone or a hands-free model. texting_and_driving

Texas A&M along with the National Safety Council cautions drivers that talking while driving on a phone can be more hazardous than texting. Therefore, using talk-to-text applications is not going to solve the problem.

Talking on a hands-free phone isn’t any better than texting

For the majority of phone-associated tasks, physically texting takes just a bit less time over the voice-to-text way. In any case, the performance of the driver was affected nearly the same during either task.

The country’s four largest cell phone service providers joined forces and launched the first-ever advertising campaign in support of no texting while driving in early 2013. These companies included Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.

The advertising campaign, “It Can Wait,” warned consumers against wrongly using their company’s devices.

Nevertheless, use of hands-free cell phones has become a huge factor in cell phone-associated distractions among drivers. Research conducted as early as 2009 showed that the performance of drivers using a hands-free cellphone was virtually no better in terms of safety than when a hand-held model was used.

In a recent National Safety Council report, the organization compiled a list of various tasks and rated them based on the impact they had on a driver’s mental capacity, using information gathered from a cognitive study. According to the cognitive distraction scale, talking while driving on a hand-held phone revealed a workload rating of 2.45, while talking and driving while using a hands-free phone indicated a workload rating of 2.27.

Using the same scale, the speech-to-text application had a workload rating of 3.06. According to the statistics listed on the National Safety Council’s website, so far this year there have been more than 245,000 cell phone-associated car crashes.

It’s all in the reaction time

Drivers who talk on cell phones while driving will have an increased reaction time, whether they operate a hands-free or hand-held model.

Based on data from 2011, the National Safety Council teamed up with Nationwide Insurance to generate the most accurate report on the number of fatal car accidents due to cell phone usage while driving. In 2011, there were 350 fatal car accidents involving cell phones.

The 2014 National Safety Council report revealed an increase in the percentage of drivers who were seen operating hand-held devices from 0.9% (2010) to 1.3% (2011).

It’s important to note that these percentages and statistics are not completely accurate, since many drivers are unwilling to admit to talking or texting while driving.

Today, 12 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico have all passed laws that make talking or texting while driving illegal, as urged by the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association). All but five of the 43 states that banned driving and texting have actually enforced the law, which means a police officer can give a driver a ticket for texting regardless of any other potential traffic violations.

Gadgets:

HTC Battles Low Smartphone Sales

There was a time when HTC showed great promise in the smartphone sector, but those days are long gone. The company has been struggling to reach smartphone dominance, or even level the playing field. In 2014’s first quarter, “deep losses” have been reported for HTC even with the release of the newest gen flagship piece. HTC lost over $62 million, making this yet another disappointing quarter. No matter what it tries, HTC can’t seem to keep up with Samsung, Apple and other big smartphone developers. htc-one-m8

This is just the latest of embarrassing quarterly sales for the company with the latest HTC One falling flat. Hopes were high that the newest model would make strides in rebranding, but delays kept pushing back the release and may have caused doubt to grow in the market. Unfortunately, it was released at nearly the same time as the Samsung Galaxy S4 which dominated phone sales in that period.

No turning back?

The first time HTC reported an actual quarterly loss was in October 2013 with a $101 million loss. For comparison, Samsung reached a record-breaking sales high of $9.4 billion at the same time, largely in part to a beloved mobile inventory as well as memory chips. With such impressive technology on the market from the best snoring solutions to video games, the smartphone industry still makes up a huge sector but battles for top billing are leaving HTC in the dust.

Co-founder of HTC Cher Wang stated in February 2014 that the company’s issues were that “we only concentrated on our flagship. We missed a huge chunk of the mid-tier market.” However, even if that is the case, it might be too late to fix those mistakes. In 2013, HTC released the HTC One Mini as well as the One Max, but these two devices and even the gold HTC One weren’t enough to take on the competition. The mid-range options such as the Desire 700 dual sim, Desire 500 (not available in the US, and the Desire 601 also fell short of sales goals.

The definition of insanity

Even with Wang’s confession, HTC continues to focus on flagship devices with the release of the updated HTC One, the M8. It comes with a brushed metal exterior, 1080p Gorilla Glass, and a five-inch screen, which garnered great reviews from PCMag. However, it’s still rivaling Samsung, including the recently released Galaxy S5 which is already insanely popular.

You can try out the M8 from all four major carriers, with prices varying by provider. However, if you’re like many Americans, another release from a different company likely caught your eye already.

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