Welcome to your Tech Update with me, Mike Walmsley. It’s Friday the 13th of December so let’s avoid walking under ladders and instead take a look at all the best that has happened in the worlds of technology, the internet, search engines and social media this week.
The HTC One family of smartphones that were threatened with being removed from UK shelves after a High Court ruling upheld a claim that HTC had infringed Nokia patents will be back on sale after the Court of Appeals decided that HTC had not infringed any copyright after all. I wonder how many millions of pounds were spent to get back to the same position that everybody originally started from?
ATOMS are a new toy that is aimed at both children and adults. They are building blocks with an added tech twist. The blocks can provide power, logic, sensors or action. Think of Lego on steroids. You can buy kits or individual parts, there’s even an iOS app that allows you to control your creations remotely. If you want to find out more about ATOMS building blocks then visit www.myatoms.com.
It is thought that close to 40 000 Sky customers were left without internet access for up to 3 days earlier this week. The problem was caused when thieves broke into an exchange in Bedford on Tuesday night, probably to steal copper. The outage has also affected some TalkTalk and BT customers too.
Google has launched a new Website called Google Tips that gives you ideas on how to make the best use of 13 Google products including Google+ Gmail and Google Maps. The site uses cards, which seem to be flavour of the month at Google at the moment, with each card displaying a perceived benefit such as “Let your friends help you do some online shopping”. When you click on the card you see instructions on how to achieve the benefit. The aim, of course, is to get you to use more Google products but the site is clean and informative. If you want to try it out go to www.google.com/get/googletips/
Copying even small amounts of text can affect your search rankings. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s spam busting team, says that you need to be looking at creating your own original content in one of his most recent videos. The question he was asked was “Can I take a few lines of text from multiple articles and make a new article from it?” The answer is no. Google are looking to provide their users with high quality content and if you are an expert in your field then you will not need to copy text from elsewhere. You can find out more about this on my blog www.michaelwalmsley.co.uk/blog/.
There have been some great new features added to Google Webmaster Tools over the last week. Firstly you can get smartphone crawl errors now and with the growth of internet usage via mobile this is going to become more and more important. The other feature is to provide webmasters with details of errors in the structured markup data. Structured data markup helps search engines to identify what your page is about and that in turn allows them to index your site more effectively.
Timing can play a big part in your social media success. You might have the most gripping and engaging post in history but if nobody sees it nobody engages with it. Track Maven released a study this week that shows that Twitter users are most active during the week and there is a peak at about 1 in the afternoon. However when it comes to retweets people seem to be most keen to retweet material at the weekend, particularly on a Sunday.
Instagram have now introduced private messages between users. Now you can send a photo or 16 second video and instead of it being seen by all your followers you can choose which of the people that you follow it is sent to. I can see that there is likely to be some refinement of the system to prevent mass spamming taking place but overall I think it is a good move by Instagram. If you want to know more about this feature then visit my blog at www.michaelwalmsley.co.uk/blog/.
You have got to feel for Peter Clatworthy, a Nottingham teenager, who paid £450 on Ebay for a photograph of an Xbox One when he thought he was buying an actual console for his son’s Christmas present. Things have turned out well for Peter though, not only have Ebay given him a full refund but he was also given a free Xbox One console by a local supplier.
My name is Michael Walmsley and thanks for watching this Tech Update.