In this episode we talked about switching from Anki to Brainscape:
Facebook adds a VR space to hang out:
New design coming to Google Search Console:
Google News Feed adding machine learning
Google home page redesign coming soon:
Voice controls coming to Google Analytics:
The YouTube video editor is going away:
Google Glass is back! Sort of:
No SEO benefit to trusted seals on your website:
When you’re driving in your car and need to stop quickly, the key is to brake as a hard as possible without skidding, which is why anti-lock brakes work so well. You want to almost skid, but don’t. Your brain works similarly; the best way to remember something is to reinforce that memory right before you were going to forget it. Our brains aren’t smart enough to warn us about that, but some apps and their algorithms can do an awfully nice job.
Before we get into that, this is A Brighter Web, episode number nine, brought to you by all of as at GreenMellen, which includes me, Mickey Mellen, and some of my awesome coworkers and friends that you’ll hear in future episodes.
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Today, we’ll talk more about apps to help you learn and remember, Facebook adding VR, and a whole bunch of great new stuff from Google. Let’s dig in.
I’ve used a tool called Anki, A-n-k-i, for a few years now. It’s basically a flashcard learning system, but uses an algorithm called spaced repetition. What this means is that as you learn a flashcard, subsequent repetitions of that flashcard will come at further and further intervals as you learn the subject better and will only reset to shorter intervals if you happen to forget it.
Anki does a great job with that I’ve reviewed just about 90,000 cards with it over the past couple of years. However, I’ve been looking at a new product called Brainscape lately, and I’m going to make the switch. Brainscape is more open-ended and more of a, “Once you know it, you know it,” kind of system. Anki gives you a set number of cards to review each day based on when you reviewed them last, and once you’re done, you’re done, and it kind of keeps them coming up. Brainscape is much more open-ended, much more polished, and gives you a “once you know it, you know it,” set up, where cards won’t come back up once you say you know them for sure. I don’t love that aspect of it per se, but it’s a much more polished interface, has many more shared decks, which are easier to load than Anki is, allows you to share decks live with your friends … In Anki, if you share a deck, they get a copy of that deck as it exists today but won’t get any new cards you add to it, whereas with Brainscape, when you share a deck with someone, you can both continue to add new cards to it for additional subjects or whatever you have going on there. It really does a nice job.
Both are excellent apps and I have quite a long blog post I’ve written that explains the difference between the two. I’ll have that linked in the show notes.
Facebook announced they’re making their first entrance into the VR space with a new app called Spaces. It looks to be essentially a hangout space where you hop in with VR with your friends, you can hang out and talk, watch videos, that sort of thing. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes; this has been done before in non-VR settings, but similar, with products such as Second Life years ago, but this is much more immersive than that was, with tools such as Oculus. And in fact, this new Facebook VR only works on Oculus for now. We have a full story linked to in our show notes, if you want to learn more about that.
Today, though, is really about Google. Google has tons of great stuff coming; we’re going to go through some of that. First, there’s a new design coming for Google Search Console. If you’re not using Search Console, you really should be, either for yourself or for your clients. If Google sees a problem with your site, that’s how they’ll notify you of it, rather than emailing or calling you or something like that. The big new design rolling out for that pretty soon; we have a link to Search Engine Land that has some screenshots of that new interface that you can check out for yourself.
Further from Google, they have their News Feed, that a lot of you know as Google Now on Android, which was a bad name for really an awesome service. It’s been on iOS and Android for a while now, but it’s a bit tricky to find on iOS. It’s buried inside the Google app, whereas on Android, on a lot of phones, it’s kind of baked into your home screen.
To help the stories that you see be more relevant to what you’re looking at, and to make it much more interesting and it sounds like to keep stories coming up more often. They’re also going to add follow buttons inside the search result, so if you see a subject you like, you’ll be able to click ‘follow’ and it’ll add more of those stories to your newsfeed. The presumption is that if you see a story, for example, from the AJC about the Atlanta Braves, you’ll be following stories about the Braves, not following the AJC specifically. There’s other tools, like Feedly that are good for that. So this’ll be interesting to see as it rolls out. I’ve been a big fan of the Google News Feed in Google Now for a while, so this should only make it better.
Taking it a step further, it sounds like a Google home page redesign to the desktop site is coming soon, which they really haven’t touched much, really in the history of Google, other than some refinements. The mobile experience of Google includes that News Feed below the search box, and it sounds like that’s going to be coming to your desktop. It’d be a huge departure from how Google’s typically done things, but we’ll see if that happens. We have a link to an article that talks more about what that’s like and what it could be like in the show notes.
For those of you that use Google Analytics, there’s a great update coming to the mobile app that adds voice controls. Where this is neat is it’s not just controlling the app, but actually asking for input. You can say things like, “What share of my traffic was mobile yesterday?” Or, “Which referral sources bring in the most users?” And put any plain-text searches in there, and it’ll build the report to match that in a matter of seconds. This is rolling out to the mobile apps as we speak and hopefully will hit the desktop app eventually, as well.
For those that use YouTube often, their video editor is going to be going away. You frankly probably don’t care, because very few people use it, and that’s why it’s going away. Lots of other great places to edit video online. I’m still waiting for that perfect solution to match the offline experience, and I was hoping YouTube would actually improve their editor to become more useful, but at least for now, they’re getting rid of it. So if you use the YouTube editor, you have a couple of months to get your things out of there, get them polished up before it goes away completely.
Google Glass is back. Sort of. Those of you who remember Google Glass from a few years ago know that it went out pretty quietly, as it didn’t take off too well and there was some issues with it, but it’s back, and it’s pretty big, for enterprise-only though, which really seemed to be the best fit for it. There’s quite a few changes to it in terms of software, but the biggest change is the hardware. Rather than coming pre-attached to a frame, it’s meant as a standalone piece to attach to whatever frames you have on your head. Being in enterprise, many people already have safety goggles and other things, so this’ll attach right to it, and let you get to work. No details on timing yet, but it looks like it’s coming out very soon. For now, it’s only going to be enterprise, so don’t look for a personal edition to come back out any time real soon.
As he often does, Google’s Gary Illyes has left us with a little nugget on Twitter to help us be assured of something we thought we already knew. In this case, he confirmed that adding a Trusted Seal to your website, so those little seals at the bottom from the Better Business Bureau or Norton Antivirus or some of those, are of zero SEO value. That’s not to say they’re a bad thing to have on your site, necessarily, it could be a good-use case for users to know that you’re trusted, that you’re safe, that you’re reputable. Those sorts of things. But Google doesn’t look at them in any kind of SEO light, so if you’re putting those on your site, thinking Google will trust your site more. They won’t.
Lastly, our tip of the week is to try out Brainscape. I’ve been a big fan of it for a couple of weeks now, it seems like a great app, and the free version does quite a bit. The paid version adds a bit more but you can get a very good feel for it on the free version and do quite a lot of studying, add your own text-based cards, and get a lot done without paying anything for it. They have great apps for really every mobile and desktop operating system, and it does a great job, so I encourage you to check that out at Brainscape.com. Let me know what you think.
And that’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter at @MickMel, M-i-c-k-m-e-l, or learn lots more at GreenMellenMedia.com, and you can find out more about the podcast, including show notes and links at ABrighterWeb.com, or on Facebook or Twitter @ABrighterWeb. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our meetup, held three times each month, and if you’re not in the Atlanta area, we post re-caps on the site soon after each meetup. Either way, you can learn more at ABrighterWeb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.