Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Facebook tops Google searches for UK in 2013

Facebook logoThe social network was the most searched-for term on Google UK in 2013. It was also the most asked "what is" question
Google has revealed that Facebook topped its list of the most searched-for terms of 2013 in the UK.
The social networking site beat the search company's own YouTube video service to the top spot. Google itself made it in to third place.
Shopping sites proved popular with web users with eBay, Amazon and Argos all making an appearance in the top 10.
Aside from spending and sharing, news proved popular with BBC News and the Daily Mail featuring high on the list.
Google also examined what questions people typed in to its search engine and from this compiled a top "what is" list. Facebook topped this too with a substantial number of UK-based searchers wanting to know what the social networking site was.

Other popular "what is" topics included searches for cancer, energy and blood pressure. Perhaps reflecting economic news throughout the year "What is the minimum wage" and "What is Universal Jobmatch" made it in to the top 10 most-asked. Universal Jobmatch is a government-run jobs-listing site.
The second question was more a more heartfelt, "What is love?"
Explaining Facebook's position at the top of the most searched and "what is" lists, Chris Green - an analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy - said: "Facebook has now firmly established itself as a hub on the internet, making it a destination for surfers to do multiple tasks such as communications, gaming, shopping, photo-sharing and information gathering.

Google's Top 10 UK search terms

1. Facebook
2. YouTube
3. Google
4. Hotmail
5. Ebay
6. BBC News
7. Amazon
8. Daily Mail
9. Argos
10. Yahoo
"These are tasks that would have previously involved using a search engine to source multiple sites."
The "most searched-for" terms are based on the number of times the relevant words are typed into Google's search engine.
Mr Green added that Google's own appearance near the top of its list could be explained by the fact that Chrome and other internet browsers can be set to automatically use the search engine when a phrase - rather than a full web address - is typed into their top bars.
"Chrome makes no distinction between web addresses and words in its search box so people get lazy and just type in single words like Google rather than full web addresses," he said.
"But this registers as a search."
Man of Steel
Google also unveiled its "top trending" search terms for the UK in 2013. These are the entries that have seen the largest increase in traffic compared with 2012.
Many of the entries on the list reflected major news events of the past 12 months.
Google's Laurian Clemence spoke to the BBC's Aaron Heslehurst
The death of the Fast and the Furious film star Paul Walker was at the top of the list.
Both Nelson Mandela and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died this year also feature in the top 10.

Google's Top Trending Worldwide

1. Nelson Mandela
2. Paul Walker
3. iPhone 5s
4. Cory Monteith
5. Harlem Shake
6. Boston Marathon
7. Royal Baby
8. Samsung Galaxy S4
9. PlayStation 4
10. North Korea
The birth of Prince George in July came in at number four on the UK list.
"Celebrities always get a lot of interest and the passing of well-known figures makes people want to learn more about them," said Google's Claudine Beaumont.
"Despite that, some of the more traditional aspects of British life, from the Grand National to the royal birth, have generated many Google searches and will be remembered as events that have characterised the year."
New product launches helped the iPhone 5S and Microsoft's Xbox One become the biggest tech trending search terms.
The worldwide "top trending" list saw Nelson Mandela in top spot, and also saw the Boston Marathon and North Korea in the top 10.
There was a battle of the superheroes in top 10 most searched-for movies. Man of Steel beat Iron Man 3 in to top place. A small triumph for Superman who had lost out at the box office to his metal-clad rival.
Oscar winners Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty also featured. Only one animated film made the list, Despicable Me 2, but it was one of three sequels that were searched for including The Hangover 3.

Amazing Google Glass Takes Photo by Winking

Google Glass update lets users wink and take photos

Jonathan Blake tries out Google GlassGoogle said the wink feature could have various potential uses in future

Related Stories

Google has introduced a new feature to its Google Glass, which allows users to take a photo with a "wink of the eye".
Google said the feature was faster than the camera button or the voice action and works even when the display is off.
The update to Google Glass, dubbed version XE12, also adds a screen lock feature and the ability to upload and share videos on YouTube.
Technology firms have been keen to capture the wearable gadgets market, seen by many as a key growth area.
"Glass is about helping you look up and experience the world around you without getting bogged down by technology,

10 Most Amazing Gadgets to Checkout in 2014

SafetyCulture Australia owner Luke Anear wearing a Google Glass.
SafetyCulture Australia owner Luke Anear wearing a Google Glass. Source: News Limited

1. Curvy smartphones

Curved screens crept into televisions this year, but next year they'll pop into our pockets. Samsung has already launched a curved Galaxy Round phone in South Korea, while LG countered with its G Flex phone that curves from top to bottom. Expect to see more of this technology in 2014, including screens that wrap around the side of a phone for quick notifications.

2. Smarter smartwatches

Our wrists will be hot property in 2014, with companies promising smarter smartwatches. Sony and Samsung launched models early, but expect to see competition from Google, LG, Microsoft, and even Apple, long-rumoured to be producin
Neptune Pine smartwatch.
g the iWatch after it applied to trademark the name. A Canadian firm will also deliver a smartwatch that works as a phone by itself, called Neptune Pine, after a successful Kickstarter campaign.

3. 4K OLED TVs

They were the hot ticket at IFA 2013 and 4K OLED televisions could arrive in stores this year. These televisions, as demonstrated in prototypes, combine the two best television technologies: organic light-emitting diode screens with brighter, bolder colour
LG 4K OLED TV. Source: Supplied
s, and 4K resolution with four times the pixels of current full high-definition TVs. Expect big price tags to accompany the big picture quality leap.

4. Smart spectacles

Google Glass will finally go on sale to the public in 2014. Honest. The search giant has promised to release the internet-connected spectacle
A Google employee wears a pair of Google Glass.
s with an expected cost of $US1500. It's not clear whether a prescription spectacles-friendly version will be ready for launch, however, and Google will have plenty of competition. Expect to see Meta smartglasses in April, the GlassUp smartglasses in autumn, and rivals from Microsoft, Oakley and Sony.

5. Virtual reality gaming

Forget Lawnmower Man. More advanced virtual reality is coming. The Oculus Rift headset is due to launch publicly this year. The wireless headset has a 7-inch display with full high-definition resolution and it tracks your head and body movements to put you in the game. It will be compatible with PCs, Macs and Linux computers, with support for Google Android devices expected. It's due to arrive with a price tag around $US300.

6. Foxtel's iQ3

Expect the internet to further affect your TV experience. Pay-TV operator Foxtel (part-owned by News Corp, publisher of this newspaper) will introduce its third personal video recorder this year. The iQ3 is expected to connect to the internet wirelessly, offer a new electronic program guide, eight TV tuners to record more programs simultaneously, and a one terabyte drive on which to store them.

7. See-through smartphones

They may not be practical but one Taiwanese company is poised to launch transparent smartphones this year. Polytron Technologies has already developed a basic prototype of the phone that appears to be a clear block of plastic with its speaker, memory card, batteries, microphone and other circuitry on show. An OLED screen technology called Switchable Glass is used to display images. The company is reportedly working on a matching tablet and is in talks with major phone makers.

8. Full-frame compact cameras

Full-frame cameras, with image sensors as large as a 35mm film strip, are set to become smaller, cheaper and more available. In addition to the three models already launched by Sony and Nikon late this year, there are more rumoured from Sony, Pentax, Samsung and perhaps even Canon.

9. A bigger iPad

Apple could have a big 2014, if rumours prove correct. One development allegedly on the agenda is a 12.9-inch iPad, breaking the size barrier and delivering a new challenge to manufacturers pitching tablets as laptop replacements. The new tablet is rumoured to be called the iPad Pro and feature a 4K screen.

10. Speedy mobile downloads

Expect more high-speedy mobile internet coverage in Australia next year. By the start of 2014, Telstra promises to have 85 per cent of the population covered with its 4G network, and it will continue trials of LTE-Advanced that could deliver downloads as fast as 300mbps. Rival Optus promises to cover 70 per cent of the population by April next year, and its reseller Amaysim has announced plans to add 4G to its offerings.

World's Cheapest Tablet goes on Sale

THE world's cheapest tablet has gone on sale and it'll set thrifty consumers back just A$54.Check out this tablet
It's called the Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci and it's a basic 7in device that was originally launched in India as an affordable way for students to get access to the internet. Now, the slate has been made available for world market from their website.
While the price is almost too good to be true, the cost reflects the specs of the Android device with a screen that cannot match the sharpness of more premium tablets and relatively sluggish performance. But is does boast a storage that can be expanded by microSD card up to a none-too-shabby 32GB. There's built-in Wi-Fi too.
This basically means you'll be able to do most of the basic functions like web access and email that you can do on more expensive tablets like the iPad or Galaxy Tab. You'll be able to play Angry Birds, just don't expect to be blown away by the hardware.
The unit has received fairly adequate reviews with the overall consensus being that is can be pretty clunky to use with a poor screen and not-so-great battery life, but for the price it's a brilliant entry. For non-tech savvy folk this is a great gift.
Datawind has said it is planning to "disrupt" the tablet market by bringing low-cost devices complete with processing power to match Apple's latest iPads. We like the sound of that.
Datawind UbiSlate 7Ci specs:
- 7in, 800 x 480, display
- 512 RAM
- 1GHz processor
- 4GB storage expandable to 32GB via microUSB
- Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich

Buy this $7.85 million mansion with Bitcoin

Look between the cushions of your virtual couch to see if you have enough Bitcoins to snap up a massive mansion in Las Vegas
Bitcoin mansion
This cozy little place can be yours for Bitcoin.
You can use Bitcoins to buy computers, veterinary care, or a Tesla Model S. If you're a Bitcoin multimillionaire, you can also buy a Las Vegas mansion and park your Tesla inside the four-car garage. The $7.85 million 24,500-square-foot palace sits on over an acre of land right next to a country club.
Jack and Laura Sommer are the sellers. Jack Sommer, a developer, once owned the Aladdin casino. Two of his sons are Bitcoin enthusiasts who convinced Dad to accept the virtual currency as a payment option for the 12-bedroom, 15-bathroom house.
Accepting Bitcoin for the mansion is a clever advertising move meant to get the word out about the luxury home, and perhaps lure a Bitcoin-rich buyer who wouldn't mind unloading some virtual cash on a high-end property. "The advantage is that we're expanding our market and adding some notoriety," Sommer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The famously fluctuating currency poses some challenges when dealing with a long escrow period. Today's estimated exchange rate has one Bitcoin equaling just over $700. Earlier in the month, the exchange rate was right around $1,000. Any Bitcoin-based buying contract would have to take this issue into account.
If a Bitcoin buyer does appear, the mansion could easily become the most expensive Bitcoin real estate transaction ever conducted. If you're lucky, you might be able to find a cleaning staff that will work for Bitcoin, since you're not going to want to mop all that marble flooring yourself.

Worst And Best Phones of 2013

Now that 2013 is wrapping up, we take a look back at the handsets that rose to the top, and the others that sank to the bottom.
Motorola Droid Maxx and ZTE Groove
We'll remember some of these devices fondly, but there are others that we wish we could forget.
With 2014 approaching, we at CNET would like to take this time and reflect. Reflect on our family and friends, our personal accomplishments, and of course, the smartphone highs and lows of 2013 (this is a tech site after all, what were you expecting?).

Others were flagships from familiar manufacturers, but some companies took measures to start afresh in order to elevate and differentiate their chief handsets for 2013.Unsurprisingly, the top handsets of this year were dominated by much of the same key players we consistently see from year to year. That includes updated iterations of popular phones such as the fingerprint-scanning Apple iPhone 5S, the powerful Samsung Galaxy S4, and the ultra-juiced up Motorola Droid Maxx.

12 smartphone standouts of 2013 (pictures)

1-2 of 12
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This includes going back to minimalistic names like HTC's simplistic One and LG dropping the "Optimus" moniker from its G2 device, as well as opting for a novel design, with the former smartphone sporting a stylish all-aluminum construction, and the latter relocating its power buttons to the rear.
Then there were the curveballs. The ones that brought unique but well-executed new features to the market, like Nokia's Lumia 1020 that's equipped with a 41-megapixel camera, and the highly customizable Motorola Moto X.
Of course, not everything came up roses this year. There were a handful of devices that were less than stellar. Some were simple feature phones (like the LG Envoy II and the Huawei Pal) that got docked not because they were too basic, but because they couldn't even perform the simplest tasks reliably.

The eight not-so-great: 2013's handset duds (pictures)

1-2 of 8
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Smartphones that make their way onto this list usually do so because of other reasons, in addition to poor performance. For example, the ZTE Groove and the Alcatel Authority are outdated right when they come out of the box. Also, there's nothing like the laggy processors found in the Cricket Engage LT or the Alcatel One Touch Evolve to bog down the user experience.
What do you guys think, do you agree? Whether you think we overlooked another superb device, or didn't give a disappointing phone its due regard, let us know in the comments section below

AmazonFresh vs. supermarket: A hands-on shopping test

An AmazonFresh deliveryman scans my bags to confirm their arrival.
In 1999, an online grocery-shipping company caught my attention. As a kid who had absolutely no say in what made the pantry cut, I shouldn't have cared so much. But the idea of summoning a pile of food through a few mouse clicks was simply magical.
My plan to get Mom onboard -- hours of adding items to a virtual grocery cart to await her quick credit card swipe -- didn't quite pay off, however; online grocers never made it into her circle of Internet trust. Besides, she said, "it's too expensive." WebVan came and went, and we continued visiting the local supermarket for our weekly food stock.
But Friday, my 14-year-old dream came true. Five years after Amazon launched AmazonFresh in its hometown of Seattle, the service arrived in San Francisco. Without thinking twice, I signed up for the free 90-day trial and began adding my usual items to a virtual grocery cart.
Here's how it works: If you place an order by 10 a.m., groceries will arrive "by dinner," while orders placed later in the day will arrive as early as the following morning. For some ZIP codes, you'll have to be present during a one-hour window to pick up your food, while other areas allow for drop-off delivery. If your order is over $35, delivery is free (but don't forget to tip your driver.)
The catch is that after the free 90-day trial, AmazonFresh will set you back $300 per year, which also includes Amazon's regular Prime membership.
CNET's San Francisco office is nestled in one of the few ZIP codes covered by Fresh, and is also close to a Safeway, a popular supermarket chain mostly found in the western and central states. And me? I'm your typical Bay Area grocery shopper who shops once weekly, likes dollar-off coupons, and tries to shop in season.
Not scientific, but the variables were good enough to run a test that compared price, quality, and shopping experience.
Mom's complaint was always that online groceries and associated fees were more expensive than Safeway's prices, so I was surprised and happy to find that when it came to individual items, AmazonFresh is very competitive.
Item         AmazonFresh      Safeway     Notes
Skirt steak (1 pound)$8.99$6.05n/a
Frozen spinach$1.28$1.19n/a
Clover 2 percent milk$3.99$4.19n/a
Honeycrisp apple$1.49$1.26n/a
Organic eggs$3.99$4.99n/a
Organic baby carrots    $1.49$1.99n/a
Baked beans$2.99$2.99n/a
2 Hass avocados$2.50$2.50n/a
Shredded mozzarella$2.69$3.99BOGO deal    
Delivery tip4n/an/a
For example, the eggs on Fresh were $3.99, compared with $4.99 at Safeway. Cilantro was 50 cents cheaper at Safeway, but baby carrots were 50 cents cheaper on Fresh.
Still, I had to make sure any instances of lower prices weren't a fluke. I asked for comment and it turns out that "[Amazon keeps its] prices on grocery items in line with what you'd find at your local supermarket." The prices I paid, though, are only true for San Francisco. Though all customers see the same prices in an entire metro area, prices will vary from city to city.
So the two sellers are essentially even, but there's a big, huge $300 elephant in the room -- Amazon's annual fee.
To find out if AmazonFresh's annual fee is worth it, I had to do a little math. For starters, I already pay $60 yearly for Prime membership, which brings the actual cost of Fresh (for me) down to $240. Then, I calculated my annual gas expense using this handy calculator: $7.78.
On average, the time-honored American tradition of getting in the car and heading to a supermarket (maybe two for picky shoppers), adds up to about 44 minutes per trip, according to the USDA, not including time spent traveling or planning. It involves traveling no more than 5 miles, and spending an average of $116.52 weekly, according to the Food Marketing Institute.
For me, shopping at AmazonFresh doesn't quite break even after gas and the included Prime membership, but if time is money (more on that later), AmazonFresh might be worth that extra $232.22 per year.
Shopping in-store allowed me to check produce items before adding them to my cart. (Click to enlarge.)
But there's more to consider here than price.
Over the years, I've discovered little tricks for ensuring that a fruit or vegetable is just right. I like tomatoes on the firm side, while avocados should give just a little. As for oranges, the heaviest ones are always the juiciest.
Putting trust into the hands of robots and employees who aren't necessarily as observant isn't easy. While Amazon does let you choose between "ripe" and "not ripe" avocados, everything else is a gamble.
At Safeway, I followed my usual routine, checking produce for ripeness and quality. There was even a nice employee unpacking bananas who let me choose from his new selection. Freedom to choose was all mine, and chatting with fellow humans didn't hurt, either.
In the end, my skepticism about online produce was reinforced by the sad, inedible "ripe" avocado I received via Fresh. Several of the vine tomatoes were also too mushy for my liking, echoing the worry I had upon ordering produce online.
Though Amazon will refund unsatisfactory orders, replacing those items would require me to wait until the next day's delivery, or head to the local store and choose them for myself.
The variety of local, national, and international grocery items on Fresh is astonishing. A search for tomatoes returns pages of options -- canned, fresh, Roma, vine, organic, Hot House, you name it.
Left: Safeway. Right: AmazonFresh.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)
There's also an abundant selection of local meats, baked goods, cheese, and even restaurant items that vary by city. Things like fresh, local bread can be ordered with a click.
Sometimes, items (like Clover Organic Milk) are labeled "Out of Stock" without any information about when they'll become available. This seems to happen most with local items, but those are often available on the following delivery day.
Safeway, on the other hand, had everything on the list. The selection of tomatoes and other produce wasn't as plentiful, but the run-of-the-mill essentials I needed were there.
Shopping experience
I'll admit it: I love grocery shopping. But not everyone gets as energized as I do about an activity that consumes nearly an hour weekly (and a whole lot more around the holidays), not including travel time.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)
AmazonFresh is fantastic for those who want grocery shopping to be a quick sport. After choosing a delivery time and date, the shopping begins. Searching for grocery items is just like shopping on Amazon, user reviews and all. The browser panels are kind of confusing, and search terms can't be too specific, but I found the items I needed in a snap.
Upon checkout, I was asked to include a tip (with a suggested amount) before confirming the order. Total time: 20 minutes flat.
At 11 a.m. the next day, I went downstairs to my office lobby and waited patiently for my delivery, which was slated to arrive within the hour. As I waited, I found myself wishing Amazon had some sort of delivery-tracking system, or a 10-minute warning via text message.
Finally, at 11:41 a.m., a big green truck rolled up, and out came three large, reusable grocery bags. The bags, each with their own QR code, were scanned with the deliveryman's smartphone, and the groceries were mine.
Shopping at Safeway after the Fresh experience amplified the differences between online and in-person shopping. Though I had a shopping list and plan of attack, it took me longer to find the items I needed. At one point, I found myself evaluating and squeezing a pile of tomatoes before realizing they were organic, and not the "regular" ones I needed. D'oh.
Picking up a skirt steak wasn't easy, either. After several minutes of searching for it at the unattended meat counter, I stalked an employee, who then called another employee, who finally came to my rescue. By that time, 10 minutes later, I had, of course, found what I was looking for.
Despite the obstacles, I simply enjoyed shopping in-store. I was surprised to find a buy-one-get-one offer on the shredded cheese, and I had a happy conversation with the woman at the checkstand -- there's an element of spontaneity with an in-person experience that one simply doesn't get online.
With travel and time spent shopping, getting my groceries at Safeway did set me back nearly an hour, with 41 minutes spent in the store. If time is money, brick-and-mortar grocery shopping is three times the cost.
Of course, Amazon isn't the first company to tackle online groceries after WebVan's epic $1.1 billion failure. FreshDirect's name is already synonymous with online groceries in the New York metropolitan area, shipping pantry and perishable items to hungry doorsteps. After launching in Roosevelt Island in 2002, the company spent the next 10 years expanding to Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and now serves most New York City addresses.
Amazon's approach was similar. The company first launched AmazonFresh in its hometown of Seattle, targeting only the densely populated ZIP codes for maximum efficiency and profit. It was only five years later, in June 2013, that its Fresh service made its way to Los Angeles' most concentrated neighborhoods.
Now that it's available to arguably one of the more suitable populations on the map, San Francisco, I'll eagerly await AmazonFresh's expansion across the bridge to the East Bay, where I can have groceries delivered to my home -- at least on those occasions when I'm not planning to feed 20 with fresh vegetable stir-fry.