Trending February 2024 # Mobilegeddon Is Here: Google’s Mobile # Suggested March 2024 # Top 4 Popular

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Editor’s Note: SEJ founder Loren Baker also contributed to this post.

Today, Google launched its long-awaited mobile-friendly algorithm update worldwide, which is estimated to affect a large % of mobile search queries. As more people use their smartphones to browse the internet, this update was made in an effort to provide users with the most relevant and timely results, whether the information is on mobile-friendly web pages or in a mobile app.

Today’s update is historical in a number of ways — in fact, it was making history well before it even launched. In an unprecedented move, Google issued a formal warning about this algorithm update last month, giving site owners time to make the necessary changes to their sites before the algorithm went live.

A Timeline of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update

November 2014 Last November, Google took its first step towards improving the way it delivers mobile-friendly search results to users. At that time, Google introduced the line of text we’re now all very familiar with, the “mobile-friendly” label that appears in snippets of certain sites. In order to determine if your site was truly mobile-friendly in Google’s eyes, the search giant also introduced its own mobile friendly testing tool which assesses your site against a set of criteria.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. When Google announced this tool, a hint was dropped about today’s algorithm update. Google stated: “We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” At the time, no one could have predicted quickly it would become a ranking signal.

January 2024 With the Mobile Usability component introduced in October, Google used Webmaster Tools to determine which sites weren’t mobile friendly and began sending warnings to owners of those sites. The warnings read as follows:

“Google systems have tested [X amount of] pages from your site and found that 100% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these [X amount of] pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. The pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smart phone users.”

Google was not-so-subtly trying to say that non-mobile friendly sites would end up being demoted in mobile search results. This was when things started getting serious.

February 2024 Those who didn’t heed Google’s warning in January were reminded once again in February — this time with a firm deadline as to when to get their sites in order. At the end of February, Google dropped the major announcement that as of April 21st, the search giant will be extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal throughout mobile search results.

Google was careful to warn everyone that this update was not to be taken lightly. The announcement stated: “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

April 2024 For many SEOs the clock has been ticking down to today, April 21st, when the update finally went live. Now that the day is here, let’s recap what we know about this monumental update.

What We Know About Today’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update

Understandably, site owners are full of questions about today’s update. We wish we had all the answers for you, but with any algorithm update we won’t learn all there is to know until it has been live for a while. Here’s everything we know at this point:

It is Bigger than Panda or Penguin

It was revealed at SMX Munich last month that the mobile-friendly update would be bigger than either Panda (affecting 12% of queries) or Penguin (affecting 3% of queries).

It Will Only Affect The 10 Blue Links

Google recently confirmed that only the 10 blue links will be affected by today’s update. Google News, the Google Local pack, Google Image search, and other Google search properties will not be affected.

How to be in Compliance

How do you comply with today’s update? The simple answer to this is: run your site through Google’s mobile-friendly test and fix all the errors.

News From Google

Affects only search rankings on mobile devices

Affects search results in all languages globally

Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query. However, just saying that on its own isn’t very useful. That’s why we created the small business owner’s guide to the mobile-friendly update, which features everything you need to know in order to comply with today’s update and continue driving organic mobile traffic.

Google has also come out with a very resourceful FAQ in the Google Product Forums about Mobile Friendliness and today’s update.

Looking Forward

With the update now live, there is conversation happening on Twitter about #MobileGeddon ranking changes but it does appear that the rollout is slower than originally anticipated. Also, it looks like Google may have rolled out some other algo changes along with the mobile update; something they typically do from time to time. Dr. Pete from Moz

No major changes this morning – low-moderate flux, “Mobile-friendly” URLs up only a tiny bit to 70.5% (probably last-minute changes). — Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) April 21, 2024

Across 30,000 keywords, we are seeing a 1% shift in mobile friendly results #mobilegeddon — rjonesx (@rjonesx) April 21, 2024

Good Advice from Annie Cushing on Testing Across Multiple Devices

ok, call me crazy, but I’m seeing some significant movement for some sites – and I don’t think it’s the mobile thing… — Rae Hoffman (@sugarrae) April 21, 2024

You're reading Mobilegeddon Is Here: Google’s Mobile

Gearing Up For Google’s Mobile Seo Update On The 21St April 2024

Are you ready for the Google Mobile-friendly algorithm change which could be ‘bigger than Panda or Penguin’?

Back in November 2014,  Google gave its first guidance about the impending algorithm changes to affect mobile SEO which were summarised in this Smart Insights alert. More recently, Google has been unusually specific and has revealed on its blog that there will be an algorithm update on the 21st April 2024, that will expand their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

How much difference will the mobile-friendly update make?

The indications are that this will be a major change with Google describing it as ‘significant’ in their alerts. Then, in this alarming quote, Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji  said at SMX Munich that the upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm update will impact more sites than their Panda or Penguin algorithms. Although this sounds alarming it is to be expected since Panda and Penguin targeted a limited set of sites using spammy tactics, while this will affect all searches on mobile – that’s why Google says it’s significant.

Since we’re now getting close and the impact is significant, this post is another reminder to explain the changes and impact according to Google so you can check the likely impact to your site or your clients and be in a position to explain it? Let’s start with the big picture.

Will the update affect all pages on a site?

Google has announced that this update will take place in ‘real-time’, meaning that if changes are made to make websites more mobile-friendly, as soon as the changes have been indexed by Google the benefits will be realised.

Google has also said that this algorithm update will impact sites on a page-by-page basis, meaning that only those pages that are not mobile-friendly will be impacted, rather than the wider domain.

This will mean that websites not deemed to be ‘mobile-friendly’ will suffer from reduced visibility within organic search results. It’s also possible that this reduction in visibility may extend to desktop as an additional incentive to webmasters to improve mobile experiences. We’ll explain how you can test your pages are mobile friendly below.

Why is Google implementing these changes?

At present, Google considers that the experience of some sites featured in the mobile search results are simply not good enough for the increasing majority of people now using Google on their mobile devices.

Despite the promotion of YouTube, Android and Google+, Google is still heavily reliant on AdWords to generate the majority of their revenue. If a search does not offer value to users, then they may end up going elsewhere, representing a risk to Google’s revenue stream.

At the moment, mobile search results largely match desktop and are typically ranked based on the merits of the desktop site based on the combination of on-page and off-page ranking factors. However, it seems Google believe this isn’t acceptable with the tipping point of mobile traffic outstripping desktop traffic by Q2 2024 already passed.

Google does not want to be serving half of its users with sub-optimal search results and are therefore making efforts to mitigate this issue.

Case study – Eurostar

Here’s an example where both desktop and mobile search results for the query [trains to paris] return Eurostar as the top result (as expected), but the experiences are different:

However, the user experience between desktop and mobile differs greatly. The desktop user lands on the Paris route landing page. The page provides the user with information about the route and offers the ability to start the booking process. The mobile experience, on the other hand, is much different. The search listing indicates that the user will land on the same, or at least a similar, page:

But instead the user is instantly redirected to a page where they must select their language, despite having arrived from Google UK. Furthermore, once the user has selected their language they are re-directed to the mobile homepage. Whilst this webpage does enable them to navigate to the page they ultimately require, overall it is a poor user experience.

How can I check whether our sites will be affected?

Over the past few months, Google has put some effort into informing webmasters about the performance of their mobile websites and alerting them to the issues they may have through different tools including.

1. Mobile usability report – within Google Webmaster Tools, Google now details webpages on your website with errors for mobile users, going into detail, e.g. when buttons are too close to one another.

2. Mobile-friendly snippet – Google start to signpost mobile-friendly websites in mobile lists next to the meta description. If your site is missing these ‘Mobile-Friendly’ labels you are likely to have a problem come the 21st of April.

3. Mobile Friendly Test. A mobile diagnostic tool available on Google Developers – run this for your home page for starters and then every main page template on your site:

3. Fetch as Google tool. Also in GWT, use the Fetch as Google Tool to see how Google crawls your site.

4. Automated messages – Google has sent emails to webmasters with sites offering a poor mobile experience suggesting they take a look at GWT.

How to prepare for the algorithm update

Here are five recommended actions to prepare for Google’s April mobile algorithm update:

1. Be mobile ready – make sure you have a mobile-friendly website using the tools above and that the user-agent handling and redirects are handling Googlebot correctly.

2. Understand the current importance of mobile traffic to your business - evaluate mobile traffic volume and quality using segments in analytics to understand the proportion of your traffic comes from mobile.

3. Review behaviour metrics – analyse how your mobile traffic performs on your website. Benchmark key metrics including bounce rate and time on site to understand which pages require improvement.

4. Check for notifications – check Google Webmaster Tools to see if Google has sent a notification about your mobile experience.

5. View the Mobile Usability Report – with Webmaster Tools, look at what errors Google are reporting and what pages they apply to.

Most brands know that they need to be ‘mobile-friendly’ but there are many ways to embrace mobile. Google prefers certain approaches over others so it’s worth exploring options that will prove a win-win for you and your customers.

Knock Knock, The Future Is Here: Gen Ai!

“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. It would take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded.” Stephen Hawkings

Introduction

While the truth in this quote by one of the prominent individuals of the century has resonated and is currently haunting many of the top practitioners of AI in the industry, let us see what stirred this thinking and persuasion. 

Well, this is owing to the recent popularity and surge in embracing the usage of Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) and the paradigm change that it has brought into our everyday lifestyle with it that some individuals feel that if not regulated, this technology can be used and manipulated to embark anguish amongst human race. So today’s blog is all about the nitti-gritties of Gen AI and how can we be both benefitted and tormented by it.

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

What is Gen AI?

Gen AI is a type of Artificial Intelligence that can be used to generate synthetic content in the form of written text, images, audio, or videos. They achieve it by recognizing the inherent pattern in existing data and then using this knowledge to generate new and unique outputs. Although it is now that we are using a lot of this Gen AI, this technology had existed since the 1960s, when it was first used in chat bots. In the past decade, with the introduction of GANs in 2014, people became convinced that Gen AI could create convincingly authentic images, videos, and audio of real people.

Machine Learning converts logic problems into statistical problems, allowing algorithms to learn patterns and solve them. Instead of relying on coherent logic, millions of datasets of cats and dogs are used to train the algorithm. However, this approach lacks structural understanding of the objects. Gen AI reverses this concept by learning patterns and generating new content that fits those patterns. Although it can create more pictures of cats and dogs, it does not possess conceptual understanding like humans. It simply matches, recreates, or remixes patterns to generate similar outputs.

Starting in 2023, Gen AI has taken the world by storm; so much so that now in every business meeting, you are sure to hear this term at least once, if not more. Big Think has called it “Technology of the Year,” this claim is more than justified by the amount of VC support Generative AI startups are getting. Tech experts have mentioned that in the coming five to ten years, this technology will surge rapidly breaking boundaries and conquering newer fields.

Types of GenAI Models Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) Features of GANs

Two Neural Networks: GANs consist of two neural networks pitted against each other: the generator and the discriminator. The generator network takes random noise as input and generates synthetic data, such as images or text. On the other hand, the discriminator network tries to distinguish between the generated data and actual data from a training set.

Adversarial Training: The two networks engage in a competitive and iterative negative training process. The generator aims to produce synthetic data indistinguishable from real data, while the discriminator seeks to accurately classify the real and generated data. As training progresses, the generator learns to create more realistic samples, and the discriminator improves its ability to distinguish between real and fake data.

Variational Auto Encoders (VAEs)

Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) are generative models that aim to learn a compressed and continuous representation of input data. VAEs consist of an encoder network that maps input data, such as images or text, to a lower-dimensional latent space. This latent space captures the underlying structure and features of the input data in a continuous and probabilistic manner.

VAEs employ a probabilistic approach to encoding and decoding data. Instead of producing a single point in the latent space, the encoder generates a probability distribution over the latent variables. The decoder network then takes a sample from this distribution and reconstructs the original input data. This probabilistic nature allows VAEs to capture the uncertainty and diversity present in the data.

VAEs are trained using a combination of reconstruction loss and a regularization term called the Kullback-Leibler (KL) divergence. The reconstruction loss encourages the decoder to reconstruct the original input data accurately. Simultaneously, the KL divergence term regularizes the latent space by encouraging the learned latent distribution to match a prior distribution, usually a standard Gaussian distribution. This regularization promotes the smoothness and continuity of the latent representation.

Transformer-Based Models

Self-Attention: The core component of the Transformer architecture is the self-attention mechanism. It allows the model to capture dependencies and relationships between words or tokens in the input sequence. Self-attention computes attention weights for each token by considering its interactions with all other tickets in the series. This mechanism enables the model to weigh the importance of different words based on their relevance to each other, allowing for comprehensive context understanding.

Encoder-Decoder Structure: Transformer-based models typically consist of an encoder and a decoder. The encoder processes the input sequence and encodes it into representations that capture the contextual information. The decoder, in turn, generates an output sequence by attending to the encoder’s terms and using self-attention within the decoder itself. This encoder-decoder structure is particularly effective for tasks like machine translation, where the model needs to understand the source sequence and generate a target sequence.

Positional Encoding and Feed-Forward Networks: Transformers incorporate positional encoding to provide information about the order of the tokens in the input sequence. Since self-attention is order-agnostic, positional encoding helps the model differentiate the positions of the tickets. This is achieved by adding sinusoidal functions of different frequencies to the input embeddings. Additionally, Transformers utilize feed-forward networks to process the encoded representations. These networks consist of multiple fully connected layers with non-linear activation functions. This enables the model to capture complex patterns and dependencies in the data.

Some Prominent Gen AI Products 

Some prominent Gen AI interfaces that sparked an interest include Dall-E, Chat GPT, and BARD.

Dall-E

Dall-E is a GenAI model developed by Open AI, that allows you to create unique and creative images from textual descriptions. Below is an example of an image created by Dall-E with the prompt “a woman at a music festival twirling her dress, in front of a crowd with glitter falling from the top, long colorful wavy blonde hair, wearing a dress, digital painting.”

ChatGPT

A conversational AI model by Open AI is known as ChatGPT. It engages dynamically and natural-sounding conversations providing intelligent responses to user queries across various topics. The image below exemplifies how ChatGPT is built to provide intelligent solutions to your queries.

BARD

BARD is a language model developed by Google. It was hastily released as a response to Microsoft’s integration of GPT into Bing search. BARD (Building Autoregressive Transformers for Reinforcement Learning) aims to enhance language models by incorporating Reinforcement Learning techniques. It ideates the development of language models by interacting with an environment and performing training tasks. Thus enabling more sophisticated and content-aware conversational agents. Unfortunately, the BARD debut was flawed, and in the current Google I/O, Google broadened the accessibility of BARD to 180 countries and territories.

Applications of Gen AI

Since its emergence, Gen AI has never lost relevance. People have been embracing its applicability in newer and newer fields with the passing days.  Now it has marked its presence in most of the activities in our daily life. The image below shows the Gen AI products available in each domain, from text, speech, audio, and video to writing computer codes.

Gen AI finds applicability in the below fields, but the list is not exhaustive.

Content Generation: Automatically generate text, images, and videos across various domains.

Data Augmentation: Use synthetic data to enhance training datasets for machine learning models.

Virtual Reality and Gaming: Create immersive virtual worlds and realistic game environments.

Image and Video Editing: Automatically edit and enhance images and videos.

Design and Fashion: Generate new clothing, furniture, or architecture designs.

Music and Sound Generation: Create personalized music compositions and sound effects.

Personal Assistants and Chatbots: Develop intelligent virtual assistants and chatbots for various applications.

Simulation and Training: Simulate realistic scenarios or generate synthetic data for training purposes.

Anomaly Detection: Identify and flag anomalies in datasets or systems.

Medical Imaging and Diagnosis: Aid in medical image analysis and assist in diagnosis.

Language Translation: Translate text or speech between different languages.

Style Transfer: Apply artistic styles to images or videos.

Data Generation for Testing: Generate diverse data for testing and evaluating algorithms or systems.

Storytelling and Narrative Generation: Create interactive and dynamic narratives.

Drug Discovery: Assist in the discovery and design of new drugs.

Financial Modeling: Generate financial models and perform risk analysis.

Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining: Analyze and classify sentiments from text data.

Weather Prediction: Improve weather forecasting models by generating simulated weather data.

Game AI: Develop intelligent and adaptable AI opponents in games.

How Will Gen AI Impact Jobs?

As the popularity of Gen AI keeps soaring, this question keeps looming. While I personally believe the statement that AI will never replace humans, people using AI intelligently will replace those who don’t use AI. So it is wise not to be utterly naive towards the developments in AI. In this regard, I would like to reiterate the comparison of Gen AI with email. When emailing was first introduced, everybody feared that it would take up the job of the postman. However, decades later, we do see that postal services do exist, and email’s impact has penetrated much deep. Gen AI also will have similar implications.

Concerning Gen AI, one job that gathered a lot of attention is that of an artist. The remaining artists are expected to enhance their creativity and productivity, while this may diminish the total number of artists required.

Some Gen AI Companies

Below are some pioneering companies operating in the domain of Gen AI.

Synthesia

It is a UK-based company that is one of the earliest pioneers of video synthesis technology. Founded in 2023, this company is focussing on implementing new synthetic media technology to revolutionize visual content creation while reducing cost and skills.

Mostly AI

This company is working to develop ways to simulate and represent synthetic data at scale realistically. They have created state-of-the-art generative technology that automatically learns new patterns, structures, and variations from existing data.

Genie AI

The company involves machine learning experts who share and organize reliable, relevant information within a legal firm, team, or structure which helps to empower lawyers to draft with the collective intelligence of the entire firm.

Gen AI Statistics

By 2025, generative AI will account for 10% of all data generated.

According to Gartner, 71% of respondents said the ROI of intelligent automation is high within their organizations.

It is projected that AI will grow at an annual rate of 33.2% from 2023 to 2027.

It is estimated that AI will add US $15.7 trillion or 26% to global GDP, By 2030.

Limitations of Gen AI

Reading till now, Gen AI may seem all good and glorious, but like any other technology, it has its limitations.

Data Dependence

Generative AI models heavily rely on the quality and quantity of training data. Insufficient or biased data can lead to suboptimal results and potentially reinforce existing biases present in the training data.

Lack of Interpretability

Generative AI models can be complex and difficult to interpret. Understanding the underlying decision-making process or reasoning behind the generated output can be challenging, making identifying and rectifying potential errors or biases harder.

Mode Collapse Computational Requirements

Training and running generative AI models can be computationally intensive and require substantial resources, including powerful hardware and significant time. This limits their accessibility for individuals or organizations with limited computational capabilities.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

The use of generative AI raises ethical concerns, particularly in areas such as deep fakes or synthetic content creation. Misuse of generative AI technology can spread misinformation, privacy violations, or potential harm to individuals or society.

Lack of Control

Generative AI models, especially in autonomous systems, may lack control over the generated outputs. This can result in unexpected or undesirable outputs, limiting the reliability and trustworthiness of the generated content.

Limited Context Understanding

While generative AI models have made significant progress in capturing contextual information, they may still struggle with nuanced understanding, semantic coherence, and the ability to grasp complex concepts. This can lead to generating outputs that are plausible but lack deeper comprehension.

Conclusion

So we covered Generative Artificial Intelligence at length. Starting with the basic concept of Gen AI, we delved into the various models that have the potential to generate new output, their opportunities, and limitations.

Key Takeaways:

What Gen AI is at its core?

The various Gen AI models – GANs, VAEs, and Transformer Based Models. The architectures of these models are of particular note.

Knowing some of the popular Gen AI products like Dall-E, Chat GPT, and BARD.

The applications of Gen AI

Some of the companies that operate in this domain

Limitations of Gen AI

I hope you found this blog informative. Now you also will have something to contribute to the subsequent discussions with your friends or colleagues on Generative AI that I am sure you would often come across in the current scenario. Will see you in the next blog; till then, Happy Learning!

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Frequently Asked Questions Related

Apple Releases Ios 11.4: Here Is Everything New

Apple has released iOS 11.4 to the public. The update, available for iPhone and iPad, includes a number of new features that make it special. The software update is available now for download over the air (OTA). 

How we got here

In late March, Apple introduced iOS 11.3, which included lots of new features including battery health and performance settings, new Animojis, Business Chat, Health Records, and an upgrade to ARKit. Soon after, developers began testing iOS 11.4. In total, Apple released six iOS 11.4 beta versions before today’s public launch.

What’s new in iOS 11.4?

With iOS 11.4, Apple finally adds two iOS 11 features that were first announced at last year’s WWDC, AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud. Other minor features are also in this update.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 had made numerous appearances in beta versions of iOS 11.3 but didn’t make the cut. It’s finally here in iOS 11.4.

With AirPlay 2, you can use “multi-room audio” from iOS devices, making it easier to control speakers using Control Center, the Home app, or with Siri. Previously, this was only available through iTunes under macOS or Windows.

Thanks to AirPlay 2 and a companion firmware update, users with more than one HomePod can finally listen in stereo. This will bring multi-room and stereo pairing to the HomePod and Apple TV.

Messages in iCloud

Best called the big tease, Messages in iCloud has been added and removed from iOS 11 beta versions for what seems like forever. The feature moves Messages to iCloud and in doing so, allows you to sync conversations across all of your devices, including iOS, macOS, and watchOS.

In other words, when you delete a message on one device, it’s gone on the others too.

Schoolwork and ClassKit

For educational users on iOS 11.4 devices, Apple has introduced Schoolwork and ClassKit. Both features were first announced at Apple’s Chicago-based educational event on March 27.

ClassKit allows app developers to add features that can be used by educational institutions with Apple School Manager and Managed Apple IDs. Teachers assign activities in Schoolwork with students’ progress recorded in ClassKit-enabled apps.

Other iOS 11.4 features

The latest version of iOS 11.4 also adds a few minor features, including:

(PRODUCT)RED iPhone wallpaper on iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. If you own a different iPhone, you can install the wallpapers manually.

HomePod support for Calendar

You can grab the iOS 11.4 software from iDownloadBlog’s Download page.

For the full list of fixes and new features in iOS 11.4, check out the official release notes.

iOS 11.4 release notes

iOS 11.4 includes AirPlay 2 multi-room audio, support for HomePod stereo pairs, and Messages in iCloud. This update also includes bug fixes and improvements.

AirPlay 2

Control your home audio system and AirPlay 2-enabled speakers throughout your house

Play music at the same time on multiple AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in your house, all in sync

Control AirPlay 2-enabled speakers from Control Center, the Lock screen, or AirPlay controls within apps on your iPhone or iPad

Use your voice to control AirPlay 2-enabled speakers with Siri from your iPhone or iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV

Take a call or play a game on your iPhone or iPad without interrupting playback on your AirPlay 2-enabled speakers

HomePod stereo pair

This update supports setting up your HomePod stereo pair using your iPhone or iPad

HomePod pair automatically senses its location in the room and balances the sound based on the speakers’ locations

Advanced beamforming provides wider soundstage than traditional stereo pair

HomePod will automatically update to support stereo pairs, unless auto updates are disabled in the Home app

Messages in iCloud

Store your messages, photos, and other attachments in iCloud and free up space on your devices

All your messages appear when you sign into a new device with the same iMessage account

When you delete messages and conversations they are instantly removed from all your devices

Your conversations continue to be end-to-end encrypted

Other improvements and fixes

Enables teachers to assign their students reading activities in iBooks using the Schoolwork app

Fixes an issue where certain character sequences could cause Messages to crash

Addresses a Messages issue that could cause some messages to appear out of order

Addresses an issue that could prevent logging in or accessing files on Google Drive, Google Docs and Gmail in Safari

Fixes an issue that could prevent data syncing in Health

Fixes an issue that could prevent users from changing what apps can access Health data

Resolves an issue that could cause an app to appear in an incorrect location on the Home screen

Fixes an issue where CarPlay audio could become distorted

Fixes an issue where selecting music from your iPhone could fail when playing music over Bluetooth or when connected to USB on some vehicles

For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

Why Google’s Chromecast Is The Best Media Streaming Player?

Why Google’s Chromecast Is The Best Media Streaming Player? What is Chromecast?

Google Chromecast is a media player that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and allows you to easily access to multiple streaming services, from Netflix and YouTube to Google Play and Hulu. It projects your Chrome Browser contents from your mobile or laptop to your TV screen. It uses a Wi-Fi connection to connect to other devices and can be controlled by them. Just turn it on, pair it and watch with your smartphone acting as a remote.

How does Chromecast work?

In simple terms, Chromecast is a device powered by USB cable connected to any wall socket and connected to your TV through HDMI port. It requires Wi-Fi connection to receive data and display it on your TV. It can get data from the apps installed like Netflix, You Tube or from any other device connected to the same Wi-Fi network. It means you can view your smart phone, tablet and laptop content on your TV, including Chrome browser.

How many types of Chromecast are there?

There are two types of Chromecast (3rd gen) available today. The 3rd generation is the latest with all the technological enhancements possible and removing the shortcomings of the previous generations.

Google Chromecast

Buy Now 

Google Chromecast Ultra

Buy Now

The comparison between the two models is summarized in the table below:

Feature Chromecast (3rd gen) Chromecast Ultra (3rd gen)

Price $35 $69

Ethernet Port NO YES

Video Quality 1080P 4K & HDR

Stadia Support NO YES

Weight 1.44 ounces 1.6 ounces

Color Charcoal Black

Dimension 2 x 0.5 x 2 inches 2.3 x 0.5 x 2.3

Both the models have an HDMI output on one end which would plug in the TV and a micro-USB port on the other end which would be used to supple power to the device. It also features a reset button in case it freezes and an LED status light.

What can you do with Chromecast?

Stream Audio, video and images from your phone, tablet and computer directly to your TV. The only requirement is you have all these devices connected to the same network as your Chromecast.

Mirror your Chrome browser to a bigger screen while demonstrating your presentation to your clients.

Engage in multiplayer games and display it on the TV for others to watch during a party. Google Stadia games can be cherished through Chromecast.

Use voice commands on your phone directly through Google Assistant and watch your favorite series on TV by just asking for it provided you have the required subscription.

And of course, the primary function is to enable the user to watch channels such as You Tube, Pandora, Netflix, Hulu and many others on your TV without having to pay for a cable bill.

Note: Some channels may require individual subscriptions and other may have ad supported free content.

Google home Chromecast initially supported You Tube and Netflix only but over years it has managed to attract many other channels in its bouquet. Channels which provide news, sports, music and many more have been integrated. Here are a few notable ones:

Netflix

Hulu Plus

Pandora

HBO GO

Post TV

RealPlayer Cloud

Red Bull.TV

YouTube

Vevo

Viki

Google Play Music

Google Play TV & Movies

Also Read: How To Set Up A Chromecast Using Android Phone

What are the basic requirements with Chromecast?

To use a Chromecast (3rd gen), one must have the following prerequisites:

The first and foremost requirement is to have a TV with an HDMI port where the Chromecast would be plugged in. Older TV with the traditional AV cables would not be supported.

A Chromecast (3rd gen) device requires a decent Wi-Fi connection to stream the media uploaded on the internet. If you purchase the Chromecast Ultra, then you have the option of using the ethernet cable for uninterrupted streaming.

The internet cables that come across the street from a Hub are plugged into the router and then converted to Wi-Fi signals and are transmitted across your house.

Smart Phone. The only drawback, (if you consider it to be) is the absence of a remote with the dongle. But you can always use your phone (Android/iPhone) to control the device. Once you install an app and configure it, you can switch channels, mute, play games and do much more what you could not do on a normal remote.

Now the device comes along with a few essentials so that you don’t have to buy anything extra to make it work. The box includes:

A USB cables. It is used for providing power to the device with a micro-USB at one end that fits into the device and a standard USB 2.0 connector that fits into the power supply or can be attached to the TV’s USB port.

A power supply that fits into the electric socket along with your TV’s power socket.

Note: It is important to use the cables that come along with the device. Other cable may not work.

What are the other features?

Benefits: –

When it was launched critics and users praised the device for its simplicity and ease of use.

Mirroring capability, with a chrome device the users have the option of mirroring their android devices or chrome web browser onto their TV sets.

Hardware and design is compact and easy to carry around.

Easy availability and relatively cheap pricing of the device.

Limitations: –

Not functional for older TV sets.

No functional remote control along with the dongle.

No way to record and play back your media later.

It does not support Amazon prime.

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About the author

Dheeraj Manghnani

Dheeraj Manghnani is a tech writer who writes about anything that has tech into it. He has written over a 1000 blogs on tech news, product comparisons, error solving and product reviews.

Dark Sky Is Officially Dead: Here Are The Best Alternatives

Joe Hindy / Android Authority

Dark Sky shut down its doors on Android a couple of years ago after Apple purchased the app. The company then removed it from the Apple App Store back in September of 2023. As of January 1st, 2023, Dark Sky is shut down for good. That means the API goes down, the app will cease to function, and it’ll no longer be available anywhere. It’s a sad day since we quite liked Dark Sky when it was on Android. Now, it’s time to shop for alternatives. Here are the best Dark Sky alternatives you can get on iOS and Android.

To douse your hopes a little bit, it’s important to note that there is no weather app quite like Dark Sky. It’s probably why Apple bought the app, because it was truly unique in its space.

For iOS users, Apple’s stock weather app has many Dark Sky features. This is why Apple bought the service. If you want the closest possible experience to Dark Sky, your best bet is to use the stock Apple weather app. Unfortunately, it’s not available for Android.

The best Dark Sky alternatives

Pricing (Android): Free / $1.99

Pricing (iOS): Free / $1.99 per month / $9.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

Covers all of the bases with hourly and daily forecasts, a radar, hyperlocal weather, and more.

The Android version is pay-once and reasonably inexpensive.

Clean, simple UI that works quite well.

Extras like air quality, sun and moon tracking, and more are fun.

What we don’t like:

The iOS version is more expensive.

Radar can sometimes jam up on you.

Ads on the free version can be annoying sometimes.

AccuWeather

Pricing: Free / $1.99 per month / $19.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

AccuWeather is a big name in weather, and many other apps use AccuWeather to source weather information.

Above average radar, even if it’s still not comparable to Dark Sky.

The MinuteCast feature is an okay competitor to Dark Sky’s up-to-the-minute forecasting capabilities.

What we don’t like:

The app is consistently updated, and not every UI update is a positive one.

The widgets could be better.

It switched from a single payment to a subscription plan, which is never a popular move.

Pricing (Android): Free / $0.99 per month / $3.99 per year

Pricing (iOS): Free / $4.99 per month / $19.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

A sassy app that adds a bit of comedy to the weather experience.

Ritzy features like a 70-year weather history and strong customization features help set it apart from the rest.

The iOS version is current with support for things like Dynamic Island and Apple Watch support.

Some of the more reliable current, hourly, and daily forecasts of any app on the list.

What we don’t like:

The Android version does not garner attention from the developer like the iOS version does.

Some of the features, like the achievements and recording your own weather videos, are a little gimmicky.

Carrot Weather is a tale of two experiences. The iOS app is easily among the best weather apps on the whole platform. It’s updated regularly, has excellent accuracy, tons of customization, and integrates well with modern Apple things like Dynamic Island and the Apple Watch. We recommend it wholeheartedly, and it’s one of the more popular Dark Sky alternatives. You can even set the weather aggregator to Apple Weather, which is what Dark Sky got integrated into. It’s almost kind of like having Dark Sky again.

The Android version, on the other hand, hasn’t been updated in a couple of years, doesn’t have the modern features of its iOS bunkmate, and it’s not one we recommend. The developer has stated that the iOS version makes more money, and so that’s where the attention goes. That’s fair. However, we hope they give the Android version some love again someday because we’d love to recommend it there too.

Pricing: Free (optional donation)

Platforms: iOS (TestFlight) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

It’s free and open-source. There’s even a FOSS variant on F-Droid for Android users.

Includes the basic stuff like real-time temperature, air quality metrics, 15-day forecast, and more.

The app also includes global weather data and weather alerts.

A very clean UI that is easy to read.

What we don’t like:

It may be a bit too simple for some folks.

Does not include a radar.

The iOS version is still in TestFlight.

Pricing: Free / $2.99 per month / $29.99 per year (may vary slightly by platform)

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

Excellent radar with plenty of layers to customize how you want.

Compatible with Wear OS and Apple Watch.

Capable of sending storm alerts and other warnings.

Surprisingly accurate.

What we don’t like:

Regular weather functions, like forecasts or current conditions, aren’t as robust as some other apps.

Some of the really cool stuff, like hurricane tracking, is in the premium version only.

MyRadar is one of the truly excellent radar apps on iOS or Android. It’s not quite as flashy as Dark Sky’s, but it’s very nearly as reliable. The map has pleasingly smooth animations, tons of layers to apply, and it’s among the most accurate radars on the list. There are some other decent features as well, although they require a premium subscription. We really like it as a hurricane tracker as well, and it’s one of our favorites in that category.

The only downsides of the app include a slight learning curve, and it’s not like most other weather apps on the list. In fact, many people pair this with a second, more traditional weather app for stuff like long-term forecasts. Still, this is one of my personal favorite weather apps, and it’s what I switched to after Dark Sky left Android.

Pricing: Free / $14.99 per month / $9.99 – $99.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

NEXRAD Level 3 radar, which is a rarity in this space.

A variety of built-in alerts, including tornado,k flash flood, and marine warnings.

One of the truly excellent weather radars on either iOS or Android.

Competes very well with MyRadar.

What we don’t like:

Like MyRadar, you’ll likely want to pair this with something more traditional for forecasts.

Somewhat unorthodox subscription options.

There is a slight learning curve.

Radarscope competes with MyRadar for the best radar app on iOS or Android. Much like MyRadar, this app is almost exclusively a weather radar app. That means you won’t get things like forecasts and other stuff. Instead, you get a seriously powerful set of features and one of the most reliable radars on mobile.

It has some power user features like NEXRAD Level Three radar data, which is the top of the food chain for consumer-level products. It’s very reliable the vast majority of the time, and there are even other radar options if you want to see more. The only downside is the subscription cost. You can pay $9.99 per year for basic access, or $14.99 per month, which includes things like 30 days’ worth of radar data, hail size data, and other perks. It’s pricy, but definitely worth it if you’re into this kind of stuff.

Today Weather

Pricing: Free / $0.99 per month / $3.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

Simple, customizable UI and widgets make for a weather app you actually like using.

Multiple weather sources, including AccuWeather, OpenWeatherMap, Foreca, and others.

It’s usually accurate, although that may vary based on which weather source you use.

The radar is not as good as the best, but it’s still better than average.

What we don’t like:

Minor quirks on both platforms may not please everybody.

While everything about the app is good, nothing about the app is exceptional except the looks.

Pricing: Free / $3.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

The 3D radar looks and acts like the Dark Sky radar, which may please some people.

Competes with Radarscope and MyRadar as one of the best weather radars on mobile.

What we don’t like:

Like its competitors, it’s a great radar, but not a great general weather app.

The sheer number of settings can be a little overwhelming initially, especially if you don’t know a lot about weather models.

Ventusky is probably your best Dark Sky alternative if you want to keep that wonderful 3D world map that Dark Sky had. This app does it, and it does it just as well as Dark Sky did. The app includes dozens of weather models as well, so you can choose which complex mathematical formula you want to predict your weather.

The app has some other things going for it. It’s cheaper than Radarscope and MyRadar while being just as reliable, if not more so in some cases. The UI is clean and smooth. Really, aside from needing a companion weather app for the usual stuff like forecasts, this one is a slam dunk. It’s definitely worthy of consideration for a Dark Sky replacement.

Pricing: Free / $0.99 per month / $9.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

Long list of features, including some flashy extras like lightning maps, International radar support, and weather cameras you can tap into.

It also includes the basics, like current weather, forecasts, air quality, pollen counts, etc.

A simple UI that does well to show you all of the above listed features without feeling too cramped.

Reasonably good weather radar.

What we don’t like:

It can be a little over-the-top with notifications.

More recent editions seem to be a little buggy.

Pricing: Free / $2.99 per month / Up to $29.99 per year

Platforms: iOS (App Store) and Android (Google Play)

What we like:

There are 51 different layers on its weather radar.

Direct access to 55,000 webcams that are viewing weather conditions.

Several different weather models to choose from, including big shots like GFS by NOAA.

Worldwide access with over 40 supported languages.

What we don’t like:

As with all the other radar apps, you’ll need a regular weather app for the basic stuff like forecasts.

The more granular options and support require a subscription.

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