How do I get my name to the top of Google’s search results? Jack Schofield | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

I’m a researcher at a major university. Unfortunately, I happen to share my name and middle initial with an unrelated drug dealer who has been in and out of prison. My name is sufficiently rare that I’m worried that confusion might arise, because a cursory Google search tends to give prominence to negative news stories that feature him.
The standard advice online seems to be to open as many social media accounts as possible. I also have my own domain, but none of these has displaced the negative news stories in the search rankings. What should I do? Name withheld

How to get the top spot in Google’s search engine results has been a hot topic for years. It’s still vitally important to all types of business, to consultants and other professionals, bands and musicians, authors and journalists, politicians and many others. For those who can justify the fees, personal branding and “reputation management” companies do it for a living.
At this point, all the information you need is online somewhere. The problem is that it takes a significant amount of work, which may or may not be worth it.
In your case, I imagine that anybody likely to search for the name of a bright, young academic is not going to confuse you with a drug dealer almost twice your age. They already know that two or, usually, many more people have the same name. The people who could have real problems are the ones who share names and professions. Two journalists spring to mind: Duncan Campbell, a novelist and former Guardian crime reporter, and Duncan Campbell, an investigative reporter and television producer formerly on the staff of the New Statesman. Neither is likely to be confused with Duncan Campbell, the artist who won the Turner prize in 2014, or the Duncan Campbell from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, or numerous others.
However, the general advice is correct. You need to displace your namesake by producing content that Google’s search algorithms find more compelling than old newspaper crime reports. You could do this by becoming famous, which would generate vast numbers of links to your name. Failing that, you will have to generate as many links as you can through social media, and by writing popular articles, or blogging.
Personal branding

Sting, Cher, Madonna and others have successfully managed to cement themselves as mononymous household names. Photograph: BabiradPicture/REX/Shutterstock
It helps to have a distinctive name, so you are off to a good start. People with common names can use various techniques to distinguish themselves. These include varying their first name (Edward, Ed, Eddy, Eddie, Ted, Teddy, Ned, Neddy etc), adding or dropping a middle initial, or expanding and hyphenating their surnames. Some people have become known by their initials, including the American poet EE Cummings and the English author JRR Tolkien. Entertainers can invent stage names, which can be mononymous. Examples include Cher and Sting.
Under English law, you can change your surname to whatever you like, and for convenience, affirm it in a deed poll. This can make sense if your surname is problematic or you are anglicising a name. It would be extreme for your purposes.
However, the key point is to decide on a fixed nomenclature, adopt it, and stick to it. This could include using the Dr to which your PhD entitles you, and abbreviating your first name. You already get the top hit on Google for this search, so tell people to use it.
You should also write yourself an identifying statement. The younger Duncan Campbell, for example, uses “investigative journalist & computer forensics expert”, and this appears in his Twitter bio. Google search can use statements like this to disambiguate people who have the same name.
At the moment, your naming and labelling is inconsistent.
Once you have decided on a name and a catchy (if possible) description, you should update your website and Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts so that they all send Google the same unique and distinctive message. The more you can incorporate your chosen nomenclature into your academic life, the better.
After that, it is mainly a question of repetition, repetition, repetition.
Own your domain name

Getting your own domain and site can provide a central place for broadcasting your name across the internet. Photograph: Lifestyle pictures / Alamy/Alamy
Google’s results are influenced by domain names so buying appropriate names is a good branding investment. Obviously, .com is the most powerful TLD (top-level domain), but most common names were snapped up ages ago. Alternatives include .co.uk, .org, .net, and .info.
Some country domains are popular, and .ac (Ascension Island) could appeal to academics. Radio and TV stations can buy .am (Armenia), .fm (Federated States of Micronesia), and .tv (Tuvalu) addresses. Technology companies have used .ai (Anguilla), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory), .ly (Libya), and .ws (Western Samoa). The .co (Colombia) and .me (Montenegro) domains have broad appeal. Some countries require a local presence, trademark or registered business address, but many people should be able to find a usable domain name somewhere.
Once you have a domain, you need to use it, and you have. But one page of static content is not going to hold Google’s interest for long. Ideally, you should have several pages. You could have a landing page that says what you do and why you care about it. You should have an “about yourname” page that links to your university page and social media accounts, and ideally, these should link back to your website. You could have a publications page that links to your academic papers, with précis, and so on.
Google’s founding idea was that you could decide a web page’s importance from the number of links to it, and from the quality of the websites doing the linking. A link from the Guardian or the BBC has a lot more “google juice” than a link from, say, Flickr or YouTube, but they all count.
Google Search tries to detect and punish techniques such as “keyword stuffing” and “link farming”, so you have to avoid anything that looks deceptive while also trying to reinforce your name and declaration. Links should be natural.
Ideally, you should update your website regularly, at least once a month. Google has a strong bias towards “freshness”. The more often you update your website, the more often Google’s spiders will index it, and the better you will score.
Reach out for validation

Medium is a popular light blogging platform. Photograph: Medium
Prof Brian Cox did not become a household name by publishing academic papers. You do not have to aim for that level of name recognition, but there are lots of things you can do to make your name more widely known. You are, after all, a recognised expert, and your field is more important to more people than particle physics.
Blogging became a simple and socially acceptable way to build a reputation online after Blogger was launched in 1999, and it became even more important after Google bought the company in 2003. If you cannot blog on your own website, you can blog at yourname.blogspot.com, while linking to your main site and social media accounts.
You can also post short stories about your research topics at Medium and LinkedIn, and possibly on a Facebook “fan page”, and promote them on Twitter. Aim at an audience that will never read your academic papers. If you are successful, your thoughts will be picked up by other publications. If you are not, it’s still worth doing. Your real target audience is Google.
It will take a few months, but you should be able to build up a coherent online presence that establishes your identity, your authority and your continuing activity. Those are the three things that will increase your reputation with Google’s search algorithms, and improve your visibility. You can’t make your namesake disappear, but you may yet be able to outrank him.
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Google introduces new prepaid Mobile Recharge Search with MobiKwik- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Google recently introduced a new prepaid Mobile Recharge Search experience for India, with MobiKwik as one of the local partners. You can now search for, compare, and recharge prepaid mobiles plans from MobiKwik easily from Google Search. This unique, new “Mobile Recharge Search” launched for the Indian market is testament to the popularity of mobile recharge queries online.
Simply search for “prepaid mobile recharge” on Google Search, and you will see options for recharging your mobile number. Once you have filled in your mobile number and cellular provider, you will see available prepaid mobile plans, including offers from MobiKwik and other payment services. Recharging your Mobile in Google Search is available for signed-in users on mobile, desktop and the Google Search app.
“India is a 97% prepaid mobile market — a billion Indians like to pay as they go — buying talk-time minutes or data packs at least twice a month. So Indians were, in any case, searching for queries such as best prepaid recharge, and now the Mobile Recharge Search experience enables users to do so in a more structured manner, redirecting them to MobiKwik for the best recharge plans. Collaborating with Google gives MobiKwik added momentum, providing Indian users further ease in this daily life payment use case.
Mobile Recharge is the first use case we had launched on MobiKwik Wallet in 2009, when we started. Simplifying the recharge use case is in line with our mission – “to build affordable and accessible financial services for a Billion Indians”, said Upasana Taku, Co-Founder, MobiKwik.
With this association, MobiKwik ensures a simpler and faster online recharge process for millions of Indians, who start their digital payment journey with recharge as their first transaction. MobiKwik is rapidly advancing on its mission to offer easy, accessible online payments with consistent savings. In addition to constantly refining its offerings for a better user experience, MobiKwik enables users to avail instant discount on their recharge payments using 5% SuperCash.

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Brands should act now to get ahead with voice search- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Voice search is still in its infancy with most interactions happening in the home via a home voice app like Alexa, Google Assistant, and to a lesser extent, the Apple Homepod. But consumers are using voice search. In fact, 58.6% of US consumers are using voice search (Comscore 2019). Yet only 11.5% of brands have an Alexa app, and only 6.5% of brands have a Google Assistant app – which is pretty low adoption for what is a fun bit of technology. So is it still a fad in its early phases and yet to hit proper adoption? I think so; yes.
Brands haven’t taken voice apps seriously yet, so why would they take voice SEO seriously if the bar is low extending their customer experience to voice?
Well, I don’t blame the brands. They’ve made the right investment call, and given social etiquette and behaviours, voice was always going to be a slower adopter than, say mobile.
It’s intrusive. It breaks the flow of a conversation in a group. Or if you’re in an office and you start shouting commands at your device, with everyone being able to hear the request and results? It’s just not normal, acceptable behaviour. Unless you’re a Bluetooth headset warrior from the late 90s, that’s been biding their time patiently for your early adopter status to come good, it’s just not normal.
But there is a place for brands and a window of opportunity to get ahead of the search competition. And to do that, voice SEO needs to be appropriately considered, as a proper channel with suitable considerations made.
Simple things like looking at the questions your target market are asking. Research shows that most of the most popular voice search requests are for fact-based questions – so either that’s kids still finding search a novel toy or it’s the consumer base that’s adopting the technology. Or perhaps they’re all cheating on quizzes? Following that users use voice search for directions, to scour entertainment options, browse for restaurants and listen to the news.
Personally, it’s still very early for voice and for voice search results on a broader spectrum. It’s yet to be applied in the home properly; it hasn’t become natural behaviour there either. Outside of the home, that behaviour, in my opinion, is even smaller. Despite devices like ear pod-style headphones and their ability to pick up voice more effectively which has undoubtedly improved the consumer’s experience. It’s also becoming more socially acceptable to be seen walking around with ear pods in, taking a call or whatever else you’re doing – so the stigma associated with being a Bluetooth headset warrior is fading.
For me, the most untapped use for voice search, today, is in-car. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are changing that. The experience for search results is becoming far easier for consumers to handle inside a car cabin. And socially, it’s more acceptable for drivers to use voice search. So in-car is the perfect location for a voice search experience. It’s contextually relevant to the environment; as the environment is constantly moving meaning that drivers need more search support.
That begins to justify a real push for brands to get their voice SEO right for an audience that depends on the parity of the experience between their other search channels.
But brands need to take voice search and SEO seriously. They need to build voice apps in the right way, first and foremost. They need to start taking into consideration the use of colloquial phrasing and accents. Which, speaking as a Geordie, goes a long way.
There needs to be a robust web SEO foundation but also a focus on ranking for featured snippets in Google. But I am also taking into consideration concise answers to questions in 29 words or less. A neat little optimisation trick.
It’s a tough time device-wise too, and brands need to ensure that everything is optimised for each assistant. So once again, the search wars are back. But research shows that Google is the most popular and effective search – which is hardly surprising.
The job isn’t done yet; it’s a big and intricate task. Right now, that doesn’t make a monumental difference but now is the time for brands to consider how to act to get ahead of the voice search game.
Ryan Hall, founder, Vaunt is a judge for Tempemail Search Awards 2020. The deadline has now passed but you can still apply for an extension.
Hall also launches The Growth Agenda podcast from The Zeitgeist this week, interviewing successful entrepreneurs about how they’ve grown their businesses.

Tempemail , Tempmail Temp email addressess (10 minutes emails)– When you want to create account on some forum or social media, like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok you have to enter information about your e-mail box to get an activation link. Unfortunately, after registration, this social media sends you dozens of messages with useless information, which you are not interested in. To avoid that, visit this Temp mail generator: tempemail.co and you will have a Temp mail disposable address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This email will expire after 10 minute so you can call this Temp mail 10 minute email. Our service is free! Let’s enjoy!

Japanese billionaire cancels search for girlfriend to take on SpaceX trip – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? A Japanese billionaire has canceled plans to find a girlfriend to take into space on a private SpaceX flight. Yusaku Maezawa, who is estimated to have a $2 billion fortune and is the 22nd richest person in Japan, was to choose a “life partner” in a matchmaking documentary called “Full Moon Lovers.”
Back in 2018, Maezawa, who founded Japanese online clothing retailer Zozotown, had been named as the first passenger on Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket flight around the moon, which is scheduled to take place in 2023. His original idea was to take several artists on the journey. “They will be asked to create something after they return to Earth. These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer within all of us,” he said, but later changed his plans.
Maezawa had sent out an online invite asking single women over the age of 20 to apply for a “match-making event.” It attracted almost 28,000 applicants, but they’ll be disappointed to learn that the search is now off. The 44-year-old has blamed “personal reasons” for the cancelation of the show.

Despite my genuine and honest determination toward the show, there was a part of me that still had mixed feelings about my participation.
— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) January 30, 2020

“Despite my genuine and honest determination toward the show, there was a part of me that still had mixed feelings about my participation,” he tweeted. “To think that 27,722 women, with earnest intentions and courage, had used their precious time to apply makes me feel extremely remorseful to conclude and inform everyone with this selfish decision of mine.”
Last year, Maezawa used his fortune to gain the world’s most retweeted post. He achieved the feat by promising to give 1 million yen (around $9,180) to 100 randomly selected people who retweeted him. The message ended up being retweeted over 4.6 million times.

ZOZOTOWN新春セールが史上最速で取扱高100億円を先ほど突破!!日頃の感謝を込め、僕個人から100名様に100万円【総額1億円のお年玉】を現金でプレゼントします。応募方法は、僕をフォローいただいた上、このツイートをRTするだけ。受付は1/7まで。当選者には僕から直接DMします! #月に行くならお年玉 pic.twitter.com/cKQfPPbOI3
— Yusaku Maezawa (MZ) 前澤友作 (@yousuck2020) January 5, 2019

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Google, Microsoft, GoCompare, Linkedin, Deliveroo: Meet Tempemail Search Awards 2020 jury- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Tempemail Search Awards returns for 2020, celebrating the most effective search strategies and campaigns over the past 12 months.
Microsoft, GoCompare, Trainline, Yotel, Linkedin, Google, Vaunt, Deliveroo, MediaCom, Amara, Delete Agency and Foxtons are set to judge this year’s crop of entries. The jury will come together with their knowledge and expertise to asses the most innovative, creative and effective search campaigns in both the PPC and SEO sectors.
The deadline for the awards is Thursday 30 January.
Below is a breakdown of six jury members:

Microsoft
Adrian Cutler
director, global agency

Cutler is a regular keynote speaker, award judge and panellist at industry events like Cannes, Adweek, SMX and DMexco. He is an ally and thought leader on inclusion and what this can mean for marketing.

I am looking forward to judging these awards. Tempemail is THE place for what is happening in our industry and what better way than to recognise those that are paving the way forward with innovative and strategic thought. I will be looking for those that are doubling down on excellence, you don’t just have to have done something with shiny new things, innovation can come from delivering the best search experience that drives real value.

GoCompare
Steph Vickers
head of SEO

Vickers looks after the SEO team at GoCompare. Adverse to agencies, she’s been working in-house for over eight years. She’s found her niche, now specialising in SEO and UX content in FinTech and financial services firms.

I’m really looking forward to seeing in-house teams pulling out all the stops on projects that have delivered significant results. I’d love to hear stories of strong multi-disciplinary team working to deliver results outside of the sometimes insular SEO stratosphere. Anything based on impeccable content – not necessarily campaigns though – and I’ll be super excited.

Trainline
Richard Keenan-Heard
head of SEO

Keenan-Heard joined Trainline three years ago from GroupM agency Wavemaker where he spent several years working for brands including Calpol, Johnson’s Baby, Compeed and Michelin before moving to global B2B clients including GE Digital and GE Healthcare. With a background in both technical and content Richard is passionate about helping customers find the information they need quickly.

I’m returning to judging panel for a second year. I’ll be looking for entrants to highlight great uses of data and creative flair that has led to demonstratable business impact.

FluidOne
Dateme Tubotamuno
digital marketing manager

Tubotamuno is a digital marketer, author and conference speaker. He is currently the digital marketing manager at FluidOne. He has implemented organic and paid media campaigns for clients across verticals such as retail, e-commerce, professional services, automobile, telecom, waste management and travel.

We are in a result-driven landscape and search marketing campaigns are expected to have clear objectives and measurable outcomes. I am looking for campaign entries that have utilised data, insight and creativity to achieve these set objectives. A clear and explainable campaign implementation process is valuable. These positive results should be based on causation and not mere correlation.

Linkedin
Elizabeth Knights-Ward
group marketing manager, content marketing, EMEA, LSMS

Knights-Ward leads the content and social team for LinkedIn sales and marketing solutions, EMEA. She brings to the table a rich and innovative background in B2B and tech marketing and specialises in the creation of strategic content, social and event-based marketing.

These awards highlight the very best of the best. Not only do they bring together some of the finest industry talent in a display of unique strategy and campaigns, each category truly sets the benchmarks for success for the future. As a judge, I’m able to see first-hand the innovation taking place on a daily basis and that provides me with a unique opportunity to learn along the way. I’m excited to see the entries. A little tip: I’ll be paying close attention to those who best take their objectives and distil them into a solid, creative strategy that delivers.

Delete
Polly Pospelova
digital marketing director

Pospelova is the Delete agency’s digital marketing director. She works with SEO consultants, PPC managers, content & PR consultants, and technical developers. Polly works on digital strategies and solutions for major brands in sectors including higher education, sport, property, travel and more. She is also a search marketing conference speaker on SEO, page speed and performance and digital marketing.

I’m hoping to see more focus on working smart and leveraging technology to deliver intelligent search solutions that make a real difference to businesses. It would be great to see smart applications of cognitive services APIs to more scenarios, be it for natural language understanding, detecting sentiment, key phrased or named entities or simply helping advertisers make smarter decisions faster.

Deliveroo
Byron Tassoni-Resch
head of SEM

Tassoni-Resch is the head of search engine marketing at Deliveroo and leads the team for all Search, App, Display and Video campaigns. He has been in the industry for over 12 years, his main focus revolves around paid search automation at scale.

I’m really looking forward to reviewing the entries for Tempemail Search Awards. The awards bring out the brightest and best in the industry. This year, I’m going to be on the lookout for companies that have leveraged data & automation to solve unique challenges. Companies who have been able to do that will definitely stand out from the crowd.

Amara
Alina Ghost
SEO manager

Ghost is an ecommerce digital marketing pro who has worked for the likes of Debenhams, Tesco and Carpetright. As podcast host of SEO with Mrs Ghost, she certainly believes that SEO isn’t dead and interviews experts in their field to help her listeners grow their website traffic and revenue.

It’s not about having the biggest budget but about being clever with the money that you have! Therefore, I’m looking forward to seeing good ol’ SEO making an impact on the business targets but innovation and out of the box thinking will no doubt grab my attention.

Make sure you submit your amazing campaigns before Thursday 30 January.

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15 Google Search Features You May Not Know About – Blog – 10 minute

Google is the search tool that powers the internet, or at least a big portion of it. But over the years it has become more than just a search tool. Google is now filled with free features that you can make use of every day. 
Once you get started with our list of the best Google search features, you’ll soon realize that the scope of Google is almost endless. We’ve picked out some of the best features, but Google is constantly adding more features like this, without really ever announcing it.
Either way, these Google search features are undoubtedly going to add some convenience to your life or at least bring a bit of fun to you.
Check The Weather

Simply type weather into a Google search and you’ll get an 8-day weather report of your current location. You can see the expected temperatures, precipitation, weather patterns, humidity, and wind. 
If you have a trip planned, you can also search weather location to find the weather report for your destination. For example, a search term for ‘weather Los Angeles’ will return results for weather in LA.

You cannot search for weather results for more than 7 days, but you can type a specific month to find the average weather expectancy for that month. For example, ‘weather Los Angeles December’ will show you the average temperature and days of rainfall for December in past years.
Roll a Dice 

Type Roll Dice into Google and press search to get an advanced dice rolling tool. You are given the tools to add as many dice to your roll as possible, as well as 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20 sided dice. You can also add a value directly to your dice roll and when you press the roll button you’ll see the overall value immediately.
Calculate Arithmetic

Google Search also backs up as a calculator. Type your calculation directly into the search bar to get a quick confirmation. In many browsers, the results will be shown directly in the search bar so you won’t even need to press search.

If you want a more advanced calculator, search for calculator in Google and a tool with more features will appear. You can use functions and even create graphs with this calculator.
Convert any Units of Measurement

Need to know how many centimeters are in an inch? Or what about the conversion for pounds and kilograms? Or maybe you want to know exactly how many ml is in a cup of water. Simply type your unit and amount, followed by ‘in converted value’. For example, 1 cup in ml will return a result for how many milliliters are in one US cup.
This Google search feature works for any units used for temperature, area, length, volume, time, fuel consumption, speed, mass, and digital storage.
Pick Colors and Translate Color Codes

Whether you’re looking for the hex code for a specific color, or want to be able to convert hex into RGB, HMYK, HSV, or HSL, simply search for color picker in Google and a color picker tool will appear.
You can click and drag on the picker to choose a color, or type any color code you have and all codes will be updated automatically for you to copy.
Create a Metronome at Any Beat

Google will let you create a metronome at any beat you select. All you must do is search Google for metronome, select your beats per minute, and then press play.
Quick Meditation

Need to take a moment to breathe and destress? Type breathing exercise into Google and click search. You’ll be given a 1 minute breathing exercise to follow.
Click play and the on-screen prompts will tell you when to breathe in and when to breathe out. Perhaps not as in-depth as meditation apps, but it’ll be enough to help you take a quick breather.
Search Royalty Free and Creative Commons Images

If you want to find images you can use and edit for your own commercial use, go to Google Images and make a search for an image. Next, click Tools and then click Usage Rights. Select an option that suits you and Google will return relevant results with the right licenses.
Play Games

You can now find games to play directly within Google search results. The easiest way to get this feature to work is to search play snake. An in-search game of snake will be available for you to play immediately. 
However, you can also click the drop-down arrow underneath Snake to find other games such as PAC-MAN, Tic Tac Toe, Solitaire, and Minesweeper. Of course, you can always use Google to search for other online games too.
Quickly Work Out Waiter Tips

If you’re in a panic to calculate a tip for your waiter, search tip calculator on Google and a calculator will return. You can enter your bill total and then enter the percentage you’d like to tip.

If you want to split the tip between a group, you can also add more people and the calculator will tell you the amount needed per person.
Convert Currency and Track Rates

You can convert any currency value by typing your current value in your current currency, followed by another currency. For example 10 USD GBP will return a calculation for the current conversion for 10 US Dollars to Great British Pounds. Please note that this information is based on Morningstar and does not reflect the rates your bank may offer.
You can also see history up to 5 years for any two currencies, and even search for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Start a Timer

Search for start timer and you’ll be given a Google search feature that can create a timer or a stopwatch. With the timer, you can set your own time and a sound will play once the timer hits zero.
Find the Time of Sunset or Sunrise in Your Area

Want to find the time that the sun rises or sets in your area? Simply search for sunset time or sunrise time. You can also search for specific locations. For example, sunset time Singapore will tell you the expected time of sunset in Singapore. 
Find Movies, Shows, and Songs Like your Favorites

Want to find a movie, TV show, or song like your favorites? Simply type songs/shows/movies like batman into Google and you’ll get relevant results. Replace Batman with whatever song, show, or movie you like.
Find Travel and Distance Information

Want to know how to get from point A to point B? Type location A to location B and Google will tell you the best way to get there, how to get there, and how long it will take. Google uses a variety of factors including public transport information and Google maps data to create a detailed travel path.

If you’re using this Google search feature for mere curiosity, try this – distance between location A and Location B and Google will tell you how many miles or kilometers are between two points of the Earth.

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Google promises to ‘experiment’ with Search results following ad backlash – Blog – 10 minute

In context: Google recently rolled out some controversial changes to Search for desktop platforms. Specifically, the company adjusted the way it displays sponsored Search results. Whereas before it was reasonably easy for a savvy user to pick out from normal results, the latest changes have made paid and organic results almost impossible for a casual observer to differentiate.
Instead of ads alone having a small icon to help them stand out, all websites now have these “favicons” next to their search results. Google claims the decision was made to put a site’s branding front and center, but there’s reason to doubt that motivation.
Previous studies already suggested that up to 40-60 percent of Search users are “unaware of or unable to distinguish ads from organic search results.” This new change could only have increased that number, or at least made it more consistent. That’s good news for Google as it means a higher ad click-through rate, but for users who appreciate transparency, the changes are less than ideal.

Last week we updated the look of Search on desktop to mirror what’s been on mobile for months. We’ve heard your feedback about the update. We always want to make Search better, so we’re going to experiment with new placements for favicons….
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) January 24, 2020

Fortunately for them, Google seems to have taken their feedback on board — sort of. In a series of Tweets published today, the company announced that it will be “experimenting” with favicon placements for Search results over the coming weeks. Some users might not see favicons at all, while others will see them in different areas.
Hopefully, Google only makes these changes to favicon placement for normal Search results. If it applies the tweaks to all results, ads included, then we’ll likely find ourselves back in the same situation we’re in now.
Masthead credit: TechCrunch

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Google updated look of search results makes ads less obvious – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? Google changed the way search results look on mobile devices last year, making it easier to identify brands while making ads a little less obvious. Now those changes are being rolled out on desktop, but not everyone likes the new look.
You may not have noticed, but Google has been busy updating the look of search results, first on mobile devices and recently started rolling out those changes to desktop users as well.
The company has added tiny “favicons” into its search results and rearranged blue text links in a way that makes it easier to blend together ads and organic search results. Of course, that also makes it more likely for a user to click on an ad, as evident from studies made by Varn and SearchEngineLand. This has invited some criticism, with people speculating that this is simply a clever tactic to avoid being hit with another fine by the EU for “abusive” online advertising practices.
To be fair, Google does mark paid search results with an “Ad” favicon, but that doesn’t mean users looking for relevant results will always be able to tell the difference at a glance. Studies made over the last eight years by Pew Internet and university researchers show that as many as 40 to 60 percent of users are “unaware of or unable to distinguish ads from organic search results.”
The company announced the subtle changes via a tweet earlier this month, and explained the new format “puts a site’s brand front and center,” while giving users an easy way to scan search results cards and decide if they want to explore any further.
Critics point out to a 2016 tweet that shows the progression of Google ad labelling changes over the years, starting with shaded backgrounds and ending with the green “Ad” label in the header of search results. This has resulted in a cleaner, flattened look that doesn’t have distracting elements, which looks very good on mobile. On the desktop, however, the favicons are relatively small and easy to ignore when sifting through the search results.
Understandably, these changes won’t bode well with everyone, but advertising is Google’s core revenue stream, so it’s trying to strike a visual balance between organic and paid search results.
The company has also been working on prioritizing original content and diversity in search results, both of which are welcomed changes.

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In search of its 2040 customer, Steinway turns to influencers and WeChat- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Steinway & Sons can no longer rely on its products to do the talking. As brand recognition levels slip, the piano maker is looking to strike a chord with a younger generation by investing in influencer marketing and platforms such as WeChat.
Steinway & Sons, piano-maker to everyone from Rachmaninov to Randy Newman, lives with a blessing and curse: it’s really old.
At the age of 166 the brand is revered. This reliable classic brand constantly appearing as a lacquered logo on stage, in recording studios and in Hollywood movies. And with prices that spiral up to $2.5m for one instrument, it certainly falls into the bracket of luxury. But it’s also a niche brand.
And this wouldn’t be a problem, explained senior director of marketing, Anthony Gilroy, had that always been the case.
“In the 1920s, Steinway was a household name and its owners were celebrities,” he said. “Everyone had a piano in their home and they aspired to own a Steinway. But today, at least in [the US], a piano isn’t in every home anymore. That creates a challenge for us.”
Its once-grand brand awareness has diminished. In studies, Steinway learned that recognition dropped in correlation with age. Consumers in their 50s and 60s – alive before TVs replaced pianos – knew the brand best, while those in their 20s knew it least.
Steinway’s sales managers can live with this trend; the prohibitive cost of its products mean most people don’t buy from the company until they’re in their 50s.
But Gilroy’s job is one of futurepoofing. As he puts it: “In 20 years from now, we don’t want to be saying: ‘Where have all our customers gone?’ And we don’t want that to be because Steinway – as a brand name – has disappeared from the mainstream.”
The brand shifted away from traditional media buys more than a decade ago. Since then it’s mainly been funneling spend into search and Facebook advertising in order to precisely target potential customers.
But in the last year, Gilroy has invested more in brand, eager to get the Steinway name back into the vernacular of his 2040 customer. And like many marketers, he’s now using influencers as a vehicle.
“Once upon a time, we would have done a lot of print advertising,” said Gilroy. “Now, that money is spent on things like … influencers, and having a PR agency. We definitely see the benefit in third party coverage and third-party endorsement of our business.”

Steinway’s roster of influencers has, so far, been pooled from the classical music industry. Deals have been struck with the likes of Tiffany Poon, a 23-year-old Hong Kong-born pianist, and the so-called Lord Vinheteiro, a more eccentric YouTube musician who publishes videos such as ‘The best 8-bit music played in the synthesizer!’
Recently, however, Steinway has begun working with more mainstream, luxury influencers, rather than those that come with a ready-made audience of pianists and the piano-curious. A deal inked with Rosewood Hotels saw the fashion influencer Jessica Wang travel to the Steinway factory in Astoria, where she posed for her followers atop the brand’s most expensive piano.
‘Pictures at an Exhibition’, a Model D concert grand piano hand-painted by the artist Paul Wyse, is housed in the factory’s Vault – a VIP area where the company’s most exclusive pianos are kept. Gilroy is earmarking the room as a big draw for media and influencer opportunities in 2020 and beyond.
“It’s not necessarily for serious pianists ,” said Gilroy. “They might not be pianists at all. They might be collectors. They might be wealthy people who want something very nice for an important room in their house.
“Someone like Jessica makes a lot of sense for [that audience]. It’s about getting other people talking about it and making it feel… like an aspiration.”
Steinway can also tap into the audience of the enormous number of established musicians it counts as brand partners. A number, such as Madonna’s current pianist Ric’key Pageot, blur the boundaries between influencer and celebrity, while others, such as the virtuoso Lang Lang, evoke the stardom of mid-century US pianists in China specifically.
Like any luxury heritage brand, Steinway is finding the Chinese market to be critical to its commercial success. So Gilroy, who has witnessed the influx of wealthy, China-born consumers buying pianos in North America, has adapted his media plan to capitalize on the trend.
His team recently launched a WeChat channel in the US, which is run by Chinese-speaking consultants and aimed at this newer, often younger audience that has a penchant for brand new Steinways.
“The consultants are coming up with new material that’s so good we’ve taken some of what they’ve done, translated it and used it on the English platforms,” said Gilroy. “They’re focusing on the factory, musicians … and our history.
“Their intent is to get leads for a sales event, but we also know that people are the same no matter where you go: if you’re going to hit them with sales message after sales message, they’re going to stop paying attention. So, we mix it up and try not to be about all sales.”
Gilroy is unlikely to see much payoff from this strategy in the immediate future; he might even be waiting decades before Steinway’s investments in this younger demographic bring in a return. Most marketers would bank on having exited the business long before then.
But Gilroy’s already made it 10 years as lead marketer. And while that’s impressive in a time when high-profile chief marketers last just 11 months in a job, at Steinway it’s nothing impressive at all.
“[In the factory] they measure their time in decades,” he said. “People have been working there for 30 years, 40 years.”
If Steinway can apply the same approach to staff retention at the exec level, and buck the months-long CMO tenure trend in the industry, Gilroy may be around to not only witness his long game play out, but learn from the results, too.

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Installing or updating Office 365 will quietly set Chrome default search to Bing – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Chrome users will soon have flashbacks to the days of the Ask Toolbar, as Microsoft is adapting the Office 365 installer to automatically install the Bing extension and change the default search engine for people using the company’s productivity suite.
The Redmond giant isn’t just busy moving as many customers as possible to the latest version of Windows 10. According to a new report from Thurrott, one of the company’s next moves will apparently involve hijacking the default search engine in Google’s Chrome browser for people who install Office 365 ProPlus.
This was spotted inside a Microsoft support document, which says that “Starting with Version 2002 of Office 365 ProPlus, an extension for Microsoft Search in Bing will be installed that makes Bing the default search engine for the Google Chrome web browser.” And that will also happen every time you update an existing installation of Office 365, unless you already have the Bing extension already installed on your PC.
Microsoft explains that this is mostly intended to give business users an easy way to take advantage of Microsoft Search if they happen to be users of Google Chrome. And that’s because Microsoft has had to reinvent its Edge browser to win back users, most of which have moved on to Chrome and Firefox over the years. Speaking of which, Microsoft plans to treat Firefox users to the same extension and search engine changes in the coming months.

However, people quickly took to Reddit, Twitter, and GitHub to complain about the move. While many believe they would tolerate Microsoft installing the extension, system administrators in particular don’t agree to the company switching the default search engine to Bing. They argue the feature should be optional, as it could confuse users and create a lot of ruckus for IT departments in large organizations.
In any case, Microsoft expected some backlash and included some suggestions in the support documentation on how administrators can exclude the extension from being installed through Group Policy or the Office Deployment Tool.
There’s a lot of speculation out there as to why Microsoft is doing all this, but it’s not a secret that in terms of usage, Bing is a distant second to Google, dwelling in the single digits region. And since Bing lost the bid for Google’s “choice screen” on Android in the EU to DuckDuckGo, it’s unlikely the situation would change anytime soon. Bing’s only remaining funnels for users are Microsoft Edge and Cortana, both of which are not very popular with users.
Microsoft says it will initially roll out these changes sometime in February for users in the US, Canada, India, France, Germany, and the UK. By the time this hits more regions, Firefox users will experience the same changes when installing or updating Office 365.

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