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Gmail getting a smarter Inbox feature

Google’s new Priority Inbox feature not only sorts your inbox, but it also figures out what’s important based on what messages you reply to and read.

Gmail has one of the best spam filters around, but your email isn’t made up of only good and bad email. After the spam is filtered out, you end up with mail you want or need to respond to, in varying degrees, as well as the email in between spam and a real message, such as advertisements and newsletters you’ve signed up for.

It watches how you interact with certain types of messages and senders, then shows you what’s most important based on that information. If something doesn’t look right or Gmail makes a blatant mistake, you can adjust message priority to make it work better for you. Also, if you don’t want to deal with an important message right away, starring it will preserve it for later.

Priority Inbox is in beta and should be rolling out over the next week or so. When you see New! Priority Inbox in the top right corner of your inbox you’ll be able to try it out.

adapted via lifehacker.com

  • 08/31/2010
  • IT

Searching for “Virus Removal” Tools Can Lead to an Even Worse Outcome

Many people tend to trust well known companies such as Google and Yahoo, but sometimes these search companies serve up some troubling links in their search results. There are many people who use these search sites to find out information about how to remove viruses, etc., but if a user types in “Security Tool Removal,” they are served up dangerous links that go to malicious websites. These websites can create even more of a security risk without the user even knowing.

All links in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) that are marked red indicate that these sites are dangerous. The red indicator is from the WOT (Web of Trust) Firefox and Internet Explorer add-on. The WOT add-on shows you which websites you can trust for safe surfing, shopping and searching on the web.

When searching “Security Tool Removal” look at how many dangerous websites are marked red. The chances of someone clicking on one of those dangerous links are pretty good.

I encourage and recommend that you download the WOT add-on for Firefox and or Internet Explorer so that you know what links are marked dangerous preventing you from clicking on links that go to malicious websites.

Download the WOT plugin

  • 08/13/2010
  • IT

Ways to Block Pop Ups

Pop ups and other intrusive types of advertising are now used to thrust an ad in your face that you have no choice but to at least acknowledge. Regardless of the nature of the ad, pop ups are a nuisance, and there are now many options available for keeping them off of your computer screen all together.

1. Internet Explorer 8 (Windows Users)
The pop up blocker is integrated into the browser and can be customized by browsing to the “Tools” tab at the top of the program. Like many pop up blocker applications, personal preferences can be set to allow/block pop ups from certain sites, as well as providing customization for how the user is alerted to the fact that a pop up has been blocked.

2. Other Web Browsers (Windows, Linux, and Mac users)
There are other choices for web browsers available, and many have included a pop up blocker long before Microsoft decided to include one with Internet Explorer. Since Mozilla Firefox browser was officially released on November 9th it has included a pop up blocker. Also, check out Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

3. Browser Tool Bars
Many  toolbars offer unique features intended to enhance the user’s web browsing experience in different ways, but they generally also include a pop up blocker. Although there are toolbars available from dozens of websites, Google and Yahoo are the two best available. The installation of these toolbars is quick and easy, and the most difficult part may be reading the fine print in the license agreements. Although these toolbars may do an excellent job blocking pop ups, they may also be retrieving data on your web surfing / search habits. If you feel a toolbar may be the right solution for you, stick with one from a trusted name, and just be sure to read the fine print. By the way we prefer the Google Toolbar.

4. Pop Up Blocker Software
Stand alone pop up blocking software is available from hundreds of different sources. With various interfaces, and prices ranging from free to $30 (and higher). The main drawback to this type of pop up blocking solution is that you now have another independent application running on your computer. Although they are generally not resource intensive, why run a program to do something that can be handled by one that is already running anyway? Additionally, with so many reliable solutions available to eliminate pop ups for free, spending money on one is hard to justify. We suggest you pick from options 1,2, or 3 above.

Final Words
Pop ups are a fact of life on the internet, but that does not mean you need to put up with them. Among the general solutions presented above, there are literally hundreds of options available for eliminating the clutter of pop up ads, allowing you to enjoy only the content you intended to see.

  • 08/09/2010
  • IT

Google reveals new look

Google unveiled its redesigned search pages this week, a response to “the increasing power of search”.

The most obvious changes focus on the left-hand side panel of the site, which will now change displaying relevant information to what you are searching for.

This panel also makes it easier to drill into the search. When you enter your search in, you will automatically get all information about that subject but if you want just Images, Maps or News, then you just change the options on the left-hand side.

This stops you from having to switch between pages if, say, you choose the Images tab at the top of Google.

Other changes include the streamlining of some options and slight tweaks to the site’s color and the look of the Google logo.

“The new design refreshes and streamlines the look, feel and functionality of Google, making it easier to pinpoint what you’re looking for,” says Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience, in a blog post.

“It’s powerful, yet simple. Today’s changes are the latest in our continuing efforts to evolve and improve Google.”

If you want to learn more about Google’s changes, watch the video below:

via Google Blog

Fake anti-virus software

Fake anti-virus software that infect PCs with malicious code are a growing threat, according to a study by Google. Its analysis of 240m web pages over 13 months showed that fake anti-virus programs accounted for 15% of all malicious software.

Scammers trick people into downloading programs by convincing them that their PC is infected with a virus. Once installed, the software may steal data or force people to make a payment to register the fake product.

Surprisingly, many users fall victim to these attacks and pay to register the fake anti-virus software. To add insult to injury, fake anti-viruses often are bundled with other malware, which remains on a victim’s computer regardless of whether a payment is made.

You should “always be suspicious” if they were confronted with a pop-up telling them you need to download something extra or spend money to clean up a computer.

The study, analyzed websites between January 2009 and February 2010. It discovered more than 11,000 web domains involved in its distribution of fake anti-virus. More than half of the fake software – which predominately targets Windows machines – was delivered via adverts, Google said.

One of the key ways that hackers spread fake anti-virus was so-called black hat search engine optimization techniques. The hackers track trending news stories – such as the death of Michael Jackson. They then create websites stuffed with content, which in many cases can appear on the first page of search results. Anyone clicking on the link, will be confronted with a pop-up with a link to fake anti-virus software.

Google uses tools to filter out booby-trapped websites, but hackers manage to avoid detection by moving between domains quickly.

Bottom line: If you already have anti-virus installed you shouldn’t need to do that!

If you need assistance or have questions please contact BWS Technologies

Google Study PDF via PCWorld

  • 04/30/2010
  • IT

10 Tips To Search Google Better

Just guess, you probably use Google many times a day. But, like most people, you probably still use Google in its simplest form. The list is by no means comprehensive. But, by learning and using the 10 tips below, you’ll be able to get better results faster. The search tips are intentionally short as you will more than likely learn more simply by trying these tips yourself. I suggest you bookmark this article, then they will be on hand during a desperate attempt to find something..

1. Search explicitly for a phrase:
Enclose the search phrase within double quotes.
Example: “internet marketing”

2. Exclude any results that contain a term:
Use the “-” sign in front of the word you want to exclude.
Example Search: internet marketing -advertising

3. Search within a site:
Even if the site doesn’t support a built-in search feature, you can use Google to search the site for your term.
Use the “site:somesite.com” modifier.
Example: “internet marketing” site:www.smallbusinesshub.com

4. Search Similar Words & Synonyms:
Let’s say you are want to include a word in your search, but want to include results that contain similar words or synonyms.
Use the “~” in front of the word.
Example: “internet marketing” ~professional

5. Search By Document Types:
Use the modifier “filetype:”.
Example: “internet marketing” filetype:ppt

6. Get search results for one or more terms: 
By default, Google will include all the terms specified in the search. If you are looking for any one of one or more terms to match.
Use the OR operator. (Note: The OR has to be capitalized).
Example: internet marketing OR advertising

7. Lookup Phone Listing:
If all you have is a phone number, you can look it up.
Use the “phonebook:” command.
Example: phonebook:617-555-1212 (note: the provided number does not work – you’ll have to use a real number to get any results).

8. Lookup Area Code:
Just enter the 3-digit area code.
Example: 617

9. Calculate it:
Just type your expression in to Google.
Example: 48512 * 1.02

10. Find a Definition:
Simply use the “define:” command.
Example: define:plethora

Another reason to get on the map!

Is your business on the map? Millions of people look for businesses on Google Maps every day, and an increasing number of users are turning to their mobile devices to make real time location-based decisions. Last week, the Google Maps team launched a server-side change that makes it easier to get directions to businesses. A user can now get directions to restaurants, stores, and other points of interest by entering their names in the start or end point.