Abstractions Pittsburgh

30 August, 2016

The O2DCA Development team was lucky enough to score some tickets to the first-ever Abstractions conference in downtown Pittsburgh earlier this month. It was the first event of it's kind here in Pittsburgh; bringing together designers, developers, project managers, security analysts, infrastructure specialists, and more into one 3-day event. At any one time there were 3-5 talks going on simultaneously, and our team split up to soak in as much as possible.

Rooftop Outdoor Lounge at Abstractions
A Talk at Abstractions 2016

We saw talks from Mark Sherman, Bradley Holt, Phil Dougherty, Richard Stallman, Brad Frost, and more that covered issues ranging from "Risks in the Software Supply Chain" to "Creating Conversational Interfaces" - as well getting to play with some real-life demonstrations. All-in-all it was a great three days where we were able to increase our breadth of knowledge, socialize with industry leaders, and sharpen our skills.

Another Speaker at Abstractions 2016
The mezzanine in between talks

I personally want to thank the event coordinators and Pittsburgh's Code & Supply Co for organizing such an impactful event here in our local tech community. The team and myself look forward to integrating what we've learned into upcoming projects, and creating even better, more efficient solutions.

Google Removes 'Mobile Friendly' Tag, and Introduces new Abusive Pop-Ups Detection

24 August, 2016

Google Announced Yesterday two important changes to it's mobile ranking algorithm. The first piece being that the 'Mobile-friendly' label will be removed from search results on mobile devices. Their logic being that over 85% of sites returned in their results are now mobile-friendly, and removing this de-clutters the interface. Keep in mind, however, that this 'mobile-friendly' flag will still be used in determining your sites ranking in returned results. You can still measure your site's mobile performance in your Google Webmaster Tools.

Example of the Mobile-Friendly Label

The second announcement, and arguably the more important of the two, is that Google will begin penalizing mobile sites that use intrusive interstitials on January 10th 2017. What is an 'interstitials' you ask? According to Wikipedia, an Interstital is:

"A page displayed before or after expected content on the page"

Google expands this to include pop-advertisements, a well as a number of other intrusive 'alerts' you most likely have encountered while browsing the web from your phone. You can find examples of acceptable and unacceptable interstitials on Google's blog post if you would like to know more. If your site uses any of the techniques outlined, you have until the end of the year to correct the problem, or face being potentially ranked lower in search results returning your site or it's sub-pages.

Google's New 'Time Spent Here' Feature

02 August, 2016

Whether you've noticed or not - at the end of July - Google silently added a new feature to Google Business Listings returned in search results: 'typical time spent here'. If you haven't noticed it yet it could be due to the fact that currently this feature is only available on mobile search results, and is not displayed on results found through a desktop browser. See below for a screen shot of the same search result on both Safari for iOs and Firefox on a laptop:

Search Result on Desktop
Search Result on Mobile

The 'People typically Spend' information will show you either a specific time, like example above, or a time range, such as "30 min - 45 min". In our experimentation it does not seem to be displayed for all search results, but only popular locations such as chains and often visited shops. This is most likely due to the lack of data on the less-visited locations.

We are safe to assume this information is taken from Android's location services, and location history, which is opt-out; meaning that a stock Android phone is tracking everywhere you go, and how long you stay there. Not interested in that? LifeHacker has a good article on how to turn off and clear your history: http://lifehacker.com/psa-your-phone-logs-everywhere-you-go-heres-how-to-t-1486085759.

I would expect this feature to roll out for Desktop browsers sometime soon, but in the meantime - I wonder if knowing how long someone typically spends a location is valuable enough information for me to ask that myself, and strangers, allow a company to track and aggregate where and how I spend my time...

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