Google’s Logo Undergoes a Major Digital Facelift for the First Time in Years

If you’ve used Google recently — oh, let’s be honest, everyone in the U.S. who uses the internet is probably using Google every single day — you noticed that the new Google doodle is oddly simple and not very creative. And then you realized that it isn’t a Google doodle, but instead, the new Google logo.

The company announced on September 1 that it would be releasing a new logo design, and the design is what Forbes described as a more modern representation of the company’s importance in the digital age.

The logo was revealed just a couple weeks after the company announced that Google would be headed by a new parent company, Alphabet, and the font in the new logo certainly looks like the font you’d find in a child’s first learn-to-read book.

Google made a very small change in its logo’s design last year, Business Insider reported, which was such a minuscule change in the position of the second “g” and subsequent “l” that the difference was virtually undetectable. In fact, you probably didn’t even know that the logo had changed until just now, and to be fair, no one seems to know — even now — why the change was made at all.

The new logo change is much more obvious, as is the purpose behind it. The sans-serif font presents a friendlier picture of the company, but even more importantly, the font is better optimized to adjust to mobile device screens.

Even though approximately 19,000 new apps hit the App Store each month, a surprising amount of mobile device users still prefer to use mobile websites even when an app provides the same features and is free to download, as Google’s app is.

The company explained in a corresponding blog post that the new logo is the result of extensive testing and engineering, and is hopefully more representative of how Google will thrive in the mobile-focused future of online searches.

“Since its inception, the homepage has been strikingly simple: The quirky, multicolored logo sits above a single, approachable input field on a clean white canvas,” the company’s blog stated. “Users now engage with Google using a constellation of devices, and our brand should express the same simplicity and delight they expect from our homepage, while fully embracing the opportunities offered by each new device and surface.”

New Non-Invasive Treatment Offers Hope to Women with Uterine Fibroids

A diagnosis of uterine fibroids can be a harrowing experience for any woman, given that a hysterectomy may be the only way to treat them. However, a hospital in Georgia is offering an alternative to local women that will change their lives for the better.

According to the Times-Herald, Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Newnan, Georgia, is now offering Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, to women who suffer from uterine fibroids. The treatment is non-invasive — and that is great news for women suffering from the troubling ailment.

Fawzi Mohammad, M.D., is one of the doctors offering the service, and he expounds the tremendous benefits of the new procedure.

“UFE is a great alternative to surgery and we are proud to offer women with fibroids the ability to have all their care, from the initial consultation, to the procedure, to the follow-up visit done locally,” said Dr. Mohammad.

Removal of the uterus, known as a hysterectomy, has long been the most common surgical procedure used to treat uterine fibroids. With this amazing advancements in treatment, women are given a second chance to avoid invasive surgery.

The Jamaica Observer reports that the treatment may not be the right option for every woman, and Dr. Daryl Daley of Gynae Associates stresses the importance of making sure you seek the treatment that is right for you.

“Definitive treatment is dependent on the patient’s age, future fertility desires, the number and the size of the fibroids and the symptoms present,” explained Dr. Daley.

While UFE may not be the answer for every women suffering from uterine fibroids, it certainly helps millions breathe a sigh of relief. Uterine fibroid treatments have come a long way, and these non-invasive treatments are offering long-term solutions to women in need.

The Times-Herald goes on to mention that a recent study showed that about 80% of women who underwent a UFE procedure experienced total relief of symptoms and recurrence of treated fibroids was extremely rare.

These non-invasive treatments will only continue to improve, which is great news for the almost 50% of women who experience uterine fibroids at some point in their life. Hopefully, in the future, hysterectomies will become a thing of the past.

Google’s ‘Alphabet’ Announcement Leaves Rural Small Business in the Dust

Contrary to widespread belief, Google is not just a search engine. Rather, it is a powerful advertising tool, utilized by millions of businesses across the globe to help increase traffic and awareness, and ultimately, sales.

For small businesses, Google’s belief in web democracy is especially important. There are approximately 27 million small businesses, and they account for up to 80% of all jobs in the United States. Using Adwords and Google analytics, these businesses gain leverage against big competitors, and develop the online visibility and traffic necessary to keep their businesses thriving.

However, despite Google’s insistence on web democracy, their recent announcement regarding “Alphabet,” the new parent company that will oversee not only the search giant but also its experimental projects like Google Glass and self-driving cars, is severely affecting the online traffic for a small business in rural Pennsylvania.

Alphabet Signs is a sign manufacturer and distributor with humble beginnings.

The company began out of the back of owner and operator Daniel Keane’s car. Today, all of the company’s business is achieved through its website.

Since Google’s announcement, the company has seen a 30% decrease in website traffic.

“At this point, our overall search traffic is down around 30 percent total,” Keane told Huffington Post. “We’re a mid-size sign shop in Pennsylvania, and online is our bread and butter.”

Since the announcement, the statistics haven’t seemed to improve in Keane’s favor. He is, however, remaining proactive about the situation.

“Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it but restrategize,” said Keane.

As part of his new strategy, the sign store owner has started using negative keywords in order to gain web traffic while not having to spend money on keywords that have seen a spike in price such as “Alphabet” (we’re looking at you, Google!).

For small business owners, the fate of Alphabet Signs serves as a cautionary tale. As Google Analytics constantly changes, it’s important to stay on top of Adwords and online traffic.

As for Alphabet Signs? They may have lost their ranking for “Alphabet” but at least this news coverage is making up for it in traffic!

This $32 Device Can Open Virtually Any Garage Door

Many of us rely on the convenience of wireless garage door openers and car remote controls almost every day. There’s no better feeling than being able to open your car or garage from several feet away with the simple press of a button.

However, these same wireless controls may be giving hackers and burglars an easy way into our homes and cars.

Samy Kamkar, the security researcher who in June discovered a way to hack into garage door openers with a children’s toy, recently built a $32 device capable of intercepting and stealing the wireless codes responsible for opening keyless garages and car doors.

According to an August 10 Gizmodo article, Kamkar’s RollJam device works not through code-cracking or decryption, but through deception.

When placed in the vicinity of the targeted home or car, the RollJam — a tiny, easily-hidden gadget — mysteriously prevents the victim from unlocking the garage or car door on the first attempt. On the second try, the victim is able to successfully unlock the garage or car door, but only because the RollJam is sending the code it captured to the door. Once the device has this code, the RollJam can open that door at any time in the future.

Because the RollJam can be left running for days, hackers would be able to steal the security codes of our car and garage doors with stunning convenience and ease. The ease with which hackers can gain entrance to garages is troubling, especially when about 82% of homes in the U.S. have a two-car garage or larger — and nearly everyone these days drives a car with a remote-controlled lock system.

Kamkar said that his device can break into “Nissan, Cadillac, Ford, Toyota, Lotus, Volkswagen, and Chrysler vehicles, as well as Cobra and Viper alarm systems and Genie and Liftmaster garage door openers,” and that he “estimates that millions of vehicles and garage doors may be vulnerable.”

To make cars and garage doors more secure, Kamkar explained, manufacturers will need to develop car door and garage door openers whose codes time out after a short period of time. The security of our homes and vehicles depends on it, he said.

Google Appears to Be Heading Into Home Services Market

The next time you have a plumbing problem, could you be turning to Google to fix it?

In one sense, you probably already do, using the search engine to find prospective plumbing companies. You type in “trenchless sewer repair,” and back come millions of results either explaining your options or telling you where to get services.

But the fact that Google just hired the engineering team of the soon-to-close startup Homejoy has industry experts speculating that Google may soon be going one step further by offering referrals to plumbers, electricians, house cleaners and more. So when you face a saturated market (trenchless plumbing, for example, is quickly growing, capturing about half of the $3.4 billion sewer rehabilitation industry and an eighth of the $1.5 billion water line repair industry), you might get more guidance than just lists of websites containing the keywords you’ve searched.

Homejoy, which allowed users to book home services online, had amassed nearly $40 million in funding, but announced July 17 that it would be going defunct July 31 in the wake of several lawsuits regarding hiring workers as contractors, rather than as employees. But its offerings were popular, even in the crowded home services market.

Google has declined to comment on the matter except for confirming that it has hired “a portion” of Homejoy’s staff.

Experts are speculating that referrals would be embedded into results, rather than sending searchers to third-party sites.

Dan Ackerman, senior editor for CNET, told CBS News that the move could be a smart one for Google, pulling in a wide range of consumers. “I think it’s much more of a bread and butter issue than let’s say inventing virtual reality glasses to just kind of give people referrals to local contractors in their neighborhood,” he explained. “If you go on Google Now and you search for restaurants or anything on Google Maps, you can often get a lot of that information pulled right into Google. You don’t have to leave the site, and it’s sort of the same thing.”

Given that the change probably wouldn’t generate a lot of revenue, the goal would presumably be to keep users within the so-called Googlesphere, shoring up Google’s ability to act as a one-stop-shop in the face of competition from other sites such as Amazon.

China Desperate To Cure Internet Addicted Teenagers

Americans might complain that we’re “addicted” to our smartphones or hooked on electronics, but in China the term “Internet addiction” has an entirely different connotation.

So far, China is the only country to treat Internet addiction as a bona fide psychological disorder that requires intensive rehabilitation. On July 13, a documentary exploring Chinese Internet addicts will premiere on PBS. “Web Junkie” explores an Internet addiction rehab facility south of Beijing. Israeli filmmakers Shosh Shlam and Hila Medalia were nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2014 for their exploration of the facility, one of 400 such clinics in China.

Nicki is a 16-year-old Chinese teenager and patient, who was lured to the facility by his parents (they told him they were going skiing). According to “Web Junkie,” Nicki played the popular online fantasy game “World of Warcraft” for 10 hours every day. Patients like Nicki attend these military boot camp style rehabs, where they receive medication, therapy, and an intense exercise regimen.

Although Chinese officials call Internet addiction “electronic heroin,” not everyone is convinced it represents a real disorder. In the U.S., the authoritative (and sometimes controversial) “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” only notes that “Internet Addiction Disorder” requires additional research.

But no one disputes that consumers, especially Millennials and teens, are using the Web more and more. By 2013, 63% of adult cell phone users went online with their smartphones regularly, and mobile advertising revenue is expected to triple in size by next year as consumers spend more time surfing the Web with smartphones.

In Israel, for instance, kids between the ages of 11 and 15 spend at least four hours online each day. In China, there have been reports of teenagers who wear diapers to avoid losing any time “away from keyboard” while gaming. It’s worth noting that the U.S. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” does list gambling as a legitimate addiction — and U.S. gamblers have also been known to wear diapers at the card table.

Louisiana State University Unveils New Homepage

Louisiana State University (LSU) unveiled its new website on Monday that accomodates mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.

The Daily Reveille reports that making the site accessible for mobile and tablet devices was the main reason for the update. It has been four years since the website underwent major changes.

“The previous version of the website wasn’t responsive to multiple devices, so with more people accessing the web with mobile devices, it was important to have a site that was dynamic and provided a custom experience,” said Ernie Ballard, LSU’s Director of Media Relations.

In order to make the website mobile-friendly, the university used Bootstrap, a framework that develops mobile versions of websites.

The new website is grid-based, meaning that it will automatically adjust its size to the device it’s accessed on. Integrated video content and social media features have been included to meet up with the latest trends. The website’s new design primarily focuses on prospective students.

The website was developed by the LSU Office of Communications and University Relations as well as by Information Technology Services. In development since 2013, the homepage started off with several proposed designs and group studies. It also used a different content management system, switching to the vendor Rhythmyx from its previous one, OmniUpdate.

“It’s just a way that a web user, so any department or the main university, that is updating the website,” Ballard said.

The domain contains approximately 109,000 webpages and 425 subsites. Although the site is up and running, Vice President for Strategic Communications Linda Bonnin said that it will take at least another year until all the pages from the old system are transferred to the new.

University officials hope that the new webpage will be faster in loading, particularly since 40% of Internet users will abandon a page if it take more than three seconds to load.

Osage to Repair Its Sewer System Using Trenchless Pipe Replacement

Last month, city officials in Osage, Iowa approved of a plan to repair thousands of feet of sewer lines over a series of stages.

The Globe Gazelle reports that the city will be going forward with a plan to repair the pipes, after months of investigation into the sewer system. Starting in 2016, the city will replace the existing pipes in consecutive phases. Each phase is expected to cost approximately $1.2 million.

The pipes in Osage were installed nearly a century ago, according to the city’s public works director, Jerry Dunlay. He also said the pipes were inspected last year by inserting cameras into them. The inspection crews found most of the pipes were deteriorating — mostly due to tree root and groundwater infusion — and are in need of replacement.

City crews plan on using trenchless drain repair method for replacement. The trenchless method involves inserting resin-based tubes into the existing pipes and expanding them once they are fully inserted. The cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) effectively replaces the pipe without actually removing it. This method is popular for its relative quickness, its minimal invasiveness, and its ability to be performed without major disruption of services.

To help pay for the projects, the city will seek $600,000 in block grants for each phase. The remaining costs will be paid using sewer fund reserves and bonds. City officials have not said whether they will raise taxes to help pay for the repair work.

In all, the phases will require laying about 60,000 lineal feet of piping. The work itself will be done in manholes at road intersections. Each phase will consist of a major restoration project as well as several “spot” repairs along the way. Although the main phases will commence next year, about six spot repairs will be done this summer due to urgency, according to Dunlay.

Trenchless drain repair is a relatively recent innovation, having been available for residential homes for only 10 to 15 years.

Surveys Find That More B2B Vendors Are Using Twitter Even Though Buyers Aren’t Influenced by Social Media

LinkedIn has traditionally been the social media leader when it comes to B2B online marketing, but according to the latest reports, Twitter is close on its heels.

BrandWatch, a firm that focuses on how B2B marketing campaigns can optimize social media sites, recently released the “B2B Social Media Report,” which collected data from more than five million companies and figured out which social media platforms are used and mentioned most often.

According to the study, Twitter is the most popular site for B2B brand mentions, with 73% of the companies in BrandWatch’s study appearing — by name — on Twitter. The runner-up is Facebook, although only a measly 13% of companies had their brand named on the site.

The study also found that 47% of companies have one account and 25% have multiple accounts for the same brand, although 42% of respondents admitted that they either didn’t have an account or didn’t use it at all.

It’s difficult for B2B marketers to measure how effective social media marketing really is in the B2B industry, which causes many B2B suppliers to abandon social media strategies altogether. Even though B2B marketers who use Twitter generally have twice as many leads as marketers who don’t use Twitter for B2B campaigns, it’s difficult to determine whether those extra leads are actually quality ones that will convert into sales.

For the B2C marketplace, social media websites are invaluable for promoting products, especially because companies are able to capitalize on trending topics and events, and even take advantage of small celebrity endorsements.

But for B2B vendors, the “consumers” aren’t swayed so easily by trends. In fact, a March 2015 survey conducted by KoMarketing Associates found that 45% of B2B buyers do not use social media at all to select a B2B supplier. Even content-based marketing strategies, like creating and maintaining a blog, was labeled “not a factor” by 46% of respondents.

The disconnect here is clear, especially considering how much B2B marketers typically emphasize the importance of listening to buyers.

Or, perhaps more companies are starting to use Twitter knowing that it might not have a big effect on lead generation because it’s simple, it’s free, and there’s no harm in using it.

Regardless of how Twitter is affecting B2B right now, it seems likely that this social media platform will continue to be an important presence in B2B exchanges.

New Survey Finds Electricians Divided as to How Much Experience and Training Is Necessary

There may be some 583,500 electricians working in the United States, but hardly any of them are experienced enough, according to a new survey by Klein Tools.

On behalf of Klein Tools, Russell Research conducted the “State of the Industry” survey, doing 201 online interviews of different electricians across the country. About 40% of survey participants were union members, and 60% were not.

According to the results, about 75% of electricians believe that there’s not enough experienced electricians on job sites. At the same time, about 37% — almost two-fifths — of electricians also believe that there aren’t enough entry level electricians on site, either.

The survey also found that there is some division in the industry in regards to the amount of training that should be required to become an electrician. The majority (55%) of electricians believe that professionals need 1,000 or more hours of training to be effective electricians. Yet, only about three in five electricians who possess more than 20 years of professional experience have gotten that much training.

Less experienced electricians feel differently. More than half (55%) of surveyed electricians who had less than 10 years of experience believe that 250 hours or less of training is necessary. About one in 10 of them also believe that they’ve already received too much training.

“Electricians are at a renaissance as new technology constantly replaces old standards and practices,” said Klein Tools co-president Mark Klein in a press release. “Electricians need to be up-to-date both with the latest products and also the newest building practices so time in the classroom and also on the job site is critical. Klein Tools works hard to keep tools and materials up to date so electricians of all generations can rely on quality products when they put all of their training to use.”