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Yesterday, Google announced that their Google Glass eyewear was going into somewhat of an early retirement with the firm ending production of the current model of glasses. While they haven’t completely scrapped the idea, they have said they will no longer accept orders of the product, leaving us to question whether wearable tech really is the way forward.

Google Glass was introduced under The Explorer programme in the US in 2013, and the UK in the summer of 2014. The product was initially a media success, with lots of hype about the many uses for the glasses. Initially sold on a limited release where software developers could purchase them for a costly sum of £990 ($1,500), the tech subsequently failed to receive as much consumer interest as predicted. They also garnered some negative press when it was reported that some restaurants and bars banned the glasses.

Strong Competition

Photo by Raúl González / CC BY

Photo by Raúl González / CC BY

While Google Glass saw little enthusiasm from the general public, Apple are still receiving positive press for their Apple Watch. Launching in spring 2015, the Apple Watch is likely to sell well, much like the rest of the tech giant’s products. With expensive designs that include leather straps and gold fixtures, Apple appear to be targeting a very specific audience – those with large disposable incomes that are into style, trends and technology.

Whether the Apple Watch will be a success remains to be seen, but smartwatches that are already on the market are tending to impress users and make tech companies a profit. Garmin’s Forerunner range and the Fitbit Flex Wristbands along with other wearable items that track your activity patterns have been incredibly popular within the fitness community. Their availability in a range of colours adds to their popularity, as people are no longer simply wanting technology that works but technology that looks good too, something that Google Glass failed to achieve.

What Next for Google?

Photo by Giuseppe Costantino / CC BY

Photo by Giuseppe Costantino / CC BY

Google have said that they are continuing to invest in researching wearable technology, but haven’t stated a timeline or estimated date to reintroduce the product. Much like with their social media venture, Google+, perhaps Google Glass will fare much better the second time around?

Marketing By Web are an internet marketing company that specialises in SEO and AdWords management. We are looking forward to seeing the impact wearable technology has on our use of internet.

In August, Google announced that it was calling for “HTTPS everywhere” on the web. To encourage this, it also announced that it was using HTTPS as a ‘lightweight ranking signal’. This announcement seems to have caused concern with a number of our clients so the purpose of this post is to help explain the consequences of this announcement.

Background

The vast majority of websites today operate via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) which is the protocol behind the world wide web. This protocol enables the browser on a web user’s computer to communicate with the website’s server in order to re-create the website as it was intended. The information flowing between the web server and the browser is not encrypted as it travels over the many different servers and routers that make up the world wide web. So this makes it potentially possible for a hacker to access this data as it travels between the web server and the user’s browser.

It is, for this reason, that it is standard practice for ecommerce websites to switch to a secure protocol during the check out process. This secure protocol is called HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Transport Layer Security to give it its fully expanded name) and encrypts the credit card and other personal information as it travels over the world wide web making it near impossible for a hacker to read any intercepted data. To indicate when this protocol is being used, most browsers display a green padlock in the address bar when a website utilises HTTPS.

https amazon

Why the change now?

During normal website browsing there is little or no confidential information being exchanged; the browser is simply asking the web server to transmit page information. Until recently the extra cost and computing power needed to encrypt traffic has not been deemed routinely necessary. However, as websites become increasingly interactive and users routinely give personal information via webforms and web apps Google and other web-authorities have decided that HTTPS is good practice going forward.

If Google is giving this advice, does that mean I should make a change urgently?

Moving to HTTPS is a strategic business decision and, as such, should be made carefully, taking into consideration of the facts. Nothing in Google’s announcement should drive you to take a hasty decision. Yes, of course, you should take all appropriate precautions with your customers’ information and that has not changed following Google’s announcement.

Google advised that it was making HTTPS a ‘lightweight ranking factor’ which means it is one of 200 other ranking factors and so if all else is equal it may rank a website using HTTPS above one using HTTP. However, on the web it is rarely the case that all factors are equal and other ranking factors such as the quality, relevance and usefulness of the content on a website will impact Google rankings in a far more significant way.

Having said that Marketing By Web’s recommendation is that any new websites should opt for HTTPS unless there is a compelling reason not to.

So what must I consider?

Moving to HTTPS requires the purchase of appropriate security certificates which can be done by your web developer. Google recommends using high 2048-bit security – this may cost a little more than lower security but is a good investment. Do remember to purchase these certificates for all the domains that you use as well as the www and non-www sub-domains.

However, the most important consideration is that moving from http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com should be thought of as the same significance as moving from http://www.example.com to http://www.another-example.com. In other words, changing the top level domain (TLD). For any mature website with healthy rankings and traffic volumes this is a risky business that could result in loss of ranking and traffic. So for this reason it must be regarded as a significant decision undertaken with senior management agreement. Timing is crucial, so select a period when it will have least impact on business operations.

In its Web Master Tools, Google provides a tool that you can use to tell it when you are migrating from http to https. Make sure you use this and its check lists to minimise any drop in rankings during the weeks that follow the migration. If done correctly, rankings should return to their previous positions within a few weeks, however, always plan for the worse if something goes wrong.

Timing

The trend is clear: the web is migrating to HTTPS.  However, even websites such as Amazon are still using HTTP for all of their pages, except when a registered user is logged in. So, if you are running a small informational website, then it may never be necessary for you to incur the cost and work involved to move to HTTPS.  Maintain a watching brief and seek expert opinion every 6 months or the next time you are planning a major change such as a new website.

If you are running a larger website with secure elements, now is the time to start planning for a move to full HTTPS over the next 12 – 18 months. This will be a complex process and you should involve people from across the business in the planning and decision making process.

Marketing By Web works with clients with websites of all sizes and will be pleased to provide you with an analysis and professional opinion to inform your decision making process.  Please reach out to one of our specialists on 0800 327 7 327.



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