HP goes up against the iPad Pro with its $599 Chromebook x2

HP goes up against the iPad Pro with its $599 Chromebook x2

Image: HP

Two weeks ago, Acer announced the first tablet running Chrome OS. And today, HP is announcing the second — and it’s a lot higher end.

It’s called the Chromebook x2, and it’s very much designed to go after the iPad Pro. It has a 12.3-inch screen (the larger iPad Pro has a 12.9-inch screen), docks with a keyboard cover, and supports stylus input.

The big benefit here is that the full package is available for much, much cheaper: the Chromebook x2 costs $599 in its base configuration and comes bundled with the keyboard cover and stylus. The iPad starts at $649 for the (smaller) tablet on its own, and you’ll have to spend $1,067 if you want the 12.9-inch model with a keyboard and pen. So if you’re thinking about using a tablet (with a non-traditional operating system) as a portable computer, HP will get you there for way cheaper.

In a briefing, HP also emphasized that the keyboard was designed to hold firmly enough to the tablet that it should feel like a clamshell laptop when the two are connected. I haven’t seen the Chromebook x2 in person, but HP’s images make it look relatively nice — like a combination of Google’s Pixelbook, with its metal and glossy white top, and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop, with its soft and colorful keyboard.

The Chromebook x2 seems to have a lot of potential, but there are some big questions — and not just around whether the hardware is as good as it looks. The real open question is whether Chrome OS is cut out to work on a tablet. Google has been overhauling the operating system to work better with touchscreens for a couple years now, but it’s still very much a desktop system (it’s based around the Chrome desktop browser and its display of desktop websites, after all). That’s likely to limit how useful it is, especially in comparison to an iPad, which was designed for touch from the ground up.

And while the Chromebook x2 looks like a bargain compared to the iPad, it’s expensive for a Chromebook, which people often buy for around $300. At $600, you enter into the world of lower-cost Windows computers, which this product will have to compete with, too.

HP plans to launch the Chromebook x2 sometime in June. And from the looks of it, we could see a few more Chrome OS tablets before then.

Everyone Wants A Secure Web

A secure web is here to stay.

by Emily Schechter, Chrome Security Product Manager

For the past several years, we’ve moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we’ve also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by gradually marking a larger subset of HTTP pages as “not secure”. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure”.

In Chrome 68, the omnibox will display “Not secure” for all HTTP pages.

Developers have been transitioning their sites to HTTPS and making the web safer for everyone. Progress last year was incredible, and it’s continued since then:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

Contact us today to make your visitors comfortable by securing your website.

Chrome is dedicated to making it as easy as possible to set up HTTPS. Mixed content audits are now available to help developers migrate their sites to HTTPS in the latest Node CLI version of Lighthouse, an automated tool for improving web pages. The new audit in Lighthouse helps developers find which resources a site loads using HTTP, and which of those are ready to be upgraded to HTTPS simply by changing the subresource reference to the HTTPS version.

Lighthouse is an automated developer tool for improving web pages.

Chrome’s new interface will help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure, and continue to move the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. Developers, check out our set-up guides to get started.

Google’s Big Ad-Blocking Update Comes to Chrome Tomorrow: Here’s What We Know

Image Source: Google, Adblock Plus

It’s been in the works for nearly a year and Google’s great ad-pocalypse is now upon us. On Thursday, the Chrome browser will begin to automatically filter out ads that don’t meet certain quality standards. Your browsing experience is about to change a little bit. Here’s what you need to know.

In April of last year, the news first broke that Google planned to integrate some form of ad-blocking into its browser that would be on by default. Since then we’ve seen a gradualrollout of the feature, beginning with the ability to mute autoplay videos with sound on the sites of your choosing. Now, Google going all-in with a set of criteria for what ads will be kosher in Chrome.

Along with its fellow ad giant Facebook, Google is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that has performed research on what forms of web advertising annoys people the most. It’s created a list of the 12 types of web experiences that should ideally be avoided by advertisers. Now Google is going to enforce that list with Chrome, which is used by over half of all people accessing the web with a browser.

The 12 ad types that Google Chrome will block by default. Image Source: Coalition for Better Ads

On Wednesday, the company published a blog post detailing how the system will work. Initially, Google will take a sample of various pages on a specific domain and analyze whether that page is serving any of the offending ad categories. It’ll be given a score of “Passing, Warning, or Failing.” Sites that don’t manage to get a passing grade will be notified by Google and they can review an ad experience report for details on what needs to change. If a site ignores multiple warnings, its ads will be blocked by default after 30 days.

If a user visits a site that’s being filtered by Chrome, they’ll see a message in the address bar that gives them the option to still allow ads—on mobile, users will see a pop-up at the bottom of the screen that will give them the same option. Yes, pop-up ads are blocked, and Google will be informing you with a pop-up notification.

There’s plenty of reason to celebrate this change. The internet is getting harder to navigate, and more annoying with advertisers demanding more obtrusive experiences every day. Google claims that since it kicked off this initiative, “42% of sites which were failing the Better Ads Standards have resolved their issues and are now passing.” So it seems that a lot of site owners got the message before it could even become a problem.

There’s also cause to be skeptical of Google’s altruistic goals. Sure, it’s telling advertisers not to be evil, but it’s also hoping that a better experience will mean fewer people feel the urge to download a third-party ad blocker. That’s good for the internet, which is largely funded by ads. But it’s particularly good for Google, which controls around 42 percent of the US digital ad market and 75.8 percent of the search ad market, according to research from eMarketer. It wouldn’t be so great if Google, with all its power, decided to follow in the footsteps of services like Adblock Plus, which offers companies the opportunity to pay their way onto an acceptable ads list. Representatives for Google have assured us on multiple occasions that the company isn’t offering any kind of paid whitelisting now, and isn’t planning to do so. But things could change.

For now, enjoy the better web before Google fully consumes it all and does whatever it wants.

[Chromium Blog]

From:  Rhett Jones

What Developers Should Tell Clients About SEO Optimization

“Why isn’t our website ranking higher on Google?”

This often means you – the designer or developer – might receive questions like the above. Clients want to know why their site isn’t performing as well as it should.

After all, that’s what they’re paying you for, right?

But what happens when the website is finished to the client’s specs, but it’s still not performing well?

Sometimes the fault for an underperforming website falls back on you, even if it’s not directly included in your scope. That’s why it’s important to be able to identify potential reasons why a website might underperform, and know how to respond in those situations.

Here are a few things that might be hurting your client’s website performance.

“Your Domain Authority Is Too Low”

Appearing on the first page of Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is a common concern for many clients, and it might be one of the reasons they came to you to build their site in the first place.

But according to RankBrain, the most search traffic goes to the first result, with click-through rates (CTR) decreasing significantly after the second position.

(Image Source)

Google also reports that 34% of search results – yes, even those on the first page – get no clicks at all, and that 12% of all clicks go to the top 100 search-traffic-receiving domains.

So not only is it important for sites to rank high, but they really need to be number one to see significant traffic from their SEO efforts.

But one of the reasons they most likely won’t see the first page SERPs is due to low page authority. As mentioned, unless you’re in the top 100 domains, you may not rank on Google.

It doesn’t matter if your site is the best designed, most beautifully crafted website in the world. If you don’t have high site (domain) authority – a predictive score dictated by Moz and used by Google to rank results – you won’t rank.

This is doubly true for new websites. New sites usually start with a score of 0-1. For reference, well-established sites, like Facebook and Wikipedia, are close to 100.

If you’re developing or designing a brand new site for a client, and they complain about not showing up in Google, tell them that they need to focus their energy on driving traffic in other ways.

Paid ads, more posted content (on a blog, typically), or social media traffic can all help to improve domain authority.

Another reason why a site may not be showing up as high on Google’s SERPs is due to low or poor quality backlinks – links that point back to your website.

According to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, high-quality content and link building are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search.

In fact, the top ranked pages on Google have an average volume of 100,000+ high-quality backlinks.

(Image Source)

High-quality backlinks can be notoriously difficult to get, especially for new sites, because they require other more popular sites (think top 100 domains for best results) to link to your landing pages or content.

The good news is that quality does make up for the lack of volume. A link from a relevant website in your niche, for example, might be worth 100 links from a lower quality source.

So how do you earn high-quality backlinks?

Over time you may naturally gain some links from other websites, especially as your organic traffic grows from regular content production or social traffic. But in order to gain the quality and volume needed to rank, you need to make some effort.

The first step is to focus on providing valuable and high-quality content on your website. This should ideally come from a blog that can be frequently updated, and not just landing pages.

Google looks for fresh content when considering rankings. Former Google Fellow Amit Singhal once explained that, “Different searches have different freshness needs.”

In other words, fresh content is needed for all your desired keywords.

You then need to find ways of sharing your content on other sites in order to create those backlinks.

Try posting content as guest blogs on larger editorial sites, or by linking to it on sites like Quora. You can also syndicate traffic from sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, both of which have domain authority ranks close to 100.

If you’re curious about your current site backlinks, you can use a free tool like Backlink Watch. Other paid sites like Open Site ExplorerMajestic SEO and Ahrefs will give you a lot more information as well.

If clients don’t know why their site isn’t performing, you might recommend they try some link-building strategies, like guest blogging on popular editorial sites or asking customers to link to you on their landing pages.

“You Need to Optimize Your Content”

Because content plays a big role in how Google ranks sites – from the freshness of the content to the links it contains and more – it’s important that sites are creating content that can be shared.

In other words, a pretty website is not enough. It has to have more content.

And that content needs to be optimized so Google knows what to do with it. CTR for content on Google’s first page SERPs increases by 667% for posts that appear as Featured Snippets.

Featured Snippets are selected search results that appear on top of Google’s first page in a special box.

If you’re not sure how to get a Snippet, or you don’t yet have the domain authority to get a Snippet, there are other ways you can optimize your content to rank higher.

Posting content that is engaging – keeps people on the page and has a higher number of conversions into another action, like an email subscription (etc.) – can also improve your relationship with Google.

Their algorithm can track how long someone stays on a page, and what other actions they take and whether or not they click on other content from your site.

Creating content that keeps people enthralled will help improve search results.

You can also help your odds by focusing on long tail keywords in your content in order to gain more organic search traffic and improve your odds of appearing in either a Featured Snippet or on the first page SERPs.

If clients want methods for improving their Google search rankings, tell them to produce more high-quality, optimized content.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to explain to your clients that creating a beautiful website won’t guarantee them a high ranking on Google SERPs.

Even if it’s fully responsive and includes SEO optimization, if it’s a new website, it needs more to be truly successful.

The top strategies they can focus on include an improved domain, adding backlinks and creating optimized content.

You should also remind them that it takes time to build a reputable and high ranking site, and they shouldn’t give up if they don’t see results right away. With a little effort, it will happen for them.

If you have a responsive site that’s relatively new, we can facilitate your site to help you, or us, create rich snippets, send your blog posts to multiple social media outlets and more.  Drop us a note and we’ll help you make it happen.

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