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theEweekly Wrap: Panda, Pinterest and Pi

Quality tweaks Google has announced that 40 changes were made during February to the way its search engine works and serves users with results. An official blog post on Monday ran through the updates, a handful of which include:

  • Panda 3.3 – making it more sensitive to recent changes on the web
  • An update to the bar, apparently to remove the recently-added drop down
  • Filtering out offensive or inappropriate Autocomplete suggestions
  • Link evaluation – the blog said “we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years”, but Google has declined to expand on how this will affect link value for SEOers.

The changes come hot on the heels of the 17 January search quality updates (including Panda 3.2), and are part of Google’s continued effort to improve both search results and transparency.

Pin when you’re winning ComScore has published new stats that show bookmarking social site Pinterest is doing rather well. Despite being virtually unknown a matter of months ago, in January the site attracted 13.76 million users (including 250,000 in the UK), who spent an average of 89 minutes there. It’s a stark contrast to Google+, which despite boasting 90m users, only managed to keep them on the site for an average of 3 minutes. It’s also more time than was spent on LinkedIn and Twitter; however, the nature of Pinterest encourages leisurely browsing and exploring rather than simple interactions and contact building, while data from apps or management tools like TweetDeck is not included in the ComScore figures.

Mashable reported that Pinterest also seems to have gained a big name user in the form of social-media-savvy President Obama, although the site does not use a verification system yet. However, Pinterest also ran into some teething problems this week. After concerns were raised by Flickr photographers whose works were being published without their permission, the site was forced to introduce an opt-out for copyright holders who would rather not have their images pinned.

Easy as Pi The Raspberry Pi – a stripped down computer the size of a credit card – went on sale on Wednesday. The mini computer is priced at just £22, and was designed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to teach children and interested adults how to programme and control computers. However, when it launched demand was so high that the sites selling it crashed, and sold out of the product in a matter of hours. The Foundation’s Dr Eben Upton said: “We didn’t realise how successful this was going to be […] This means we can scale to volume. Now we can concentrate on teaching people to program.”

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t include a keyboard, monitor, speakers or mouse, but has ports where these can be attached. It also features Ethernet and HDMI ports, an SD card slot, and an ARM chip similar to the ones used in Samsung and Apple smartphones. Enthusiasts have compared it to the BBC Micro and Spectrum computers that triggered the first wave of interest in programming back in the 1980s; meanwhile, Education Secretary Michael Gove called it “a great example of the cutting edge of education technology happening right here in the UK”.

Written by Rachel Hand

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