Thursday December 14, 2017

Yoga guru BKS Iyengar features on Google Doodle

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source: bgr.in

New Delhi: BKS Iyengar, India’s foremost yoga teacher who brought the ancient Indian practice to the West, is being celebrated by today’s Google Doodle on the occasion of his 97th birthday.

The animated doodle, made by Kevin Laughlin, features an old man who looks just like Iyengar going through different yoga asanas of the ‘Iyengar Yoga’, a style “characterized by tremendous control and discipline”.

“BKS Iyengar, it’s been said, could hold a headstand for nearly half an hour well into his eighties,” said the search engine giant.

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar was born in 1918 into a poor South Indian family. He was one of 13 children, of whom only 10 survived.

The sickly child suffered from malaria and typhoid. To restore his health, his brother-in-law, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, often referred to as ‘the father of modern yoga’, invited the 13-year-old boy to his yoga school in Mysore.

He studied anatomy, physiology and psychology. After his spine got dislocated in a scooter accident, Iyengar began to experiment on the use of props to help the disabled practice yoga. He later pioneered modern therapeutic yoga.

At 19, Iyengar was sent to Pune to teach yoga, a practice which, according to him, involved both “art and science”. Thus began his career of almost eight decades.

It was here that famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin approached Iyengar because he couldn’t relax or sleep. However, Guru Iyengar, in a 2001 interview with broadcaster Sir Mark Tully, said that Menuhin was “snoring happily away…within one minute.”

The impressed violinist invited Iyengar to Switzerland in 1954, thus launching him as an international guru.

He went on to teach author Aldous Huxley, Sachin Tendulkar, and the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium, who is said to have learned his trademark sirsasana headstand at the age of 80.

The yoga guru continued his visits to the West till the practice was taught across several institutes around the world. Guru Iyengar is the only person to have popularized the practice to this extent in India and abroad. Iyengar Yoga is now taught in 70 countries.

Starting with ‘Light on Yoga’, Iyengar authored several other books on yoga as well. He also encouraged women to take up yoga, even during pregnancy.

Iyengar, who passed away in August last year of heart and renal failure at the age of 95, was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991, Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2014 for his immense contribution to yoga. He was also included in TIME’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2004.

“The West knows yoga because of Iyengar. He developed a style of yoga for ordinary people. He introduced simple props and aids like ropes, blankets, wall to facilitate people to make it easy for the masses,” said Yogi Santatmananda Saraswati of Swami Dayananda Ashram, in Rishikesh, at the time of his death.

Today’s doodle based on Iyengar has reached several countries including Russia, US, UK, Indonesia, Canada and Spain.

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Google launches three new apps for photography

The new photography applications are "Storyboard" (available on Android only), "Selfissimo!" (available on iOS and Android) and "Scrubbies" (available on iOS only).

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44th Anniversary of the birth of Hip Hop

San Francisco, Dec 12: Google has introduced three photography apps which are part of a new series that it has dubbed as photography “appsperiments”.

“We’re launching the first installment of a series of photography appsperiments: Usable and useful mobile photography experiences built on experimental technology. Our ‘appsperimental’ approach was inspired in part by ‘Motion Stills’,” the company wrote in a research blog late on Monday.

“‘Motion Stills’ is an app developed by researchers that converts short videos into cinemagraphs and time lapses using experimental stabilisation and rendering technologies,” Google added.

Google apps
Google introduces photography apps

The new photography applications are “Storyboard” (available on Android only), “Selfissimo!” (available on iOS and Android) and “Scrubbies” (available on iOS only).

The “Storyboard” app takes video clips and automatically pulls out six frames that it lays out in a comic book-style template.

“Selfissimo!” is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a black and white photograph each time the user poses.

“Scrubbies” lets the user easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces and replay moments.

The tech giant has also urged users to try out the new apps and provide feedback via the in-app feedback links. IANS

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Google gets the better of Facebook as top referral source for publishers

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

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Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017
Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers' main source of external page views over the course of 2017. VOA
  • Google webpage traffic increases considerably
  • Facebook went down by 26% in January as compared to last year
  • Video publishing feature might has add up to the Facebook traffic

San Francisco, Dec 12,2017: Google has beaten Facebook to become publishers’ main source of external page views over the course of 2017, a new data showed.

Google used to be the main source of referral traffic for web publishers. Then Facebook eclipsed it, ReCode reported late on Monday.

According to digital analytics company Parse.ly, Google sent more traffic than Facebook to publishers — Facebook sent 25 per cent less traffic to publishers in 2017, while Google increased its traffic by 17 per cent.

In January, Facebook provided nearly 40 per cent of publishers’ external traffic which is now down to 26 per cent.

Google web traffic
Google AMP feature has helped it to add up to the web traffic

Google, which started the year at 34 per cent, generated 44 per cent of the total traffic.

Parse.ly pointed out a number of factors for this turnaround.

In 2016 Facebook tweaked its algorithm to prioritise posts from friends and family over publishers.

Also, Facebook’s “Instant Articles” feature, where the service hosted some publishers’ content directly but promised to send more readers to the original site as well, has declined in importance, the analytics company found.

Since users can now publish videos directly on Facebook, this might have affected how many links to web stories publishers put on their Facebook pages.

Google’s “accelerated mobile pages” (AMP) feature, which also hosts publishers’ content directly on Google’s servers, became more important over the year.

AMP stories – typically from news publishers – are surfaced at the top of mobile search results as “Top Stories,” which drives clicks. (IANS)

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Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter Join The Trust Project to Help Users Combat Fake News

In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan "The Trust Project"

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To Combat Fake News
To Combat Fake News Facebook, Twitter , Google have joined 'The Trust Project'. PIxabay.

San Francisco, Nov 19: In their bid to combat fake news and help readers identify trustworthy news sources, Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media organisations have joined the non-partisan “The Trust Project”.

“The Trust Project” is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Starting from Friday, an icon will appear next to articles in Facebook News Feed.

When you click on the icon, you can read information on the organisations’ ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work.

“Leading media companies representing dozens of news sites have begun to display ‘Trust Indicators’. These indicators, created by leaders from more than 75 news organisations also show what type of information people are reading a” news, opinion, analysis or advertising,” the university said in a statement.

Each indicator is signalled in the article and site code, providing the first standardised technical language for platforms to learn more from news sites about the quality and expertise behind journalists’ work.

“Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and are investigating and piloting ideas about how to best to use them to surface and display quality journalism,” the university said.

German press agency DPA, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Mic, Italy’s La Republica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and The Washington Post are among the companies starting to go live with “Trust Indicators” this month.

The Institute for Non-profit News has developed a WordPress plug-in to facilitate broader implementation by qualified publishers.

“An increasingly sceptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on,” Lehrman explained.

The eight core indicators are: Best Practices; Author Expertise; Type of Work; Citations and References; Methods; Locally Sourced; Diverse Voices and Actionable Feedback.

New organisations like the BBC and Hearst Television have collaborated in defining the “Trust Indicator” editorial and technical standards, and in developing the processes for implementing these.

“Quality journalism has never been more important,” said Richard Gingras, vice president of news products at Google.

“We hope to use the Type of Work indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as Best Practices and Author Info in our Knowledge Panels.”

“The Trust Indicators will provide a new level of accessibility and insight into the news that people on Facebook see day in and day out,” said Alex Hardiman, Head of News Products at Facebook.

A growing number of news outlets are expected to display the indicators over the next six months, with a second phase of news partners beginning implementation work soon. (IANS)