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Google Home Mini to review before its launch. He soon discovered it was recording him 24/7, without the “OK Google” hotword – and those recording were getting uploaded directly to Google’s cloud servers.
It’s no secret: the ease of using a smart home device comes at the cost of privacy – or at least how much of our personal data we are willing to barter for the undeniable convenience these devices bring to our busy lives.
The Google Home range consists of four smart speakers: the Nest Mini ( £49/US$49), Home ( £129/US$129) Home Max (£399/US$399) and Home Hub ( £139/$149), which has its own display. Other retailers are also selling the older Home Mini for just £19.
revealed Amazon employs a global team analysts to review audio files collected from Echo devices to help train the software’s understanding of natural language.
In Russakovskii’s case, Google Home Mini’s constant surveillance turned out to be a defect and Google took immediate action to correct the issue with both a software and hardware update – but it does leave a simmering unease around the device’s privacy and security.
If you’re wondering whether the ever-helpful Google Home or Home Mini is listening in your conversations here’s the answer, and what you can do about it.
Also see our article on how to set up parental controls on Google Home.Google’s latest and largest smart speaker in the range, the Home Max. Is Google Home Listening to me?
The short answer is yes. Google Home is always listening – which may be a surprise, but that’s how the device works.
On the hardware level, the speaker locally stores a stream of audio so it can appropriately respond to the wake word when it needs to.
These ambient recordings only upload to Google’s cloud servers when the wake word is said. The audio is then processed in the cloud and then returned to the device to deliver a result or response to whatever is asked. According to Google’s Data Security and Privacy on Google Home, the device listens for a few seconds at a time, in what it calls snippets, for the hotword – but these Snippets are deleted if it doesn’t pick up the hotword.
On the larger service level, these recordings are used to improve, as Google states in its Voice and Activity permissions prompt, “This data helps Google give you [the user] more personalised experiences across Google services, such as improved speech and audio recognition, both on and off Google”.
How to delete Google Home recordings
While it’s understandable to be suspicious of big data companies, Google is mostly transparent around how to access and delete your recordings.
To see every recording of your voice-activated commands so far, head to the My Activity section of your Google Account, where you should be able to delete individual queries.
Its Manage Google Voice & Audio Activity section outlines how to delete recordings one at a time or all at once.
How to delete Google voice recordings one at a time
How to delete all Google voice recordings
Is Google spying on you? It’s hard to tell truly but we don’t think so (we can’t speak for government agencies who would want to
We have an equivalent article on Alexa – check out Is Alexa listening to me?
Evaluated the concerns and still looking to buy one? Check out our guide to the best Google Home.
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Still, I’ve started to feel cooped up these last few days. It’s like breaking a finger or something. You don’t really notice how often you use your ring finger until you can’t. Similarly, I didn’t really appreciate how often I’d step outside day-to-day until I couldn’t anymore. Taking a walk to mull over an article idea barely registered in a world where I could leave my house, y’know, whenever I wanted. But lately I’m feeling nostalgic about popping out to buy potato chips.
I’ll admit, I’m weathering San Francisco’s shelter-in-place better than a lot of people. I feel fortunate on that front. I’ve worked from home for going on eight years. My desk is here, my PC is here, and I’m (disconcertingly) used to spending hours in my bedroom without seeing anyone else. And hey, there are video games releasing. Doom Eternal , Animal Crossing, the first Control expansion —I’ve been busy.
Day eight, I’m in space. Day nine, I’m on a safari. Every day a new experience without ever leaving my house. Virtual reality is keeping me sane in isolation.
Quarantine, day seven. I’m in a different city, vaguely Soviet in appearance. Again, there is nobody else around—or nobody living, anyway. City 17 is quiet, but for the headcrabs. I holster my pistol and admire the crumbling remains of the North Star Hotel, imagine it in happier times.
Quarantine, day six. I’m standing in Paris, in one of my favorite spots. It’s a fountain in the Tuileries, near the Louvre. There are green metal chairs scattered around, inviting people to sit and relax for a few moments, or for an afternoon. Wind mixes with birdsong as I stand and take it all in. It feels as if I’m the last person on Earth, standing here alone in an empty park—but at least I’m outside.
Luckily, virtual reality is having a moment. Last week I got access to Half-Life: Alyx, which prompted me to pull my Valve Index off a shelf and plug it in. I’d been putting it off since moving to this apartment last summer, using the Oculus Quest and recently the Oculus Link cable for the rare VR excursion. This was Half-Life though, and I was going to use the good hardware even if it took 30 or 40 minutes of furniture arranging and setup.
Exercise is only one small facet though. It’s just nice to be somewhere else for a few hours. Anywhere that’s not my small San Francisco bedroom-apartment.
Half-Life was just as important though. Maybe more important. City 17 isn’t a real place, but it felt real enough for the three or four days I spent reviewing Alyx. I’ve already written at length about Alyx and won’t belabor the discussion here, but suffice it to say combat wasn’t much of a highlight for me. Instead I enjoyed walking around a run-down zoo, or exploring a decommissioned distillery.
There wasn’t much to do in those places except shoot headcrabs, but when I think back on this past week it still feels like I left my house. As far as my brain is concerned, I wasn’t just cooped up in this bedroom the entire time treading the same 12-foot by 10-foot patch of floorboards. I was in that zoo. I was in that distillery. I was exploring.
That’s what has made virtual reality such a vital part of my day-to-day in lockdown. Earlier this week I visited London’s Natural History Museum and chatted with David Attenborough, courtesy of Hold the World. Today I plan to visit the Smithsonian, as well. I even walked through Van Gogh’s Starry Night reimagined as a 3D space, courtesy of Art Plunge.
And then The Room VR released last week, giving me another collection of places to explore. I don’t know why developer Fireproof chose to release the same week as Half-Life, but they did and I’m grateful. Fireproof has always been great about setting up “a room,” as you might expect from the title. Every location I’ve seen in The Room VR is imbued with layer upon layer of secrets hidden in the scenery. The scale is smaller and the environments less realistic than Half-Life, but it’s immensely satisfying tinkering with these overwrought machines and deciphering how they work one onion-layer at a time.
I’m already hooked—and just like that, another day has passed.Bottom line
IDG / Daniel Masaoka
Anything is possible, and that’s the joy of it. I didn’t need a global pandemic to recognize the merits of virtual reality, but it’s certainly bolstered my appreciation. What was once only theoretical—possible applications of VR touted (in particular) by Facebook—now feels very real and very pertinent to my day-to-day life.
Home office setups are popular, namely because they offer a quiet space in your house to be productive with a wide variety of things, be it to study, to work on finances, to work a remote job, or something else. But if you’re anything like me, then you might have a few essential items that make your home office exciting to use.
In today’s roundup, I want to share some of the things that I have in my home office that I don’t think I could go without after using for so long. With any luck, perhaps you’ll discover something of similar taste and add it to your own.16-inch MacBook Pro with M2 Pro chip
It’s a no-brainer that I need a computer to be productive in my home office, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro with Apple silicon is a no-brainer for me. This computer packs desktop-class power while still being portable enough to pack away in a traditional backpack, so I can be just as productive away from home.
While my MacBook Pro dons the previous-generation M1 Pro chip, Apple’s latest 16-inch MacBook Pros offer a faster M2 Pro or M2 Max chip, which provide boosts in performance and hardware capabilities. The Apple silicon within keeps up with even the most demanding tasks while maintaining all-day battery life.
Complete with a suite of Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, a built-in SD card slot, and the return of a dedicated HDMI port, this computer is ideal for creatives who might need the I/O for a desk rig setup complete with external monitor(s), digital cameras, external storage drives, and more.
Even when I’m just using this notebook as exactly that, I’m blown away by the sound quality packed into the built-in speakers and I appreciate the return of a non-butterfly keyboard since the keys feel more tactile and responsive to my presses.
If you’re interested in an Apple silicon MacBook Pro of your own to be more productive at home and on the go, then you can get a 16-inch model starting at $2,499.99 from Apple or a 14-inch model starting at $1,949.99 from Amazon.FlexiSpot Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8
At the top of my list is the FlexiSpot Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8, a remarkably sturdy and electronically adjustable desk that can be used in both sitting and standing configurations to suit your desired comfort.
This dual-motor desk supports a staggering 220 pounds of equipment and moves up or down with convenient touch capacitive controls that are built into a front-facing keypad. Fully depressed, the desk sits 24 inches tall, while fully extended, the desk sits 49.2 inches tall.
While the table includes built-in USB A and C charging ports, another thing worth mentioning is the built-in Qi wireless charger, which means you can set your iPhone down in an ergonomically convenient spot while you work on your computer.
The massive surface area of the desk provides a 55.1-inch-wide area to place everything you need for a day’s work, be it a laptop, a desktop, a printer, organization trays, a lamp, and more. Just below the surface is a 28.3-inch drawer where you can tuck away writing utensils and other home office items when not in use.
FlexiSpot stands behind their Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8 with a five-year warranty on the frame, motors, and certain mechanisms, and with a two-year warranty on built-in electronics, such as the wireless charger and switch.
If you’re interested in a FlexiSpot Comhar Pro Standing Desk Q8 of your own, then you can acquire one at the company’s website for $699.99. A cheaper non-pro edition with a slightly smaller surface area, a single motor, and different table material is also available for $339.99 if you’re on a budget.CalDigit USB-C SOHO Dock
I’ve had a USB-C-equipped MacBook Pro for what feels like forever now, and while my modern Macbook Pro has just a few more ports than my older ones did, I still find using CalDigit’s USB-C SOHO Dock to be useful.
Not only does this bad boy provide a whopping 100 watts of passthrough power to my computer to keep it powered while I use it, but it provides a legacy USB-A port, an Ethernet connection, an extra SD card slot, dual HDMI ports, and a bevy of other goodies that work over the very same USB-C connection as the power supply.
Conveniently, this leaves all the other USB-C ports open on my MacBook Pro to use with immediate USB-C peripherals, and all while letting me attach accessories that generally stay at home on my desk, like external storage, monitors, etc.
I’ve come to appreciate the slim form factor of the CalDigit USB-C SOHO Dock, and I also appreciate the color-matched aluminum since it looks like it belongs with my MacBook Pro on the same desk while it does all the heavy lifting my MacBook Pro wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.
In a pinch, the CalDigit USB-C SOHO Dock even works with the iPad Pro’s lone USB-C port, providing tons of I/O and external display support when you need it.
If you’d like to check out one of CalDigit’s USB-C SOHO Docks, then you can head over to Amazon to acquire one for just $79.99.Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1
My favorite way to keep my iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods Pro charged up is with a desk-side charger like the Belkin BoostCharge Pro 3-in-1 with MagSafe, and it should be easy to see why.
While it may be created by a third-party company, this charging stand looks like it was designed by Apple for Apple users. Complete with an official 15W MagSafe charger and an official fast charge-supported Apple Watch charger, this stand quickly powers your latest devices with ease.
The base of the charger seems inconspicuous enough, but it’s a Qi wireless charger that you can use to charge another Qi-enabled device, such as a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro, or even your significant other’s non-Apple smartphone.
The BoostCharge Pro is made from premium materials including a sturdy metal frame that doesn’t wobble or buckle under weight like a lot of the plastic competitors do. Keeping in mind that it looks like an Apple product, anyone who has a Mac-based ecosystem will feel right at home with this charger since it looks great beside all your Apple equipment.
If you’re ready to power up your mobile devices while you get productive at the home office, then you can acquire a Belkin BoostCharge 3-in-1 charger with MagSafe from Belkin’s website for $149.99.GTRacing Pro Series Gaming Chair
One of the most important things you can have in any home office is a comfortable seat; after all, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in it if you do any kind of professional work from home. Even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to invest in your body by getting a chair that won’t cause problems for you later in life.
The GTRacing Pro Series Gaming Chair is my go-to when it comes to keeping the hind quarters comfortable for long periods. The well-padded cushions surrounding the buttocks are supportive enough to encourage good posture and yet oriented in such a way that you won’t find your legs falling asleep from long sits.
GTRacing is the brand name that a lot of the knockoffs try to copy, but this chair comes with premium construction materials that feel as good as they look. Both premium leather and thickened steel are used in construction.
With arm rests that not only go up and down, but also side to side and pivot for the ideal angle, you can keep your arms comfortable during long work periods. The backside of the chair even pivots down to your preferred reclining angle, while two small pillows comfort your neck and lower back and the sides curve around your body to support your sides.
The GTRacing Pro Series Gaming Chair comes in several different colors to help set the tone of your workspace (or play space) and is available from GTRacing’s website for $159.99.Wrapping up
Everybody has a different idea about what comprises of the ideal home office setup. These are five essentials from mine that I have no problem recommending to friends and family who might be looking for similar items, and that’s the reason why I’m sharing them with you today.
I wrote last time that despite having 16 HomeKit devices, I was already wanting more. No-one who knows me will be the slightest bit surprised that the interval between ‘wanting more’ and ‘getting more’ was rather short. Every light in my home is now HomeKit-enabled, and I’ve also added some switches and motion-sensors.
The lightbulb additions were the kitchen and bathroom, and the justification of adding these two rooms seemed somewhat flimsy. Were we really ever going to want mood lighting in the bathroom or kitchen? But having added these rooms into the mix, along with some rather old-fashioned HomeKit technology, I’m glad I did it.
That doesn’t mean that HomeKit is perfect, however – but let’s start with what I’ve added and why before I list my complaints …
One of the main ways I justified the expense of Philips Hue lighting in the rest of the house was Scenes: the ability to control multiple lights when doing things like finishing work for the day or going to bed. I quickly became a huge fan of these. It’s just so much easier to tell Siri ‘Night home’ than it is to switch off five separate living-room lights and switch on two stairway lights.
But I couldn’t see any need for scenes with either kitchen or bathroom. You just want the lights on when in the room and off otherwise, and in both cases you have to walk past the switches on your way in. Also, while I could see a relaxing bath being enhanced by mood lighting, would there ever really be a time when we’d want color lighting in the kitchen?
In the end, I’ll readily admit that mood lighting swung it in the bathroom, but for the kitchen it was only really the gadget factor that persuaded me. I could have opted for white bulbs there, but now that we were down to a £100 cost difference in a four-figure investment, I took a ‘what the heck’ attitude and decided that it was better to have the option than not. Seven more Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance bulbs added.
I mentioned last time the switch problem with Hue lighting. As it’s the bulbs you are controlling, you need to keep the lights switched on at the wall – which is a problem for anyone visiting the home who doesn’t have an iPhone.
I also found a related issue: while automation is great for predictable movement around the home – like finishing work for the day – unpredictable movement is another matter. If I want to nip upstairs in the evening to fetch something from the bedroom, for example, it feels a bit silly to grab my iPhone and say ‘Hey Siri, switch on the stairway lights’ followed by ‘Hey Siri, switch on the bedroom lights’ and then a further two commands to switch them off again afterwards. Even to a confirmed gadgeteer like me, that seems like a lot of work compared to just using wall switches.
There are times when a physical switch just makes more sense. I had come up with a clunky workaround using a single Philips Tap switch, but have now added Philips dimmer switches in living-room, office and bedroom.
Each is programmed for maximum brightness white lighting to replicate how the non-smart switches worked. However, the switches are pretty clever. You get dimming functions built-in, and the on switch is a multi-function one: you can assign different functions for everything from a single tap all the way through to five taps. I think this is more functionality than we’re ever likely to need from the physical switch, but it’s great to have the option.
There are a couple of issues with these switches, however. First, they are designed for the US market, so are the wrong shape to replace UK switch plates. Second, they are currently only available in white plastic, so I now have rather basic functional switches sitting above redundant brushed steel ones.
The Philips Tap switch now controls the two stairway lights, and lives in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. This is actually more convenient than the original wall switches which are by the coat hooks and tend to get covered by jackets and bags.
For kitchen and bathroom, where you are most frequently in them for a short time, I opted for motion sensors – adding two of the Philips ones. The kitchen one is magnetically attached to the original dumb switch to act as a reminder not to use it – albeit looking a little clunky in that position.
The bathroom motion sensor is simple, as the bathroom door is normally kept closed. Opening the door then activates it. This is just magnetically attached to the shaver socket on the wall facing the door. No reminder is needed here not to use the draw-string switch: I’ve unscrewed it.
These have a clever default setting, which I’ve retained: they apply maximum brightness most of the time, but use a much dimmer night-light setting at night. I just changed the default times for this to 1am to 7am.
The kitchen has no door, and also gets frequent visits from the cats, as it’s where their food and water live. I’ve angled the sensor up a little – as well as reducing its sensitivity – to reduce the frequency of it being activated by cats. I haven’t been able to prevent this altogether, but it’s at a level where I can live with it.
Manual control (via Siri, the Home app or Hue app) is used when in either room for longer times, like having a bath or cooking.
Benefits, justifications and excuses
As I wrote in my first piece, HomeKit tech is expensive. All the more so for Brits who pay pound for dollar on Philips Hue bulbs, and I now have 19 of them. That’s almost a thousand dollars for Americans, or a thousand pounds for Brits … worth of lightbulbs. I cringe slightly as I type that – though I do take comfort from the fact that others have spent more.
But, in truth, I do think it’s worth it. Let’s start with the practical benefits.
Mood lighting. It’s called that for a reason: it can affect your mood. The ability to use different colored lighting to create different atmospheres in a room – from focused work to relaxing with music and wine – is really lovely. A blue or purple gives a nice hi-tech feel – and the association with business class cabins in airliners doesn’t hurt – while a sunset orange can give a winding-down feel to the day. When I need more light but don’t want the harsh feel of pure white, a yellowy white is a good compromise. Even my partner, who previously just smiled indulgently at my gadget lust, now admits she does like the ability to control the color.
Automation. I was already totally sold on scenes – a single Siri command replacing multiple light switches – and I still get a kick out of this each time I do it. Adding motion-sensors to kitchen and bathroom, so the lights come on automatically and go out again a couple of minutes later, is also really nice. Admittedly, motion-sensors have existed forever, so you don’t need to invest in HomeKit for them, but you do at least get more intelligence. It’s great when you go to the kitchen for water in the middle of the night and get only a dim nightlight rather than a blast of light.
Energy efficiency. Ok, I’m not going to spend a grand on lightbulbs and then claim I did it to save money, but the Hue LED bulbs are massively more efficient than the halogen bulbs they replaced. I don’t know that they’ll ever pay for themselves in reduced energy costs, but at least you get a warm fuzzy feeling from the environmental friendliness of it. They also last forever, being rated at 15,000 hours, which is going to be around five years for the main rooms, and ten years plus for other rooms.
But I make no bones about the fact that I’m a gadget guy and the gadget factor played a significant role in my purchase decision. It’s one of the reasons I’ve invested in several different generations of home automation tech over the years, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve upgraded to HomeKit today.
Simply said, I like having a hi-tech home, and I enjoy the ability to control it with voice commands. It’s in part a toy, but toys are fun.
I know some people will be reading this thinking that it’s an extravagant purchase, but I have a simple attitude to buying things: if it will bring me or someone else pleasure, and I can afford it, why not?
While each manufacturer provides their own app, the theory with HomeKit is that you can control everything through a single app: Apple’s own Home app. The practice, as I’ve noted before, is a little different – and I have to say this has now become a little irritating, mostly due to the inconsistency.
For example, the Home app can’t select any of the animations on my Nanoleaf Aurora light panel as part of Scenes – but Siri can. It would be fair enough to say that Siri and the Home app are for top-level control, while the manufacturer apps are for more fine-grained tinkering, but it seems odd that Siri can do something the Home app can’t.
Conversely, you can group Philips Hue bulbs together in the Home app, but not in the Hue app. The upshot of all this is that both initial setup and modifying can be a little frustrating as you work out what needs to be done in each app.
There are also random times when Siri is inexplicably unable to activate a scene but you can do so by pressing the button in the Home app.
Then there are updates. I remember tweeting with mild amusement the first time one of my plug sockets needed a firmware update. But last night, when I came to activate the ‘Night home’ scene, very little happened. Opening the Home app to try activating it by pressing the button wasn’t any better, and I quickly found that none of the Philips Hue bulbs were responding.
The Home app gave no clue as to the reason for this, simply reporting ‘no response.’ I had to open the Hue app to find out that the bulbs were all updating.
One final irritation is that while you can give others guest access to control your HomeKit devices, this isn’t just a one-off action in the Home app: you also need to send separate invitations from the specific manufacturer apps. To me, this rather goes against the HomeKit philosophy of one app to do it all.
Worse, the Elgato Eve app reports that it can take anything from ‘several minutes to several days’ to grant guest access? Days? What the–?!
My previous smart home diary pieces described getting started with HomeKit and then wanting more.
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An introduction to issues to consider when starting a social listening or social media monitoring programme What is Social Listening?
Starting with the basics, you need to scope out what you’re looking to use social listening for. Start by defining how you intend to use it to add value to your business. How will you explain it to colleagues. This is how we see it:
“Social listening is a a market research process in which relevant content and conversations, defined by keywords are identified from social media sites such as blogs, social networks, forums & blogs and then placed into context to provide insight to inform customer engagement, collaboration and new product development”.
Later in this post I’ll break this out into 5 potential marketing applications of social media listening that can be considering.Define your purpose
How you utilise these tools and process will depend on your requirements, internal resource and budget. I have outlined the various uses of such processes to help you identify how you can get the most from this area, yet the critical first step is to be clear on what you’re listening for. For example is your main purpose brand monitoring, conversation and engagement, customer service or just research? Some of the most popular platforms available that can help with these activities are:
You may also find Dave Chaffey’s post which goes into much more detail when comparing social platforms useful.Application 1. Brand Monitoring
One use of such tools is to monitor your brand online, this will allow you to understand how many times your brand is being mentioned, you can then overlay the sentiment of the conversation as well as how influential those people talking are. Here’s an example of how segments can be defined in Radian6 to review sentiment and intention by a series of competitors.
Metrics to report on performance: Volume of mentions, sentiment, influence of people talking about you
Process: Implement keywords relating to your brand, including any negative matches required to hone in on relevant matches. Run reports weekly vs the previous week, monthly against the previous month and quarterly trending year to date vs last year.Application 2. Influencer Research
A crucial part of any marketing and campaigns in 2012 is to understand who in the industry / target audience is influential. Influencers become valued partners in campaigns helping you spread your content (should it be worthy of spreading). Influencers are way of creating value to potential customers who probably don’t know you, influencer outreach enables you to create traffic and reach for your campaign or content in ways that more traditional channels cannot.
Metrics to report on performance: Influence score (depending on the tool you use), fans / followers. If relating to a website you may want to bring in metrics such as page rank, inbound links, pages indexed (this would be sourced from other tools though)Application 3. Reviewing consumer brand engagement
One of the most powerful uses of social listening in my opinion. Monitoring for relevant conversations to your brand, product and campaign allows you to respond and become part of the conversation. Just the fact you are awake enough to do this and equally happy to put the effort in with customers will help grow your business. If it is done well, i.e. your brand uses this to have conversations with customers & influencers not sell to them then you will succeed.
Process: Once the system is configured to monitor the right keywords (relating to brand, products and campaigns) you need to continually monitor for conversations, the art is then determining which conversations / mentions are relevant for you to participate in. As long as you treat as a one on one conversation you are unlikely to go wrong. You should report on the metrics above weekly & monthly.Application 4. Customer Service
A form of brand & engagement monitoring really (i.e keywords are the same) but the process and requirement is very different. Whether good or bad certain types of people will voice their opinions on products / brands because they now have efficient tools to broadcast those opinions, previously it was over the garden fence or in the local for example. This form of social listening creates a process in which those mentions are processed from a customer relationship viewpoint. Meaning if for example you are Dell and I have just bought a laptop from you which arrived with a broken power adaptor you are going to want to resolve that without damaging the brand. An example of good customer service thanks to social listening would be that my rant online is picked up, due to the intelligence of the tools my email address is matched to a record in the Dell CRM and I am flagged for a response to the rant and call from customer services, oh and my new adapter is in the post. A process run by customer services & guided / helped by brand and marketing managers.
Metrics to report on performance: Sentiment, cases raised, cases successfully resolved, replies / engagementApplication 5. Broader Market Research
A key report / insights work to complete each quarter is to understand your place in the social market place, how are you performing against competitors and what are competitors doing that you maybe are not. This is a detailed piece of work and should be not be taken lightly. Though the value gained through insights to enhance campaigns and ultimately ensure you are improving your performance in comparison is amazing.
Metrics to report on performance: Share of voice, mentions, sentiment, influence
Process: Most social listening platforms have areas to enter competitor key-terms as well as industry relevant terms, this will enable particular views on data and allow analysis comparing mentions, sentiment etc to each other brand and also aggregating scores to give metrics such as share of voice. Once you have the top level data it is then key you drill down into some of the activity causing spikes in your competitors activity, this should be deconstructed and displayed to stakeholders where relevant. Keep to summary paragraphs, data + bullet points so that the report remains actionable.
It would be great to hear your experiences so far of utilising these types of platforms in your business, it was not a well documented or talked about area as yet, so any shared learnings are welcomed.
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Most manufacturers like to wrap you in their vines, making it hard for you to switch to the competition, but Apple is especially known for this. After making a career out of creating Android-focused content, I, too, seem to have fallen into Apple’s trap. Hello, I am Edgar, and I am having a hard time leaving the Apple ecosystem.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t because of iMessage, which I honestly don’t really care much for. It also isn’t because of other things people seem to love iPhones for. I can get excellent build quality, timely updates, speedy performance, and all that great stuff from many of the best Android phones. It’s Apple’s Apple Card and a few other Apple-exclusive features that ended up really locking me in!
Let’s talk about them.
Why is the Apple Card a good credit card?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
The Apple Card offers 1% cash back, or 2% if you use Apple Pay, which is still the most supported contactless mobile payment platform in the USA. Oh, and you also get 3% cash back on purchases from the Apple Store and a few other partners. It has no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no late fees. Not that you should pay late, anyways. To top things off, it’s made of titanium and actually looks very nice! This is a nice plus, as metal cards have traditionally been exclusive to those with the highest-tier cards.
There are a lot of contrasting opinions on whether the Apple Card is good or not. Of course, there are better alternatives. I won’t get into that argument right now. I will say this, though: Most cards that are supposedly better than the Apple card often require a significantly higher credit score and history.
Apple’s website mentions anyone with a 600 FICO9 score or lower will likely not be approved, but it also says a 660 score will grant good approval odds. Other factors come into play for credit card approvals, but no matter how you cut it, the Apple Card is pretty easy to get accepted for. At 600-660, people usually still struggle to get anything that doesn’t have an annual fee or horrible terms. And if they find one, it usually doesn’t offer 2% on most purchases. The Apple Card, at these levels, offers pretty nice benefits. You won’t find many real competitors likely to approve you unless you start getting closer to a 700 credit score.
The Apple Card gave me a chance when other credit cards wouldn’t.
If we want to get personal, I’ve been working hard to improve my credit score after years of mistakes and a wild youth. Somewhere along the way, I found myself with an iPhone in hand and thought: well, none of my current cards offer benefits even close to the Apple Card. Back then, I was ecstatic to get 1% cash back! I started the application and got accepted about a couple of minutes later. And I was able to use it with Apple Pay right away, while I waited for that beautiful titanium card to arrive.
After years of work, I’ve been able to gain access to better cards, but I still have a special place in my wallet for the Apple Card, which is the one that gave me a chance when others didn’t. This is why I think the Apple Card is one of the best credit cards for people with less than prime credit, if not the best.
Can you use the Apple Card with Android?
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Now, these benefits are cool and all, but why are they stopping me from switching to Android entirely again? Well, as I got deeper into the world of finances and credit scores, I found there are multiple reasons to stick to this card, and hence my iPhone. Even if I already have better alternatives.
For starters, the Apple Card and Apple Card Savings account rely heavily on Apple Wallet. You can only fully manage them with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and it has to support Apple Wallet.
If you don’t have a supported device, so if you use an Android phone for example, you can only do so much with your Apple Card. You’d also have to forego the 2% cash back you get with Apple Pay and go down to 1% cash back by using the physical card alone.
You can also go to chúng tôi and access your account from any browser. This will allow you to make payments, change your bank account, check your balance, get statements, and get info about monthly Apple Card installments. So, you can still do the basic stuff.
Leaving Apple completely might temporarily affect my credit score!
If you like the Apple Card Savings account, that becomes a much bigger headache to use without an Apple device. You can’t easily add more money to it, but you can use the routing and account number for manual transfers. Getting info about your account and withdrawing funds will require calling Apple at 1-877-255-5923 — not the most user-friendly process.
The whole point is that, while I can leave the Apple ecosystem completely and keep my Apple Card, I will still lose all of its value and benefits if I don’t own at least one Apple device. If I lose all the benefits, I will stop using these services at least now and then. As a consequence, my Apple Card may be canceled due to inactivity. I’ve built a pretty nice available credit and card age by now, and available credit and credit age are key components in credit scores. This means that, ultimately, leaving Apple completely might temporarily affect my credit score! At least indirectly.
No other smartphone manufacturer can match Apple’s customer support.
There are other benefits to Apple’s ecosystem, such as the seamless integration between iPhones and other Apple products, which isn’t quite there with Android devices and Chromebooks, and is even more limited with Windows. Then there are cool features like MagSafe, but that one isn’t a huge deal, as I could get a magnetic case or MagSafe adapter for Android devices.
And then there’s Apple’s customer support, which no other Android manufacturer seems to get even close to. I can waltz into any Apple Store, and I’ve honestly never had a bad experience dealing with the company to get some help.
Not really. The only way to access your Apple Card account on Android is by using a browser and logging into chúng tôi It’s a limited experience, though, and you don’t get all the features. And since you only get 2% cash back with Apple Pay, that benefit is not an option on Android.
Using the Apple Card Savings account on Android is even more limiting than with the Apple Card. You can pretty much only deposit to the account using the routing and account numbers. And everything else needs to be done by calling Apple at 1-877-255-5923.
Sadly, having an Apple Card is a requirement to sign up for an Apple Card Savings account. You must also be at least 18 years old, have a US social security number or ITIN, be a US resident with an address within the country, and set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.
Apple mentions its credit card partner bank, Goldman Sachs, will likely deny your application if you have a 600 FICO9 score or lower. It also mentions a 660 score or higher will grant higher chances of approval.
The physical Apple Card is made of titanium.
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