In the nine months to July, US customs officials seized $62.2 million worth of fake AirPods and other counterfeit wireless according to data obtained by The Information. Around 360,000 units were confiscated during that timeframe. The agency said seizures of counterfeit wireless headphones have increased by 50 percent over the past five years “as products such as Apple AirPods gained popularity.”
US Customs and Border Protection impounded 295,000 sets of counterfeit headphones worth $61.7 million during the government’s previous fiscal year (which starts in October), so it seems there are more phony headphones flooding into the US market than ever. The value of fake headphones that agents seized in 2019 was comparatively minuscule at $3.3 million.
These figures are likely just a drop in the ocean compared with the number of fakes that sneak past borders. It’s nearly impossible to know the exact figures, but estimates made by the US Chamber of Commerce in 2016 suggest officials seize just 2.5 percent of counterfeit goods worldwide.
Given that estimate, The Information suggests counterfeit AirPods could cost Apple billions in lost sales in the US this year alone, assuming that buyers would otherwise scoop up genuine models. Customs agents have phony AirPods on at least a dozen occasions across the US in recent years. The products confiscated in four of those seizures would have been worth around $13 million were they genuine Apple products, officials said.
There are, of course, other brands that counterfeiters are copying, and it’s not clear what percentage of fake headphones that customs agents confiscate are AirPods knockoffs. Counterfeit headphones aren’t exactly new, but having hard numbers on seizures highlight just how pervasive they are. Then again, when even customs agents believe , the extent of the problem might not be too clear after all.
Google Expands ‘About This Result’ With Info On Ranking Factors – Search Engine Journal
Google is expanding the ‘About This Result’ panel with information about what factors went into ranking a page in search results.
Starting today, when viewing an About This Result panel, searchers will get even more information about the results they’re seeing to help them make sense of which one might be most useful.
That’s what it offers to regular searchers, but to SEOs it offers unique insight into which ranking factors went into surfacing a given page for a given query.
Here’s an example of an updated About This Result panel for the query “how to cook fish in the oven”:
Underneath the “Your search & this result” heading you can see why a page was ranked for that query.
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In the example above Google surfaced that specific page due to the following factors:
- It matched words in the query with words on the page.
- It matched words related to the query with words on the page.
- The content of the page is in the same language as the submitted query.
- The searcher’s location in the United States made the page particularly relevant.
In addition to highlighting matching terms, related terms, and local relevance, the updated About This Result panel can also display information about inbound links.
Here’s another example where you can see the panel telling the searcher: “Other websites with your search terms link to this result.”
The header image of this article shows another version of an About This Result panel, which mentions the page’s images were used as a relevance factor.
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Google’s pitch to searchers is that this information can be used to refine one’s query to get better results.
For everyday users this panel offers techniques and settings that can be used to modify searches to get more relevant webpages.
From Google’s announcement:
“For example, if you usually search in English, but want to find results in a different language, or from a different region, About This Result makes it even easier to adjust your settings.
You may even want to adjust your search. Imagine you search for “best jogging shoes.” While it’s usually helpful for Google to return results about related concepts, in this case “running shoes,” you’re really after shoes that are optimized for jogging.
About This Result will show you tips for how you can get to what you really wanted. For example, you can put quotes around a word or phrase to get results that mention those words exactly, or use a minus sign to exclude certain words from your search.”
For marketers and SEOs, this panel offers an interesting look into how Google determines relevance on a per-result basis.
Prior to today’s update, About This Result only displayed information about the content source and whether the website’s connection was secure. Now it contains a wealth of data about relevance signals.
This expansion is now live for 10% of eligible users and will gradually roll out to 100%. The expanded panels are available in English in the U.S. to start, with plans for a wider rollout in the coming months.
OnePlus Buds Pro are a cheaper but still high-end take on AirPods Pro – Mashable
OnePlus has taken the wraps off of its latest wireless earbuds: the OnePlus Buds Pro. At $150, these are not only the priciest earbuds the company has to offer, but also its most sophisticated.
Compared to last year’s OnePlus Buds (which came in an obnoxious blue color) and the OnePlus Buds Z, the Buds Pro have a much sleeker look. You’ll have the choice between Glossy White and Matte Black — both of which are coupled with metallic stems.
The Buds Pro are also the first of the lineup to feature noise cancelation. With a three-mic setup on each earbud, the Buds Pro can filter out a range of noise levels (up to 40dB).
It’s what OnePlus calls “smart adaptive noise cancellation” (ANC). Depending on the noise within your environment — like cars passing by or conversations around you — the earbuds will automatically adjust the level of ANC in real time.
Inside, the OnePlus Buds Pro pack two 11mm dynamic drivers with support for Dolby Atmos. OnePlus says the earbuds provide “rich treble, heart-pounding bass, and crystal-clear vocals.” (We’ll be the judge of that.)
The company claims the Buds Pro can get up to 38 hours of battery life when you factor in the charging case’s additional battery. Whereas a quick 10-minute charge will get you up to 10 hours of battery life.
The Buds Pro also come with support for Warp Charge, OnePlus’ fast-charging technology. But since they’re Qi-certified, you can simply use any third-party wireless charger to power them up.
You’ll have to wait a little while to get your hands on them, though. The OnePlus Buds Pro will officially be available for purchase direct from OnePlus’ site starting September 1.
Leak: Battlefield 2042 Sandbox Mode To Include Bad Company 2 Maps – Kotaku
Last month, EA pulled back the curtain on climate-change shooter Battlefield 2042 and detailed two of its four modes. The other two remained couched as future announcements—one mentioned only by name (Hazard Zone), and one shrouded entirely in mystery. A since-deleted GameRant article (that was clearly embargoed ahead of today’s EA Play showcase and went live early) jumped the gun on revealing that previously under-wraps mode.
Turns out, the newest Battlefield mode will be…old Battlefield. Called Portal, DICE planned to reveal it during today’s EA Play.
Battlefield 2042’s Portal is essentially a community sandbox mode. Using weapons, gadgets, vehicles, and other assets from previous Battlefield games, players can create customized game modes and share them to the Battlefield 2042 community via playlist. Here’s a trailer, shown at today’s EA Play event:
Six maps from older Battlefield games will be included: two each from Battlefield 1942, Battlefield Bad Company 2, and Battlefield 3, also known as The Best Battlefield. (Yes, Caspian Border is included in Portal.) All of the older maps are rebuilt in Battlefield 2042’s Frostbite engine, and will feature the destruction mechanics recent Battlefield games are known for.
According to a GameRant, though you can mix and match stuff, each team has to be locked into a specific era. And notably, none of the gear will be balanced by default. In other words, if you’re on the team using weapons from a World War 2-era Battlefield, you’ll likely get freakin’ wrecked by the team using high-tech gear from Battlefield 2042.
But you can balance any Portal modes through something called the “Rules Editor,” which can alter damage for era-specific weapons and, according to GameRant, tweak the number of players on each team—so, say, those with weaker weapons have more players. DICE says that it’s gonna be complex AF, and plans to include tutorials to get folks up to speed.
Battlefield 2042 comes out October 22 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It’ll support 128-player matches on PC and next-gen consoles. Matches on last-gen consoles will be limited to 64 players.
Update, 7/22, 2:15 p.m.: Added trailer.
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