Google is a highly-profitable search engine, but it has recently begun an expansion into the ISP market, competing against companies like Time Warner Communications and CenturyLink. Google is building expensive new fiber optics infrastructure in the Kansas City area; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. This will enable them to provide much faster speeds than what is available from current providers in those areas. In Austin, speeds may eventually be as much as 100 times faster than current rates. Google is also pricing the service very competitively, and throwing in products like Google TV with certain packages. Oftentimes the construction fees will even be waived, despite an estimated cost of $1200-2000 per house to bring a fiber optics connection into the living room.

Whether or not Google succeeds, or even intends to build out a nationwide fiber optics network is almost beside the point. Mainstream ISP’s are already taking notice of what Google is offering consumers and trying to compete. This will almost certainly result in faster speeds and better service for consumers.

Internet speeds in the U.S. lag behind what would be competitive elsewhere in the world. South Korea has long had the world’s fastest internet speeds, delivering data roughly three times as fast as what the average U.S. consumer is able to receive. Americans also pay more for access than citizens of other countries: in Seoul, South Korea, a 100-Mbps download speed connection costs less than $40 per month. Worse, only 8% of Americans have fiber optics connections to the internet, and nearly 30% of the country isn’t online at all.

What remains to be seen should fiber optics take off is the type of new content that will be created if internet speeds continue to grow exponentially. Technologies that are now mainstream, such as videoconferencing, social media, or watching movies on Netflix would have been inconceivable had dial-up remained the predominant way that Americans could access the internet. Continued growth in upload and download speeds would enable consumers to access more and more data, and allow for more innovation. While Google Fiber’s expansion has proceeded extremely slowly, and may never become more than a novelty, the competition could spur existing providers into continuing to improve on the telecommunications infrastructure.

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Web typography has come a long way in only a few short years. Not that long ago, most online content was displayed in only a few “Web-safe” fonts. Now there are more sophisticated ways of displaying text. One of the most popular ways of bringing custom fonts into a web layout is to use an API, such as Google Web Fonts. Google Web Fonts has over 600 open source fonts that can be imported for use in a web design.

Helvetica is a famous font which is European in origin but now used by companies and designers all over the world. Some might even say it is overused; the U.S. government uses Helvetica on all of its forms. Many famous corporate logos, such as Target and American Apparel, contain text in the Helvetica typeset. Helvetica is also often used in transportation-related applications, as it remains legible while in motion.

Arial extremely similar to Helvetica, but was developed specifically with computer applications in mind. While Helvetica’s origin came about in the 1950’s, Arial was designed for use by IBM in 1982. It is still extremely popular with computer users, but lacks the design cachet and perception of sophistication that Helvetica has obtained.

Helvetica and Arial are both would be described by web designers as sans-serif fonts. In contrast, Times New Roman or Garamond would be considered a serif font.

Sans-serif fonts look more modern, but book publishers often use fonts with the serifs intact so as to maximize readability.

How well do you know your fonts? The writers at Buzzfeed put together a quiz where you can test your knowledge of different typefaces.

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Having the most up-to-date security settings on your email server is important not only for security reasons, but also for increasing the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. Many services your customers or clients use to receive email filter the messages people receive before they ever hit their inboxes to try and stop malicious phishing attacks from hackers. However, these filters cast a wide net and if your settings are not up-to-date, legitimate emails from your company could be diverted to customers’ spam folders and left unread.

There are three main techniques that can be used to make sure that your e-mail is not marked by servers as being spam.

1. Sender ID
Marketers that have adopted Sender ID have, in some instances, seen 85% fewer emails mistakenly marked as spam by email servers.

2. DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail
Gmail, the world’s most popular email service, actually requires 1024-bit DKIM identification in order for messages to be delivered. If you use an outside service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact for email campaigns, they may already be doing this. But if you are having problems with email delivery, it’s worth making sure that the messages you are sending are compliant with the latest security standards.

3. SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF verifies that the ISP address sending the emails is correct.

The good news is that email companies will usually work with legitimate businesses to try and make sure their content is being delivered. Microsoft has been particularly vocal about pushing other companies to adopt these security standards, and explains in great detail on their website what businesses must do for their content to reach consumers. If you work with a third party email marketing tool, they will usually assist you in modifying these settings. It is worth it to take the time to understand the security issues that impact email delivery to make sure that your business is reaching its intended audience.

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