Google Launches SOS Alert For Searches Related to Coronavirus

Matt Southern

Google has activated an SOS alert in search results for searches related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Google’s SOS alerts, introduced in 2017, are activated during crisis events where the public safety might be at risk. They’re designed to help searchers by providing an ad-free page of search results with the latest news, links to authoritative resources, and any applicable safety tips.

Now, for searches related to the coronavirus, this is what the search results page will look like:

Google Launches SOS Alert For Searches Related to CoronavirusGoogle Launches SOS Alert For Searches Related to Coronavirus

Google explains in a help document how it sources content for SOS alerts:

“We have teams around the world who source content from government agencies, first responders, trusted media outlets, and NGOs. We also aggregate information from other Google products and services, such as Google News, Google Maps, Waze, and more.”

Google is showing the same alerts globally for the coronavirus outbreak, but they may be localized over time if needed.

Elementor Page Builder Plugin Vulnerability

Roger Montti

Popular WordPress page builder, Elementor has a vulnerability called an Authenticated Reflected XSS. This kind of vulnerability allows a hacker to run a script from another site and do things such as steal login credentials.

The vulnerability involves causing a script to be loaded to the vulnerable site (for example through a search box), creating a URL that when followed will execute the script (that is hosted on another site). The hacker then sends a link to someone whose credentials could then be stolen by the hacker.

According to the WordPress Vulnerability Database, the proof of concept is being hidden until February 12th to give users time to update.

Related: Google Exploit: Canonical Negative SEO

The website security company site that discovered the vulnerability (Impenetrable.tech) have published a walk-through of how they discovered the security flaw.

Screenshot from security company that discovered the vulnerability

Once they discovered the vulnerability they contacted the publishers of the Elementor Page Builder plugin and the publishers updated it right away.

Only after Elementor was patched did the security site publish an account of the vulnerability.

This vulnerability affects versions 2.8.4 and older. It is advisable to log into your WordPress website and update your site if you use the Elementor Page Builder plugin. The most current version of Elementor Page Builder is 2.8.5.

Once you sign into your WordPress account there should be an update link from the admin navigation ribbon at the top of the page, or you can access your updates page from the link in the admin sidebar to view all available updates.

Related: SEO & Cybersecurity: How the SEO Industry Views the Relationship

Bing Implements UX Change to Reduce Missed Clicks

Matt Southern

Bing revealed it recently implemented a UX change to correct an ongoing problem with its search box.

The change likely went unnoticed by everyone, because it’s literally invisible. However, as Bing says: “no change to the UX it too trivial.”

In this particular case, the change to Bing’s UX fixed a problem where users’ clicks on the search box weren’t registering.

“…sometimes even though users were clicking on our search box multiple times, their clicks were being missed. We were then able to quantify that 4% of all the users that clicked on the search box had one or more missed clicks.”

How Bing Fixed its Problem

Bing fixed this problem by widening the margins of its search box to reduce non-clickable space where the html form control resides. Since the form and search box have the same background color, users didn’t know they were clicking on the margin of the search box.

Bing Implements UX Change to Reduce Missed Clicks

The changes to Bing’s UX are depicted in the graphic below. Bing says, since implementing the changes, missed clicks on the search box all but vanished. Moreover, user satisfaction has improved.

Bing Implements UX Change to Reduce Missed Clicks

Other Sites Have the Same Problem

Without naming names, Bing says other websites have unclickable areas on their search boxes as well. Those sites, which include search engines and social media, may be experiencing missed clicks.

Bing suggests that websites affected by this issue can positively impact their users by applying the same fix. Site owners can determine if they have a similar problem by using Microsoft’s new Clarity tool, which tracks user interactions on a website.

Site owners can apply for a free pilot test of Clarity by visiting clarity.microsoft.com.

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