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10 steps to cut data usage on Android smartphones

mobile
Unlimited Internet data on smartphones is a dream, and more often than not you either hit your data cap or FUP as it is also known. If you hit the limit mid-month, then you could end up with a huge phone bill at the end of the month. Here are 10 simple steps you can take to make sure your Android smartphone doesn’t consume data without you knowing it.

Set a data limit

When you buy a data pack, fix a cap on your Android smartphone, so it will notify well in advance if you are nearing the limit. You can head over to Settings -> Data Usage and set a limit wherein the feature will notify you. You can also set a data usage cycle, as well as, when you want it to reset the calculator.

Switch off background data

There are many applications which run even in background. Keeping background data off can also help you save on precious data — and money. To ensure apps don’t use data in the background, head over to Settings -> Data Usage. Here you can select apps to use data only when you open them.

Switch off data while playing games

Not all games require an active data connection. It is advisable to switch off data before you start playing a game.

Manual apps update

Here’s another culprit that consumes a lot of data. Apps are regularly updated, and can end up finishing your data quota in less than a month. You should not keep your phone on auto update mode and should update only those apps that are necessary. Head over to the Play Store and swipe right to open the Settings Menu. At the top you will find the option for Auto-Update Apps. Tap this and make sure you either have it set to ”Do Not Auto-Update Apps” or only over Wi-Fi.

Intelligent browsers

Surfing the Internet can consume a lot of data as well, but browsers such as Opera, Chrome and UC browser among others can compress websites. This helps in reducing the amount of data used, and pages load faster as well.

Push notifications

Many apps push numerous notifications, and more often than not they are for marketing purposes and have little use. You will be surprised how much you can save by switching off notifications for apps. To switch off push notifications, head over to Settings -> Apps and click on individual apps to disable notifications.

Videos

It has become easier than ever to watch videos on smartphones in high definition. But higher the resolution, more data is used. The best way to avoid this is to head over to YouTube’s setting and set the HD videos on Wi-Fi. This means that you will now be able to watch only less resolution videos and this in turn will consume less data.

No VoIP

Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, FaceTime and Viber among others let you call another person over the Internet. But the free calling feature is free just for namesake, and consumes data as well. If you really need to call somebody using one of the aforementioned services, then do it when you are on Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi

Quite simply, the best way to save data is to not use it at all. Switch to a Wi-Fi network whenever possible. Also as a good practice, make sure to turn off your mobile data once you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.

2G/EDGE

2G or EDGE might be grossly inadequate to run most apps these days, but not all apps need a fast connection. Switching to 2G consumes less data, as compared to a 3G connection. When not required, you can head over to Settings -> Mobile Networks -> Network mode. Once there, select GSM only, which in other words will only use 2G connection. If you need to switch back to your faster connection, you can go back to GSM/WCDMA.
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15 WordPress Plugins to Supercharge Search Function

One important element of any website is the search feature. With this, people can find for what they’re really looking for through your site, instead of just getting the information from the links you gave them, such as category, tags, featured post, etc. If your website is on WordPress, the search feature already exists by default. But it is still too stiff to use and not flexible enough to customize.
One available option you can use to improve the search feature on your site is by using plugins. These 15 plugins will help you make your searches on your site easier and faster to run. Some allow different methods to run searches, helps you track what users are searching for, lets you customize your search results or disable search altogether.

WP Extended Search

WP Extended Search plugin allows you to set the search results based on Post Meta, Taxonomies (category and tags), Post Type (post, page, and media) and author name. You can also customize SQL relation (AND/OR) between search terms.
ADVERTISING

Instant Search Suggest

With this plugin, just typing several letters into the search field will make it return suggestions for related tags, categories, or title. This plugin should work for your current theme and just need a slight configuration to work.

WP Search Suggest

WP Search Suggest adds a suggestion based on sthe earch term that a user enters on the search form. It will make an AJAX call then return the matching search query from the database. This is currently available in English, Deutsch and Czech language.

Jarvis

To use Jarvis, just hit the / button, and a search bar will show up. Enter your search term and Jarvis will suggest you available options related to your keyword. Arrow up or down the list to quickly navigate and pick the best search query for your search, then press enter to go to that result list.

Search & Filter

For a more narrowed scope, Search & Filter lets users add filters to refine their searches. Fields can be added under the Search form and displayed as dropdowns, checkboxes, radio buttons or multi-selects. You can add filter by Category, Tag, Custom Taxonomy, Post Type, Post Date, or any combined form.

Voice Search

Need a different way to search on your site? Use this plugin Voice Search which allows you to search things on the site through (what else?) voice. It currently works only on Chrome for both mobile and desktop version; for desktop, you must have a microphone installed for this to work.

Disable Search

If for some reason, you want to deactivate the search capabilities on your WordPress site, this is the plugin to do it. Disable Search will hide the appearing of the search form, disable the search widget, and prevent any manual search request or give a 404 Not Found response on submitted search attempts.

Auto Search Suggestion

In the WordPress dashboard, admins can use this plugin to search any content from page, post, or custom post type, all in one place. It also has auto suggestion so you can search faster.

WP Lucky Search

It’s similar to the ‘Im feeling lucky’ feature on Google, but for your site. When your visitor clicks the lucky search button, plugin will redirect to one random post based on the search term.

WP Live Search

WP Live Search returns the search result for page, post, and post type, as the user types the keyword on the search form. You can simply run this by add shortcode [wp_live_search] on page or any part of your site. You can see available options on documentation.

Search Redirections

Search Redirections is a plugin that allows you to redirect to a specific page or site when a user tries to search a specific word. For example for ‘CSS’ you can set that when a user searches with this word, it will redirect to google.com/search?q=css.

Rocketbar

Rocketbar works just like OS X’s Spotlight, allowing you to get around in the WordPress dashboard using keyboard shortcuts. To open Rocketbar simply use the keybind SHIFT + SPACE, then enter your keyword.

DuckDuckGo Search Widget

DuckDuckGo is search engine that doesn’t track you. If you encourage untrackable searches, you now can add its functionality to your site. This plugin adds duckduckgo as a widget and searches your site when a search query is punched in.

Curated Search

Customize what results your users can find by pinning your article to show up as the top search result for specific keywords, or creating alternative keywords or possible typos for search queries. Alternatively you can also redirect search terms, or make these searches contextual. Lastly, you can also limit the search results users can see or even hide specific content.

Quick Search Widget

Quick Search Widget lets your visitor see the search result immediately on their keypress. There is no need to wait for the site to load whole pages. Users are able to get search results from pages, posts, or products, if available.

Now Read-How To Make Your WordPress Blog Mobile Friendly – Best Solutions

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How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest

Do you want Pinterest analytics for your WordPress site? Pinterest analytics help you monitor your site’s performance by showing stats for all images pinned from your site. Recently one of our users asked us for an easy way to verify their WordPress site on Pinterest. In this article, we will show you how to verify your WordPress site on Pinterest and get Pinterest analytics.
Verifying your site allows you to get more insights in Pinterest Analytics

Generating Pinterest Verification Code for Your Site

First thing you need to do is login to your Pinterest account and click on your user name. This will bring you to your pins page. Next, click on the gear icon on the top right corner of the screen and then on account settings.
Visiting Pinterest account settings

You need to scroll down on the account settings page to find the website field. Enter your site’s URL and then click on the confirm website button.
Adding your website to Pinterest

A popup will appear on the screen with a single line of code. This code is a meta tag that you need to add on your website. Simply copy it and leave this window open. You will need to come back here to complete the verification.
Pinterest verification code for your WordPress site

Adding Pinterest Verification Code in WordPress

There are two ways you can add the meta tag to your WordPress site. You can directly paste this code in your child theme‘s header.php file just before the </head> tag.
An easier way to add the code on your website is by using the Insert Haders and Footers plugin. Simply install and activate the plugin and visit Settings » Insert Headers & Footers page. Next, paste the Pinterest verification code in the headers section and save your changes.
Insert Pinterest verification code in the header

You now need to switch to the Pinterest verification code popup and click on the finish button. You will see a success message.
You can now see verified Pinterest Analytics for your site, and how it is doing on the Pinterest network. You may also want to add the Pinterest Pin it button to your site to increase exposure.
While we don’t use Pinterest on WPBeginner, we receive a lot of Pinterest traffic on our sister site List25. You can check out List25’s Pinterest page as well.
We hope this article helped you verify your WordPress site on Pinterest. 
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Facebook now lets you add links on its mobile app without opening a browser


Fb-add-link  Facebook on Thursday rolled out an update to its mobile app that lets you find web links to share without having to switch over to your web browser Now all you have to do is look for the small link symbol that appears above the phone's virtual keyboard alongside the "Tag Friends" button. Tapping that brings up a new screen where you can do a keyword search for links. "We think this feature makes it much simpler to share web links with your friends on mobile, whether it's an interesting news article, a funny video, or a favorite recipe," Facebook engineer Tom Whitnah wrote in a company post. Typing in "LGBT Pride Month," for example, surfaces a slew of relevant links Facebook thinks you might want to share with friends. Tap on the particular link, and voila, it's tacked onto the bottom of a status update now for you to share as you please. A minor update? Absolutely. However, it helps further boost user engagement and builds upon the company's Graph Search, a feature introduced back in 2013. Graph Search basically takes advantage of all the data Facebook has accumulated over the years and offers users an advanced way to search for people, places and things. Indeed, Whitnah wrote that Facebook's searchable index now has over 1 trillion posts from users, many of which include shared links. Graph Search has slowly and steadily become more useful over the last two years, allowing for more and more finely-tuned searches. Now, those finely-tuned searches include links. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
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You no longer need a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger

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Facebook Messenger just moved one step closer to messaging domination. The social network no longer requires people to have active Facebook accounts to use its messaging app, Facebook announced Wednesday.

Now, when people in the United States, Canada and Venezuela who don't have Facebook accounts download Messenger, they will see a new "not on Facebook?" option on the sign-up screen, which allows them to create an account for the app using their name and phone number. All of the same Messenger features, including payments and stickers as well as voice and video calls, will be available to people using Messenger without Facebook. The main difference for non-Facebook users, of course, will be features that rely on your network of Facebook friends. Without a connection to a Facebook account, for example, the app will rely solely on your phone's contacts to find friends on the service. Non-Facebook users also won't be able to access messages on the web, since those still live on Facebook.com for now.
messenger-sign-up-android
The company hasn't given a timeline for when Facebook Messenger will open its new sign-ups to more countries, but it's likely the company is using those markets as a test ground for the new standalone version of Messenger. Facebook Messenger has come a long way in less than a year when the social network first began pushing its mobile users to the app. Despite initial resistance, Facebook has managed to rack up more than a billion downloads while adding payments, video calling, third-party apps and a suite of other features to the app that is increasingly becoming its own standalone platform. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
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Blitab: World's first tactile tablet is 'iPad for the blind'

blitab braille tablet blind The Blitlab tablet converts files and web pages into braille and relief images for blind and visually impaired people
The first-ever braille tablet has been developed, using a new liquid-based technology to create tactile relief outputting braille, graphics and maps for the blind and partially sighted.
Austria-based startup Blitab Technology claims the "revolutionary" technology could be used to open up the digital era to the visually impaired, with plans to develop a braille smartphone.
"We are creating the first tactile tablet for blind and visually impaired people," Slavi Slavev, chief technology officer and co-founder of Blitab Technology, told IBTimes UK at the Hello Tomorrow Conference in Paris. "What we are doing is creating a completely new technology which outputs braille in a completely new and innovative way without any mechanical elements.
braille tablet blind blitab slavev

Tactile relief is created instantly through small liquid bubbles on the screen
"This is revolutionary and we want to solve a great issue, and that's the literacy of blind people. The technology is quite scalable so we can output images and put any tactile relief representation like maps and graphics, such as geometric figures, in order to serve as an educational tool for blind people."
Other devices currently on the market are mechanical and only allow for one line of braille to be generated at any one time. They also cost about three-times the price of the €2,500 (£1,778, $2,802) Blitab. More recent refreshable braille concepts, such as the Anagraph e-reader, have run out of funds before being able to bring the product to market.
The Blitab tablet uses liquid bubbles to instantly generate braille text or relief images, while the corresponding technology allows text files to be instantly converted into braille from USB sticks, web browsers or NFC tags.
braille smartphone tablet ipad ereader
Refreshable braille devices currently on the market only offer one line and are typically expensive
"Currently there are some solutions which are extremely expensive and they represent only one line [of braille]," Slavev said. "These devices were developed 40 years ago and because no one has offered any new innovations since then, that's still all that's on the market."
In the UK, interest in the Blitab has been shown by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and Barclays bank, due to its potential for helping blind and partially-sighted customers instore.
Blitab is currently in the prototyping stage but if the ongoing investment round is successful the startup is hoping to bring the first product to market by September 2016.
Slavev added: "We think blind people should be included in the digital era in which we live, with all of the smartphones and tablets, but also ensure that they have a proper way to do everything that sighted people do, like web browsing, reading books and downloading books.
"Only 1% of all books worldwide are available in printed braille, as it's very expensive to produce printed braille. Some people are even saying that braille is decreasing among blind people but we want to get to the point where we can actually change this."
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Tips To Speed Up Google Chrome Browser For Android

Google Chrome is by far the best web browser for not only PCs, but also for Android smartphones as well. Google has embedded Chrome browser in Android OS, which has almost replaced the other stock browser and most of the users prefer using Chrome browser instead. Chrome for Android includes a lot of features which can enhance your browsing experience up to a great extent.
Although Google Chrome browser in its stock state is pretty fast, but you can improve its performance and speed it up by applying some changes using the options available in Google Chrome settings. Recently, Google made some changes to the Google Chrome browser. The tabs are now embedded in the recent apps menu, that means you no longer can switch between tabs using the icon next to the URL box, but you will have to open the recent apps menu to switch between tabs. This change was made when Google revamped Google Chrome browser for Android Lollipop. But this feature never went permanently out of the browser. You can still bring it back and you can make a lot more changes to boost your browsing experience.

chrome-android-merger
We’ve compiled some of the best working tips and tricks that will help you to improve the performance of your Chrome browser. Let’s go through these now and enhance your Chrome for Android.

Get The Tabs Back Next To Address Bar

To get the tab switcher next to the address bar back, follow these steps: 
  • Tap the menu button(three vertical dots) on the top right corner of your Chrome browser. 
  • Now tap settings. 
  • Now in settings tap “Merge tabs and apps” 
  • Turn off the merge tabs and apps feature from the next screen. 
  • Your chrome will now close and re-open and you will have the tab switcher back next to the address bar.
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Learn To Quickly Switch Between Tabs


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Once you’ve brought the tab switch option back to its place, you can quickly switch between the tabs by simply swiping the address bar/toolbar from left to right or right to left. You can simply tap and hold the toolbar and swipe to switch between your desired tabs. This feature won’t work if you have merged tabs and apps, you’ve to turn it off first using the instructions explained above.

Use Data Saver To Compress Pages & Save Your Data Plan

This is one of the most useful features in Chrome for Android. You can save your Data Plan by using the Data Saver option located in Chrome settings.
When you’ve turned on Data Saver mode, Chrome uses Google’s servers to compress the pages you visit before downloading them. This feature also detects malicious pages and protects the users from malware, phishing and harmful downloads.
To enable data saver follow these steps. 
  • Tap the menu button(three vertical dots) on the top right corner of your Chrome browser. 
  • Now tap settings. 
  • Now in settings tap “Data Saver”. 
  • Turn on the Data Saver mode now. 
  • Chrome will now load the pages faster by compressing the unnecessary material.
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Clear Google Chrome Browsing Data With Time

If your Google Chrome is lagging too much, you may try clearing up the cache, cookies, history and temporary files. You can do so by following these instructions. 
  • Open Google Chrome and tap the menu key > open settings. 
  • Now in settings tap “Privacy”. 
  • In Privacy tap “Clear Browsing Data” and select the data that you want to remove. 
  • Relaunch Chrome, it should be fine now.

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Speed Up Chrome

This is how you can actually boost up the browsing speed of your Chrome browser. You’ve to make a little tweak in the flags of your Google Chrome to achieve this. Basically what we will be doing is, we will be allowing Google Chrome to access more memory. This will finish the sluggish behaviour of Google Chrome and make the browsing much more smoother. Specially when you’re scrolling down a heavy web page, it will be much more smoother after allowing Chrome to access more memory. By default, this memory is 64, you can set it to 512 or 256 depending upon your liking. Here’s how to do it.

  • Copy and paste the following text in your Chrome address bar 
  • Chrome://flags
  • Once you’re in flags settings, tap the menu key and then tap “Find in page”.
  • Now in Find in page type “Maximum tiles” and hit the arrow key to find.
  • Once you’ve found Maximum Tiles, tap it and set the value according to your choice. i.e. 512 or 256.
  • Once done, relaunch your Chrome browser.
  • Checkout the browsing speed of your Chrome browser now. That’s all.



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Add Bookmark Icons To Your Home Screen – Make Your Favourite Sites Your Homescreen Icons

For quick navigation, you can add your favourite sites/pages shortcuts to your Android phone’s homescreen. Here’s how you can do it.
  • Open your desired site.
  • Tap the menu key at the top right corner.
  • Tap “Add to homescreen” option in the list.
  • Set the name and you will have the icon on your homescreen.
  • That’s all.



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Slide Down The Menu To Make Quick Selection

Not much of a use, but good to have in knowledge. You can tap and hold the menu key and then slide down to navigate through the options. If you’re so lazy to put your finger off from the screen after pressing the menu button, you may keep it intact with the screen and slide down for selection an option.

Play The Hidden Game When You’re Offline

Google loves to hide games in its applications/softwares. We have a hidden game in Android Lollipop, and we have a hidden game in Google Chrome for Android and PC as well. You can access this game when you’ve no internet connectivity. While you’ve no access to packet data or WiFi, open Google Chrome and it will show you the offline screen with a small dinosaur. Simply, tap anywhere on the screen and the game will begin. You’ve to jump over the hurdles and keep running as long as you can to make a bigger score.11665983_10206294886983721_82689322_o-tile
That’s all. We hope that you find these tips and tricks useful. Got anything to add to this post? Reach us out through the comment box below.
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Google's adorable self-driving cars are now on public roads

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Google announced last month that it'd be putting its prototype self-driving cars on California roads this summer, and now they're here. When they were first announced last year, the cars were shown without any driver controls at all, but these are a bit different — there will still be a qualified driver and manual override controls available at all times, just in case a car gets out of its element. (Data so far suggests the challenge might be with self-driving cars being too safe, not the other way around.) In this way, the cars are similar to the many self-driving Lexus SUVs that Google already has driving on and around its Mountain View campus.
Google car 2
The company has also launched a website where drivers can share their experiences on driving near these little things. Was it fun? Weird? Annoying? Google wants to know. It'll probably help that some of the cars are going to become rolling works of art — how can you hate a cute car covered in an even cuter pattern? Then again, the cars are capped at "a neighborhood-friendly 25mph," so if you've ever wanted to lay on your horn at an artificially intelligent vehicle that's going way too slow on a public street, this might be a wonderful opportunity.
Google has previously said that it would like to run a number of self-driving pilot programs over the next several years, so by all indications this is just the beginning of a very long process — it's a regulatory and technological challenge that basically every automaker (plus Uber) is trying to figure out right now.
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How to Add Related Posts to WordPress without Affecting Page Speed

It is recommended that you include Related Posts on your blog pages as they help decrease the bounce rate of your site and are good from the SEO perspective. That’s because when you publish a new article, the old content, that was previously hiding in the archives, shows up in the list of related posts and thus gets fresh exposure to both human visitors and search engines.
Matt Cutts, in 2010 when Google search results were a collection of 10 blue links, recommended using related posts and the advice is still relevant today in the age on Penguins and Pandas. 
YARPP, short for Yet Another Related Posts Plugin, is the most popular plugin in the WordPress repository for display related articles but it does put lot of strain on your WordPress database server. All the related posts calculations are done using complex SQL queries on your WordPress database and that can affect your website’s performance.
Jetpack, the official WordPress plugins from the makers of WordPress, now includes Related Posts functionality and it is a better alternative to YARPP for one simple reason – Jetpack runs the algorithms to compute related posts in the cloud and thus put no additional load on your server. Through the WordPress plugin, your website makes an API call to Jetpack which in turn returns a list of posts related to the current post.
WordPress Related Posts

Jetpack Related Posts for WordPress

I’ve obviously replaced YARPP with Jetpack for displaying related posts on this website but there’s something I was not too happy about Jetpack. It adds a number of JavaScript and CSS files to the website’s header for rendering the related posts. This in turn increases the weight of the page but, fortunately, there’s a way around that.
<?php
 
/* Jetpack Related Posts */ 
/* This is required to remove the CSS and JS enqueued in the header */
function jetpackme_no_related_posts( $options ) {
if ( is_single() ) {
 $options['enabled'] = false; 
}
return $options; 
}
add_filter( 'jetpack_relatedposts_filter_options', 'jetpackme_no_related_posts );
/* Create shortcode for displaying related posts anywhere in the post */
function techalive_related_shortcode( $atts ) { 
$related_posts = "";
if ( class_exists( 'Jetpack_RelatedPosts' ) && method_exists( 'Jetpack_RelatedPosts', 'init_raw' ) ) { 
$related = Jetpack_RelatedPosts::init_raw() 
->set_query_name( 'jetpackme-shortcode' ) 
->get_for_post_id(
get_the_ID(), 
array( 'size' => 5 ) // How many related posts?
 ); 
if ( $related ) {
foreach ( $related as $result ) { 
$related_post = get_post( $result[ 'id' ] );
$url = get_permalink($related_post->ID); 
$title = $related_post->post_title; 
$related_posts .= "<li><a href='" . $url . "'>$title</a></li>";
} 
$related_posts = '<ol>' . $related_posts . '</ol>';
 }
 } 
return $related_posts;  
} 
/* Create a new shortcode for Jetpack related posts */ 
add_shortcode( 'techalive_related', 'techalive_related_shortcode' ); 
/* Do not load the one-big Jetpack concatenated CSS file */  
add_filter('jetpack_implode_frontend_css', '__return_false');
/* Dequeue the default styles and jQuery for Jetpack module */ 
function add_techalive_scripts() { 
if (!is_admin()) { 
wp_dequeue_script('jetpack-related_posts'); 
 } 
} 
add_action("wp_enqueue_scripts", "add_techalive_scripts", 20);
?> 
You can use the Related Posts module of Jetpack but without adding extra baggage to your website. Assuming that the Jetpack plugin is already installed on your website, activate the Related Posts module and then paste this code inside the functions.php file of your WordPress theme.
What we have done so far is dequeued all the extra CSS and JS files that are normally added to the site by Jetpack and we’ve also created a WordPress shortcode that will let us include the Related Post module anywhere on the page (and not limit us to the end or start of an article).
You can also set the number of related posts to display in line #27.
Next open the file where you wish to display related posts, most likely the single.php or loop.php file in the WordPress theme folder, and add this line.

<?php echo do_shortcode( '[tec_related]' ); ?>

You should also check this page on the Jetpack website for more technical details on how to customize the related posts module of Jetpack.
One more thing. If you have only recently enabled Related Posts for Jetpack, the related posts may not show up on your website because it may take some time for Jetpack servers to index your site.