Posts Tagged ‘ Google ’

Google Buzz Widget for Android

Well, the official Google Mobile blog also shares the introduction of the Google Buzz widget for Android. The newfangled tool is intended to make the sharing experience on Android faster and easier.

With a single tap, users can now post text and photos thanks to the new widget. Keeping in lines with other mobile access points for Google Buzz, this new widget too enables users to tag their posts with a location. Users can post buzz about a load of things.

For example, users who’ve just had a great meal can choose to share photos of the new restaurant without really waiting to get back to their scrumptious dessert. They save time as their posts will upload in the background

Initially available in English for Android phones running v1.6 and above, the widget can be downloaded from the Android Market. Post installation, users can add it to their home screen. All they have to do is tap ‘Menu’ while they are on the homescreen and then choose ‘Add > Widgets > Google Buzz’. Support for other languages is expected to be added soon.


Google Maps now with bicycle-route planning

Expanding the worth and appeal of its popular mapping tool beyond just motorists and pedestrians, search titan Google has this week begun adding dedicated bicycle routes to Google Maps.

Starting from today, Google Maps users looking to plan a leisurely bike ride in their spare time or perhaps simply avoid heavy traffic while commuting will be able to access trails and paths tailored specifically for pedal-powered transport. Users can even select routes that avoid calf-tearing hills.

“This has been a top-requested feature from Google Maps users for the last couple year,” outlined Shannon Guymon, product manager at Google, in a Wired report. “There are over 50,000 signatures on a petition.”

Although the new cycle path feature is only presently available in around 150 cities across the United States, Google has said it plans to steadily add more geographical content – much in the same way it does with other Google Maps features such as Street View.

Google has indicated that a Google Maps bike-route feature for mobile devices is already in the pipeline.

Google Chrome: Tips & Tricks

Google Chrome is another milestone in Google’s grand plans of world domination — and they are finding very few people who complain. Chrome is an extremely fast and lightweight browser. It packs in a ton of features in a minimal interface, and introduces some novel ideas to the whole idea of browsing. The top bar and the menu bar have been omitted completely, leaving a rather large space for browsing.

Inspect Memory Usage

Chrome has some advanced options for inspecting memory usage. Right-click on the browser tab in the start bar select ‘Task Manager’. You will get a window showing how much memory is being used by each tab in the browser. Now click on ‘Stats for Nerds’ and a new tab will open in the browser, with a process ID, name of the site, memory and virtual memory usage. The great thing about this feature is that if you are using other browsers at the same time, then the tab shows the memory usage by that browser as well.


To bookmark a page, click on the star icon next to the address bar. To access the list of bookmarks at any point of time during browsing, key in [Ctrl] + [B]. To make it disappear, use the same shortcut again.

Incognito Mode

Chrome has a secret mode that allows you to surf the Web anonymously. On the top right corner of the browser, to the right of the address bar is the page control button. Click on it and select ‘New incognito window’ or [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N]. The sites surfed using this mode will not appear in the history, and the cookies they store on the system will be deleted as soon as the tab is closed.

Make Google Chrome Your Default Browser

Click on the ‘Customize and Control Google Chrome’ button to the right of the address bar, click on ‘Options’ and under ‘Default browser’ click on the ‘Make Google Chrome my default browser’ button.

Navigation Tips

Right-click on the back and next buttons to go through a recent history of visited Web sites. Drag and drop any tab from the browser into the desktop to start a browser with just that tab open. To open a tab you have just closed by mistake, use the keys [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [T]. Use [Ctrl] + [1] to [9] to cycle through tabs from the keyboard.

Expand Text Boxes

This is a very useful feature for use in any kind of site that requires you to fill in text in a text area. When you come across a text area in a forum or a form in a Web site, just click on the bottom right corner of the text area, click and drag it as per your requirements.

Inspect Memory Usage By A Site

Right-click on any empty space in the Web page, click on inspect element. This is, by the way, how you view the source code of a site on Chrome. Once here, click on the first line of the HTML code, which will effectively select the entire site. Then click on resources. This shows up the usage of memory by each element in the Web page. You can sort the elements by time or by size. If you reload the page, every image and script on the page shows up in the graph and gets plotted in real time.

YouTube Celebrates Its Fifth Birthday

On February 14 2005, YouTube’s co-founders, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Javed Karim registered the site’s domain name and set out to “create a place where anyone with a video camera and an Internet connection could share a story with the world”, according to the company’s recent blog entry.

The first YouTube video was entitled ‘Me at the zoo’ and shows co-founder Karim at San Diego Zoo. It was uploaded on April 23 2005 and is still on the site.

The site officially launched in November 2005, after six months of public beta testing and by July 2006 the company announced that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day – with 100 million video views per day.

YouTube did not begin as the market leader in the video space and faced competition from the likes of Vimeo and Viddler. However, it soon overtook its rivals because of how easy users found its uploading and embedding tools.

In October 2009, the site celebrated serving over one billion views per day on the third anniversary of it being acquired by Google for $1.65 billion (£883m).

Hurley, who remains YouTube’s chief executive, wrote on the video-sharing site’s blog on that day: “Three years ago… we’d just made headlines by joining with Google in our shared goal of organising the world’s information (in our case video) and making it easily and quickly accessible to anyone, anywhere.

“Today, I’m proud to say that we have been serving well over a billion views a day on YouTube. This is great moment in our short history and we owe it all to you.”

He went onto to detail how aspects of the site have had to move with the times: “As bandwidth has increased, so has our video quality. As we’ve started to see demand for longer, full-length content, we’ve brought more shows and movies to the site. There are now more ways than ever to make and consume content, and more of you are looking to turn your hobby into a real business.”

Indeed the services the site now offers have transformed radically from its early days – when it was typified by user generated videos showing dogs on skateboards – which become viral web sensations overnight.

YouTube is in the process of trying to reposition itself as a platform which shows professional content, as well as its bread and butter user generated content. Having signed content deals with the likes of Channel 4 and Five, as well agreements to livestream sports tournaments, like the Indian Premier League cricket matches, it is well on its way to becoming one of the world’s largest digital aggregators of content – both amateur and professional.

Ian Maude, Enders Analysis’s head of Internet said: “Since its early days back in 2005, the YouTube consumer experience has changed from all recognition. Users would never have thought of watching a TV show via the service and now they can access all of Channel 4’s content from the last 30 days.

“It is becoming a content platform in its own right. It used to be just a free for all that the great-unwashed could use to post pretty much anything – copyrighted or not. But Google has done a great deal to solve those teething rights issues, while pursuing formal content agreements with the major broadcasters and rights holders.”

However, the site still famously has yet to turn a profit and deliver any major returns to Google. And despite the fact that at the end of 2009, YouTube had more than tripled the amount of views it was able to monetise, year on year, the high costs of streaming video online en masse is still understood to be a major barrier to reaching profitability.

The increase in the amount of views it is now able to monetise has grown due a rise in the number of content owners, such as ITV, opting to use YouTube’s ‘content ID’ system.

Content ID is YouTube’s copyright fingerprinting system which allows rights holders to block or make money from unauthorised use of their material. It is free of charge and being used by 1,000 content partners globally, including major brands such as Electronic Arts and Sony BMG.

It has played a major role in content holders regaining control of the unauthorised use of their material on the major video site and reducing the amount of legal actions are brought against YouTube for copyright infringements.

Rights holders, once unauthorised use of their material has been located, can then either choose to have it removed from YouTube, or for YouTube to serve an ad around the video and split the money in a revenue sharing deal which Google says favours the content owner.

One third of the content being monetised has come from unlawful user uploads, the content owner has chosen to keep up on the site in exchange for an advert being served. And two thirds of the videos making money are uploaded by the content partner themselves. YouTube is selling the majority of the adverts around the content – unless a special arrangement has been negotiated, as with the Channel 4 deal – where the broadcaster sells the adverts around its own content.

Apple v Microsoft: What they really think of each other

Bill Gates on Apple

“To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new, and really captures people’s imagination. And the Macintosh – of all the machines I’ve seen – is the only one that meets that standard.” (1984)

“If you say, well, how do you feel about Bill Gates getting rich off some of the ideas that we had … well, you know, the goal is not to be the richest man in the cemetery. It’s not my goal anyway.” (1994)

“Whether it’s Google or Apple or free software, we’ve got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.” (2008)

“Apple has done a very good job on usability. You have to compliment them on that. But their agenda is not as broad as ours, so perhaps the fact that they focus in and polish those things well – certainly we need to do that as well or better than they do.” (2008)

“There are very things that are on the banned list in our household, but iPods and iPhones are two things we don’t get for our kids.” (Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates, 2009)

Steve Jobs on Microsoft

“I guess I am saddened, not by Microsoft’s success – I have no problem with their success, they’ve earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third rate products.” (1996)

“I wish [Bill Gates] the best, I really do. I just think he and Microsoft are a bit narrow. He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.” (1997)

“Our friends up north [Microsoft] spend over $5bn on research and development, and all they seem to do is copy Google and Apple.” (2006)

“Microsoft has had two goals in the last 10 years. One was to copy the Mac, and the other was to copy Lotus’ success in the spreadsheet — basically, the applications business. And over the course of the last 10 years, Microsoft accomplished both of those goals. And now they are completely lost.” (1994)

“Microsoft’s greatest asset is Windows. Their greatest liability is Windows. Windows is so nonobject-oriented that it’s going to be impossible for them to go back and become object-oriented without throwing Windows away, and they can’t do that for years. So they’re going to try to patch things on top, and it’s not going to work.” (1994)

“I think Bill Gates is a good guy. We’re not best friends, but we talk maybe once a month. I think Bill and I have very different value systems. I like Bill very much, and I certainly admire his accomplishments, but the companies we built were very different from each other.” (1994)

Google Gone

Google’s China exit plan will affect more than just Google

Google’s declaration that it would stop censoring its search engine and potentially shut down operations in China following a sophisticated China-based “cyber attack” threw the online world into turmoil.

As investors studiously looked over the ticker tape, speculation was rising as to who would snatch up Google’s ad revenues if the search giant pulled out of the country.

Domestic competitor Baidu has been touted as the most likely to grab the larger part of Google’s current 30% market share, consolidating its leading position in the domestic search market. Other companies in the running include Tencent’s search engine, SoSo.

Google’s motives for threatening to pull out of the world’s biggest internet market by user numbers – 338 million according to Analysys International’s estimates – have repeatedly come into question. In particular, the company’s insistence that its decision to go public with the whole affair was based solely on censorship issues has prompted commentators at home and abroad to suggest that Google has nothing much to lose by leaving.

But while street estimates put Google’s China revenue at a few hundred million dollars, or just 2% of the company’s total annual revenue, Google’s short-term objective was not to win the market but to win market share. And it has fought hard for its 30% share, often in difficult situations: Google has come under fire in Beijing’s numerous campaigns to rid the internet of pornography and other content deemed sensitive by the state censors.

In addition, Google’s search operation is not the company’s sole interest in China. China Mobile is heavily promoting OPhone handsets running Google’s Android operating system as it rolls out its 3G network. While there has been little indication that China Mobile’s OPhones will be caught up in the current storm, Google has meanwhile delayed the launch of two Android-based phones developed with Motorola and Samsung for China Unicom, the country’s second-largest carrier.

Google’s squaring off with China’s censors could have repercussions for other foreign internet firms operating in China; Yahoo received a slap on the wrist from its domestic partner.

Yahoo has not itself threatened to pull out of China, but has sided squarely with Google. Alibaba, in which Yahoo holds a 40% stake, called Yahoo’s reaction “reckless,” but it was an understandable public-relations move given Yahoo’s earlier dalliance with censors. In 2004 it emerged that Yahoo China had handed authorities the email account information of mainland journalist Shi Tao. Shi later received a 10-year prison sentence for leaking government information based on data the state squeezed from Yahoo.

Google’s decision to publicly question the price of commercial gain in China was a bold one regardless of true motive or outcome. Beijing’s relative silence to date indicates the government is treading lightly as support for Google grows at home and abroad. The wider impact of the move on both domestic and foreign technology firms operating in China may take some time to emerge.

Google’s e-library on fire

Even as it has been fighting China on Internet openness, Google is embroiled in a litigation in which publishers and authors from around the world,including India, have accused it of violating copyright in its quest to create the world’s largest online library.

Joining a global campaign against the latest version of Global Book Settlement (GBS 2.0), Indian Repographic Rights Organisation (IRRO), which is the official copyright society for Indian authors and publishers, and Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) filed their objections at a New York district court on Thursday, the deadline for doing so.

GBS 2.0 gives Google copyright immunity to distribute millions of books online, in exchange for sharing the revenue it generates with the rights holders. With the introduction this week, Apple’s iPad Tablet expected to enhance the popularity of digital books, GBS 2.0, which gives a first mover advantage to Google, is being vehemently opposed by the search giant’s rivals such as Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo!.

The deal has divided opinion among copyright owners as some of authors and publishers have welcomed it as a fresh stream of revenue. One of the most controversial aspects of GBS 2.0 is “opt out”, a mechanism which puts the onus on copyright owners to keep their books out of the purview of this Google innovation. As IRRO’s statement put it, “This implies that if a person is silent, he is deemed to have consented to an agreement.”

According to IRRO, Indian authors, without any representation of their interests, would be affected by the secret negotiations that a few US-based publishers have had with Google. While GBS 2.0 is ostensibly limited to books published in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, the deal would impact the rest of the world too as any author published in any of the four named countries would be covered by it.

In the keenly contested US litigation, the detractors of the Google deal gained strength when the governments of Germany and France filed objections. The US government is due to disclose its stand to the court by February 4.