Some people harness the awesome power of Google Earth to view distant lands they may never reach, take in a crime in progress, or maybe even find a 3 billion dollar shipwreck. At least that’s the claim of Nathan Smith, a Los Angeles musician who appears to have spotted the remains of a Spanish barquentine while zooming in on a shoeprint shaped object in the Aransas Pass in Texas. This assumption was based on historical records which put a lost barquentine (three massed sailboat) near that location south of Refugio, Texas, in 1822.
After consulting with a few experts, he traveled to the location which just happens to be the private ranch of the late Morgan Dunn O’Connor. The result of this drama will end up being decided in the courts with the family of Mr. O’Connor and Mr. Smith in a bitter dispute over salvage rights. If the courts determine that the land is located within a navigateable waterway, the first person to find the wreck is entitled to the spoils, otherwise the bounty goes to the O’Connor family.
As if this wasn’t complicated enough, the state of Texas is also considering its options because it disputes the existence of a commercial waterway near the wrecks location. If this is proven true, the state might have found a surefire way to balance its books come budget time. U.S. District Judge David Hittner will rule on the salvage rights within two months time.
When you consider the complexity of modern day web pages, it’s actually a bit of a miracle that search engines work as well as they do. Dealing with duplicate links, especially off pages such as Amazon that may promote an individual product a thousand times or more has always been a challenge. Finally, after years of debate, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are putting the past behind them to solve this age old issue. The solution is a simple tag that will be added to the standard link format called “canonical”.
The tag is designed to solve issues associated with multiple URL’s pointing to the same page, but may also be helpful when multiple versions of a page exist. Currently, the search engines employ a process that looks at the structure of URL’s to look for similarities. This generally works pretty well, but is far from perfect. It is considered to be somewhat rare for search engines to come together on any issue, but it isn’t unprecedented. In 2006 they joined forces to put unanimous support behind sitemaps.org, and in June of 2008 they jointly announced new standards for the robots.txt directive. Matt Cutts of Google and Nathan Buggia of Microsoft claim this new approach should help reduce the clutter on the web, and improve the accuracy of all search engines.
Even though these tags won’t completely solve all the duplicate problems found on the web, it should significantly enhance the indexing performance of search engines, particularly on e-commerce sites. The new tags will be discussed in depth at this year’s Ask the Search Engines panel at SMX West.
It's hard to imagine anyone being able to bully Google into submission, but according to Venture Beat, that's exactly what Apple did. The report claims Apple encouraged Google not to use multi-touch technology in the Android-based G1 mobile phone, and Google agreed, Venture Beat says citing an un-named Android team member as the source.
"Further, the Android team member went on to say that they were relieved that Google didn't go against Apple's wishes, given the legal storm that appears to be brewing between Apple and Palm, which is using multi-touch technology in its new Pre phone," Venture Beat writes.
And that might not be the only influence Apple had on the G1 handset. According to technology blogger John Gruber, a source told him Apple also took issue with a pre-release G1 prototype Google showed to them over its standard headphone jack. The unidentified source claims Apple owns a patent on "controlling software using buttons connected by a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (at least for music and video playback controls), and would not grant Google a license to the patent."
Getting back to the multi-touch issue, it will be interesting to see if future Android-based handsets implement the technology, even with the threat of a lawsuit lingering.
The free tool, called PowerMeter, will allow users to view and thoroughly analyze their household energy consumption data. The platform, currently in closed beta, requires that the user possess a smart meter. It will let users compare the energy-appetite of different devices within their house, besides making it possible for users to compare each other’s energy consumption trends.
Google hopes that access to household energy data will help users conserve energy – something many studies and Lord Kelvin have previously suggested.
Gmail Labs has added yet another feature to Gmail, one that will come as a boon to anyone with a large screen monitor and wondering what to do with all that additional real estate. It's called Multiple Inboxes, and as the name implies, you can now sort your categorized email into multiple panes.
The Multiple Inboxes features makes it possible to configure up to five additional panes (labeled 0-4) positioned above, below, or to the right of your main inbox. With it, you could, for example, set up separate panes for unread emails, drafts, emails with attachments, labeled emails, and/or however you see fit using any of Gmail's supported search operators.
You'll find the Multiple Inboxes feature in the Labs tab under Settings. Once enabled, go into Settings, click Multiple Inboxes, and configure the panes however you like.
"As we've improved other parts of the language, regexps started to stand out as being slower than the rest," Chrome programmers wrote in a Chromium blog post. "We felt it should be possible to improve performance by integrating with our existing infrastructure rather than using an external library."
If you’re a Google Apps customer and you’re in need of your calendar offline, you’re in luck! Just today Google began releasing offline calendar support, a move that will make their tools more attractive to business users.
The calendar has a lot of attractive features, such as support for Gears and the ability to check your appointments despite your current connection. Though, know that you’ll only be able to check up on your daily agenda using the offline version, not create new entries.
If you’re a non-Google Apps customer and you’re looking to check out this feature before you buy it, Lifehacker has had some hands-on time with the synchronization software and given some impressions.
MySpace announced this week that they’ve happily booted 90,000 registered sex offenders from their social networking site. But, as some research would reveal many of them simply took this in stride and made their way over to Facebook to do their business.
Former New York City police officer John Cardillo, and now CEO of Sentinel, a security technology firm based out of Miami, has said that Facebook is a “safe haven” for sex offenders. Notably, Facebook isn’t currently a client of his service.
After these gentlemen were booted from MySpace he did a search on Facebook for many of the same names. “We found over 8,000 offenders on their site without much effort,” stated Cardillo. “My professional opinion is that the real number is 15 to 20 times that.”
Cardillo’s Sentinel works by searching a gigantic database identify sex offenders. The database of offenders consists of more than 700,000 names, photos, dates of birth, email and IM addresses, and other “important data points.”
Well, let’s think of it this way – at least they probably don’t have access to Google’s Latitude.
Stalking your friends and family (and others?) just became a lot easier thanks to Google’s latest app for your mobile device, Latitude. The app simply works by using location-based technology built into one’s cell phone to track their every movement, so you can know exactly where they are, at all times.
Currently Latitude is available for Google’s G1, color-screen BlackBerrys, most Windows Mobile devices as well as other assorted smart phones. Google has mentioned that they’re working on a version for the iPhone, iPod touch and Sony Ericcson phones.
Sadly for Google, they’re a tiny bit late to the party, as other applications such as Loopt and Where are already following people on plenty of devices. But, given the name-power of a company such as Google (as well as the admittedly good work they do), there’s little doubt that this will catch on to be as popular, if not more, than the other guys.
Sound a little creepy? Well, truthfully it is. But, when you think of it as a tool for weary parents to keep track of their kids, or weary kids keeping track of their elderly parents it does make a little bit of sense.
Four Google employees have been slapped with criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy. Their legal woes began when an Italian organization complained against a video on Google Video – uploaded a couple of years ago – that shows four imbeciles tormenting a disabled person.
Although Google removed the video as soon as the complaint was made, Italian prosecutors decided to persist with personal criminal charges – an unprecedented move - against the four Google executives. Their trial will begin on Tuesday in Milan, Italy. These Google execs may even be consigned to an Italian prison for up to three years, if the charges against them are upheld.
It has vowed to “vigorously defend” its employees. "Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet" a spokeswoman for Google argued.