Google has long been hailed as the champion of online advertising, but they’ve decided to step into the arena of television marketing in an attempt to spread the word about their open source browser, Chrome.
While Google’s use of advertisements on their popular search engine’s website and other online venues has been a strong way of getting more people on board with their browser, they’ve only recently broken a one and a half percent market share. Though, with their television advertisements it’s clear that they’re looking to broaden their horizon, and maybe catch the eyes of some people that wouldn’t otherwise see the adverts.
This too, will hopefully help people adopt the browser before it comes preinstalled on OEM hardware.
Much to the chagrin of Stephen Wolfram (at least as far as he's willing to admit publicly), hype for his Wolfram Alpha search engine continues to mount as it gears up for a public release later this month.
"I am not keen on the hype," said Wolfram, scientist, entrepreneur, and founder of Wolfram Research, the company responsible for developing the new search engine.
The comparison to Google might have been inevitable, but Wolfram Alpha doesn't search through web pages. Instead, it mixes "many clever algorithms and heuristics" to compute answers to questions by tapping into an enormous collection of data. For example, Wolfram Alpha would be a prime Jeopardy candidate, able to quickly recite facts like whether the Eiffel Tower is taller than Seattle's Space Needle.
When it goes live next week, the search engine will represent a work in progress and not a finished product. The full potential might not be reached for decades.
T-Mobile's G1 smartphone may not have been the iPhone killer some were expecting, but there's no doubt Google's open-source Android platform is here to stay. So what does the future hold for Android?
According to Strategy Analytics, global Android smartphone shipments will grow a staggering 900 percent in 2009, driven by widespread vendor and developer support. Coming in a distant second (in terms of growth), Apple iPhone OS will see a 79 percent growth rate in the same time period.
"The Android mobile operating system from Google gained early traction in the US in the second half of 2008 and it is gradually spreading its presence into Europe and Asia during 2009," said Tom Kang, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. "Android is expanding from a low base and it is consequently outgrowing the iPhone OS from Apple, which we estimate will grow at a relatively lower 79% annually in 2009."
Thanks to its low-cost licensing model, mostly open-source structure, and support for cloud services, Android has the potential to be a major force in the smartphone market by the end of the year.
Budding astronomers who have trouble finding Orion's Belt (or any constellation) may soon get some help from Google, providing the struggling star gazer carries an Android-based cell phone. That's because the search giant plans to release a new mobile phone application called Star Droid, although no launch date has yet been set.
"There are lots of great applications being produced all the time so you will just have to watch this space," a Google spokeswoman said.
Not a whole lot is known about the upcoming application, but according to the UK's Telegraph, Star Droid will use GPS technology to compare the position of the phone to that of existing maps of space. Nametags will accompany stars and planets as seen through the phone's viewfinder.
Word on the web is that Star Droid will be a free download from the Android Market.
Sure, you could always play it safe and have your wife shack up in a hospital when she’s in the beginning stages of childbirth, or, you could whip out your iPhone and begin to search YouTube for instructional videos on how to deliver it yourself! This is one Marc Stephens did, and it worked out well for him.
According to the BBC, “Marc Stephens watched the videos as a precaution when his wife Jo started to feel some discomfort. Four hours later, his wife went into labour and started giving birth before an ambulance could arrive at their home in Redruth. ‘I Googled how to deliver a baby, watched a few videos and basically swotted up.’”
Admittedly Mr. Stephens does have some very limited prior experience, given that this is his fourth child. “For our first I spent most of the time at my wife’s head, now I’m not afraid to go down to the business end.”
While book scanning has become a pretty common process, one problem that still remains is that the scanned images are slightly distorted where the spine of the book meets the page. It looks like Google has done their very best to fix this error, with a pretty nifty camera setup.
Their book scanner, which was recently revealed in patent pictures, paints a book with infrared light, and then two infrared cameras generate a 3D model of the book, which can be used to correct scans. On top of this, Google has implemented camera technology that detects the three-dimensional shape and angle of the book’s pages when the book is in the scanner. This is then transmitted to the OCR software, which adjusts for any distortions, and allows the OCR software to read the text more accurately.
Google has recently announced yet another addon to their web-based Gmail platform, which allows you to add roughly 1,200 more emoticons to the selector tool.
Among the new emoticons are national flags, road signs, more animals and various animations. With a total of 13 categories (a huge boost on the two that come with vanilla Gmail) there’s a strong possibility that people will be able to carry out conversations without typing a single word. :\
Back in September of this year Google launched their Mobile Search with My Location service, which allowed users of mobile devices to quickly and easily find nearby points of interest. And now, it looks like that very same functionality is making its way to your computer.
Google’s Toolbar will now feature My Location. This addition will allow Google Maps and their own Maps gadget to automatically close in on your location, allowing you to type less into your search box when tracking down the closest pizza place. “You can just do a search like [thai food], and you will receive a list of nearby restaurants and more local Google search results,” wrote Aseem Sood and Susan Ting, members of the Toolbar Product Team at Google. “This feature is similar to IP-based local search results announced earlier this month, except Google Toolbar with My Location can determine a more accurate location by using nearby Wi-Fi access points. This is done without associating location information with a user's Google Account. Google Toolbar with My Location is only available in the U.S.”
Unfortunately, the Google Toolbar will continue to be available only for Internet Explorer (someone should let these guys know that they have their very own browser too!), and there’s no word on an official release date. But, according to the official Google Blog, they “hope to bring you the next batch soon.”
Google yesterday made available an updated version of its Chrome browser to prevent cross-scripting attacks, whereby visiting a malicious site with Internet Explorer could cause Google Chrome to fire up, open a bunch of tabs, and load harmful scripts.
"An error in handling URLs with a chromehtml: protocol could allow an attacker to run scripts of his choosing on any page or enumerate files on the local disk under certain conditions," Mark Larson, Google Chrome program manager, wrote in a blog post. "If a user has Google Chrome installed, visiting an attacker-controlled web page in Internet Explorer could have caused Google Chrome to launch, open multiple tabs, and load scrips that run after navigating to a URL of the attacker's choice."
The attack wouldn't work if Chrome was already running, Larson added. A new version of Chrome -- 220.127.116.11 -- is now available and will prevent the attack from working regardless. The update is supposed to be rolled out automatically, but in our case, we had to manually force the download. You can do so by clicking on the wrench icon in the upper right corner, select "About Google Chrome," and click on Update Now.
The pirate bay is taking on water at a frantic pace, and while an appeal in the trial is still likely, odds are pretty good that site may soon be brought down once and for all through a court injunction. Truth is though; the Pirate Bay brought this down on themselves. By picking up the torch that Napster and Kazaa dropped, they painted a huge bulls eye on their chest and blatantly taunted the movie and music industry by posting take down notices on the site, a sign of open defiance.
Though they may soon pay the price for these actions, it remains to be seen who the movie and music industry would consider to be “next on the list”. Tracker sites like Mininova, isoHunt, and Demonoid come to mind, but one searching tool rules them all, Google. Type any movie or TV show into Google followed by the word “torrent” and every tracking site, including many lesser known domains; spill their results for the world to see. In fact according to Google Trends, searches for the term “wolverine torrent” quadrupled after the movie was leaked onto peer-to-peer networks.
Google claims they are quick to remove offending content, but it’s a never ending battle. When one torrent link dies, dozens more take their place.
Can Google be held legally liable for this? It’s hard to say but with the Pirate Bay gone, we may soon find out! What do you think?