Ads are a necessary evil when browsing the net. We all see them, we all browse right past them, but it looks like the powers that be are working on new and inventive ways to shove them in our faces.
The latest concoction brewed up by the folks at Pixazza, Inc. is a tool that turns items in pictures into clickable links (presumably to a virtual check-out with that item). And, while supposedly the backend for implementing this feature is a bit complicated, the user interface is intuitive. Visitors to a site will be able to simply move their mouse over an image to reveal any additional information they might want, via a pop-up tab.
So, if you see Scarlett Johansson wearing some sweet shades, and you’re looking to get yourself a pair, look no further then the pop-ups that will soon accompany your images.
Though the browsing experience on cellphones has come up by leaps and bounds, a lot of work still needs to be done. Another considerable step forward would be full-fledged Flash functionality on cellphones. It is something that figures high on Adobe’s list of priorities. In fact, it is busy developing Flash ports for major mobile platforms.
Now it appears as though a Flash port for the Android platform may become available sooner than expected as another company is also developing one.
After three years of service, ex-Google Visual Design Lead Douglas Bowman parted ways with the search giant last Friday, while also offering some parting thoughts about the company and his decision to move on. His reason for leaving? Not enough creative freedom.
In a blog post, Bowman laments the process of how Google implemented design decisions, saying the company relied too much on data and not enough on subjectivity. He says the reliance on hard numbers ultimately became a crutch that prevented Google from making any daring design decisions.
"Yes, it's true that team at Google couldn't decide between two blues, so they're testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better," Bowman wrote on his blog. "I had a recent debate over whether a border should be 3, 4, or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can't operate in an environment like that. I've grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions."
Despite his design philosophy criticism, Bowman says he understands where Google is coming from with billions of shareholder dollars at stake and millions of users around the world to try and please. He also says he has something else lined up, which he'll announce at a later date.
While Google continues to pull ahead with a healthy share of planetary images, Microsoft announced this week that they signed a deal that gives them access to 100TB worth of NASA’s images, that will ultimately find their way onto the WorldWide Telescope website.
Microsoft has announced that they plan on working with NASA in order to develop “the technology and infrastructure necessary to make the most interesting NASA content.” The content, which will be available on Microsoft’s virtual telescope for exploring the universe, WorldWide Telescope, should be available later this year.
And, for those keeping tabs on just how big 100TB of data is, that’s enough to fill 20,000 DVDs.
Another reason why Google has left its competitors way, way behind in the search engine race: Friday, a post on the (unofficial) Google Operating System blog noted that you can now restrict Google image searches by specifying one of twelve different colors:
Only images that contain the specified color will be listed in the search results. Officially, you must use a command-line search in your browser's address bar to use this new feature, using the following syntax:
Google has been known for putting some pictures on Street View that probably don’t belong there. But, it looks like the software giant is playing nice with folks that were offended, and removing them completely.
According to a spokesperson with Google, anyone that makes a request to have an image removed could very well make that happen. And what about the photos that have already been deleted? “We've got millions of images, so the percentage removed was very small,” said Google’s Laura Scott. “We want this to be a useful tool, and it's people's right to have their image removed.”
Google maintains that they only display images that are visible by public thoroughfares.
In the most recent case of Google Earth being used for mischief, British Builder Tom Berge used the program to zoom in on historic buildings before stripping them of nearly $227,000 worth of lead from their roofs.
The area that was afflicted by this thieving Brit was primarily South London, where nary a museum, church or school was spared. The 27-year-old admitted to using Google Earth to aid him in more than 30 locations. Berge was served with eight months of jail time and 100 hours of community service.
According to Detective Sergeant Chris Grant, who was in charge of the investigation, “He was a prolific offender up until the time he was arrested. Since then our crime figures for theft of lead have reduced significantly.”
Google’s adverts have long been a prevalent part of surfing the net. While the ads that we normally see on blogs featuring AdSense and the text based ads on the sidebar of our Google search page seem like they’re looking out for us, the powers that be at Google are planning to make these ads a bit more sophisticated.
“Today we are launching ‘interest-based’ advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube,” writes Susan Wojciciki (Google’s VP of Product Management) on Google’s blog. “These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads.”
Tailoring advice such as this to each user does allow for audiences to be targeted easier when advertisers take aim, Wojciciki believes “that interest-based ads will create the same virtuous cycle, by giving users more relevant ads, while generating higher returns for advertisers and publishers.” We’ll just have to wait and see!
Youtube houses arguably one of the largest music-video collections on the internet, which even features some hard-to-find musical gems. Dan Nelson, a 15-year-old developer, has built an iTunes-esque, free-music service that streams Youtube music to the user’s desktop. His downloadable music player is called Muziic.
Muziic can be considered the notional progeny of Youtube and iTunes: it delivers free music available on Youtube in a seamless manner one associates with iTunes. But its adolescent creator is yet to secure Google’s endorsement.
Google’s gripe may emanate from the fact that there is no mechanism in Muziic to display the advertisements that usually accompany Youtube videos. So Muziic is effectively depriving Google of ads revenue that is lawfully its due. Having used Muziic, this author can vouch for its utility. But will it be music to Google’s ears?
In what's sure to have Google blushing and cloud-based computing opponents hollering "told you so!," the search company issued a notice to users of its Document and Spreadsheet products alerting them that some of their documents may have been inadvertently shared with others.
"This inadvertent sharing was limited to people with whom you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, had previously shared a document," Google Docs Team wrote in a notice. "The issue only occurred if you, or a collaborator with sharing rights, selected multiple documents and presentations from the documents list and changed the sharing permissions. This issue affected documents and presentations, but not spreadsheets."
Google blamed the mishap on a bug, which the company claims to have now fixed. In the meantime, Google said it used an automated process to remove collaborators and viewers from the documents it identified as being affected, and those will need to be re-shared by the owner.
According to Google, this was an isolated incident that affected less than .05 percent of all documents.
Hit the jump and tell us whether or not this sours your outlook on cloud computing.