Google is home to many of the world’s smartest and most creative engineers and its newest plan once again proves they aren’t afraid to pioneer. To sum up Google’s idea in a few words, they plan to take the collective knowledge of mankind and send it out to sea, literally. The search giant is home to countless computer systems which crunch the millions of search terms thrown at it each minute and finding ways to keep costs down is always a challenge. Google hopes that by housing these computers on massive ships out in the ocean it will allow them to use sea water to both cool and power the electronics. Google’s commitment to the environment is commendable and even though data centers currently only represent a small portion of our total power consumption, the Mckinsey consulting firm predicts that by 2020 the carbon footprint of server farms will overtake the entire airline industry. In addition to energy savings, Google also stands to benefit from the tax exempt status that comes from operating in international waters. The high cost of operating data centers has pushed other companies to look for creative ways to save money as well. In fact, both Microsoft and Sun Microsystems are rumored to be looking at similarly bizarre options, though none have yet been confirmed.
Let me just say this; if Google plans to take the cloud and cast it out to sea, I hope my Google Doc’s can survive a hurricane.
Since netbooks deploy quaint technology as compared to their full-blown cousins, it can be difficult to believe that they are actually aimed at the future. But that is exactly what Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle group, thinks. His reasoning is that netbooks would be more practical and fun when WiMax becomes ubiquitous in the near future. A netbook quickly transforms into a worthless, nondescript device once you have no internet access to breathe life into it. Rob Enderle’s point about netbooks being useless without internet might appear to be a mere reiteration of the obvious, but it is actually a very insightful observation.
Forget about Verizon's FiOS and your spiffy new fast internet connection, because overall, the United States ranks 16th in terms of the best quality broadband internet services, according to a new survey by Oxford University Said Business School. The survey, which received assistance from Oviedo University and Cisco Systems, used collected broadband speed tests as measured by Speedtest.net. They analyzed both download and upload speed, along with internet latency from eight million tests performed in May of 2008.
So who reigned supreme? Japan topped the list has having the best quality broadband, with Sweden and the Netherlands rounding out the top three. The rest of the top ten include Latvia, Korea, Switzerland, Lithuania, Denmark, Germany, and Slovenia, according to the survey.
Infantile search engine Cuil came out a cropper during its launch when it crumbled under the weight of its lofty promises – blame it on the copywriter’s strong imagination. But any startup needs some time, sans any distraction, before it can stake a claim for a place in the big league.
However, Cuil’s management will find it difficult to stay focused on its development roadmap for the time being. The startup has lost the services of its VP Product, Louis Monier, who has quit. Monier was an employee worth his weight in gold for Cuil due to his vast experience in the field of online search. It has been confirmed that there were “philosophical differences” between Monier and the Cuil bosses. A huge blow for Cuil as retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges for any startup.
Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch had a chance to talk to Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, about her “search is 90-95% solved” story in the LA times.
Mayer said in the original article that “Search is an unsolved problem. We have a good 90 to 95% of the solution, but there is a lot to go in the remaining 10%”. Mayer also alluded that Google still has some mountains to climb before its search has fully adapted to the internet and its growing trends, such as embedded video, maps, and electronic books. Arrington agrees that internet search is still “in its infancy.”
Mayer ended the conversation with saying that the ideal search engine is the user’s “best friend”; it should tailor answers to you based on preference and existing knowledge, and ask, “What do you want?” Hopefully, this is an indication of what’s to come to the Google search engine.
Google is currently pursuing an aggressive strategy of continuous, unabated expansion. Most people depend heavily on Google search for their online research, but Google is not resting on its laurels. After adding tools like Google Scholar and Google Book Search, the company is all set to make another welcome addition to the list of its research tools. The company plans to digitize newspaper archives.
It has enlisted the help of newspaper publishers for the digital newspaper archives. “Not only will you be able to search these newspapers, you'll also be able to browse through them exactly as they were printed—photographs, headlines, articles, advertisements and all,” Google’s product manager Punit Soni claimed in a blog entry. Google will initially concern itself with only U.S and Canadian newspapers.
If your ISP goes down during a bad thunderstorm or other unexpected outage, you might find yourself reflecting on just how dependent you've become on this thing they call the interweb. But while most of us only have to suffer through temporary downtime on rare occasions, what about the "other 3 billion" people who lack internet access altogether?
Google hopes to change that, and with the help of Liberty Global and HSBC, the three internet saviors are backing a start-up called O3b Networks (can you guess what O3b stands for?). Initial production of 16 low-cost satellites is already underway and will eventually provide the infrastructure for locales without high-speed networking cable, including emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
"The O3b Networks system wil completely change the economics of telecommunications infrastructure in the world's fastest-growing markets for communications services," O3b said in a statement.
Look for the service to become active in 2010, with the door being left open for even more satellites down the line.
Various streaming video services, and not just Youtube, have found favor among internet users in Britain and that has driven people away from P2P. Furthermore, according to PlusNet’s Dave Tomlinson, people are turning to streaming videos as they want to access content instantly.
All ISPs unequivocally despise P2P traffic and some have even devised clandestine methods to suppress it. There machinations against P2P are always wrapped in the puritanical garb of fighting piracy. Although streaming services are also used for propagating copyrighted content, the percentage of such unauthorized content is nothing compared to P2P. So ISPs might not have a moral pretext to combat streaming video, if it becomes as popular as P2P.
With social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook featuring in the list of top online display ad publishers, Yahoo must be unhappy for having missed out. Not only has Yahoo seen both its social networking ventures – Mixd being the other one – fail miserably, but it also failed in its bid to acquire Facebook. Don’t forget to pay homage to Mash.
Perhaps a bad economy is to blame, or maybe consumers are more concerned with getting outside this summer than going online. But whatever the reason, broadband operators are struggling to sign up new customers. Twenty of the largest cable operators and phone companies in the U.S. managed to snag just 887,000 new subscribers in Q2 '08, and according to Leichtman Research Group, the comparatively anemic numbers mark the lowest level of growth seen in the past seven years.
That's good news for consumers, as the lower than expected growth might have sparked a broadband price war. Verizon has said it offer six months of free DSL service to new customers who agree to a one year commitment and also grab a landline package. By taking advantage of the promotion, consumers can pay as little as $45 per month for high-speed DSL and phone service, compared to $65 per month.
But Verizon isn't the only one looking to entice new customers, and AT&T has kicked off a new promotion that guarantees customers its current pricing for two years. Prices range from $20 to $55.
As the broadband market continues to saturate, cable companies could feel the pinch too. Comcast added 278,000 high-speed internet subscribers in Q2, which represents 18 percent fewer customers than the company signed one year ago.