Google has just made a new addition to its bouquet of internet properties. Its answer to Wikipedia, Knol, is now in open beta. Unlike Wikipedia where every author has no choice but to be self-effacing, Knol keeps the author in the foreground and well in control of his/her work. It will solely depend on an author whether he wants his Knols to be accompanied by ads – of which he will be a beneficiary – and if he wants to heed a call for modifications or edits to his article.
Knol also allows authors to collaborate on a certain article if they so desire. The media hasn’t really received Google’s announcement of Knol all that well as it fears that Google’s search engine results will be biased towards Knol.
Funnily and ironically enough, it seems to be more of Google’s own version of the quintessential information-centric website or online content hubs - that promise authors a share in adsense revenues - and less of a Wikipedia rival.
CNet reports that Adobe has rolled out a new version of Adobe Media Player. Despite the modest .1 increment in the version number (Adobe Media Player 1.0 users are offered the update the next time they start the player), Adobe Media Player 1.1 has undergone substantial changes in this new release, with improvements in speed, user interface, and content.
To learn (and see) how Adobe has made it easier and faster to watch your favorite TV shows and movies on your PC, and to find out how much TV AMP 1.1 provides, join us after the jump.
Search Engine Roundtablereports that Google Maps now provides optional walking directions. Just click Get Directions, enter the starting and ending addresses, click the Get Directions button, and select the Walking option. You get a map with walker-friendly directions (no freeways for you!) and timings as part of the package.
In my tests, Google Maps provided useful walking directions for locations within about 6 miles of the starting location. However, if you're wanting to plan a longer hike, you're on your own.
Hit the jump for a chance to give us your feedback.
The New York State Attorney General’s office has won another battle in its war against child pornography on the Usenet. AT&T and AOL have joined Sprint and Verizon to drop large chunks of the alt.* hierarchy, thereby limiting access. This comes as a major disappointment to Usenet surfers who make legitimate use of the alt.* service. Internet service providers have been under increased public pressure to address Usenet abuse since a recent investigation turned up over 11,000 child porn images scattered across 88 different newsgroups. Intervention by ISPs was inevitable, but they are treading very carefully into the foray. Network providers maintain a strict policy of noninterference when it comes to moderating the content of their networks. Improper filtering of content can be seen as promotion and has lead to lawsuits in some cases.
Want to know more about Usenet?
Click the jump to see what else this little known corner of the web is used for.
Whether you work in a large enterprise, small business, or are the network guru to your own home's PCs, the pressure to connect a new system right now can be overwhelming. To find out how you can head off trouble by hardening a new (or reloaded) system before it gets its first whiff of the Internet, join us after the jump.
Now open to the general public, GoDaddy has begun selling top-level .me domains. As expected, response so far has been tremendous, even more so than GoDaddy anticipated. Mashable reports that several people are claiming to have registered Aweso.me, representing an apparent glitch from the massive amount of orders being put in during the digital domain gold rush phase. GoDaddy is aware of problem, saying:
"We knew the .ME Open Registration response would be tremendous, but it went beyond even what we had expected. As a result, we experienced some system issues in our communication with the registry.
As soon as we became aware of the issue we bagan taking steps to correct it. It is now resolved.
For our customers, if we did not successfully register the domain name requested they will receive a full refund. "
The new domains run $20/yr with a 2-year minimum purchase, and they're going fast. It's too late to register John, Paul, or Mary.me, along with many other common names, but if you're quick you can still snag HoorayFor.Me, which is what you might be heard saying if you manage to find any good ones that are still left.
Ping any enthusiast forum about security software and you'll likely get conflicting recommendations. But one thing most advanced PC users seem to agree on is that there are better, faster alternatives than Symantec's Norton software. With the release of Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2009, Symantec is telling those users to take another look.
Helping them do that, Symantec today has gone live with public betas for both programs, which the company purports are "designed to set a new industry standard for speed and performance." Symantec calls it their "zero-impact" performances goal and says it has implemented more than 300 improvements running the gamut from scanning engine tweaks to a better user interface. Even the installation looks to waste no time, with Symantec touting a one-minute install time and "less than half the memory usage of the next leading competitor."
Why the sudden interest in speed? "Based on customer feedback, we viewed performance as the key feature for this release. Our goal is to create the fastest security product in the world, hands down," said Rowan Trollope, Senior VP of Consumer Products.
Find out what else is new with Norton 2009 after the jump.
And is there any wonder? Time Warner has been in talks with both Microsoft and Yahoo about selling off its AOL unit through out this year, but both companies have been much more interested in each other than the crumbled remains of AOL. Time Warner has showed a renewed interest in a deal and Microsoft and Yahoo continue to listen, but neither company appeared to be especially interested.
The NYTimes.com quotes Richard Greenfield, an analyst who covers Time Warner for Pali Capital, “I don’t see why anyone would make a move now with all the pieces on the chess board where they are,” he said. He adds that Time Warner was in a bad spot because the value of AOL was declining. (Doesn’t everyone want dialup?) Its main business is now selling graphical display ads and that is under pricing pressure. Greenfield also says its brand has a “toxic” connotation with consumers. The company does not even use the AOL name when it starts new web sites.
From its days as the evil empire of dialup companies, they earned the nickname ‘AOHell’. The company seemed to lack firm direction, buying various companies with no obvious connection to their business and often ruining them in the process. Perhaps the most famous of these is ICQ. The most popular IM program of the time was turned into bloatware, which quickly sank out of sight. Don’t even get me started on Netscape. AOL entered the portal ring way late and had already bled dialup users seeking the freedom of the internet compared to AOL’s own internal version of it. The company has been aimless and with its almost necrotic touch, is it any wonder consumers find the brand toxic?
Electronic chips that currently process data transmitted through optic fibers are actually a disability as they bring data speeds down to a crawl. Researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia have developed an alternative to electronic chips. Their chalcogenide glass photonic chip is more congruous to optic fibers as it allows optical data processing.
The new chip will help push internet speeds to an astounding 640 Gbps or 80 GBps – about 100 times faster than today’s networks. And this prodigious boost in internet speeds isn’t supposed to add any extra financial burden on users. Scientists expect the first of these optical chips to see action in about five years from now.
In the world of online searches, there's Google and then there's everyone else. Take a peek inside Merriam-Webster and you'll find Google officially recognized as a verb. Of course, M-W hasn't exactly been stingy when it comes to including tech terms, but when you dominate the market with a 68 percent slice of the pie (and close to 90 percent depending on geographic location), perhaps you're entitled to alter the English language.
By comparison, Yahoo, the second most popular search engine behind Google, only accounts for about 20 percent of searches, according to Hitwise statistics. That leaves a considerable gap to close, and to help them do it, Yahoo has begun calling on start-ups to lend a hand. It's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours approach, whereby Yahoo is willing to open its search technology and data centers, giving start ups with limited funds a way to develop a search service from the ground up. Yahoo will then sell ads on those search engines and share the revenue.
Yahoo execs are calling the new strategy Boss, or build your own search service. How it ultimately pans out remains to be seen, but in the meantime, Google is still the real boss of the internet. Can the search giant be toppled?