July 15, 2009

Google Korea With Dropdown Search Menu

The Google Korea homepage, already different from Google.com for some time, is now showing a dropdown search navigation menu to the left of the search box. Translated it reads All Search - Image - News - Map - Dictionary - Blog - Shopping - Videos - Academic, so it represents the different ways to search Google. The selection box does not automatically trigger a search, though, you will still need to click the search button; also, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is ghosted as soon as you move away from the “all search” selection.

Doing a search with the “all search” selection shows that this is not quite like the web search of Google.com. More than just oneboxes from different services, the Korean SERPs are quite long and divided into areas like “normal” web results, blogs, shopping, news, or Q&A. This search might be even more “universal” than Google.com’s.


After Gmail Labs now Google Calendar Labs

Moving the innovation from the main product to a gallery of experimental features was a great idea for Gmail. The number of features increased rapidly without cluttering the product because you could select only the features that are useful to you. The downside was that most of the Gmail Labs were in an early phase, some were buggy and had to be temporarily disabled, while others were simply removed.

The first feature that graduated from Gmail Labs and became a standard feature is Google Tasks: you'll find it below the contacts link and this time there's no option to remove it. "The idea was always that the most popular and viable Labs features would graduate and be made more readily available to all users... and that some of the less used, less viable ones would disappear forever," explains Google.

Since Gmail Labs was a success, Google decided to create a similar gallery of experimental features for Google Calendar. "We've been looking for a way to release early features to users in a quick and experimental fashion, but in a way that would let developers and customers outside of Google extend Calendar too. We've seen how successful Gmail Labs has been and decided Calendar deserved Labs too," notes the Google Apps blog.

Google Calendar Labs has only 6 experiments: an option to customize the application using a background image, a clock that shows the current time in multiple time zones, an option that lets you jump to a certain date, a countdown to the next event, schedules for shared calendars and an option to attach Google Docs documents.

If the new features don't seem very useful, developers can write OpenSocial gadgets for Google Calendar. The APIs let you interact with Google Calendar's interface: you can add events, change settings, show the events for certain dates. Almost any iGoogle gadget can be added to Google Calendar using the following URL, assuming that you don't need to edit the preferences and that there's enough space to display it:


(where GADGET_XML_FILE is the URL of the gadget's XML file, for example: http://www.google.com/calendar/render?gadgeturl=http://www.google.com/ig/modules/wikipedia.xml)


Apollo 11 moon mission to be recreated on the web

While the shuttle Endeavour is having a tough time getting off of the launch pad, the Apollo 11 moon mission should proceed as scheduled later this week. Some 40 years after Neil Armstrong and a host of behind-the-scenes workers at NASA made JFK's vision a reality, WeChooseTheMoon.org is being launched to recreate the whole spectacle. Starting a full 90 minutes prior to the 40th anniversary (that's 8:02AM on July 16th), the site will be fully operational, tracking the capsule's route from Earth to the moon. Reportedly, visitors will be able to peek "animated recreations of key events from the four-day mission, including when Apollo 11 first orbits the moon and when the lunar module separates from the command module." If you're one of those who remembers "exactly where you were on that fateful day," you should probably queue up a Google alert and bookmark your browser to relive the whole experience again.


July 11, 2009

Meet New Nobel Peace Prize Candidate: Twitter

The next time you surf the internet, you may bump into a Nobel Peace Prize candidate. A US security expert has proposed the honor for micro-blogging site Twitter, which helped protesters in Iran beat censorship and tell their tale to the world.

The free social-messaging utility uniquely documented and personalised the story of hope, heroism and horror in Iran, says Mark Pfeifle, former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications and global outreach at the US National Security Council.

"The video gave substance to what seemed so far away. We saw the look in her eyes as they went lifeless. We heard the sounds of her friends and family as they begged her to hold on. And she became the personification of the struggle for democracy in a country where voices for freedom are quelled," Pfeifle wrote in The Christian Science Monitor this week.

"Her name was Neda Agha-Soltan, and without Twitter we might never have known that she lived in Iran, that she dreamed of a free Iran, and that she died in a divided Iran for her dreams."

"Neda became the voice of a movement; Twitter became the megaphone. Twitter is a free social-messaging utility. It drove people around the world to pictures, videos, sound bites, and blogs in a true reality show of life, dreams, and death. Last month's marches for freedom and the violent crackdowns were not only documented but personalised into a story of mythic tragedy."

The article titled "A Nobel Peace Prize for Twitter?" notes that when journalists were forced to leave iran, Twitter became a "window for the world to view hope, heroism, and horror. It became the assignment desk, the reporter, and the producer. And, because of this, Twitter and its creators are worthy of being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize."

Is it a bit of a far-fetched proposal or merely a nice headline? Well, Pfeifle is fully serious.

"I first mentioned this idea while being interviewed on a cable news program. Many scoffed. That's understandable. But think about what Twitter has accomplished: It has empowered people to attempt to resolve a domestic showdown with international implications - and has enabled the world to stand with them. It laid the foundation to pressure the world to denounce oppression in Iran."

Twitter is a blog site where people tell their friends about the details of their lives, but a single message can have a maximum of 140 characters.

As many people in Iran came out on the streets against what they saw as fraud in the presidential elections last month, 140 characters were enough "to shine a light on Iranian oppression and elevate Twitter to the level of change agent. Even the government of Iran has been forced to utilize the very tool they attempted to squelch to try to hold on to power".

Without Twitter, the article argues, the world might have known little more than a losing candidate accusing the powers that be of alleged fraud. With Twitter, "they now shout hope with a passion and dedication that resonates not just with those on their street but with millions across the globe".

"Twitter and other social media outlets have become the soft weapons of democracy. Twitter told us the story of Neda's supreme sacrifice. It is telling the story of the Iranian people yearning to breathe free. For those reasons, Twitter deserves consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize."


Intel Confirms It Helped Develop Google's Chrome OS

Intel has confirmed that it has been working with Google to develop the just-announced Chrome Operating System for netbooks, a potential competitor to Microsoft 's Windows franchise.
Multiple operating systems already run on Intel processors, including Windows, Apple's Mac OS X, and Linux. Intel gave its Moblin OS to the Linux Foundation and has been working with the foundation to develop Moblin for handheld devices. Intel is also reportedly working with Google to put its Android mobile operating system on handhelds.

While the news of Intel's involvement in the Chrome OS may not be a threat to Microsoft's dominance of the PC market and its efforts to be the OS of choice for handhelds, the software giant isn't likely to be pleased that Intel has encouraged competition.

Google's open-source, Linux-based Chrome OS is initially targeting netbooks. It will run on both x86 Intel and ARM chips, and Google is working with manufacturers Acer, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Toshiba and others to bring netbooks to market with the Chrome OS, which stresses speed, simplicity and security .

Intel's efforts to support multiple operating systems and smaller devices shouldn't be a surprise to Microsoft or others. Gartner has predicted PC sales will fall 11.9 percent this year, and Intel needs to encourage new markets outside its traditional PC focus. Netbooks are a growing market, as are handheld devices from mobile phones to music players.

In March, Intel announced a memorandum of understanding under which customers of Taiwan-based chip foundry TSMC will can produce customized designs of Intel's Atom chip for embedded applications. Intel Executive Vice President Sean Maloney told financial analysts at the time, "I believe as we look forward to the next three to four years, more and more customers will need to embed full PC functionality into their devices."

The agreement with TSMC lets Intel compete with rival ARM, which has many processor-design customers that rely on TSMC to produce customized devices.

Besides netbooks, Intel believes the package size and low-power envelope of its Atom chips make them ideal for in-car infotainment systems, eco-technology devices, and next-generation media phones capable of delivering communication services over IP. To be successful in these new markets, the chipmaker will need to focus on optimizing power use for devices that run off batteries.


Microsoft's "Gazelle" browser detailed

If you're particularly attuned to tech gossip, you'll know that Google's Chrome OS announcement has prompted a lot of whispers about something called "Gazelle" being cooked up in Microsoft's labs. Part browser, part OS, the word on the street is that Gazelle will be announced soon, and ultimately compete in some way with either Chrome (the browser) or Chrome (the OS). As usual, most of this is just based on hopes and fairytales, but the scholarly folks at Ars Technica have done some digging and come up with a white paper from Microsoft Research that details some of what Gazelle is all about -- and surprise surprise, although it shares some similarities with Chrome, it's actually quite different.

At the most general level, Gazelle is an experiment in building an ultrasecure browser. Like Chrome, it breaks tasks up into different processes, but instead of separating at the page level, Gazelle breaks individual page elements into different processes, allowing content from different servers to be isolated and ultimately providing fine-grained security controls. To manage all these different processes, there's a central "kernel," which is where all the OS talk stems from -- it's all still running on Windows, and the rendering engine is still IE's Trident engine, but Gazelle manages all those separate processes independently, kind of like a virtualized OS. It's certainly interesting stuff, but it's still all just a research project for now -- Chrome OS is still vapor, but it's clear that Google intends to ship something, while Gazelle seems more suited to inspire future versions of IE.


July 10, 2009

Protect your Google Account, Recover password through SMS

On June 26th I posted a entry about the recovering your Google password through SMS but only in US, Now after 15 days Google now allows all of you to change your password recovery options and allows you to recover it through SMS.

Here's what Gmail Blog Posted >
Even the best of us forget our passwords from time to time. In fact, recovering passwords is one of the top reasons people visit the Gmail Help Center. To help with these situations, we recently added the ability to recover your password via text message.

To turn this on for your account, just sign in, select 'Change Password Recovery Options,' enter your cell phone number and click 'Save.'

Next time you forget your password, enter your username on the password-assistance page, and Google will text you a recovery code. No need to check another email account or even leave the page.

In general, it's a good idea to add as many password recovery options to your Google Account as possible, like a secondary email address and security question. And don't forget to keep them up-to-date.

Silverlight 3 out of beta...

A day earlier than expected, Microsoft has launched its third edition of Silverlight and its SDK. As Ars Technica notes, some of the bigger improvements on the user side are GPU hardware acceleration and new codec support including H.264, AAC, and MPEG-4. If you're looking to give it a spin, there's a Smooth Streaming demo available that, as the name suggests, does a pretty good job of streaming HD video with little stutter, even when skipping around. If you've got Firefox 2, Internet Explorer 6, Safari 3 or anything fresher, Click HERE to get the update.


July 8, 2009

Google Drops A Nuclear Bomb On Microsoft. And It’s Made of Chrome.

googlechromelogoWow. So you know all those whispers about a Google desktop operating system that never seem to go away? You thought they might with the launch of Android, Google’s mobile OS. But they persisted. And for good reason, because it’s real.

In the second half of 2010, Google plans to launch the Google Chrome OS, an operating system designed from the ground up to run the Chrome web browser on netbooks. “It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be,” Google writes tonight on its blog.

But let’s be clear on what this really is. This is Google dropping the mother of bombs on its chief rival, Microsoft. It even says as much in the first paragraph of its post,“However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web.” Yeah, who do you think they mean by that?

And it’s a genius play. So many people are buying netbooks right now, but are running WIndows XP on them. Windows XP is 8 years old. It was built to run on Pentium IIIs and Pentium 4s. Google Chrome OS is built to run on both x86 architecture chips and ARM chips, like the ones increasingly found in netbooks. It is also working with multiple OEMs to get the new OS up and running next year.

Obviously, this Chrome OS will be lightweight and fast just like the browser itself. But also just like the browser, it will be open-sourced. Think Microsoft will be open-sourcing Windows anytime soon?

As Google writes, “We have a lot of work to do, and we’re definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision.” They might as well set up enlistment booths on college campuses for their war against Microsoft.

Google says the software architecture will basically be the current Chrome browser running inside “a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel.” So in other words, it basically is the web as an OS. And applications developers will develop for it just as they would on the web. This is similar to the approach Palm has taken with its new webOS for the Palm Pre, but Google notes that any app developed for Google Chrome OS will work in any standards-compliant browser on any OS.

What Google is doing is not recreating a new kind of OS, they’re creating the best way to not need one at all.

So why release this new OS instead of using Android? After all, it has already been successfully ported to netbooks. Google admits that there is some overlap there. But a key difference they don’t mention is the ability to run on the x86 architecture. Android cannot do that (though there are ports), Chrome OS can and will. But more, Google wants to emphasize that Chrome OS is all about the web, whereas Android is about a lot of different things. Including apps that are not standard browser-based web apps.

But Chrome OS will be all about the web apps. And no doubt HTML 5 is going to be a huge part of all of this. A lot of people are still wary about running web apps for when their computer isn’t connected to the web. But HTML 5 has the potential to change that, as you’ll be able to work in the browser even when not connected, and upload when you are again.

We’re starting to see more clearly why Google’s Vic Gundotra was pushing HTML 5 so hard at Google I/O this year. Sure, part of it was about things like Google Wave, but Google Wave is just one of many new-style apps in this new Chrome OS universe.

But there is a wild card is all of this still for Microsoft: Windows 7. While Windows XP is 8 years old, and Windows Vista is just generally considered to be a bad OS for netbooks, Windows 7 could offer a good netbook experience. And Microsoft had better hope so, or its claim that 96% of netbooks run Windows is going to be very different in a year.

Google plans to release the open source code for Chrome OS later this year ahead of the launch next year. Don’t be surprised if this code drops around the same time as Windows 7. Can’t wait to hear what Microsoft will have to say about all of this. Good thing they have a huge conference next week.

[SOURCE - Tech Crunch]

Gmail,Gtalk,Docs Calendar Matures out of Beta...

Google changed the meaning of "beta software" by launching applications in early stages and forgetting to remove the word "beta" even after years of testing. Gmail has been launched in April 2004 and it's still in beta after more than 7 years of development.

New York Times reports that Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk are coming out of beta today. Google hopes to convince businesses that the applications are good enough to be used in a corporate environment. "For business customers, it is an important sign in terms of the maturity of our product offering and commitment to this business. I've had C.I.O.s tell me that they would not consider a product labeled beta," explained a Google employee.

What's in a name? Apparently, not much, since Gmail's perpetual beta only meant that there are still significant features that need to be added. "We have very, very high standards for the product, as we do for all Google products. But we are not ready to come out of beta yet. There are a few things that we're working on, and once we meet a couple more of those criteria, we would love to come out of beta," said Gmail's Product Manager Todd Jackson in March.

Making labels more familiar was probably one of the things that had to be changed before Gmail could finally be good enough to drop the "beta" tag. Keith Coleman, Gmail Product Director, has a longer list of features that had to be added: integrated chat, mobile versions, open protocols, better anti-spam technology, a more flexible architecture.

"Some people think we should wait until we launch < one of ongoing secret projects >. Others say that, over the last five years, a beta culture has grown around web apps, such that the very meaning of "beta" is debatable. And rather than the packaged, stagnant software of decades past, we're moving to a world of rapid developmental cycles where products like Gmail continue to change indefinitely."

If you think there's something missing from Gmail's logo, enable the "Back to Beta" feature from Gmail Labs to bring back the familiar logo. It's that easy to pretend that nothing happened.


July 5, 2009

Mobile Number Portability - This is what you need to know

A quick rehash to the MNP (Mobile Number Portability) scene. MNP is a service which will allow users to change their service providers without the need to change their numbers. Now, after a series of delays, it is set to arrive on September 20, 2009 in most of the cities and few states while others will have to wait till March 20, 2010.

Yesterday, TRAI revealed the draft norms that will bind the MNP service as well as users gaining from it. This is what you need to know if you’ll be going for it as soon as its available in September.

For Customers:

  1. Customer needs to complete at least 90 days before applying for another operator

  2. Customer needs to give an undertaking to his current operator that he wishes to switch to another service operator

  3. Customers will obviously charged a fee for doing this. Though no fee has been confirmed for now, expect it to be around Rs. 300

  4. Post-paid users need to show a proof of no outstanding payments to the new operator

For Operators:

  1. An operator needs to carry out checks like identity verification etc. and should be completed within 5 days

  2. Operators need to inform customers about the exact time and date when the porting will happen

  3. A new operator is not obliged to pay any outstanding payments of the ported customer to his original service provider

  4. In case of a no service period during porting, the new operator has to send a list of messages and missed calls during the same period


Use Labels as Folders in Gmail with drag and drop...

A few months ago Gmail got some new buttons and keyboard shortcuts to make labelingeasier, especially for those of you accustomed to that familiar folder feel. Now we're making some more changes to Gmail's labeling toolkit.

1) New location for labels
You'll notice your labels in a new location on the left of your inbox (or on the right, for those of you using the Arabic, Hebrew, or Urdu versions of Gmail). Instead of having their own section, your labels are now above your chat list, grouped together with Inbox, Drafts, Chats and other system labels.

2) Label hiding and showing
You now have control over which of your labels show. We've done our best to get you started by automatically showing the labels you use most and hiding the rest. Label hiding is my favorite new feature, since it saves me from having to look through labels I rarely use. If I ever need to reach any of my old labels, I just click the "more" link.

You can show, hide, or delete a label by clicking the down-arrow to the left of that label.

If you want to make a lot of changes at once, go to the Labels tab under Settings where you can edit labels in bulk.

For those of you who created label names like _stuff or ++todo++ to force your most-used labels to the top of the list (come on, you know who you are, I did it too...), you don't have to come up with clever tricks like that anymore ;)

3) Drag and drop
You can now drag messages into labels, just like you can with folders. This does the exact same thing as "Move to" -- it labels and archives in one step.

You can drag labels onto messages too. It's the same thing as using the "Label" button. To label or move many messages at once, first select the messages and then drag and drop the label.

It's also possible to drag labels into the "more" menu to hide them and vice versa. If you only want to move a couple labels around, I've found it quicker than going to Settings.

All of these changes also mean the end of Right-side Labels, an experimental Gmail Labs feature. This is the first Labs feature we're retiring. (The idea behind Labs was always that things could break or disappear at any time or they might work so well that they become regular features. More on that soon...) Now that labels aren't in their own little box and take up much less space, moving them around the screen didn't seem as important. We realize quite a few of you used and liked Right-side Labels, so if you feel strapped for left nav screen real estate without it, try turning on Right-side Chat in Labs instead.

We hope these new changes make labeling even easier and help you stay organized.