Google Maps Typography

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Google Chrome 2.0.172.8 in beta channel now

Google Chrome developers have updated the beta channel release of the popular alternate web browser.

Google Chrome 2.0.172.8 is now available for download from the Google Chrome Beta section.

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Gmail now knows who you want to e-mail

Google’s Gmail Labs has just rolled out a useful, but mildly creepy feature that gives you suggestions on who you should e-mail based on previous conversations. So, if you’ve had threads going with a group of people, it will recommend some of those folks once you’ve added at least two addresses in the recipients field. Best part is, they don’t even have to be in a group of contacts you’ve created in Gmail’s contacts manager.

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Google Eyes Twitter

                

Google is rumored to be in talks with microblogging phenomenon Twitter on acquiring the latter. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch reported that news sources mentioned about Google’s interest in acquiring Twitter. Furthermore, it was rumored that Google was in “last-stage talks” to buy Twitter. Continue reading

Online advertising up

               

NEW YORK – US INTERNET advertising revenue climbed in the fourth quarter in spite of the poor economy, but the growth rate was sluggish compared to previous years, according to an analysis released on Monday.

 

The report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers said that revenue from online ads – which companies like Google and Yahoo heavily rely on – totaled US$6 billion (S$9 billion) in the last three months of 2008. Continue reading

Google launches free music site in China

 

               

Chinese internet users will be able to download more than 1m music tracks for free after Google launched a new web service with the world’s four largest music labels.

Pulling the L-plates from a service that launched in trial mode a year ago, the downloads service marks an aggressive move by Google to take on the Chinese search site Baidu.com, which has more than twice the market share of the California-based technology giant. Continue reading

Google to Lay Off 200 Employees

 

 

Make it official: Google‘s not immune from the bad economy and plummeting ad market. We’ve been hearing for weeks that Google would have layoffs. Google is cutting 200 employees today, the company now confirms.

Google executive Omid Kordestani, the company’s sales chief, wrote in the offiicial Google blog that cuts are concentrated in Google’s sales and marketing operations, as tipsters told us earlier, Continue reading

Flash coming to Android courtesy of BSQUARE

                       

The fine folks at BSQUARE have announced that they’ll be porting Adobe Flash to Google’s Android on behalf of a “global Tier 1 carrier.” Whether or not that implies this “global Tier 1 carrier” will have exclusive access to Flash out of the gate remains to be seen. Details are otherwise very scarce, and it’s unclear how this relates to the demo of Flash Andy Rubin showed off at Adobe MAX last year. However, BSQUARE bought NEC’s Adobe® Flash® Technology Consulting and Distribution business 12 months ago, and has done Android work for other customers, so the expertise should certainly be there — and naturally we wouldn’t expect them to go shouting about this if they didn’t have Adobe and Google’s blessing in one form or another.

Google Mobile App for BlackBerry Allows Search by Voice, My Location

     google

Google Mobile App for BlackBerry now allows users to search using their voices and with Google’s My Location application. Google has been making substantial inroads with its mobile apps, even as a number of mobile device makers gear up to produce Android-based smartphones.

 

Google Mobile App for BlackBerry now allows users to reduce typing on the Research In Motion smartphones by carrying out mobile Web searches for a location using their voices or the search giant’s My Location application, or both. Continue reading

Google tweaks search engine results reporting, Two new additions to search technology

Google has announced it is adding two new features to its main search engine to improve the ease of searching.

The first is a new technology that has been installed to improve the suggested related search information that appears at the bottom of a search page. The new application broadens the scale of related searches to related concepts within the search term.

“For example, if you search for [principles of physics], our algorithms understand that “angular momentum,” “special relativity,” “big bang” and ” quantum mechanic” are related terms that could help you find what you need,” said Ori Allon, technical lead of Google’s Search Quality Team, on the Google blog. Continue reading

Wolfram|Alpha Is Coming!Better than Google?

Some might say that Mathematica and A New Kind of Science are ambitious projects.

But in recent years I’ve been hard at work on a still more ambitious project—calledWolfram|Alpha.

And I’m excited to say that in just two months it’s going to be going live:

Wolfram|Alpha

Mathematica has been a great success in very broadly handling all kinds of formal technical systems and knowledge. Continue reading

UK Google boss escapes cameras

THE £2m home of the UK head of Google, the internet search engine, is not visible in the company’s new Street View service.

The web function allows users to view photographs of thousands of UK streets and houses, with the option to swivel 360 degrees and zoom in on homes. Continue reading

Avoid email embarrassment with Gmail

Have you ever sent an email that only seconds later you wish you hadn’t? Sending an embarrassing message to the wrong person with the same first name can happen without warning too. Thankfully, hitting the send button, and the feeling of panic almost happen simultaneously.

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Google Street View: Privacy campaigners promise legal challenge

Privacy campaigners are to launch a legal challenge against Google’s new Street View service which shows 360-degree photographs of public roads.

Screen grab from Goole Street View: Google Street View: Privacy campaigners promise legal challenge

Google said it has put in place adequate safeguards to avoid any risk to the privacy or safety of individuals, including the blurring of vehicle registration

The Street View service covers 22,360 miles of roads in 25 cities around the UK. Users can zoom in on images and virtually “walk” streets.

But campaigners claim it violates the right to privacy and could be used to plan crimes.

Simon Davies, of Privacy International, said: “These images are being captured without people’s permission for commercial use, and we believe that it is not legally acceptable.

“They are also putting into place a system for updating these images in the future, and for storing the images digitally where they could be misused.” Google was last year investigated by the Information Commissioner’s Office over the plans, but was given the all clear.

The ICO said: “We are satisfied that Google is putting in place adequate safeguards to avoid any risk to the privacy or safety of individuals, including the blurring of vehicle registration marks and the faces of anyone included in Street View images.”

The site uses millions of digital pictures of streets captured using a fleet of cars with 360 degree cameras on their roofs.

Google said it had gone to great lengths to avoid privacy problems.

A spokesman said: “We have software that automatically blurs car numberplates and faces.

“Any user can easily flag images for removal by clicking on a ‘Report a concern’ link. We believe we have addressed all the issues.”

Google top designer leaves, blaming data-centrism

 

Douglas Bowman, Google’s visual design leader, is leaving the company after finding the company’s reliance on detailed Web page performance data too confining.

Bowman clearly had mixed feelings about departing, but he wasn’t shy with his opinion about what he didn’t like. From Bowman’s blog post Friday on the matter:

When a company is filled with engineers, it turns to engineering to solve problems. Reduce each decision to a simple logic problem. Remove all subjectivity and just look at the data…that data eventually becomes a crutch for every decision, paralyzing the company and preventing it from making any daring design decisions…

Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better. 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…

I’ll miss working with the incredibly smart and talented people I got to know there. But I won’t miss a design philosophy that lives or dies strictly by the sword of data.

Bowman also gripes that Google’s designers came from a background of computer science and human-computer interaction rather than classical design, and that none of them rank high in the pecking order.

Google’s vice president of search and user experience, Marissa Mayer, is pretty high-ranking and cares a lot about design. But it’s not hard to see how her philosophy might rankle. Here’s one thing she said about design in a 2008 speech: “On the Web in general, (creating sites) is much more a design than an art…You can find small differences and mathematically learn which is right.”

I can’t speak for Bowman’s experience, though I can see how a classical designer might feel stifled by code monkeys. There are plenty of considerations that go into design in general, and pragmatism can be at odds sometimes with passion, boldness, and innovation. And Bowman earlier was a designer at Wired, which is definitely at the bold end of the spectrum.

Overall, however, I find Google’s approach to design refreshing and radical in its own way. Choosing color shades and pixel widths on the basis of the behavior of millions of Web page users is a fascinating development to the form-follows-function school of design.

by Stephen Shankland

<Goodbye Google> by Doug Bowman

Chrome last browser standing after day one of Pwn2Own

       

Google’s Chrome browser is the last web browser standing after day 1 of Pwn2Own. Does this make you reassess your daily browser?

A recent contest at CanSecWest, an event that brings together some of the most skilled experts in the security community, has demonstrated that the three most popular browser are susceptible to security bugs despite the vigilance and engineering prowess of their creators. Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer were all exploited during the Pwn2Own competition that took place at the conference. Google’s Chrome browser, however, was the only one left standing—a victory that security researchers attribute to its innovative sandbox feature.

I have to admit that while Chrome isn’t my default browser, I’m  quite fond of it. Its ability to handle countless tabs and Windows being open (as long as you have enough RAM) is far superior to any of the other big browsers. It’s also very stable and I’ve never had a crash that’s managed to take out all the tabs or make the wheels fall off the OS. The fact that Chrome’s survived day 1 of Pwn2Own makes me think that Google could set the security benchmark in much the same way that it is currently the speed pace setter.

Sure, Chrome doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other browser have (and no add on support like Firefox) but it’s a fast, robust, and i seems secure bit of code.

Chrome is a browser worth keeping an eye on.

by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

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New YouTube App Comes To Symbian, Windows Mobile

Chicago (IL) – Yesterday, YouTube posted a blog entry about their new Mobile YouTube app. It’s been optimized for Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60 devices, enabling the YouTube page to load 90% faster with simplified search, navigation, selection after search, and video playback features.
YouTube stated in their blog, “Our goal is to provide you with a great YouTube experience wherever you want to watch videos — whether it’s on your computer, on your television, or on your mobile phone. While YouTube has been available for many mobile phones for over a year, today we’re taking a big step forward with a new version of our mobile YouTube application.”

The application can be downloaded at m.youtube.com and works on Windows Mobile and these Symbian Series 60 devices: 5320 XpressMusic, 5630 XpressMusic, 5700 XpressMusic, 5730 XpressMusic, 6110 Navigator, 6120 classic, 6121 classic, 6124 classic, 6290, 6650, 6710 Navigator, 6720 classic, E51, E55, E63, E66, E71, E75, E90, N76, N79, N81, N81 8GB, N82, N85, N86 8MP, N95, N95 8GB. Nokia also has a device matrix which lists compatible 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1 & 2 phones.

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The video app allows the most popular videos to be scrolled right/left by using your phone’s controls. Searching is possible from a search box which then allows you to view the search results in the same right/left manner. YouTube warns m.youtube.com users about the high-bandwidth nature of the website in advance, possibly saving on data overage costs.

See YouTube’s Mobile App Demo:

Google Maps: British Streetview

                              Google and Visit Britain

Thanks to a new partnership between UK’s national tourism agency, VisitBritain, and the world’s most popular search engine, Google, the Google Maps users can now virtually walk along the British streets.
The two organisations announced today (19 March 2009), the launch of Google Street View in the UK featuring 25 cities and towns from around Britain and Northern Ireland. Users of Google maps can use Street View to get an idea of some the sights they can enjoy while visiting Britain. They will be able to take a virtual walking tour of destinations from the nations’ capitals London, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh, and from Southampton to Aberdeen, Bristol to Norwich.

 

Last year, visits from overseas fell by two per cent in the face of the global economic downturn and increasing competition from rival destinations. Working with Google Street View, undertaking innovative partnerships and exploring new ways of presenting the appeals of Britain can give the country an edge and help it regain its place in the top five most popular destinations in the world.

VisitBritain has worked with Google to create a visual guide (called a maplet) directly in Street View which features sights in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford. This maplet then links to Visit Britain’s global website, visitbritain.com, where users can explore some of its 1,000 destination guides. Each guide further inspires potential visitors or helps them plan their trip with information about where to stay, shop and eat out, as well as the attractions, events and experiences they can explore. The announcement comes as British tourism heads into another holiday season. This year an extra five million Brits may consider a holiday in their own country, while international visitors can enjoy Britain’s new affordability thanks to great exchange rates.

Mike Bedingfield, director of Britain marketing, says: “We’re very excited to be working with Google on the launch of Street View in the UK. The internet is an incredibly rich resource for raising awareness of destinations, driving travel to and around Britain. Street View is a real opportunity for us to showcase our destinations to millions worldwide.

“Seeing some of our globally-renowned attractions – a mix of old and new – up close, could inspire many more people to visit our shores. Our partnership with Google will also mean Street View explorers can find information about the different destinations and attractions, as well as value for money experiences, on www.visitbritain.com.”

Google’s Geospatial Technologist Ed Parsons said: “Salthouse Quay in Liverpool, Belfast City Hall, the Millennium Centre in Cardiff or St Paul’s Cathedral in London – these are just some of the delights that people up and down the country will now be able to visit, whatever the weather, right from their computer. Street View has been hugely popular with our users in Europe and worldwide and we’re thrilled it’s now available in UK for so many great cities, enabling users to see street-level panoramas of major city roads and look up and print out useful driving directions.”

For VisitBritain, the partnership with Google Street View is part of its strategy to ensure visitors are enticed to come to Britain. As well as helping plan a trip, Street View adds an extra element to the memories that visitors will share with friends and family when they return home – potentially inspiring them to visit in turn.

by Gary Illyes

Take it back: Gmail gets ‘Undo Send’ Labs feature

Adding to its arsenal of features that can save you from yourself, Google is launching a Gmail Labs feature called “Undo Send,” that lets you abort the sending of any Gmail message–if you use it within five seconds.

undo_send

Other user-preservation features already available include Gmail’s capability to watch for words like “attached” in the body of an e-mail and to alert you if there are no attachments to the message; and a feature in Google Apps (the corporate version of Gmail) that puts orange borders around the names of e-mail recipients that are not inside your company–to alert you to not send confidential information where you shouldn’t.

Also, last year Google launched the “Mail Goggles” Labs feature that prevents you from sending e-mails during the small hours of the morning unless you pass a simple math test. It’s designed to prevent drunk e-mailing.

Undo Send is a much smarter feature. We’ve all regretted pressing “send” on e-mails. Sometimes we realize, too late, that our message is a “reply all” when it shouldn’t be. Or that we spelled something wrong. Or that we were angry and shouldn’t have sent it at all. Undo Send lets you snatch an e-mail back before it gets sent out. But you have to act fast.

Google product manager Keith Coleman told me that internal testing of the feature, which was created by a Google engineer in Japan as a side project, indicated that five seconds was an appropriate compromise between the ability to recall an errant message and the need to not introduce lag to e-mail conversations. “Adding a delay could be potentially frustrating,” Coleman said. I’m not sure the rest of the world is as agile with the mouse as Google’s internal testers, but Coleman also told me there’s an option to increase the un-send time window to 10 seconds. “We may decide to add longer options,” he said.

I’m one person who’d like the option to introduce a longer waiting period, or an “outbox” where queued messages reside for a minute or two before being sent. This is what I do with my desktop e-mail client, Outlook, and Gmail users can get a similar function if they switch to offline mode before they start composing messages. But for most users, who run Gmail in online mode, Undo Send is a good emergency valve.

To activate the Undo Send option, click on “Settings” in Gmail and then the “Labs” tab.

Read more on the Official GMail blog.

by Rafe Needleman

A Better Street View Comes to Canada

  Parts of Canada finally have their own Street View maps, but surprisingly, they didn’t come from Google. Instead, the maps were created in a joint effort between British Columbia-based Canpages.ca and San Francisco-based MapJack, two companies that have teamed up to provide the service which Google has yet to bring to Canada. These new Street View maps also have features that the search engine giant doesn’t offer, including a fullscreen mode and views of pedestrian pathways where cars can’t travel.

CanPages Introduces Street View Maps

Canpages.ca, the Canadian business directory listing service similar to the Yellow Pages in the U.S., is home to the new mapping service where it’s accessed by performing a search on their homepage. After your search results appear, they are accompanied by a traditional map of the business location. At the top of the map, you’ll see an option to select “Street View” from the menu bar when it’s available. You can also click on any of the blue highlighted streets to delve directly into Street View at that particular spot. As with Google’s Street View, you can click on arrows to move forward and backward and there’s even a small cartoon figure that appears on the map for reference.

Although the CanPages’ Street View maps offer many similarities to Google’s, what’s most notable about this launch are the many differences between the two services. For example, all of the CanPages maps have been created using high resolution photography. Google, on the other hand, has only used high-res imagery in a select handful of international cities including San Francisco, Paris, and Seattle.

CanPages’s maps also offer a fullscreen view which you can use to fully immerse yourself into the city scene. However, don’t try to tilt the camera up to the sky – that’s one feature the CanPages maps don’t have – they’re limited when it comes to panning vertically.

Another feature of the new Street View maps is a configuration menu which allows you to customize settings like image sharpness, brightness, quality, and projection or the curved effect. You can also choose to turn on or off additional visual aids, the blue navigation dots, or the grid.

Perhaps the nicest feature, though, is the pedestrian maps. Captured by a team of photographers who traveled on foot with shoulder-mounted cameras, the CanPages maps let you explore parts of cities where cars can’t go. For now, this allows you to travel down pedestrian walkways, but the company hopes to use their unique camera set up in the future to film hotel lobbies, retail stores, shopping malls, and parks.

CanPages also made privacy a priority from the start. When Google launched their service, faces and license plates were plainly visible. Only recently have they responded to people’s concerns and began to blur these images. On the CanPages maps, however, not only are these items blurred, there’s also a link at the bottom-right corner of the map that lets anyone submit concerns about that particular image.

A Better Street View

Considering that Google’s Street View technology has still not made its way to Canada, the CanPages maps provide a good alternative – actually, given the features offered, we could even say they provide a better one. For now, CanPages Street View maps encompass the cities of Vancouver, Whistler, and Squamish (all in British Columbia). The company plans to expand to Toronto and Montreal next, followed then by as much of Canada as possible.

Image credits: krisabel.ctv.ca

Written by Sarah Perez