Google Android

16 09 2008

All the Google Android hype just might be true: T-Mobile’s first Android-based phone is expected to be revealed next week and in stores by next month.

Invitations leaked around the Web indicate the heavily anticipated T-Mobile Dream will be unveiled and demoed at a media-only event in New York next Tuesday, September 23. The HTC-manufactured phone should then become widely available by the end of October, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite all the talk of delays, then, that date would put Android right on target with its initial timetable.

In case you haven’t heard, the Dream will combine an iPhone-style touchscreen with a swivel-out QWERTY-style keypad. It’ll also boast what’s being called a “jog ball,” believed to be BlackBerry-like trackball navigation tool, and an accelerometer similar to the one found in the iPhone.

Of course, what sets Android most apart from Apple’s offering may be its open nature. Particularly given the rage over iPhone apps being banned over the past several days, Google’s user-moderated Android Market—in which any developer can register, upload, and publish within minutes—is sure to grab attention. The site, Google has said, will emulate YouTube’s community voting system for content. No company officials will interfere or “ban” app submissions.

Pricing hasn’t officially been revealed, though Web-based reports put the tag around $400 for the Dream, with contracted specials rumored to become available for closer to $150. More than 600,000 units are said to be under preparation for shipping.

Google, meanwhile, showed off a non-specific phone running the software at a closed developers’ event in Europe Tuesday. People in attendance say the device looked eerily similar to the T-Mobile Dream, though Google would not confirm or deny the branding. (Pieces of masking tape were placed over any indicating signs.)

It’s been a long road for Android — and while it may not have hit the finish line first, the mobile world is no doubt keeping an eager eye on its final stretch. So will Google’s gamble pay off? We’ll find out soon enough.

Google Chrome For Mac- Just Kidding

16 09 2008

Itching to try out Google Chrome, but don’t feel like leaving the confines of your Mac? You could install Google’s recently unveiled browser on Boot Camp or via virtualization, but that’s a lot of hassle just to use one application.

Fortunately for you, the team at CodeWeavers is trying to simplify that. CodeWeavers is the company behind CrossOver for Mac, the program that lets you run some Windows applications on your Intel Mac without having to use Windows. CodeWeavers has taken Chromium, the freely available source behind Chrome, and set it up to run on Intel-based Macs and Linux.

Note that this is not a native version, and CodeWeavers themselves say that it’s more of a proof-of-concept than anything else. You probably won’t want to use it for your everyday browsing (starting it up for the first time took at least three or four minutes on my MacBook and I still can’t quite figure out how to get right-click working), and it looks and feels like a Windows app. But for those interested in playing around with Chrome on the Mac, this is probably the easiest way to do that until Sergey Brin finally gets his way.

Google Ad Quality Upgrade Imminent

15 09 2008

Attention advertisers: a promised change to Google’s AdWords quality-judging method will take effect in coming days.

The change adjusts Google’s calculation of advertiser’s quality score–a key factor in determining how much the advertiser must bid to ensure ads are placed next to search results. With the new system, quality is calculated at the time a Google user performs a search, though historical data such as an advertiser’s click-through rate still factor into the equation, Google’s Trevor Claiborne said on its AdWords blog on Monday.

Given the size of the industry that’s grown up around Google’s search-ad system, any changes can cause indigestion in the search-engine marketing (SEM) business. Google tried to encourage people to look at the big picture, though: “These improvements are part of a continuing effort to deliver relevant ads to our users, and also to provide you with more control over your bidding and more insight into the quality of your ads and keywords,” the company said.

Another change replaces the “minimum bid” price with an estimate for how much a particular advertiser would have to bid for ads to show on the first search page.

“Queries with a high level of advertiser competition may have significantly higher first page bid estimates, because you’ll likely need to bid above the old minimum bid to rank higher than your competition and show on the first page,” Google said. “Remember that you can bid less than your first page bid estimate and still show on subsequent pages–as long as your keyword is relevant to our users.”

Google to Digitze Newspapers

9 09 2008

Google is making searchable, digital copies of old newspapers available online through partnerships with their publishers, the company said Monday.

Under the ad-supported effort, Google will digitize millions of pages of news archives, including photos, articles, headlines, and advertisements, Google said.

“Around the globe, we estimate that there are billions of news pages containing every story ever written. And it’s our goal to help readers find all of them, from the smallest local weekly paper up to the largest national daily,” said product manager Punit Soni in a blog posting about the effort. “The problem is that most of these newspapers are not available online. We want to change that.”

The effort is of particular interest to reporters such as myself who’ve made the jump from print journalism to online. When I started at CNET a smidgen shy of 10 years ago, I was initially concerned that the online medium was more ephemeral than print.

But as soon as I realized that CNET’s search box opened up our archive of work, I realized that online news actually is more permanent in many ways than a newspaper that’s almost invariably recycled or thrown away within a day of its publication. Few have the time and money to visit a newspaper’s archive of old papers, called the morgue, or flip through back issues in a state library’s microfilm collection.

The results of Google’s project initially will be available through the Google News Archive site, Soni said. “Over time, as we scan more articles and our index grows, we’ll also start blending these archives into our main search results so that when you search, you’ll be searching the full text of these newspapers as well,” he said.


7 09 2008

Built by General Dynamics, the GeoEye-1 is equipped with a next-generation camera made by ITT. This camera can easily distinguish objects 16 inches long, with 11-bits per pixel color. In other words: this thing can see the color of your shorts. It will be up there, looking at your pants every single day, the time it takes for it to complete one orbit. And it will keep doing that for more than ten years, its expected life.

Of course, there’s nothing new here until you notice the huge Google logo on the rocket, signaling the fact that Sergei and Larry own the exclusive rights to the GeoEye-1 images. Yes, no other company will be able to access this information, only Google. And they will be there, available for the public in Google Maps and Google Earth.

But don’t fret, tin-foil hatters, because Google won’t be able to access the highest resolution images because of US government regulations. Sure, the other guys will, but then again, their big bad satellites can see closer than this one. Still, you can rest safe that your underpants will be safe from public scrutiny. For now. Unless you do like me and keep flashing them around.


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