Tag Archives: Google News

Google Search Puts On New Clothes, But We Knew it Already!

Just last month around this time, we had posted a screenshot tour of the new search interface Google was experimenting. Now, Google has gone ahead and with that interface and has planned to get it hardwired into the design.

google-new-design

That would mean, we will see this design by default on the Google search from now onwards. You can see the post made on Tuesday, 13th Apr 2010 here. It has a comprehensive list of changes to check out.

The new search interface has a better interaction with results from live social activities. This is being managed by redesigning the left sidebar which scales in behavior depending on the type of content searched for. Google has laid a lot of stress on segregating search results categorically and relevantly with this sidebar.

The search results page looks  a lot cleaner and this new design which has already been implemented will be continuously improved. The change will be applied over a period of 48 hours, so do not panic if you cannot see the change right instantly.
(Via: TheNextWeb)

Google Shows Brand Suggestions in Search Result Pages

Quite some days back, Google introduced recipe rich snippets in search result pages. The recipe snippets are useful, because you can see more information regarding food recipes, user reviews, preparation time and so on.

Now Google has introduced “brand snippets” in search result pages. This means, when you search for some product, (e.g USB drives, Mp3 players) chances are that you will see links of popular brands who manufacture that product.

For example: I searched for USB drives and got the following result:

As you can see, Google shows 5 popular brands who manufacture USB drives – Kingston, Sandisk, Lexar, LG and Sony. The suggestions appear right at the top of search results, much similar to adsense link units. Clicking a suggestion takes you to the related product search page as shown below:

The official Google blog quotes:

Sometimes when searching for product information on Google, you may not know some of the brand names relevant to your particular search. For example, if you’re taking on a new river-rafting hobby, it’s quite likely you don’t have a clue about kayak manufacturers just yet. So, we wanted to make it easier for you to find the brands other people consider useful for popular product searches. So this week we launched a search refinement that calls out brand names related to your query in a single line above the rest of the results. Determined algorithmically, these highlighted brand names may help you find what you’re looking for faster, and make your research and shopping experience all the more enjoyable.

This may be useful, when you are searching for some product and want to perform a company specific search along with the generic searches. The brand searches will also help when you want to know the most popular brands who manufacture a particular product. Thanks to Google Operating System for noting the feature.

Android 2.2 “Froyo” Unofficial Changelog

Android handsets have been coming out from the various mobile manufacturers stable at a brisk pace. The development of Android OS has also been pretty good. The OS has been gaining market share by leaps and bounds. Currently, the latest version of the Android OSandroid is 2.1. Reports suggest that Android 2.2 will soon be announced. The Android v2.2 is named Froyo. The new version of the Google OS will come with some major changes under the hood.

The reported features include:

*JIT compiler
*Free additional RAM
*OpenGL ES 2.0 enhancements
*Flash 10.1 support
*Fixed problem with crazy screen/ Resolution of cross multitouch
*Activation of Color Trackball
*Enable FM radio

The most important change in Android 2.2 is the JIT compiler. The JIT compiler translates the application written in JAVA to native code. This leads to significantly better performance, richer graphics and better battery life.  There is also Flash 10.1 support in the latest version of the OS. The new version of Android OS is also expected to enable Wi-Fi n support in devices which have the required hardware. The Linux kernel of Android will also get an update from 2.6.29 to 2.6.32. This will lead to additional free RAM on the various Android devices.

It is expected that that the latest version of the Android OS will be announced on May 19th, during the Google’s I/O event.

90% of Google Buzz is Spam, the Rest 10% Are Just Lone Bees

Google buzz fell flat after 10 weeks of its launch. The current state of Google Buzz is such that there are fewer people using it, more of them leaving it and even fewer bothering to try it out. Google Buzz had initial problems with exposing contact lists and probably, this has taken a toll on the awesome tool launched by Google.

Postrank blog writes,

we were really excited about the buzz around Google Buzz (pardon the pun), as it meant more social engagement data that we could integrate into our system. Which we did. PostRank now tracks all of the public Buzz feeds. However, after doing some careful data analysis, the quality of the Buzz feeds is, well, questionable.

Google Buzz has around 60% of its content coming from Twitter and almost 27% of it is from automated RSS feeds. That leaves a mere 11% of content which is purely typed in by the user. These statistics show that Buzz is losing out. This makes the Buzz it button on websites useless as there is no-one to buzz the topic. It is only going into the Buzz stream one-time.

Though in my opinion, it is too early to call this service a flop. Google has integrated this service into Gmail and if done right, it has a huge potential. It is powerful enough to thrive in a world of Twitter and Facebook which are its direct competitors. 10% of original user generated content in 10 weeks cannot be called bad if not impressive enough.

Google Places: Local Business at Your Mouse Clicks

Google has rebranded its Local Business Center and launched it as Google Places. There are million and ever rising searches on local business and business owners are looking for ways to stay on focus and on top of Google search results for local business. Google Places will help businesses connect with users from the real world.

John Hanke, VP Google Maps, Earth and Local says at The official Google,

We launched Place Pages  last September for more than 50 million places around the world to help people make more informed decisions about where to go, from restaurants and hotels to dry cleaners and bike shops, as well as non-business places like museums, schools and parks. Place Pages connect people to information from the best sources across the web, displaying photos, reviews and essential facts, as well as real-time updates and offers from business owners.

Places promises to help business owners manage their online presence and claim their place in the niche. There are millions of businesses already on the Place Page through the Local Business Center. According to the blog post, you can get your business on Google Places too by “verifying and supplementing your business information to include hours of operation, photos, videos, coupons, product offerings and more”.

Some new features available in Google Places are Service Ares depicting geographic areas you provide services in, advertisements on Google search and Google Maps and business photo-shoots where businesses can get their work features as a photo-shoot for free. A new feature of real-time updates is also available for the last few months. Thus, you can easily promote a sale or discount day.

The final verdict is, if you have a business; do not forget to get it listed on google.com/places.

Google Planning to Take Goggles Platform to the Next Level

Where on one hand, Yelp is pushing augmented reality over mobile search, Google is planning to take its Goggles platform to the next level.

Yelp is an augmented search tool. It takes any picture and analyzes it over social networks to give business suggestions and street information. Google has a similar product, the Goggles. Google has made itself clear on the non-availability of Augmented Search. Instead, it will have support for the Visual Search through Goggles.

Goggles product manager Shailesh Nalawadi said,

80% of information is consumed visually, and not through any of the other senses. Why is it you have to translate and transcribe what you see into words?

Almost 80% of data in this whole world is sent through images. Shailesh Nalawadi has also said,

Goggles is not just an app – it’s a platform. Yes, we do plan to open up the platform as an API but we are not sure what the platform should be.

Goggles is not just an app. it is a full-fledged platform now, just like Java. Google has speculated that it could soon release the API for this feature. (Via: Techradar)

FOSS Friday: Ubuntu 10.04 Beta2 Released, Songbird Drops Linux Support And More

This week we saw lots of interesting activities in FOSS. Here is our weekly roundup of the key FOSS events this week.

News

  • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 2 Released

The second beta of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx was released yesterday. Although it has some small changes, it does not have any striking difference from the earlier Beta 1. If you are using Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 with regular updates, there is no need to install the Beta 2 for you. You can read more here.

  • Songbird Decides to Drop Linux Support

The Pioneers of the Inevitable announced that the  Mozilla XULRunner based music player, Songbird, will no longer be supported in Linux. This decision has been blamed on the lack of developers and their inability to continue maintaining Songbird in Linux at the same level as that in Windows and Mac OS X. An active Songbird developer has already forked the Songbird project and named it Nightingale. You can read more about it here.

  • Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 is Going To Use Google Search

Canonicals retracted their earlier decision to use Yahoo! as the default search in Firefox that comes with Ubuntu 10.04. Firefox in Ubuntu 10.04 will now use Google as the default search. You can read more here.

Tips & Features

  • Install The Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Bisigi Themes In Karmic

There are a lot of people still using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic and they might want to use the updated Bisigi themes but that’s not easy – the new PPA is only for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid and also Karmic doesn’t have the latest Murrine engine so the themes won’t work – but there is a way to do it. Read more about it at  WebUpd8.

  • Installation and Getting Started with Firebug

Firebug is a free, open source tool that is available as a Mozilla Firefox extension, and allows debugging, editing, and monitoring of any website’s CSS, HTML, DOM, and JavaScript. Read more at PACKT.

Firefox in Ubuntu Coming Back to Google Search

We had earlier reports of Ubuntu 10.04 using Yahoo search as the default option on its Ubuntu Linux. One of the two major changes announced by Rick Spencer was,

The default search homepage will change to the Yahoo! search homepage if we change the default search engine preference to Yahoo!. If we do not change the default search preference to Yahoo!, the current Google search page will remain intact as the homepage. This change currently applies to Yahoo! and Google only.

However, now Ubuntu is surprisingly switching back to Google search as the default. This time as well, we have Canonical’s desktop engineering manager,  Rick Spencer detailing this change saying,

Earlier in the 10.04 cycle I announced that we
would be changing the default search provider to Yahoo!, and we
implemented that change for several milestones.

However, for the final release, we will use Google as the default
provider. I have asked the Ubuntu Desktop team to change the default
back to Google as soon as reasonably possible, but certainly by final
freeze on April 15th.

That would not be a surprise as earlier, Rick Spencer said Ubuntu was entering a revenue sharing deal with Yahoo!. Now, we all know here that a similar deal with Google gives much better financial returns. Or as d0od at Omg!Ubuntu says,

it could be that they found most users where switching the search back to Google anyways.

Tech Giants Want There to be a “Digital Due Process” to Access Personal Data

A board of companies including non-profit companies, private companies and others have joined hands to protect the privacy of people over the Internet. The board has tech giants like Google, Microsoft and others as its members. Their presence adds weight to the efforts and plans of the board.

The group has recently announced a reformed Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) which ensures privacy of individual over the Internet. The act was formulated way back in 1986 and much has changed since. This bill also aims at protecting people from unauthorized law enforcement access to their personal data over the Internet.

The principles of the new plan as laid out by the board stands as,

  1. A governmental entity may require an entity covered by ECPA (a provider of wire or electronic communication service or a provider of remote computing service) to disclose communications that are not readily accessible to the public only with a search warrant issued based on a showing of probable cause, regardless of the age of the communications, the means or status of their storage or the provider’s access to or use of the communications in its normal business operations.
  2. A governmental entity may access, or may require a covered entity to provide, prospectively or retrospectively, location information regarding a mobile communications device only with a warrant issued based on a showing of probable cause.
  3. A governmental entity may access, or may require a covered entity to provide, prospectively or in real time, dialed number information, email to and from information or other data currently covered by the authority for pen registers and trap and trace devices only after judicial review and a court finding that the governmental entity has made a showing at least as strong as the showing under 2703(d).
  4. Where the Stored Communications Act authorizes a subpoena to acquire information, a governmental entity may use such subpoenas only for information related to a specified account(s) or individual(s). All non-particularized requests must be subject to judicial approval.

This will protect all user data until it is publicly accessible. The Congresss approval will implement them through the ECPA for a better web.

(Via: searchengineland)

Airtel Ad on Youtube Taints Google’s Net Neutrality Efforts

Google which has been trying to raise voice over net neutrality for the last few years has run into some concerns in the matter. This became an issue when Bharti Airtel, a telecom and ISP giant in India advertised preferential treatment for IPL fans watching it over Youtube.

Net neutrality as defined by Techtarget is,

Net neutrality is the principle that data packets on the Internet should be moved impartially, without regard to content, destination or source. Net neutrality is sometimes referred to as the “First Amendment of the Internet.”

IPL is the ongoing cricket league match with teams comprising of players from over the world and teams from regions all over India.

Bharti Airtel was advertising faster Internet access for watching videos on Youtube. This ad was timed in the ad-timings scheduled between matches.

The ad which was displayed read,

TV QUALITY VIDEO WITHOUT BUFFERING,the advertisement promised. Airtel Broadband gifts all its customers 2Mbps SPEED UPGRADE for youtube.com/ipl.

The catch here is that the speed offerings are valid only for IPL videos and do not hold for other normal content browsing which will still be served at a slow speed.

Google has responded on this saying it did not see the ad and has asked Bharti to revise the ad now. Bharti Airtel though, is still showing the ad, this time on its website.

[Via: newteevee ]

Facebook Beats Google in Weekly Traffic

Facebook has beaten Google at pageviews in some earlier instances. It beat Google last Christmas and New Year’s Eve but this time, the days on which Facebook pageviews crossed Google pageviews are the unexpected weekdays! This March the 6th and 7th, Facebok crossed Google as the most visited page in the US and last week as well, Facebook registered a weekly high beating Google in the process. The pageviews on festive days of Christmas and New Year are self-explanatory though the interesting fact is the visits from last week.

Heather Dougherty writes in a blog post at Hitwise saying,

Facebook reached an important milestone for the week ending March 13, 2010 and surpassed Google in the US to become the most visited website for the week.

The market share of visits to Facebook.com increased 185% last week as compared to the same week in 2009, while visits to Google.com increased 9% during the same time frame.

This when compared to last year’s mere 2% of US web traffic, is a massive growth to the current 7%. This data has been released by Hitwise and we can make sure of this research, once other online firms release their reports on this incident.

Both Google and Facebook have their own ad services. If Facebook really wins the pageview game, it will work wonders for the already popular Facebook ads.

The complete report by Dougherty can be read here.

Nexus One to Have Sense UI on Verizon Wireless

will go on sale on the Verizon Wireless network in the next few days. However, the HTC Nexus One that will be sold on Verizon will have the Sense user interface (UI).

The Sense UI was spotted by Central in a leaked page from Verizon’s site, which has the specifications for the HTC Nexus One for Verizon.

Verizon Wireless Nexus One

I do have some internal news that the Nexus One is coming to Verizon by end of March, but we cannot confirm it at this point. However, the phone will not be sold in Verizon stores and will only be available online.

I do not really understand what Google has against brick and mortar stores, however, their "online only" problem has gotten forecasters to cut down the sales forecast of Nexus One from 3.5 million to 1 million in 2010.

Don’t forget to watch out this space for more details on the Google HTC Nexus One released date on Verizon Wireless.

Nexus One Sales Forecast Cut Down To 1 Million

Google launched the with much fanfare, and it was projected as a serious competitor to the . However, the hype has not translated into sales yet.

nexus_one_logo

Now Goldman Sachs has reduced the sales estimates of the Nexus One from 3.5 million units to 1 million units in 2010. This is definitely bad news for Google who were trying to make a splash in the US market with the Nexus One.

We previously estimated that Google might sell 3.5 mn Nexus One units in 2010. Initial data-points were disappointing, possibly due to limited marketing and customer service challenges. Flurry estimated (based on mobile traffic) that Google sold 20,000 in the first week, and 80,000 in the first month, both annualizing to 1.0 mn. We forecast that Google sells 1.0 mn Nexus One units in FY2010, benefiting from US carriers other than T-Mobile, and non-US carriers such as Vodafone, promoting the device too, but suffering from limited marketing activity. We assume that Google rolls out a second Nexus handset, markets it more aggressively, and makes it available offline, and therefore forecast that Google sells 2 mn handsets per year in 2011 and future years.

Google does have plans to launch a lighter version of Nexus One in India soon, however, don’t expect that to jack up sales.

Nexus One

The biggest problem with Nexus One has been that it is an online only device. Google is yet to put the device in retail stores, even those of their partners like T-mobile. Thankfully, the Nexus One may arrive on the Verizon Wireless network later this month or early next month, and that may increase the sales a bit.

However, unless Google puts the device in stores, they will not see a significant growth in the market. It is time that Google learnt that brick and mortar stores do very well when selling mobile phones, than the online sales.

People who want to buy the phone, want to experience the devices before they make a decision to purchase it, promoting it online helps but it does not convert into sales.

Google Planning on TV Search?

Google is probably about to start a new feature of TV search which will allow viewers to search for Youtube videos and movies over the Internet right through their TV sets. The new service is being tested on Dish Network through its satellite TV connection.

Reporting this event, the Wall Street Journal, writes,

The service—which runs on TV set-top boxes using elements of Google’s Android operating system—allows users to search content from Dish as well as other Web video, like YouTube, and to personalize a lineup of shows, according to these people.

In recent surveys, it has been seen that there are at least 27% of TV viewers in the US who are connected to the Internet and around 5% of them are viewing videos on Youtube. This being true, the feature of Youtube on TV will be quite appealing to many people.

Google started this test last year with families of employees and has moved on to public testing now.

There are two driving factors behind this new development. First, Google sees a new ad platform in the form of TV ads. This will simply bring in more business for Google. Secondly, this move comes as a reply to competition, given that Apple and Microsoft are already offering similar services through their own devices.

For more details, check the report at WSJ.

Bing Market Share Up, Yahoo Goes Down, Google Stable [Search Market]

The search market share for February 2010 is in, Bing has once again managed to increase their market share in the month of February by gaining 0.2% share for a total of 11.5%. On the other hand, Yahoo has continued their downslide by falling 0.2% to 16.8%.

search_engines

On the other hand, Google seems to have not been affected and has instead gained 0.1% market share for a total of 65.5% share.

The data in question comes from comScore, which said that the total US search volume has increased 10.4% in February 2010 for YoY data. Other search engines like Ask lost 0.1% to end up at 3.7% and AOL stayed flat at 2.5% market share.

Bing has shown a decline in search market only once since it has launched, however, this could be attributed to their recent deal with Yahoo. However, Microsoft has not been able to make a dent into Google’s market share and has been consistently eating into that of Yahoo.

It will be interesting to see how the search market pans out in the next 3-4 months and whether Bing is able to snatch some share from Google. Consider that Microsoft is pouring pocketfuls of money into advertising Bing, it is high time that they start seeing some good results too.

All data is for US markets only.

[via Business Insider]