Tag Archives: Google News

‘The Daily’ iPad Newspaper Coming to Android Tablets

The DailyThe Daily, the first iPad only newspaper which was created specifically with tablet users in mind was launched with a lot of fanfare on February 2.

At its launch, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp had praised the iPad a lot – So we built The Daily completely from scratch — on the most innovative device to come about in my time — the iPad.

It launched along with a new feature for app developers – in-app subscriptions, which has been one of the most controversial features of the App Store, after Apple decided to take a 30% cut for all subscriptions purchased from within iOS apps.

Anyway, The Daily was supposed to be iPad exclusive for a long time, though Murdoch had announced that a version of Android tablets was coming soon. It seems that the Android version of The Daily may be here earlier than expected, probably by Spring 2011.

Sources have revealed that The Daily is slated to launch for Android tablets in Q2 2011, which is a bit surprising considering the amount of praise Murdoch showered on the iPad at the launch. In the end, it’s all about business, I guess.

The Daily has seen a lot of downloads so far, but it’s still in the free trial period. When the trial ends this week, we should know how popular The Daily really is.

via AllThingsD

Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread Update Rolling Out To Nexus One And Nexus S Handsets

Google has kept its words and has finally started rolling out the Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread update for the Nexus One and Nexus S owners, alike. When Google announced the Nexus S and the next version of Android Gingerbread, the company stated that they will release the Gingerbread update for the Nexus One within few weeks.

However, nearly 2 months later, the company has finally started rolling out the OTA update for the N1 (Nexus One). Android 2.3.3 contains some major changes as well, including API level 10, NFC enhancements, improvements to the graphics department of the handset and bug fixes.

Nexus_One_Gingerbread

Nexus S users should also keep in mind that updating their handset to Android 2.3.3 will disable Facebook contact sync on their phone. The reason behind this as stated by Google is :

We believe it is very important that users are able to control their data. So in the over-the-air update for Nexus S, we have a small change to how Facebook contacts appear on the device. For Nexus S users who downloaded the Facebook app from Android Market, Facebook contacts will no longer appear to be integrated with the Android Contacts app. Since Facebook contacts cannot be exported from the device, the appearance of integration created a false sense of data portability. Facebook contact data will continue to appear within the Facebook app. Like all developers on Android, Facebook is free to use the Android contacts API to truly integrate contacts on the device, which would allow users to have more control over their data. We are removing the special-case handling of Facebook contacts on Nexus S and future lead devices. We continue to believe that reciprocity (the expectation that if information can be imported into a service it should be able to be exported) is an important step toward creating a world of true data liberation — and encourage other websites and app developers to allow users to export their contacts as well.

Hopefully, Facebook will soon update its Android app to use the Contacts API.

The Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread OTA update will take a few weeksto complete so N1 owners need to wait patiently for the update to be pushed to their handset.

Google Clears Its Name in BitTorrent Case, Was Not Involved in the First Place

The best defense that BitTorrent search engines have churned up lately is that they are “just like Google” in their operation. They allow users to search around information that is lying around the web. Until now, Google has shown little interest in these MPAA cases against torrent search engines, though it has kept a close watch on them. However, this time, Google has responded to the case as a third party in the MPAA vs. isoHunt case, even though it is not a part of any of these cases.

mpaa-isohunt

Image via: Digital Digest

Google wants to clear its name in cases where torrent clients say they are like Google. The U.S. District Court of California grounded isoHunt last year in March by issuing a list of 1000 critical keywords; they had to filter in their searches. Google has written to the court,

This cases raises issues about the interpretation and application of the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512 et seq. (DMCA) and common-law rules governing claims for secondary copyright infringement. Google has a strong interest in both issues,

Google had taken the consent of both MPAA and isoHunt before issuing this testimony. While MPAA was not keen on having Google intervening in the case, isoHunt wanted Google to speak, hoping that it will get some support. As a sudden turn of events, Google has accepted isoHunt being a true pirate and has also criticized the MPAA for its decisions.

It seems like Google has cleared its name in the matter by setting a clear definition of what a pirate search engine does and how it is different from what Google does. Additionally, Google has also pointed out places where the MPAA is going wrong.

Obama Dines With Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and More at Tech Dinner [Photos]

Last night, the President of United States hosted some really prominent figures from the tech world which included the CEOs of some of the world’s biggest tech companies.

The list included Steve Jobs from Apple, Mark Zuckerberg from , Dick Costolo from , Eric Schmidt from Google, Carol Bartz from Yahoo among others. The one big person missing from the dinner list was the CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer. It is not clear whether he was not invited or whether he couldn’t make it to the dinner.

Steve Jobs, who has been linked with some really bad rumors looked mighty fine sitting to the left of the President while Mark Zuckerberg was seated at the right. Take a look at some of the photos from yesterdays dinner which were spotted by The Next Web on the official account of the US Government.

President Barack Obama talks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg before a dinner with Technology Business Leaders in Woodside, California, Feb. 17, 2011.
 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama joins a toast with Technology Business Leaders at a dinner in Woodside, California, Feb. 17, 2011.
 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

This goes out to quench all those rumors about Steve Jobs at-least. He looks perfectly fine to me. What do you think?

(Images from Flickr licensed under United States Government Work)

Google Social Search Goes Mainstream

For the past year or so, Google has been testing "Social Search" where they displayed search results from your social contacts on and , and among other networks at the bottom of the search results.

Google Social Search Results

Today, Google has announced that they will be going mainstream with social search and displaying results from your connected contacts in the main search results itself.

google_social_search

With the introduction of social search in results, users will start seeing results from people who have shared content in your social circle with an annotation that the results has been pulled by someone in your circle. The integration of social results in the search results will add more trust because you will know that it has been already been seen and shared by someone you know.

Google will also display notes under search results when a link has been shared on sites like Twitter or Facebook among other things so that you can easily see where your friends have shared the content previously.

We’ve given you more control over how you connect accounts, and made connecting accounts more convenient. You can still connect accounts publicly on your Google profile, but now we’ve added a new option to connect accounts privately in your Google Account. (After all, you may not want everyone to know you’re @spongebobsuperfan on Twitter.) In addition, if our algorithms find a public account that might be yours (for example, because the usernames are the same), we may invite you to connect your accounts right on the search results page and in your Google Account settings:

Google will also provide an option to connect accounts privately so that your super secret Twitter or Facebook account does not show up in social results, taking care of privacy concerns that might crop up due to this.

Google Social Search results will only be displayed when you have logged in with your Google account. Google will be rolling out the social results for English only users right now and they should start appearing in the coming week or so. You can watch the video for the new Google Social Search update to learn more about the new feature below. Click here if you can’t view it.

Block Websites in Google Search Results With Chrome Extension

There are sometimes when you may come across websites whose content may not really be that good but who show up in the Google searches  you undertake. Now, there is no easy way to get rid of those results unless you filter them out using some sort of user scripts.

Block Websites Google Search

However, starting today, Google is making it easier for users to start blocking websites from their search results with the help of a called Personal Blocklist. Using this extension users can easily block websites from appearing in search results. Once a website has been blocked, they will not appear in Google searches you make in future.

When you block or unblock a website, the extension will send information about the URL to Google. There is no way you can change this behavior.

You can also unblock the websites by clicking on the extension icon and unblocking the website. Overall this is a good feature if you want to remove some sites from search results. 

Problems With Extension

According to Matt Cutts, this feature may be used by Google as a potential ranking signal in future results:

If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.

This would definitely not be a really great idea, because people will then just start paying others to install the extension and start blocking their competitors websites. If Google starts using such data for ranking search results, it would be a disaster at best. I would prefer using the extension as a personal choice rather than overall Google rankings.

If you are interested in trying out the extension you can download it from here.

Google’s Valentine Day Doodle Is An Eyesore

Ok, I have been a big fan of and have come to love each of it, take for example the recent one celebrating Thomas Edison’s birthday and Jules Verne’s birthday doodle, however, their Valentin Day Doodle is a serious eyesore and utterly rubbish.

Google Valentine Doodle

As you can see from the image above (sorry for the eyesore), the Doodle is anything but good. It makes use of gaudy colors and completely messes up the red, which is significant to valentine. According to Google, this Doodle was created based on famous artist Robert Indiana art, but I seriously see the lack of art in it.

Come on Google, we love your Doodle’s. Can you get the regular guys to make your next ? What do you think about it?

Update: The art this Doodle was based on can be found at http://www.scottsdalepublicart.org/collection/love.php. Thanks maryann.

How Google Was Gamed To Get Traffic To JC Penney

NYTimes has uncovered a pretty significant link-scheme that was used to make JC Penney the number 1 search result for a number of keywords including “bedding”, “dresses” and other household products. Even though JC Penney claims no knowledge of it, the scheme has been going on since last 3-4 months and worked very well during the peak Holiday season.

One of the things that Google bases search engine ranking on is the number of incoming links to your website. However, the links should be genuine and come from genuine websites; even a slight deviation from these guidelines can land you in a lot of trouble even if you are as big a brand as BMW. There are certain SEO strategies that have been termed as Black Hat and it is not worth getting involved in those, as JC Penney has recently learned.

According to the investigative report, over 2000 pages that had little or no related content to clothing, posted links pointing to the dresses section of the JC Penney website. This included sites like bulgariapropertyportal.com , bulgariapropertyportal.com and many others including some that had no other content. Owners of some of these websites are paid rewards or even cash by link exchange companies like TNX.net. Once this scheme was discovered by a researcher hired by NYTimes, the results were forwarded to Google’s webspam team, headed by Matt Cutts. Since there is no direct proof of JC Penney being actually involved in the shenanigans, there website was not removed from Google’s index, however, a corrective action was taken that brought JC Penney website from #1 down to the 5th or 6th page in many instances.

More interestingly, JC Penney has already been penalized a couple of times by Google in past few months for violations of its guidelines. Even though Google has a team of experts that are continuously monitoring and putting solutions in place to stop such schemes, it is clear that given their limited resources they can only stop so much. This gives encouragement to many Black Hat based SEO experts who are paid big bucks to land a premium spot on Google.

Facebook Bans Google Adsense in Facebook Apps

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it will be allowing only a select list of advertising networks on Apps on Facebook.com. Only those advertisers who agree to not use user data and have signed the platform terms for ad providers will be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

Here’s the list of approved ad networks. Unsurprisingly, Google Adsense is not to be found on it. Google and Facebook have been at loggerheads over user data sharing, with Google often calling Facebook a walled garden. With these platform policies, Facebook has ensured that no ad provider is able to access user data through any application.

The official statement says that “We will begin enforcing this policy on 2/28, which should provide you and other developers the time required to switch ad providers or to help us sign terms with the ad providers you may be using. We will continue to add other ad providers in the coming weeks. If your ad provider is not on this list, we encourage you to contact them to determine if they are planning on signing our terms.”

Somehow I doubt that Google Adsense is going to make it on the list. Unless, of course, Google agrees to those policies, which I don’t suppose it will.

via Facebook

Google Executive Wael Ghonim Takes Online Activism to a New Level in Egypt, Sparks an Arrest and Is Back to Tell the Tale

Online activism in Egypt has reached a new level with some big names behind it. Wael Ghonim, a key protester in the Egyptian uprising is an influential figure in social media who led to this uprising with his online activism. As it turns out, Wael Ghonim is also the Head of Marketing @ Google – Middle East & North Africa.

wael-ghonim

Image via: LA Times

A week ago, Ghonim disappeared mysteriously, sparking rumors that the Egyptian police arrested him for his anti-government activities. Thereafter, protesters at Tahrir Square in Cairo adopted him as a symbolic leader and demanded his immediate release. However, his arrest was confirmed only this Sunday, ironically with the announcement of his release too. Two days before his arrest, Ghonim posted on his Facebook wall saying,

I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some Friends made fun of me :),

The exact nature of Ghonim’s activities is unclear. However, they were alarming enough to spark an arrest. The WSJ has aggregated some of them as,

Last year, Mr. Ghonim was one of four administrators running the first of the major Facebook pages that became a virtual headquarters for the protest movement, according to a collaborator in the political opposition, and according to an Internet activist familiar with the situation. Mr. Ghonim also set up the official campaign website for opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and volunteered as a tech consultant for other opposition groups, according to Ziad Al-Alimi, a senior aide to Mr. ElBaradei.

The police also arrested Mohammad ElBaradei, a noble peace prizewinner and once the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. ElBaradei was the patriotic face of the protests demanding democracy in Egypt. Together, these two leaders played a key role in redefining the state of online political activism, sparked a nationwide unrest and led to the Government killing the Internet as a safety measure.