Tag Archives: Google News

Google Hosted Project Helps Circumvent the Firewall in China

Created in May 2009, the foe project was an anti-censorship tool that allowed users to read news over the Internet without any form of censorship. Today, Google’s foe project has been seen as a potential tool to circumvent the Great Firewall of China.

Foe or Feed Over email has a Google code-hosting page that can be found here. The page describes this project as,

Users in Internet censored countries often find themselves unable to access foreign news websites or RSS feeds such as the ones from Voice of America, CNN, BBC, etc.
Until now, the only way users in censored countries can access these websites is to use a proxy server or install proxy software on their computer.
FOE (Feed Over Email) is a new tool that allows users to receive RSS feeds from foreign websites without the need to find a working proxy server or install any proxy software.
Technically, FOE is built on top of SMTP and work on most email servers as long as the user has access to POP3 and SMTP.

The US government has used this project to breach the firewall and information on the use of this project in the government was fetched with a Freedom of Information Act request.

This service solely depends on the fact that mail servers from outside China are allowed to communicate inside. Now that the fact has been discovered, China will probably block mail servers outside the country. This act by the US government can also be considered as cyber warfare by China. China has grown to be quite aggressive in its approach and its next move in this regard will be the gossip of the town for the next few days.

Watch Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb Event Live Online

Google will be hosting a special Android event on February 2 at 10AM PST (1PM ET). At the event, Google will be unveiling the latest Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS for tablets.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb Event

The 3.0 Honeycomb event will give a hands-on demo of tablets based on the latest OS in the Android family along with an in-depth look at all the new features.

If you are eager to watch the Android 3.0 Honeycomb event, you can do it live online at http://www.youtube.com/android/. In the meantime do check out the Android 3.0 Honeycomb Platform highlights. Our team will be covering the event live here so stay tuned for updates from the event.

Android 3.0 Honeycomb Related Event To Be Held By Google On Feb 2

It was during the CES 2011, that Google gave us a sneak peek of the next version of Android Honeycomb which is aimed at tablets. Now, Google has sent out invites to bloggers from around the globe for an Android related event.

The event is going to be held on Feb 2 i.e. this coming Wednesday at the Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, California. The event will start from 10AM PT until 1 PM PT but the main’ event will only be of 90 minutes.

Android_3.0_honeycomb

Google is going to give everyone present at the event a live hands-on demo of the Android 3.0 tablet along with an in-depth look at Honeycomb and will talk about the future of Android. For people, who won’t be able to go to the event, Google is going to help them by streaming the event live on YouTube. The event will be streamed live here. Kudos to Google for this awesome move!

It was only a few days ago that Google released the Android 3.0 Honeycomb Platform highlights along with an updated SDK which gave users a look at what all changes Honeycomb will incorporate. The first few sneak peeks’ of Android 3.0 Honeycomb have been impressive and has left people wanting for more of Honeycomb.

Hopefully, people who will get the live hands-on demo of Android 3.0 at the event will be able to satisfy their hunger. For others, wait till the Motorola XOOM hits the retail stores.

Matt Cutts: New Algorithm Will Reduce Google Search Spam, Expect Better Results Soon

A few days ago Google gave some hints on how Google web spam team is changing the way web pages are ranked and trying to implement a redesigned “document level classifier” in Google search algorithm.  This whole saga of Google search spam got ignited by Jess Atwood’s post at CodingHorror; so if you have missed the details, read that article and our response article on the issue.

Earlier today, Google Engineer Matt Cutts announced that a new algorithmic change has been launched which will rank the content scraping sites lower in search results. Hence, users are more likely to see those sites higher in search results, who wrote the original content.

Matt said that this change was very much  targeted  and geared towards improving the overall experience of users.

Note that Matt says “lower in search results” and not that these scraped content will never appear in a search result page.

Let’s quickly take an example.

We announced an Apple Ipad Giveaway on 23rd december 2010, which received 254 responses and was pretty much successfull.

Some websites thought it’s wise to scrap that content and put their own “mix” to the scraped material. They changed the Title, modified the URL (thinking that adding the author’s name might just work) and added the same sentences, keywords over and over in the meta description. The result is something like this

The first search result points to this site (thanks Google for your algo).

My point is: Some users will still click the second and third links and arrive to that scraped website who have no original content. Because they are not organizing the Giveaway and can never give an Apple iPad on behalf of Techie Buzz. ( Those who need proof, can read this research article on “Eye tracking in  search results” (PDF), learn the facts and then comment on this post).

So what happens is that some users arrive to the scraped website, can’t find what they are looking for and quit. The will simply go elsewhere.

The Result: We lose those prospective readers who are searching our website,  just because Google showed the scraped sites on search result pages. Agree the number of such readers is way less, but it’s never ZERO.

Our Suggestion To Google Web Spam Team

Don’t show the scraped sites at all. Never. I mean “Why ?”

Google Engineers can easily judge whether the content is an exact photocopy of the source website or not, so there is no point in showing these sites on any of the search result pages. Not even on the 99th page.

Learn from Bing

Surprisingly, the same search at Bing.com shows only one spam link (third one).

This is just an example and I am not saying that Bing is better than Google. But as you can see – Bing shows less number of scraped sites, when you consider a long tail of search.

@Google: We are Praying for better search results.

Motorola Droid And Nexus S Software Update Imminent

It was nearly a week ago, that Google released the Android 2.3.2 update for the Nexus S and the Android 2.2.2 update for theNexus One. The 2.3.2 and the 2.2.2 update was a minor one and were mainly aimed at fixing the popular SMS bug. Now, it looks like Motorola is already working on the Android 2.2.2 update for the original Droid.

The company sent an email to a group of beta testers for a pre-launch soak’ testfor a minor software update before releasing it to the general masses. The company has not confirmed whether this update will fix the SMS bug or not, but I am pretty sure it will.

Motorola_Droid

It is really nice to see Motorola already working on releasing an update for such an old handset the Droid. Hopefully, the company will also release the 2.2.2 update for its other Android based handsets like the Droid 2 and the Droid X. I hope other companies like HTC and Samsung will also release the Android 2.2.2 update for their handsets.

The Google-branded-Samsung-manufactured Nexus S will also be getting another OTA update in the next couple of weeks. This update will be aimed at fixing the random reboot issues which some of the Nexus S owners are facing (bug #13674).

Android 3.0 Honeycomb Platform Highlights Released

During the CES 2011, Google’s latest version of Android meant for tablets Honeycomb grabbed the limelight with its awesome UI and features. Now, today Google has released an Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform preview which lists some of the major changes which will be brought about by the OS.

First and foremost, the UI of Honeycomb has been developed from the ground up for tablets unlike iOS, where the OS was ported from the iPhone to the iPad. The highly appreciated and loved Notification bar’ has been re-vamped to System bar’ in Honeycomb and is now located at the bottom of the screen.

Along with this, the internal applications like the Browser, Gallery, Camera and Email have been updated to sport new features and to take full advantage of the bigger screen. The text selection, copy and paste method along with the Keyboard have been improved in Honeycomb as well.

Android_Honeycomb_Widgets

For developers, Honeycomb includes a new animation framework that will easily allow animating the various UI elements. It also includes a new DRM framework, support for HTTP Live streaming and support for digital media transfer. One major change in Android 3.0 is that the 2D graphics will be hardware accelerated. This will not only help in improving the system performance but will also help the developers to create much better graphics intensive applications.

Android 3.0 will also bring in support for multi-core processors and support for new enterprise policies like encrypted storage, password expiration and password history etc. Readers can read the whole Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform highlights here.

I hope that some of these changes will be incorporated in the future version of Android for mobiles as well especially the hardware accelerated 2D graphics feature.

Along with this, Google has also released a new version of their SDK which includes the new API for Android 3.0 and other enhancements. This will allow developers to make sure that their apps are compatible with the latest tablets running on Honeycomb.

Google Voice Now Allows You To Port Your Number

If you are a Google Voice user, here is some good news for you. Google has just announced that they are going to allow users to port their existing number to Google Voice.

Google Voice Number Porting

With number portability, Google will allow users to continue using their existing number with the features that Google Voice provides users with. Users will no longer have to make use of a new number which was the case earlier.

Today, we’re excited to announce that Number Porting is available for all existing Google Voice users. This means you can make the mobile number you’ve always used your Google Voice number, so it can ring any phone you want—or even your computer.

The number porting will come in handy for people who have used a single number for a long time and do not want to forgo it just to use Google Voice. To port your number to Google Voice, login to your account and visit the settings page. On this page click on the "Change / Port" link to port your number to Google Voice. Porting your number is quite handy, but it will come at a one time cost of $20. The process itself will be completed within 24 hours too.

Once you have ported your number to Google Voice, your mobile service plan will be cancelled and you will have to follow a series of steps to continue making calls through Google Voice. This Google Voice Help Center article has detailed steps on how number porting works along with tips to make the switching process easier.

Number Porting will initially be available for existing customers, with support for new customers in near future. You can watch a video about how Number porting will work below. Click here if you can’t see it.

Gmail Lets You Print Documents From Your Mobile Using Cloud Printing

Google has been working on using Cloud printing in their browser and . The Cloud printing feature allows users to add their current printers to the cloud and then print to it from anywhere.

Print Gmail emails using Cloud Printing

This feature is currently in beta mode and it does not work many times. However, looks like Google is now trying to make this feature more mainstream by allowing mobile users to print their emails on the cloud printers they have setup in their accounts.

First off, the cloud printing technology is tied up to your Google account and you can set it up here. Secondly, you will have to leave the connected PC on for this to work. Thirdly, this only works with Windows based PCs right now, although support for Linux and Mac OS X is on the way.

Once you have set up your printers to the cloud, you can then visit Gmail.com from any mobile device and choose Print from the dropdown box to print a document. The document will be printed on the Cloud Printer you choose from.

The new feature is currently being rolled out to US English users only. There is no timeline on when this will be available for other countries and languages.

Domain Filtering, Coming Soon to A Google Search Near You

Discussions on Google search spams have been making rounds on the Internet for quite some days now. Google search results are full of spam and the results are all gamed. This has led many people to Bing search, which is nearly spam free. Seeing this alarming situation, Google has responded twice this month.

no-spam

In the first reply, it has said that Google search is better than what it was 10 years back. That is surely an improvement. The product quality has improved indeed, most products improves over 10 years. However, seeing that spam indeed is a problem, Google has started a second reply, which is also an interaction. You can find this discussion on Hacker News and it is directly from Matt Cutts.

The discussion says,

“As pure webspamhas decreased over time, attention has shifted instead to content farms,which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, we launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites. “

Content farms are a real trouble for Google search results. Further, in this discussion, you will see that one user has asked Matt if there can be filtering of results based on domain blacklisting. Thankfully, Matt has hinted towards this feature being incorporated in future and this will put these content farms out of business.

Another interesting thing that Matt announced in this thread is that Google will do away with clones of websites, who do nothing more than aggregate and present exact copied content with a simple link at the bottom. At techie-buzz, we come across at least two content scrapers on most weekdays. The real deal with content scrapers is that, if their site is indexed before yours, you get punished and negative rankings in SERP. Beware content scrapers; things are going to get ugly.

(Image via: Elementsintime)

The End of IPv4 As We Know It and the Onset of IPv6, this YouTube Video Sums It Up

IPv4 is a thing of the past as of this month. The IP address reserve for IPv4 dropped to 5% in October last year and the sudden increase in the number of mobile devices and the increasing awareness towards using the Internet has exponentially increased the number of connected computers all over the world. The result- an IP adddress fiasco.

The only savior in this situation is IPv6 and we all are turning to it. Google has decided to try out IPv6 with Facebook, Akamai and other major players on the Internet. The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is a tedious job. The existing routers do not have all capabilities for this and now that it is more of a compulsion than an option, any further network changes will incur a huge cost for organizations.

Even more worrying, is the fact that current implementations of IPv6, which amount to less than 1% of the total Internet hosts is quite imperfect. On the 8th of June, Google, Facebook and Akamai will generate some interesting statistics on the usage of IPv6 that will lay the foundation for usage of this new protocol.

This YouTube video will sum up everything that led to this fiasco and has done it in style. You can also check these reactions from Geekosystem(Internet to Reach Critical Mass Within Weeks ) and Network World(Farewell IPv4; We Hardly Knew Ye ).