Tag Archives: Google News

10 Tech Wars of 2010

Technology can make your life easy or difficult, depending on your perspective. History has shown that difference of perspectives can grow huge and sometimes even lead to wars. The tech battles mentioned here do not involve fist-fights and explosive ammo, their weapons are legal reasoning, public support and user dependencies. Here are some of the biggest tussles of the tech industry in 2010:

Tech  Wara

1. Google vs. China:

To put it simply, China wants Google to censor search results but Google isn’t ready to. They say they would rather leave their $600 Million annual revenue coming from China than compromise on freedom of speech. China doesn’t seem to care and it is probable that Google will exit from China, but it’s not over till it’s over!

2. Android vs. iPhone:

There are other smart phones too but these two are the giants and want to take each other out. We have already seen lawsuits from Apple targeting HTC, the main manufacturer of Google’s Android based phones. So, even though it is a fight between two smart phones, it becomes very serious because of the companies behind them, Google and Apple.

3. iPad vs. Kindle:

Kindle was released quietly a couple of years ago and has gained a solid ground in the e-reader market. The iPad was launched with a lot of hype which turned into a let down for users. Launching soon, iPad will directly take on the Kindle and with both allowing third-party apps, the competition will be tough.

4. Flash vs. HTML5:

HTML5 slowly crept into many platforms this year and threatens to take over Flash. Adobe is naturally angry and heated arguments are ensuing all over between the advocates of HTML5 and that of Flash. Within next few months the picture might get a little clearer as to where Flash stands vs. the new technology. Specially with Apple shunning Flash from its upcoming iPads, Flash better get its act together to stay in the game.

5. FourSquare vs. Gowalla:

2009 saw a new breed of location based social networks. Top two players are FourSqaure and Gowalla and they are fighting it out pretty aggressively. When Gowalla launched an updated iPhone app, FourSqaure didn’t take many days to follow path.

6. PayPal vs. AliPay:

The parent companies of these two, eBay and AliBaba, fought it out a few years ago and AliBaba beat eBay hands down when it came to the Chinese market. Now, PayPal is trying to get a stronghold in the Asian market but it is up against the already established AliPay.

7. Battle of the Browsers:

Mozilla and Google are fiercely after cutting down Internet Explorers long established market share and they are coming pretty close. Google doesn’t care if somebody uses Firefox or Chrome (it supports both), all they want is Internet Explorer to disappear. A massive campaign was launched recently against IE6 but Microsoft’s latest browser IE8 seems to be pretty tough when it comes to security features.

8. Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office:

Google Docs was quickly adopted because of its Cloud based technology but with Microsoft also moving towards the cloud and a lot of third party add-ons available to the desktop based Microsoft Office, the competition is far from over.

9. YouTube vs. Viacom:

This one is not a true war of technologies but its outcome may change the online video industry forever. The case is going on in the court right now. Expect to hear some historical decisions within the next couple of months.

10. Appstore vs. Developers:

Apple has been notorious about its vague and ridiculous app store policies. Developers hate it, but as of yet they can’t seem to do anything about it. IPhone app store is still a pot of gold that want to get a chunk of. Will this change in the next few months? May be.

What do you think will be the outcome of each of these? What other tech wars can you think of that are going on in the current year?

Letter From a Stranded Google China User Who Is A Foreigner And Wants Google In English

Google recently shut down their operations in China by redirecting Google.cn to Google.com.hk, however, that is not the only restriction they have put in place. Google is also redirecting all the Google.com and Google.com/ncr, which provides global access to Google sites in English, irrespective of location when it is accessed from anywhere including China.

One of our readers had several problems when accessing Google from China, even when the person tried accessing the global site. Here is what the unidentified commentator had to say:

I am a foreigner stationed in China. For all these years I had happily been able to use search at Google.com (NOT .cn) – as it had never been banned/censored in China. There had always been an option "Google in English" which was linked to Google.com, and voila – you were out of restricted area.

Not any more. From today I am being forcefully redirected to google.com.hk which I don’t want to use.

Trying to get through to http://www.google.com/ncr does not help: I am turned back to .hk.

Not that is is better or worse, I just DO NOT WANT TO BE REDIRECTED ANYWHERE.

Guys at Google now did exactly what the Chinese authorities didn’t: removed my freedom to search for the information where I choose to.

Such a disgrace.

The Google withdrawal may have led so many people who rely on the search engine to be delivered in English/their language without restriction to now actually just be redirected to a Chinese site which they may not understand.

Did Google even estimate or think or providing an option for users to actually switch their languages to English, or can we expect hundreds of thousands of users to switch to Yahoo, who are one of the biggest successes in China?

Google China (Google.cn) Shuts Down, Redirects To Google Hong Kong

Google has finally hit the long standing nail on the Google China coffin and packed it off to Hong Kong. Users who visit Google.cn are now automatically redirected to Google.com.hk, effectively ending search censorship in China.

In a saga which has now stretched a few months, Google has finally stopped operations in China and will no longer censor search results in China. The move which was sparked when Chinese hackers hacked into the email account of some diplomats also dubbed as Operation Aurora which may have included some Google Employees.

Google had claimed that they would move out of China by April 10th, however that move came in earlier than expected. We had also spotted that Google was already censoring some search results as early as last week.

Google has also created a new page which displays the status of Google services in China, some of the services including and Blogger have been blocked for a long time now. However, I am wondering how quickly those green tick marks will turn into red cross marks now.

Google China Service Status

Back in January, we told you how some Chinese users of Google were offering condolences to Google China, however, let the real condolences pour through now.

This is not the end, the battle has just begun. The developments of the next few weeks and months will be pretty interesting to say the least. Don’t worry, we will keep you in the loop.

Google Launches New 3D Graphics Layer Engine For Chrome

WebGL-OpenGL-Google-Angle While, Microsoft is busy playing catch-up, Google is determined to stay on the cutting-edge. It has launched a new open source project dubbed ANGLE (Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine), which will enhance Chrome’s graphics rendering capabilities.

In very simple terms, the goal of ANGLE is to permit execution of WebGL content in Windows systems by utilising DirectX 9.0. WebGL is a cross platform API which can be leveraged by web applications to serve hardware accelerated 3D graphics within the browser.

The trouble with WebGL is that it relies on the OpenGL ES 2.0 API. Once upon a time OpenGL was considered a serious competitor to DirectX. However, in the recent years it has been decimated by Microsoft’s DirectX. So much so, most Windows systems do not even have the requisite OpenGL drivers installed. ANGLE project aims to work around this problem by implementing most of the OpenGL ES 2.0 API.

WebGL is still a young technology with limited support. Microsoft isn’t even a member of the working group and hasn’t showed any inclination to support WebGL in the future. In fact, given its long conflict with OpenGL, it is doubtful if Microsoft will ever warm up to WebGL. Nevertheless, Google obviously believes that technologies like WebGL, which are important for next-gen web applications, deserve a chance. It will be interesting to see if Google really succeeds in making a difference.

Google May Bid Adieu to China on April 10

Google-Quit-China Since last week, rumors that Google has made up its mind to quit China have been getting stronger and stronger. Now a Chinese newspaper is reporting that Google may cease operations in China as early as April 10. Reportedly, Google will announce the departure date on Monday – the day after the Google employees will receive their annual year-end bonus.

The row started when Google publicly announced that they had been victim of sophisticated hacking attempts originating from China. In an aggressive move, Google promised to serve uncensored search results in China and even threatened to pull out. The ensuing controversy worsened diplomatic relationship between China and USA and succeeded in bolstering Google’s “Do No Evilimage.

Google may not be the largest search engine in China, but it does command a significant market share. Google has officially declined to comment on the speculations. However, if it indeed decides to quit China completely, there would be widespread ramifications due to the sheer number of various Google products and their respective users.

Is Google Serving Uncensored Tiananmen Square Information in China ?

Earlier this week, several media outlets reported that Google might have already decided to cease operations in China. While Google hasn’t officially reacted to the speculation, MSNBC is reporting that Google has begun serving uncensored search results in China.

Google-Search-Uncensored

Google had promised uncensored search results in their original missive. However, at least til earlier this week, search results were censored as usual in China. However, now it appears that at least some users in China are getting uncensored results for search queries related to the infamous Tiananmen Square massacre and Xinjiang independence.

Google officially denies making any changes. “We have not changed our operations in China,” said Google spokesman Scott Rubin. In fact, it is quite possible that this is simply a case of the filters malfunctioning. However, if the results have indeed been uncensored, then two things are certain. Firstly, the Chinese government will not be pleased with this development and secondly they will not hide their displeasure.

Nexus One Supports AT&T And Rogers Wireless On Unlocked Version

Even before the could make it’s debut on the Verizon Wireless network, they have already released new unlocked versions of the Nexus One which are compatible with 3G AT&T (U.S) and Rogers Wireless (Canada).

Nexus One AT&T and Rogers Wireless Support

This does not mean that the Nexus One will be officially sold through AT&T or Rogers, instead it means that the unlocked version of Nexus One now supports the 3G network for both these providers. This means that the Nexus One now supports Supports three 3G/UMTS bands (850/1900/2100 MHz) and four GSM radio frequencies (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) in addition to the 3G/UMTS bands (900/AWS/2100 MHz) and four GSM radio frequencies (850/900/1800/1900 MHz).

Users will not be able to buy the phone in retail stores yet and will have to visit, google.com/phone to make a purchase. Nexus One has had really bad sales figures and unless Google starts selling the phone in retail stores, it will continue to lag behind other devices.

Do you prefer to buy a phone at a retail store, or do you prefer to purchase it online?

Hacker News Bans Google And Other Search Engine Indexing

Hacker News a social news website based about computer hacking and startup companies has just blocked Google and other search engines from indexing their site.

Hacker News Google Block Twitter Update

Hacker News is a social news sharing community by Y Combinator which is a startup funding company and is similar to sites like Digg and Reddit, where users can comment and vote on stories submitted to the site.

However, in a recent turn of events, Y Combinator has blocked Google and all other search engines from crawling the site. The news was flashed to all users through a  update.

Hacker News Google Block

There is no official confirmation about why Hacker News blocked Google, however, the Hacker News community is definitely not happy about it since there is no official announcement on why the block was put in place.

Google Buzz Gets Smart, Offers Better Notification Controls

has not been a big a success they would have wanted it to be, thanks to privacy issues and problems that many users faced.

However, looks like Google is applying some much needed changes to how Buzz works by allowing users to control how notifications work for them and what should be delivered to their Inbox.

Also Read: Ultimate List of Tips and Tricks for Google Buzz

In a recent change, Google has been offering users to control how they receive alerts for new Buzzes in their Inbox. For example, when you visit "Settings -> Buzz" in your Gmail account, you will see the following options.

buzz_notification_settings

Using the option above you will be able to control how alerts are sent to your Gmail Inbox. In addition to that, if you chose to receive the Buzz alerts, you will also be shown a reason as to why you have received an email.

buzz_notification_reasons

All in all a pretty decent update to Buzz, as many users have been pulling their heads apart on receiving tons of unwanted Buzz updates in their Inbox. More info available at the Official Google Blog, oh and don’t forget to check out the top more tips for using Buzz on by Google.

Google News adds Browse Mode For Archived Newspapers

Do you know that you can read old newspapers online? With Google news, reading old newspapers is as quick as opening the news archive search page and picking the newspaper you want to read.

Today, Google news team has added a new feature which lets you read old newspapers in “Browsed mode”. This will let you view other editions of that same newspaper, if available.

For example: Here is an article published on Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on July 21,1969 about Man’s first step on the moon. Google news has archived this version and if you want to read other editions of the same newspaper, click “Browse this newspaper” as shown below:

browsed-mode-newspapers-google-news

This will open a new page consisting of all the other versions of the newspaper found in Google news archive. If a version is not available, you will be shown an empty column as shown below:

older-newspaper-versions

The feature added is quite useful, as you can see all the versions of a particular newspaper at one place. Archiving all the older versions would take some time and you might not get results for a particular date. Here is an interesting forum discussion related to Google news archives. Thanks SeoRoundtable.

Is Google Really Losing It?

When we talk about strong profits and increasing revenues, of course not! However, there is another front where Google has struggled on and off in the past few months; public image. Ryan Tate of Gawker media has written a very interesting post about Google’s increasing arrogance and delusions about themselves. He mentions six factors with incontestable examples and tries to show how Google, specially it’s leadership is becoming so full of itself.

Ryan provides plenty of examples demonstrating Google’s attitude towards disregarding users’ privacy and being ready to compromise on many fronts when it comes to making their products successful. For example, when the whole privacy fiasco happened with Google Buzz, Google’s attitude was anything but apologetic, in fact, Google’s product engineer for Buzz said

What we’re going to have to come to terms with is this stuff happening more. I honestly don’t think it’s a bad thing for people to be exposed to the issues this way.

Add this up with what Eric Schmidt (Google’s CEO) said a few months ago and you would understand what user privacy means to Google:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

What makes Googlers so delusional about their brand is apparently the price of their stock. At least thats what it seems like based on a number of remarks by Google employees and Google’s CEO. However, what’s interesting about this issue is none of these examples, controversies or accusations involve Larry Page or Sergey Brin. Is it possible that the founders have left a lot to their CEO and executives? May be they need to step in once more to shake things up a bit and set Google on the right path again.

Google Is 4th Largest Traffic Source For Bing

Bing is definitely doing pretty good in the US market with 11.5% market share, however, guess who is sending Bing traffic? Well, there are no surprises in the top 3 traffic sources for Bing, which are MSN, and Windows Live Mail.

Bing Traffic Report For February

So where is the surprise then? Well, let’s call it Google. Google is the 4th largest source for traffic that Bing gets to their site. Wow, how?

bing_google_search_engines

Well, Microsoft purchases ads on Google for Bing using Google Adwords for popular terms like "Search Engines", and they also show up high in the search results for several terms, as seen in the screenshot above. This may be one of the main reasons of the traffic Bing gets.

Based on the recent traffic reports from comScore, Bing got around 1.6 billion users in Feb 2010, which implies that Google sent approximately 66.7 million users their way.

Now that big an amount of users would definitely cost a lot, especially when Microsoft is advertising on premium keywords. So no matter what the scenario Google are in, they still making money out of Bing.

The Nitty Gritties

According to the report by Hitwise, almost 43% of the hits to Bing come from MSN domains, followed by Facebook with whom Bing have a deal for search, and Windows Live Mail, which is the proprietary email service owned by Microsoft.

The surprise though is Google at 4th with around 4.1% traffic share, which is almost the same as Facebook and Windows Live Mail, but this might definitely mean that Microsoft has loosened its pockets a lot, and are advertising Bing aggressively on one of the biggest search engines on planet Earth. Yahoo with whom Microsoft signed a deal for search is there at 5th with around 2% of the traffic.

The Bing traffic was compiled by Hitwise and posted on at Twitpic. Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, spotted the report and wrote the analysis on it.

Motorola To Launch Bing Search & Maps on Android Handsets in China

bing21

When Google had a fallout with the Chinese government and threatened to pull out Google services from China, Microsoft kept quite and now we know Microsoft had some ulterior motives. Of course who wants to come in wrong terms with the huge Chinese tech savvy population? Motorola, who shared a strong bond with Google with the launch of Motorola DROID back in late 2009 has also ditched Google for Microsoft.

Motorola and Microsoft are going to come up with Android devices in China with Bing Search and Maps. Here’s what Motorola Spokesperson had to say:

We believe that consumer choice is one of the most critical components to ensuring a rich and seamless client experience,said Christy Wyatt, corporate vice president of software and services, Motorola Mobile Devices. Motorola and Microsoft have enjoyed a longstanding collaboration and the addition of Bing services to our Android-based smartphones in China is another important step in empowering our end-users.

Bing has come out with some unique features in last couple of weeks and has registered to be an instant hit among  the users. Of course, users can opt  to use Google search instead, from their browser and install Google maps app, but this is a big move for Microsoft to gain the market.

Image courtesy: Androidauthority.com

Google Reader Play Allows Users To Visually Browse RSS Feeds

I am a big fan of Google Reader, thanks to it’s simplicity and the ability to access the same feeds from wherever I want. However, how about adding some Zing to the feed reader?

Google Reader Play

Google Reader Play is a new feature which will allow you to browse RSS feeds visually through a feed slideshow. Google Reader Play provides users with an option to browse interesting stuff on the web, which is personalized to a user’s liking.

Reader Play also allows you to star items, which will then allow Google to display more items which match your tastes. Users can also browser their current subscriptions in Google Reader Play, by clicking on the arrow appearing next to the folder or RSS feed in the sidebar and selecting "View in Reader Play"

google_reader_play_items

According to the Google Reader engineer, Google Reader Play is not a replacement for Google Reader, it is just a fun way to browser through interesting content in RSS feeds. Users can also access a Reader Play by visiting http://www.google.com/reader/play.

What do you think about Google Reader Play? Will you use it to browse RSS feeds? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Gives People One More Reason To Ride Bicycles To Work

Google Maps has to be the most popular way to find directions, be it driving directions, walking directions or public transit directions. However, many people do not prefer to drive cars and prefer to drive their bicycles to work.

Google Maps Driving Directions

In cities like New York and other locations, there are dedicated biker lanes, however, if you are travelling to a new destination it is pretty hard to find out beforehand which routes have proper biking lanes.

However, that is a thing of the past as Google Maps have now rolled out a new feature called "Biking directions", which will help users to find bike trails and dedicated bike lanes on maps. Google Maps has an enormous amount of data for bikers, which includes 12,000 miles of trails covering 150 cities within the United states.

I personally use Google maps to find walking directions and public transport directions while travelling within NYC, this new feature will definitely help me ride my bike more often with a proper trail.

If you are a biker, you can try out the new feature by visiting http://maps.google.com/biking.