Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Google Skype phone: Perfect for ISD

If your rising international phone calls’ bill has been giving you sleepless nights, try Belkin’s new Google Skype phone. All you need is a

Google Skype phone

wireless router (which comes for just Rs 1,500) installed in your home or office.
Detecting a Wi-Fi environment, the phone automatically logs into your Skype account.
With Skype logged in, dial either a Skype number or a mobile number of a person overseas or in India. Calls rates are as cheap as Rs 1 per minute via Skype to other mobile phones overseas. However, making STD calls via Skype phone to other mobiles are not feasible, as its expensive. But if you have friends who are always logged in on Skype, the phone can be of excellent use.
The paucity of Wi-Fi zones in India, however, does pose a handicap. In comparison, GSM wi-fi phones can log on to Skype from anywhere. But the drawback of GSM phones is that a Skype call will get disrupted as soon as you receive a GSM call. The voice clarity is, however, much higher in the Skype phone.
The drawback for the phone is its inability to work on other VoIP platforms and its low battery power. Even though the company claims a talktime of two hours and a standby time of 30 hours, the phone’s battery gets discharged earlier.
The landline Belkin Skype phone is priced in India at Rs 7,300, the cordless Skype phone is much more handy and priced at Rs 9,712.
While there are other VoIP phones in the market, Belkin’s cordless skype phone comes with 30 minutes of free Skype calling to any number in India or overseas.
The phone is excellent for people who want the comfort of mobility from a VoIP phone. So, if you have to conduct a business meeting, over ISD, chose a mobile VoIP phone. With touch and feel of a regular mobile phone, its also easier to handle for the elderly.
Price: Rs 9,712

Friday, August 14, 2009

Google Adds Social Networking To Personalized Home Page

Google is giving people the option of adding social-networking capabilities to iGoogle, potentially expanding the personalized home page's reach into such popular sites as MySpace, Friendster and others.
Google on Wednesday launched 19 "social gadgets"developed by the search engine or third parties. The mini-applications included multi-player games, such as Scrabble and chess; joint to-do lists and video-sharing on YouTube.

In addition, Google is giving iGoogle users the option of adding a "friends" section comprising people selected from the users' Google contacts list. iGoogle users can share social gadget activities with these people. Google also has added a chat feature for messaging contacts directly from iGoogle.
Before the new social features, iGoogle primarily offered a single location for search and accessing applications, such as Gmail, and content, including syndicated feeds, weather information and news articles. Users can choose to leave out the new features, which are meant to keep people on iGoogle longer by eventually making it a hub for social-networking activities.

Third-party developers will be able build iGoogle gadgets using the Google-backed OpenSocial API. The application programming interface is used to make applications interoperable with with any supporting social network, such as MySpace, which developed the API with Google, Friendster,,, Ning and Google's Orkut.

However, Facebook, the Web's largest social network, does not support OpenSocial. Instead, the site offers its own APIs called Facebook Connect, which provides users with the opportunity to share content created at a third-party Web site on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google unveils new 'Caffeine' search engine

Google has lifted the lid on a new version of its search engine, upping the ante as rivals attempt to close the gap on the search giant.

The new engine, codenamed Caffeine by Google, is aimed at delivering faster, more accurate and more comprehensive results.

The engine, available for testing at a separate web address, has been launched with Google asking developers and businesses for feedback. The website "front end" of the technology looks the same, but Google said the infrastructure was updated to index new content on the web faster.

The surge in popularity of the "real-time" web of Twitter postings and social networks such as Facebook make it important that search engines can quickly find and deliver such content in the search results for consumers.

The public testing of the new Google engine comes two weeks after Microsoft struck a deal to replace Yahoo!'s search engine with its own, called Bing. Bing has gained a percentage point or two of market share since its launch earlier this year as a "decision engine" by Microsoft, backed by extensive advertising, but Google still gets about two-thirds of US search queries, according to comScore.

Yahoo! handled about a fifth of US searches in June, and Microsoft fielded less than half of that. The partnership would bring the two companies' combined share to nearly 30 per cent, still less than half of Google's total. In the rest of the world, Google is even further ahead.

In a blog post, Matt Cutts, a principal engineer at Google and Sitaram Iyer, a staff software engineer, said: "For the last several months, a large team of Googlers has been working on a secret project: a next-generation architecture for Google's web search. It's the first step in a process that will let us push the envelope on size, indexing speed, accuracy, comprehensiveness and other dimensions.

"The new infrastructure sits 'under the hood' of Google's search engine, which means that most users won't notice a difference in search results. But web developers and power searchers might notice a few differences, so we're opening up a web developer preview to collect feedback."

In a personal blog post, Mr Cutts said that Caffeine was not specifically a response to Bing: "I love competition in search and want lots of it, but this change has been in the works for months. I think the best way for Google to do well in search is to continue what we’ve done for the last decade or so: focus relentlessly on pushing our search quality forward. Nobody cares more about search than Google, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop trying to improve."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Google Adds “Prices From The Page” Search Option

It was noticed that Google added an additional search option feature, named “prices from the page.” When you select this option, Google will try to pull out prices from the web page results, for the query you entered.

Here is an example, please note that I cropped the screen shot to highlight the prices snippets area:

Google Show Prices Search Option

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chrome 3 Beta gets Themes

Features that Google brought to its developer preview version of Chrome--themes, a revamped new-tab page, a tweaked Omnibox for searching and entering Web addresses, and support for HTML 5 video--have now arrived on the browser's better tested beta version intended for broader use.

Individually, these features in Chrome (download) are niceties. Collectively, they show Google is steadily moving ahead with its browser project, which was ambitious even before Chrome OS arrived on the scene. Fighting for a piece of the browser market is tough, but offering an operating system solely for Web-based applications is a lot tougher.

Chrome themes, such as this one called Grass, are in the new Chrome beta.

Chrome themes, such as this one called Grass, are in the new Chrome beta.

After some on-again, off-again wavering, I've gone back to Chrome as my default browser. I like its interface and a handful of features, but the main advantage is its priority on speed. Google's Chrome ambition is to improve the Web as a foundation for applications and more generally to get people to do more online, and speed is of the essence.

That's why the shiny new features such as Chrome themes actually are less interesting to me than some of the fine print in Google's announcement of the new beta:

Beyond the improvements in JavaScript execution in this latest beta, there are a host of other improvements that should help Google Chrome make the most of your network connection. For example, when you open a new Web page while other Web pages are still loading, Google Chrome is now smarter about prioritizing the requests for the new page--for instance, fetching text, images, and video for your new page--ahead of the requests from the older pages. Loading pages on this beta release should also be faster than ever with DNS caching, more efficient DOM bindings, and using V8 for proxy auto-config.

OK, so that gets deep in the weeds at the end there, but suffice it to say that Google is tackling browser speed in a number of areas, not just its V8 engine for executing Web programs written in JavaScript.

Google gets dinged with some justification for moving sluggishly with Chrome. The Mac OS X and Linux versions are only now beginning to come into their own, for example. But there's a subtext to that criticism that bears mentioning.

Specifically, it looks to me as if some perceptions are shifting from "Why should I bother with Chrome?" to "Google isn't moving fast enough with Chrome." That shows expectations are shifting in Google's favor. It positions the company better to win over converts through the gradual delivery of extensions and other high-demand features.

Of course, a lot of my feedback is from change-embracing early adopters who care, sometimes passionately, about browsers. Getting Chrome to appeal to mainstream folks will be another, harder challenge for Google.