Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Google India launches driving direction on Google Maps

Google India has launched driving directions for users of Google Maps. Users can now navigate around locations using Google Maps on their

desktops and mobile phones using landmarks like petrol stations, banks, schools, railway stations, bus stops, local businesses & traffic circles and signals. India is the first country globally to get this feature on Google Maps.
Indians are more comfortable finding way on the streets using landmarks. Typically many roads in India are not marked with road signs and even if they are, the signs are not visible. In some cases people do not even know the road names. For instance, a friend asks you for directions to your house for a new year party, or to that nice picnic spot you recommended to celebrate a new year’s eve, you scribble some lines on a piece of paper or explain that they should take a turn from a petrol pump or a bus stop or a grocery shop! Google today enables this activity online and share with friends and family.
In India, Google has collected good landmark data through user-created "Points of Interest" in Google Map Maker. Google’s new algorithm determines which of these landmarks are most useful for navigation, based on importance, and closeness to the turns that the user is making and other available signals. With this launch, Google will now combine landmark data, counted turns ("the 2nd right"), intersection names, and road names, and try to use whatever information is most relevant and useful.
Google is providing two kinds of landmarks, to identify where users need to turn, and to provide confirmation that they're on the right track. Google also encourages users to help make directions even better for millions of users in India by enriching landmarks data via Google Map Maker.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Googlephone Is Alive And Kicking Says Google

In a move apparently aimed at mounting an even bigger challenge to the iPhone Google has confirmed that it is working on an own brand smartphone, one that might bear the name Nexus-one, and could go on sale as early as next month.
In a post on Google's official mobile blog, Mario Queiroz, Vice President, Product Management at the company said that the software giant had started a "dogfooding" process (i.e. using their own employees as guinea pigs) for a particular device.

He mentions a concept of a mobile lab which is essentially a device that "combines innovative hardware from a partner with software that runs on Android to experiment with new mobile features and capabilities".

Although Google has not officially confirmed that it will sell the smartphone, the Wall Street Journal wrote that it could go on sale as early as next year. HTC is rumoured to have been lined up to produce it.

However, like Microsoft in the case of the Toshiba-produced Zune, Google is likely to put its brand on the phone. Google is also said to have designed the phone from ground up, maintaining control on its exact configuration.

Analysts suspect that Google could be vying to become a major force in the mobile segment, not unlike Apple although that would put it on a collision course with many of its own partners including Verizon Wireless and Motorola.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Google Goggles' visual search headed for Chrome

It appears that the Google Goggles search-by-sight tool could soon work not just with mobile phones, but through Google's Chrome browser, too.

"I am working on a 20 percent project to facilitate the input of Web image searching," Google programmer Xiuduan Fang said in a post Tuesday to the Chrome Extensions mailing list titled "Chrome extension for Web Goggles. The 20 percent figure refers to a Google program that permits engineers to devote a fifth of their time to projects of their own choosing.

"We would like to have some browser extensions so that the user can drag a Web image and drop it in an input box on the toolbar...The search results of the image will be shown," Fang said, then asking for advice on how to write it up for Chrome. The original message isn't online, though a response with some pointers is.

Google Goggles currently is available as an application for phones running Google's Android operating system, but Google is working to release other versions, too. A Web browser interface would expand the service's availability beyond phones. Though there are plenty of situations where you might want to point your phone at a subject while out and about, there also are plenty of images on the Web that might provoke further inquiry.

The Goggles feature works by comparing an uploaded image to a database of billions Google has collected and analyzed. It can recognize landmarks and read the text of wine labels, among other things, but until Google works out privacy controls it doesn't make use of its ability to recognize faces. The effort is part of Google's unending effort to expand the scope and utility of its search service.

The new beta version of Google's Chrome browser adds support for extensions, though at present with some limits on user interface choices for programmers.

Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, takes a photo of the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan. The Google Goggles feature successfully identified it.

Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, takes a photo of the Itsukushima Shrine in Japan. The Google Goggles feature successfully identified it during the Dec. 7 demonstration that was the feature's debut.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Brings Real Time Search Results

Results will include items from recently updated blogs, news articles and tweets.

Starting today, Google has made some changes to its search engine by "officially" adding support for real-time search results. This new addition comes in the wake of sites like Twitter and Facebook that are updated with posts and tweets, by the second.

The service will be introduced gradually to all Google users and over the next few days, you will be able to see "new" updates that have been posted seconds ago, in Google Search results. The search results will include items from recently updated blogs, news articles and of course tweets and status updates. This is a step up from Google's earlier option where news and articles from only "a few minutes" ago only appeared in search results by default. The new option will work in a way that is similar to Twitter's existing search feature - albeit on a larger and broader scale. Twitter and Facebook, both have confirmed that they have signed a deal with Google to make real time results a reality. Earlier, Twitter had also struck a separate deal with Microsoft to make live updates available in the Bing search engine.

The power of real time search results was observed in emergency situations like the Mumbai Terror attacks last year and during the Obama elections. Real time search results will prove useful during situations when people need updated information constantly, and aggregate them from various sources.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Powered by Google: The Public DNS

So, I’m currently using Google’s newest service called “Public DNS“. This experimental service was created with the intention of making the internet faster — and you know what? Unless it’s psychological, my internet seems to be a bit zippier.

DNS is what makes using domain names  possible. When you type in into your browser, DNS is what is responsible for translating it into an IP address — you can think of an IP address as a physical address that everything hooked up to a network needs in order to be connected.

I’m not exactly sure what makes this faster than my local DNS cache — but it’s not just that. This service is also an easy way to protect yourself from malicious hackers looking to serve up invalid DNS responses. Using Public DNS virtually guarantees that you will not fall victim to such an attack.

But what about privacy? Google is no doubt going to store, and use those DNS translation requests — now they can get some impressive aggregate data about almost anything that requires the internet. Does that worry me? Not really — you don’t need to log into anything to use this service, so the data they are collecting is relatively anonymous.