Monday, June 28, 2010

Rumor: Google to launch Facebook-like competitor

Rumours that Google is set to launch a Facebook-style social network called "Google Me" have gained traction over the weekend.

Digg's Kevin Rose fuelled the rumour pyre with a tweet that simply read:

"Ok, umm, huge rumour: Google to launch facebook competitor very soon "Google Me", very credible source."

​Google Me vs Facebook?

SF Weekly suggests that "Google Me" is some kind of of upgrade to the already existent Google Profiles, noting that Rick Klau, the developer responsible for Google Buzz, was recently taken on to develop Google Profiles.

What with the relative failures of services such as Google Buzz or Google Wave to gain mass traction, is Google testing out a more 'mass market friendly' service?

For the time being, this is all still pure rumour and speculation, although the mere fact that the rumour has emerged from Digg founder Kevin Rose is enough to warrant further investigation.

We have reached out to Google UK for further background on this story.

You can read TechRadar's review of Google Buzz to find out more about what we thought about the aims and limitations of that particular service

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Google code hints at Chrome OS Dellbook

It looks like Dell will join Acer and HP in offering netbooks based on Google's Chrome OS sometime this fall.

Dell isn't among the official Chrome OS partners [1] named by Google, but as noticed by Download Squad [2], the code repository for Chromium OS — the open source incarnation of Chrome OS — includes some rather conspicuous bits that point to Dell as an early manufacturer.

The repository includes three "overlay" files for configuring hardware support during the build process. One carries the Dell name, while the other two say Acer and HP.

Asked to comment, Dell said it's looking into the matter. And in the meantime, the company pointed out that just after Google released its first snapshot of code to the Chromium OS project, Dell engineer Doug Anson put out his own unofficial Chrome OS build for the Dell Mini, the company's 10-inch netbook. "We weren’t announcing anything formal, just sharing that the landscape is getting interesting," a company spokeswoman says of Anson's release.

But Anson continues to turn out new builds. He released the latest on June 8 here [3]. "I really enjoy popping out these images every few weeks," Anson said recently on the Chromium discussion mailing list. "I can say that the images themselves seem to be getting better and better with each iteration."

Chrome OS is essentially Google's Chrome web browser running atop a Goobuntu flavor of Linux. It will not run local applications other than the browser itself. All other apps will be accessed inside the browser, and it now seems that this will include applications running on remote machines: Google is developing something it calls "Chromoting [4]," a kind of browser -based remote access tool.

The OS will print via a new online service Google calls Cloud Print [5], and HP has already introduced printers that will work with the service. Essentially, Cloud Print will send jobs from Chrome OS to Google servers and back down to network-connected printers like HP's or to printers plugged into network-connected desktops that actually include print drivers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Google Adds Caffeine To Search

The new search indexing system is faster and provides 50% fresher results, according to Google.

Google has switched to a new search indexing system that the company claims is faster than the previous technology and provides 50% fresher results.

Google announced last August that it was overhauling its search technology. Dubbed "Caffeine," the new architecture was introduced a month after Microsoft upped the ante in the search war by extending its new Bing search engine to all of Yahoo's Web properties. The Yahoo Web portal is the number two player in search.

Google said Wednesday it built Caffeine to bring users more up-to-date, relevant search results from the fast-growing Web.

To better understand how Caffeine works, a person must first know that Google doesn't search the entire Web to answer user queries, but rather its index of the Web. The quality of results depends on how well a search engine can keep its index up-to-date.

Under the old system, Google would crawl the entire Web to update large batches of Web pages in its index. Updates of individual pages in a batch could not be made available until the entire batch was updated, which meant there was a significant delay between when Google found or updated a page and made it available to the user.

With Caffeine, Google crawls the Web in smaller portions and updates its index on a continuous basis.

"As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index," Google engineer Carrie Grimes said in the company's blog.

Caffeine analyzes hundreds of thousands of Web pages each second in parallel and adds new information to the index at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day, according to Google. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million GB of storage in one database.

"You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles," Grimes said.

Early testers of Caffeine gave the search platform rave reviews shortly after the new system was first introduced. Testers said it yielded more results with better accuracy than the existing technology.

Google remains the dominant search engine, accounting for 71.4% of Web searches in May, according to Experian Hitwise. Yahoo is a distant second with a 14.96%, followed by Bing, 9.43%.

However, Microsoft in May made significant strides in four major categories, a reflection of the company's focus on vertical markets. The number of searches on Bing related to automotive, health, shopping, and travel soared by 95%, 105%, 100%, and 71%, respectively, compared to the same month a year ago, Hitwise said.

In March, Microsoft announced that it would release a number of enhancements to Bing. Most notably, Microsoft improved Bing's Quick Tabs feature, which delivers results based on what the search engine believes is the intent of the user's query.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Google Chrome OS to be released this September

At the on-going Computex 2010 Expo, Google announced that Chrome OS would be released in Fall (September) this year.
Google's vice president of product management, Sundar Pichai said, "We are working on bringing the device later this fall." So now, we have a fixed time frame when Chrome OS will finally be made available on notebooks and desktops. It was in July 2009 that Google had announced Linux kernel based Chrome OS for desktops and notebooks. This open source operating system is based on Google's Chrome browser and is designed to work seamlessly with web applications.
Pichai added, "It's something which we are very excited by ... We expect it to reach millions of users on day one." Untill we come across and use a Chrome OS based device, we cannot say whether Google will beat Microsoft or not. Google Chrome OS would be available on notebooks and desktops from partners like Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo.