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Google Goggles brings visual search to Android – Engadget December 13, 2009

Posted by pannet in Multimedia.
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Looks like Google’s been busy on the camera tip lately — not only is it launching a new QR code-based Favorite Places mobile search product today, it’s also demoing Google Goggles, a visual search app that generates local results from analyzing mobile phone images. Favorite Places isn’t super-complicated, but it sounds like it’ll be pretty useful: Google’s sent QR code window decals to the 100,000 most researched local businesses on Google and Google Maps, and scanning the code with your phone will bring up reviews, coupons, and offer the ability to star the location for later. (It’s not implemented yet, but you’ll be able to leave your own reviews in the future.) Google hasn’t built this into the Google Mobile app yet, so you’ll need something to read QR codes with — Android devices can use the free Barcode Scanner, and Google and QuickMark are offering 40,000 free downloads of QuickMark for the iPhone today. We just tried it out using QuickMark and it works pretty well — although we’ll wait to see how many QR codes we see in the wild before we call this one totally useful.

Google Goggles is a little more interesting from a technology standpoint: it’s an Android app that takes photos, tries to recognize what in them, and then generates search results about them. Goggles can recognize landmarks, books, contact info, artwork, places, wine, and logos at the moment, and Google says it’s working on adding other types of objects, like plants. Pretty neat stuff — but how about linking these two services together at some point, guys? Check some videos after the break.

via Google Goggles brings visual search to Android; Favorite Places brings QR codes to restaurant reviews — Engadget.

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Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch To Block Google Access To Its Sites November 16, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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News Corp., that is of the biggest and most widely acclaimed media empire has announced that, it will shortly be blocking Google Bots’ access to its websites, meaning that, websites run by News Corporation will no longer be indexed by Google. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of News Corp., has stated that, he believes Goggle might be doing more harm than good to the websites by diverting millions of users to thew sites and thereby increasing the website traffic.

Mr. Murdoch believes that, the websites would do a lot better if they are turned entirely into a paid subscription services, thus limiting the exclusivity of the sites to those who are truly interested in visiting the website for academic purposes. Some of the major publications run by News Corporation are, The Sun, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal etc. The results of the latest shift in Google’s importance is being seen as two fold by many experts.

The impact of the exclusion of Google indexing services from News Corp. websites could have dire effects on these sites, as even though there are dedicated paid users, yet like every website, such sites also heavily depend on advertising, a feature that Google has mastered in. An alternative to the current decision could be to segregate the paid and free sections of the websites, where excerpts can be shown in the free section and the paid sections can carry the entire article.

via Media Tycoon Rupert Murdoch To Block Google Access To Its Sites | Trends Updates

Wolfram|Alpha API to be released later today – O’Reilly Radar October 16, 2009

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We’ve just been told that the public API for Wolfram Alpha will be made available later today. The API documentation will be available at http://products.wolframalpha.com/api . […]

It’s hard to write much about an API that hasn’t appeared yet, but let me tell you why I think it’s important. Lots of writers have compared Alpha to Google, but I think that’s a mistake. it’s a data source, not a search engine, and that’s a significant difference. What matters with a data source is the ability to ask a question, get an answer back, and use it as easily as possible. An API minimizes the impedance mismatch: you can do computing directly with Alpha’s curated data.

But there’s another comparison that’s even more relevant: Twitter. What has made Twitter success isn’t so much the web application that lives at twitter.com. What has made Twitter valuable is the huge ecosystem that has grown up around that application: alternate clients for all sorts of platforms, web sites for searching, slicing, dicing, and remixing. Those have all been enabled by a simple and well-thought-out API for dealing with Twitter programmatically. The web isn’t about web pages; it’s about interactions between data sources.

Wolfram|Alpha gets this. The web site is just the down-payment; the real value is in the APis that will let developers build an application ecosystem around Alpha. As they put it: “The end-game [is] to drive new and innovative applications of our technology that we literally never could have imagined, driving computational knowledge into new domains.” A huge cache of data is interesting, but not enough: an API that allows you to explore that data, to remix that data with other data sources is what’s needed to enable creativity and discovery. What will the results look like? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out. I’m excited.

via Wolfram|Alpha API to be released later today – O’Reilly Radar.

Consumers Spend More Time Online with Content Than Community and Communications September 19, 2009

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[…] The latest IAI report provides insights into how consumers are spending their time online, and how that has changed over the past six years. Based on the analysis, the OPA found that the percentage of time spent online with Web sites providing news, information and entertainment, like NYTimes.com, ESPN.com and Edmunds.com (Content sites), has grown even in the wake of Community sites like Facebook. Moreover, Communication sites offering email and IM have decreased in share of online time spent due to the ability to conduct these activities elsewhere.

“In 2008, we introduced the Community category based on the emergence and popularity of sites like Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn,” continued Horan. “These new sites have had significant impact on the Communications category, which saw a 41 percent decline, due to the fact consumers are using Community sites where they can conduct these same activities more efficiently.”

When comparing how people used the Internet in 2003 with how they use the Internet today, the OPA found a number of factors behind the changes, including monthly average time per person:

[…]

When we shift from IAI’s time spent to the share of online time each category attracts over six years, we see significant changes as to how consumers spend their online time:

[…]

=> Check out the full article for the numbers

via Online Publishers Association | OPA News | Press Releases.

Xoopit + Yahoo! Mail = Moving beyond that massive digital shoebox July 23, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Yahoo! has announced to acquire Xoopit.

If your email inbox is anything like mine, it’s turned into a “digital shoebox” over the years. It’s full of hundreds or maybe thousands of special photos that have been shared by close friends and family members, but they’re not organized in any particular way. I open them, occasionally print or forward them, and then move on to my mail, letting precious pictures become buried in the unlimited storage of my inbox.

Enter Xoopit, which Yahoo! signed an agreement to acquire today. Their name may sound familiar – they won our Open Hack Day last fall and we teamed with them in December to launch the “My Photos” app in Yahoo! Mail, which many of you are already using today. In fact, it’s the most popular third party app in Yahoo! Mail.
xoopit
With the integration of Xoopit’s platform technology and capabilities, the task of sending photos via email will be as easy as it should be and sharing photo albums with friends and family members will also be a cinch. You’ll be able to share your pictures among a group of friends or family like never before – combining pictures from numerous sources into a single album for a private group to view. And soon your inbox will become an organized photo index as well. Just imagine having a tool that collects all the photos you’ve sent and received over the years into that scrapbook you’ve never had time to assemble.

In short, Xoopit will bring phenomenal photo organization, improved photo sharing, and the serendipity of discovering forgotten photos to Yahoo! Mail.

Why is this such a big deal? Yahoo! Mail is actually home to one of the largest online photo repositories in the world. And every day, millions of you use Yahoo! Mail as your primary way to share the photos of important moments in your lives. While social networks and community sites are great for sharing photos with everyone you know, we realize it’s not for everyone or every occasion. For many, email is still best for sharing photos among a more select group of friends or family. And now we’re making it all that much easier for you.

What does this i.e. mean for applications like Picasa, iPhoto etc.? How do you use photo in combination of media management and sharing? Makes it sense that such application are also import media items like photos from your preferred mail client (beside the question if it is an online or offline mail client)?

via Yodel Anecdotal » Blog Archive » Xoopit + Yahoo! Mail = Moving beyond that massive digital shoebox.

Google Launches Maps Data API – O’Reilly Radar May 22, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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The crowd at Where 2.0 was expecting an API announcement and Google delivered one. Lior Ron and Steve Lee announced their Maps Data API, a service for hosting geodata. As they describe it on the site:

What is it?

The Google Maps Data API allows client applications to view, store and update map data in the form of Google Data API feeds using a data model of features (placemarks, lines and shapes) and maps (collections of features).

Why Use the Google Maps Data API?

  • Storage scales simply with usage. You shouldn’t have to worry about maintaining a data store to build a cool Google Maps mashup. Focus on building the client, and we’ll provide hosting and bandwidth for free.
  • Geodata is accessible across platforms and devices. With many client libraries and clients, accessing stored geodata is possible from anywhere, whether it’s on the web, a mobile phone, a 3D application, or even a command line.
  • Realtime geodata requires realtime indexing. For a lot of geographic content, freshness is important. Geodata from the Google Maps Data API can be instantly indexed and made searchable in Google Maps.
  • Rendering geodata is better and faster with the right tools. Through JavaScript, Flash, 3D, static images and more, we’ll continue to provide better ways to render your content to meet platform and latency demands.

Google is launching with some sample apps:

  • My Maps Editor for Android allows users to create and edit personalized maps from an Android mobile phone. Integration with the phone’s location and camera makes it easy to document a trip with photos and text on a map.
  • ConnectorLocal is a service that informs users about the places where they live, work and visit by gathering trusted hyperlocal information from many sources. Using the Google Maps Data API, ConnectorLocal makes it easy for users to import and export geodata in and out of Google Maps, and also improves their ability to have data indexed in Google Maps for searching.
  • My Tracksenables Android mobile phone users to record GPS tracks and view live statistics while jogging, biking, or participating in other outdoor activities. Stored with Google Maps Data API, these tracks can be accessed, edited and shared using the My Maps feature in Google Maps.
  • Platial, a social mapping service for people and places, uses the Google Maps API to host geodata for community maps on both Platial and Frappr.

Geo data can get very large very quickly. Serving it can get expensive. This Data API will help NGOs, non-profits and developers make their data available without breaking the bank. Google’s goals for doing this are obvious. If the data is on their servers they can index it easier and make it readily available to their users. There will be concern that Google will have too much of their data, but as long as Google does not block other search engines and allows developers to remove their data I think that this will be a non-issue.

The crowd was hoping for a formal Latitude API to be announced (knowing that they launched the hint of one at the beginning of May). When I asked Lior and Steve about it we got some smiles. I think we’ll see some more movement in this area, but not *just* yet.

via Google Launches Maps Data API – O’Reilly Radar.

Streaming Media East: Verizon and boxee Want In To Your Living Room May 16, 2009

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Keynotes from Verizon and boxee pushed forward the concept of getting online video into the living room, though each company takes a radically different approach.   [HERE IS THE VERIZON PART:]

[…] Ambeault [of Verizon] went on to discuss an upcoming service, an enhancement to FiOS TV that he says will allow access to over 7 million pieces of content. To do so, Verizon understood the need to create an interactive media guide that would allow access to all this content, which in turn should drive an uptake in digital video recorders (DVR) and increase the amount of consumption of FiOS TV in the living room. […]

At its core, the upcoming interactive media guide will be driven by a search engine, which Ambeault calls “core navigation through a plethora of content: multimedia, music and other types of content, with a robust search engine that’s much closer to an internet search tool than previous interactive TV solutions.”  The content found through the guide would play back in a variety of players, including ones that mimic traditional TV, RSS feeds, and even web video players. “These media players also have access to plug ins and applications, such as a DVD emulator,” said Ambeault, “which makes on-demand content more like a DVD experience including rich menus and other DVD-like navigation.”

Ambeault also talked to the benefit of external APIs, one of which is a desktop application which can be used to pre-populate content to the TV for a customized experience. “Rather than having to cue up content on the TV with a remote control,” said Ambeault, “which only has a few navigation buttons, we’ve used a model that allows a customer to set up content ahead of time, from work or other location, using a desktop application. So when it comes time to watch the content, the customer just sits down and watches the content.”

“We are continuing our beta testing during the early commercialization stages,” said Ambeault, “which will add podcasts (video and other downloadable media) at early tester request, and we think that newer set-top boxes may mitigate need for PC bridging. We also think there is a potential for advertising, which was not part of the original model, and we are looking into adding Facebook and Twitter widgets, allowing social networks to power discovery of content that in turn will be viewed on FiOS TV.”

http://www.streamingmedia.com/article.asp?id=11187

Thanks for the public data, Google — Please, sir, can I have some more? April 29, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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Google just launched an awesome new tool that allows you to chart public data, starting with unemployment and population numbers, making the information much more accessible.

The information that Google has charted, as well as the data it plans to add in the future, is already online, and usually available through, yes, a Google search. […]

Google is trying to make it easier to find data through a Google search, and to help users better understand the data with its charts.

via Thanks for the public data, Google — Please, sir, can I have some more? » VentureBeat.

Wolfram|Alpha: Our First Impressions April 28, 2009

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The hype around Wolfram|Alpha, the next “Google killer” from the makers of Mathematica, has been building over the last few weeks. Today, we were lucky enough to attend a one-hour web demo with Stephen Wolfram, and from what we’ve seen, it definitely looks like it can live up to the hype – though, because it is so different from traditional search engines, it will definitely not be a “Google killer.” According to Stephen Wolfram, the goal of Alpha is to give everyone access to expert knowledge and the data that a specialist would be able to compute from this information. […]

Alpha, which will go live within the next few weeks, is quite different from Google and really doesn’t directly compete with it at all. Instead of searching the web for info, Alpha is built around a vast repository of curated data from public and licensed sources. Alpha then organizes and computes this knowledge with the help of sophisticated Natural Language Processing algorithms. Users can ask Alpha any kind of question, which can be constructed just like a Google search (think: “hurricane bob” or “carbon steel strength”). […]

Will it Kill Google?

No. Wolfram|Alpha will be an amazing product, but it’s quite different from Google and other search engines. Indeed, maybe it is actually wrong to call it a search engine at all (and Wolfram prefers to call it a “computational knowledge engine”). If you wanted to know what sights to see on your next trip to New York City, for example, Alpha, from what we’ve seen so for, will not be able to help you.

Alpha, however, will probably be a worthy challenger for Wikipedia and many textbooks and reference works. Instead of looking up basic encyclopedic information there, users can just go to Alpha instead, where they will get a direct answer to their question, as well as a nicely presented set of graphs and other info.

via Wolfram|Alpha: Our First Impressions – ReadWriteWeb.

Have a look also to a Live Webcast, where Stephen Wolfram give a demo about Wolfram|Alpha: Wolfram|Alpha demo

Google’s Answer to Facebook: Profile Search April 22, 2009

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This afternoon Google posted about a new feature which enables users to search for “me” to find their own Google profiles. Google recently upgraded their profile features but the company is now investing heavily in making profiles a more integrated part of search. Want to find somebody on the web? If they’ve set up their Google profile properly, they will show up in a box that displays profile results (as pictured below).

via Google’s Answer to Facebook: Profile Search.

via Google-blog: Search for “me” on Google