Google seems to have a new focus on improving the image search experience. For example, just last month Google Similar Images, which uses the image recognition technology for filtering search results, graduated from Google Labs and became a default feature of Google Image search.
In an effort to continue down the better image search path, Google has now released a new Labs feature called Google Image Swirl. The new functionality is the result of computer vision research and clusters images into the groups that you can search by way of an experimental new user interface.
With Google Image Swirl, your image search results are joined together in 12 different groupings. Once you identify a particular group, your results will swirl into view, whereby every selection refocuses and swirls the search results in a circular fashion. The experience is evocative of Google's Wonder Wheel, and reminds us of Visual Thesaurus.
Image Swirl expands on technologies developed for Similar Images and Picasa Face Recognition to discern how images should be grouped jointly and build hierarchies out of these groups. Every thumbnail on the initial results page represents an algorithmically-determined representative group of images with similar appearance and meaning. These aren't just the most pertinent images - they are the most relevant groups of images.
Google Sites, a service that lets you create and collaborate on a simple webpage, and embed documents, photos, videos into it, was visually a bland affair...until now. Google has created a template gallery for Sites; when you create a new website, you can now select a template which you can further customize according to your needs. Available templates cover a wide selection of specific needs; you'll find one for schools, weddings, churches, families, restaurants, clubs, projects and more.
Moreover, the template gallery is public, and anyone can contribute. Given Google's popularity, and the fact that Google Sites is a free service, we expect the gallery to be populated with dozens of great looking templates very soon. Directions for adding a template to gallery are here; you can also see an overview of Google Sites Templates in a video below.
Google's been on a homepage logo changing spree: they've celebrated H.G. Wells, the bar code, Gandhi, Confucious, and Sesame Street over the last few months alone. If you check www.Google.com now though, you'll see that the search giant is celebrating something different: The discovery of water on the moon! NASA made the stunning announcement earlier today after its moon bombing mission successfully revealed water under the lunar surface. And currently the Google logo depicts the bombing revealing water.
When you think about it, Google had a fast turnaround time for this logo. As fellow space enthusiasts, our hats go off to NASA and the men and women behind successful mission. Hopefully this is only the beginning of something even larger than ourselves.
Google is apparently in the early stages of a research project that appears to aim as high as perhaps replacing the HTTP protocol, the basic technology that essentially makes the World Wide Web possible.
In a rather obscure post on the Chromium blog, the development branch of their Chrome browser, Google reveals they've been working on a new protocol dubbed SPDY for "SPeeDY" for its target of making the web faster.
While HTTP is an "elegantly simple protocol" that has powered the web since 1996, the tone of Google's post is nearly patronizing, as if HTTP were our doddering old uncle that's had his day and needs to be put out to pasture. Then again, Google's hubris is perhaps warranted as one of the only companies with sufficient clout and resources to indeed spur on the "evolution of websites and browsers" with an entirely new protocol designed to speed up the communication between web servers and clients.
Google reveal they've already got a prototype web server and a Chrome client with built-in SPDY support that they've been testing in the lab. With these tools they've reportedly been able to see an up to 55% speed increase in page loading, and feel like the project is now stable sufficient to warrant soliciting feedback from the web community. The SPDY documentation is currently available, as well as the source code. Google encourages feedback on new protocol in the Chromium Google Group.
Internet giant Google has been ordered to pay 500,000 dollars in damages to Formula 1 racer Rubens Barrichello for hosting fake online profiles of him on Google social network Orkut.
The judgment by the court in Sao Paulo was published Monday in the Brazilian state's official government gazette. It said that the damages could be raised to 700,000 dollars because of the case was lodged in July 2006, and that Google risked a daily fine of 590 dollars until the pages referring to Barrichello were removed.
Orkut, owned by Google, has a huge following in Brazil, though it is losing some ground to a new Portuguese-language version of Facebook that has become available. The 15th district court of Sao Paulo hearing the civil case determined that Google's responsibility is proved because it managed the site and established the rules for its use.
Media said that there were more than 300 fake profiles under Barrichello's name on Orkut. The US Internet company made no immediate comments on the judgement. Brazilian specialists said the total of damages was the biggest yet awarded for false web profiles and online libel.
Here's a pleasant holiday gift from Google (which may point to a service further ahead): the company will provide free Wi-Fi on airports across USA from now through January 15, 2010.
Google has worked with Boingo Wireless, Advanced Wireless Group, Airport Marketing Income and other companies to give this free service. It is presently available at 47 airports, including Las Vegas, San Jose, Boston, Baltimore, Burbank, Houston, Indianapolis, Seattle, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Louis and Charlotte. It gets better for residents of Seattle and Burbank, where airports will now offer airport-wide free Wi-Fi indefinitely.
It's a cool gift, but Google also provide you the option to make someone else happy, too; once you log in to one of the Wi-Fi networks, you'll have the option to donate to Engineers Without Borders, the One Economy Corporation or the Climate Savers Computing Initiative. Moreover, Google will match the donations made across all the networks up to $250,000. At last, the airport network that generates the highest amount per passenger by January 1, 2010 will receive $15,000 to donate to the local nonprofit of their choice.
This initiative comes on the heels of an extra similar holiday gift; recently, Virgin America and Google started offering free in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers. This opportunity will be also be available up to January 15, 2010. You can get more info about this initiative, as well as a full list of participating airports, over at www.freeholidaywifi.com.
Google purchased mobile ad firm AdMob for $750 million Monday, placing a heavy bet that targeted ads on mobile devices could assist diversify Google's income stream.
While Google already has text ad that accompany mobile searches, AdMob specializes in graphic ads that show up on web pages and mobile applications. AdMob collects demographic data on mobile users, and charge a premium to let advertisers choose to target professionals, teens or early adopters. While Google still makes the majority of its revenue from text ads it display next to search results, the company has been seeking to diversify that model for years.
Google has successfully become an ad publishing network for other sites, through its AdSense program, and in 2007, spent $3.1 billion to acquire DoubleClick, which serves banner ads on thousands of web sites around the Internet. Google integrated that tracking and serving technology with its own, in hopes of gaining more adveritising dollars.
Now Google is be betting big on mobile ads. The iPhone has shown that mobile phone users will spend lots of time on their devices and on the Internet. Google's sort-of open source mobile Android operating system has grown to become a formidable force in the smart phone competition, with Google's own applications - and ads - at the heart of those applications.
Google pulled in $5.96 billion in revenue in the 3rd quarter of 2009 and had $1.65 billion in profit. Search engine text ads accounted for 67 percent of that revenue, while 30 percent comes from ads on other publishers' web sites.
Last week, Google launched a new music search feature, which helps you search and discover millions of songs with a simple Google search. When you search for an artist, song, album or even a few lyrics, you'll find links to their partner sites - putting you just one click away from listening to and purchasing the music you're looking for.
To celebrate their launch, MySpace and Lala are hosting exclusive, never-before-heard tracks from a variety of artists - and they are helping people to find those tracks through a simple Google search. So if you're a Lady Gaga fan looking for a new remix, in love with the Arctic Monkeys and looking for something additional or hunting for a new acoustic track from YouTube sensation Zee Avi, just search for it.
You'll find links to these tracks right in your usual search results. And when you click the links, you'll be able to hear the songs straight from MySpace and Lala. Google know how much you care about music, and they are excited to partner with Lala and MySpace to help you discover more music from artists you love, using Google.
Today, Google are excited to announce the launch of Google Dashboard. Have you ever wondered what data is stored with your Google Account? The Google Dashboard offers a simple view into the data associated with your account - simply and concisely in one location.
Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for the users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, Google are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and the responsibility to protect your privacy and data.
In the past, Google have taken numerous steps in this area, investing in educating their users with their Privacy Center, making it easier to move data in and out of Google with their Data Liberation Front, and allowing you to control the ads you see with interest-based advertising. Transparency, choice and control have become a key part of Google's philosophy, and today, Google are happy to announce that they are doing even more.
In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, they have built the Google Dashboard. Designed to be simple and helpful, the Dashboard summarizes data for each product that you use (when signed in to your account) and provides you direct links to control your personal settings.
Today, the Dashboard covers more than 20 products and services, including Gmail, Orkut, YouTube, Calendar, Docs, Web History, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts, Latitude and many more. The scale and level of detail of the Dashboard is unprecedented, and they are delighted to be the first Internet company to offer this - and we hope it will become the standard.
The holiday period is right around the corner, so online retailers are gearing up for spikes in traffic. When people go to shop online, search is large part of finding the right product, whether they're looking for a gift or just something for themselves. Today Google are aiming to make e-commerce searching as easy as using Google.com with a new enterprise product, Google Commerce Search.
Search quality is a large factor in changing visitors to buyers online, and in making customers happy too. Visitors spend an average of just eight seconds before deciding whether or not to remain on a site, so having a good search tool is important for turning visitors into buyers. Google Commerce Search is hosted by and uses Google search technology to make online retail searching both quick and customizable - visitors to your online store can sort by category, price, brand or any other attribute.
E-store administrators can highlight special products or connect related ones so searching is so easier for their customers. Google Commerce Search contains a built-in spellchecker and synonyms so if visitors can't remember exactly how to spell the particular toy or perfume or anything else they're hunting for, Google Commerce Search will make some suggestions. Deciding the right one is up to them, though.
Google Commerce Search is hosted in the cloud, meaning it lives online, so e-commerce websites can get up and running quickly. Using a cloud search tool will also help site owners meet the rise in demand from the holiday rush without having to devote additional time or resources to worrying about their capacity or infrastructure. Online retailers are free to focus on their business, while Google focuses on search, and shoppers can find what they require faster.
The latest Google Chrome beta build ushers in a great new feature: bookmark syncing. If you use various computers, or even just appreciate a cloud backup of your browser bookmarks, this feature will be a boon.
You can grab the new beta build 126.96.36.199 here, which also contains speed improvements by as much as 30% since the current stable release. For more information on how the bookmark sync works in the new build, head on past the break for an introductory video from the Google Chrome team.
Whether it's a laptop and desktop, machines at home and at work, or more than one machine in the house, it's a pain to try to keep them in sync - you inevitably don't have access to that one bookmark you're looking for no matter which machine you're on. That's undoubtedly the reason Xmarks syncing extensions was so popular in our "Favorite Firefox extensions" Lunchtime Poll.
The bookmark syncing feature actually debuted earlier in the developer version of the browser, but needed setting a command-line flag. Now that Google Chrome supports bookmarking sync natively - if only in beta - will any of you consider switching or perhaps just adding it to your browser arsenal?
Remember that for now, unluckily, this is only enabled in the Windows version of Chrome (Mac users are sadly still waiting for an official version). You'll also have to of course download the beta and also allow each computer individually for syncing, by choosing "Synchronize my bookmarks" from the Wrench menu.
A web monitoring firm Net Applications said Google's Chrome is the fastest growing browser in the market according to the firm's newest data, media reported Tuesday. Chrome's share increased to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent of the global market from Sept. to Oct., while the largest loser was Internet Explorer (IE), which was down from 65.7 percent to 64.6 percent.
Mozilla's Firefox, which rose 0.3 points to 24.1 percent, with Safari rising from 4.2 percent to 4.4 percent and Opera showing nearly no growth at 2.2 percent. Net Applications uses a network of around 40,000 internet monitoring stations and the figures are for global market, and thus Chrome's increases represents huge numbers of internet customers.
The data also shows that both Chrome and Firefox users are far more likely to be using up to date versions of their browser than those using Internet Explorer. Google announced that Chrome now has 30 million active users. Though trailing market leaders Internet Explorer and Firefox by a wide margin, it's growing fast.