Google lifted the veil on its chrome laptop Wednesday and also launched a somewhat Quixotic initiative to dent Microsoft’s dominance in the enterprise with a program that provides software, laptops and support for $28 per month per user.
As Apple continues to make modest advances in the office now Google wants a piece of the action and is offering up an IT-displacing idea that seeks to emphasize peace of mind as much as it does price.
The idea is simple. Businesses spend a lot of money on IT support, hardware and software — the core of which is commodity computers running a flavor of Windows OS and Microsoft Office. They hold on to computers as long as they can both for reasons of cost and to simplify support, which generally is provided locally through the IT department.
Google’s alternative provides small, standardized laptops from Samsung and Acer running its Chrome OS, which debuted in December. The new Chromebooks, as Google dubbed them, are fully web-based — both programs and storage is “in the cloud.” Users have access to use a wide range of productivity software, like Google Docs, Salesforce CRM and photo editing software, with no installation or and upgrades automatically performed in the background. Google provides all support, including repair and replacements.
Google has made less ambitious plays for the enterprise before. It’s first attempt the paid version of Google Docs, has had some success with smaller businesses, but hasn’t turned into a significant revenue source for Google. And, given its Nexus One past, Google it isn’t exactly known for its customer service.
But diversification is seen as key for the search giant, since its core advertising products are still responsible for more than 90 percent of its revenue. So we see a push into the mobile space with Android — a direct blow at Apple’s smartphone and tablet business — and a challenge to Microsoft in its workplace wheelhouse.
Google has long let you look up local businesses on its mobile search page, leveraging the location services features on smartphones. Friday, they added local news.
The address is the same — news.google.com — and the sources are those already available via Google News. But now you are prompted to agree to share your location, rather than punch in a zip code or locale name on the personalized landing page.
the discovery engine doesn’t just leverage your location to tap into local sources for news, it also find stories about your location from publications that aren’t near you.
This HTML5 web page is super fast, and is utterly configurable except that you can’t bury “Top News”
Facebook was griping that Google is getting information about its users without permission. But some information that users share with Facebook is available publicly, even to people who aren’t their friends in in their social networks – or even are members of Facebook. It’s not because outsiders raided the service and exposed that information. It’s because Facebook chose to expose it.
Facebook used to have an implicit promise with its users. Basically the deal was what goes on Facebook stays on Facebook. But over the past couple of years Facebook has chosen to alter the deal. Certain profile information became available outside of Facebook, easily searchable via Google and other means. (Users can opt out of showing this but relatively few do.) Some of that profile information includes a few of the people on the user’s friend list. By repeatedly pinging public profiles, it’s possible for Google or anyone else to figure out pretty much all your friends.
This information is a lot easier to unearth from inside Facebook, but actually logging into Facebook to purloin information would indeed be troublesome. For one thing, it would violate the terms of service agreement. Is Google doing this? One of the Burson operatives implied that it is. But Google says the company does not go inside Facebook to scrape information, and I find this credible. (If Facebook has logs to prove this serious charge, let’s see them.)
When Google launched Social Search, it also said specifically that it was not going to learn about Facebook connections by mining the Web as described above. Just how Google does get Facebook information is complicated, much of it seems to be by permission.
But even if Google did scrape information from the public web, would that be so bad? You can argue whether or not Google would be crossing a privacy line by doing this. (And, remember, Google says it is not mining that public information.) But it’s an argument with a pro and con. What you cannot argue is that is not Google but Facebook that puts some Facebook information into the open Web.
That is why Facebook’s campaign is so weird. If outsiders are going to examine how third-party companies get information about Facebook’s users, you can’t help but question why some Facebook information, by default, shows up on the open web.
Google Inc. told Indian regulators in a confidential memo that tough proposed restrictions on Internet content could hamper the company and others in a promising market by exposing them to liability for a broad swath of material published by third parties.
The regulations were enacted last month with little change from the proposal. Google’s concerns, laid out in a February memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, added to criticism from civil-rights advocates who said the rules amounted to a crackdown on free speech on the Web.
Among other things, the rules require websites to remove objectionable content, including anything “grossly harmful” or “harassing.” They require Internet-service providers and social-networking sites to bar certain types of content under terms-of-service agreements with users. The websites also are responsible for removing objectionable content within 36 hours of being notified by authorities.
Via India Realtime
With privacy a hot-button topic for the past few weeks, thanks to revelations about location tracking via smartphone and the like, the timing of what has now been revealed as a Facebook smear campaign against Google must have seemed perfect. But the campaign gets a big fat “F” for execution.
The Daily Beast reports that Facebook has admitted to hiring PR firm Burson-Marsteller to push the media to write about privacy issues surrounding a Google tool called Social Circle, which allows Gmail users to see their social connections as well as those of their contacts. A Facebook spokesman told the Daily Beast that the company is concerned with the privacy implications of Google’s scraping of what a Google spokesman told USA Today is information that’s public — data gathered from Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp and more. The PR campaign began to unravel when a blogger refused to cooperate because Burson wouldn’t name its client; the blogger instead published the email exchange with John Mercurio, a former reporter now working for Burson.
via The silicon valley blog
Google defended its music storage service at a press conference today shortly after it unveiled the service at its developer conference here.
The new Google Music service, which allows people to store up to 20,000 songs in the Internet “cloud.” The benefit of doing this is that they will then be able to access the music from any Web browser that supports Flash or Android devices. The service is still being beta-tested and will only be offered to a select group of invitation-only users in the U.S. Initially, the service will be free to users, but Paul Joyce, a Google project manager demonstrating the service during the keynote this morning at Google I/O, hinted that Google may charge for the service in the future.
He also hinted at capabilities being added to the service in the future. But for now Google only will allow music to be stored remotely. It won’t allow users to purchase new music via the cloud.
Jamie Rosenberg , direct of digital content for Android, answered a question from a reporter about whether Google was afraid that music studios would take issue with Google allowing its users to move music digitally across the Internet. He responded by saying that the service is “completely legal,” because it allows people to store only music that they own legally. Rosenberg admitted that Google had wanted to offer music labels an opportunity to sell music to Google users through the cloud service, but that the labels had asked for certain conditions that Google couldn’t accept.
The next Android operating system for smartphones will include some features that were previously exclusive to Android tablets, Google announced Tuesday.
Dubbed “Ice Cream Sandwich,” the platform will debut some time in the fourth quarter of 2011, Google officials said during the company’s I/O developer conference.
“We want one OS that runs everywhere,” Android engineer Mike Claren said at the conference.
Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphones will ship with enhancements introduced in Android Honeycomb, Google’s operating system for tablets. Some of these new features include a holographic user interface, enhanced multitasking abilities and the ability to connect the smartphone with a USB device, such as a mouse or an Xbox controller.
The release of Ice Cream Sandwich has been highly anticipated by the Android developer community. Android version 3.0 (Honeycomb) first debuted on Motorola’s Xoom tablet in February, touting a host of enhancements and features new to the Android platform. Developers have been waiting for Google to release the Honeycomb source code, in order to bring some of these features to smartphones.
So far, Google has refused to do so. After a long period of silence and a whole lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt, Google issued a statement to members of the press in March: “While we’re excited to offer these new features to Android tablets, we have more work to do before we can deliver them to other device types including phones. Until then, we’ve decided not to release Honeycomb to open source.”
Google’s Android operating system may have been created for phones and refined for tablets, but the OS is set to move beyond the bounds of mobile devices.
Today, Google announced a new class of Android devices for the home during the opening keynote at its annual I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco. These devices—dubbed “Tungstens”—act as an intermediary between an Android phone or tablet and a suitably enabled home appliance. They would allow users to remotely control everything from lighting to refrigerators.
The company demonstrated how a Tungsten could make playing a game on an Android tablet more immersive: explosions and gunfire set the special lights in the room flickering with every blast. New software that makes it easier for Android devices and their apps to interface with other devices and objects, including home automation equipment, was also demonstrated.
So Microsoft is buying Skype for $8.5 billion, its biggest deal ever. It’s too soon to make a pronouncement on whether the purchase is an idiot move, a brilliant one or just something in between. All the geniuses who ripped the investors who bought Skype from eBay in 2009 don’t look so smart now.
It was almost Google who owned Skype.
Here’s more detail on the story:
In 2009 a brilliant product manager named Wesley Chan was in charge of Google Voice, which was still in development. It was Google’s revamp of Grand Central, which Chan had snared in an acquisition the year before. When some Google executives heard that eBay was selling Skype, they jumped on the opportunity and began negotiating.
As Chan helped with due diligence, even going to Europe to see Skype firsthand, he became convinced that the purchase was a bad idea for Google. He concluded that one of Skype’s key assets — its peer-to-peer technology — was a mismatch for Google, which worked on the newer paradigm of cloud computing.
Read more at Wired
The article first appeared on Wired
If you wondered how Google protects the data in its data centers the here’s is a cool video released by Google itself. This video contains never seen before every single details of all the security aspects of Google data centers.
The video starts with describing physical security measures like restricted barriers, security fencing, video cameras, security guards and biometric scanners in the data centers. It also explains how Google engineers itself assembles the servers and use Linux based OS for the security of data centers.
Check out this cool video to know more about the Google Data Centers: