Posts Tagged ‘google’

1. Google News
In a surprise announcement , Google has acquired ITA. ITA was one of favorite tech companies and the fantastic work they do in a messy industry is just amazing. It is interesting to see what impact it will have on Kayak, Bing etc. More details are at Taking off with ITA .

Google News site has been refreshed to make it more personal. I have tweaked my settings, but I am yet to see a big qualitative change in the content. Details are at : Google News redesigned to be more customizable and shareable.

Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefit – It is little nice gestures like these that make you feel Google is still (if only marginally) a different company πŸ™‚ Also , Google is doing some work in Social Search by adding Google Buzz to the mix. I tried some sample searches but felt, they did not fully figure out my social circle’s content. You can read more at Google Social Search, Now With Google Buzz .

2. Woot’s Deal Of The Day: Woot! β€” Amazon Buys It. Price? $110 Million
Woot is a company with a very interesting business model and a very different culture. And in an interesting news, Amazon has acquired Woot – I am not sure what Amazon gets from the deal. Read the email sent by Woot CEO to his employees – very funny and well written.

3. Windows Live
I think, Microsoft is doing some credible stuff with Windows Live. They refreshed Hotmail recently, introduce Wave 4 and lot of other interesting changes. Is Windows Live Delivering What Google Buzz Promised discusses some thing I have been mulling. Is everyone fixated on Facebook – Google that they are ignoring Microsoft ? Windows Live has some very neat features like Activity Streams , Aggregators etc that let you interact with other social networks and communication systems from within Live.

You may also want to read Windows Live, Twitter and Social Network Interoperability for additional details.

4. e-book wars
An thoughtful post by Rakesh Vohra. It mostly deals with basic ideas and formulation. It should be very interesting to have a game theoretic model of this market. Let us see how the discourse develops.

5. Chrome Nanny Blocks Time-Consuming Sites to Keep You Productive
Shameless plug. Looks like my Chrome extension has been LifeHackered πŸ˜‰ The immediate impact is amazing – The number of users doubled almost overnight. And there were hundreds of tweets and retweets. The influence of Life Hacker is amazing πŸ™‚


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1. Attack of the Cosmic Rays!
A very interesting post which discusses how the author debugged a single bit error that caused expr to crash. The big take away is the diverse set of debugging tools and techniques that the author uses. Very neat !

2. Sergey Brin’s Search for a Parkinson’s Cure
This post discusses how Sergey Brin is trying to upend medical research to cure Parkinson disease. As a Computer Scientist, I always get astounded when I hear new drugs easily take more than a decade to be designed and tested. I am sure there is a lot that CS can do to improve the process and help save lives.

3. Facebook In Early Stage Search Engine Tests?
When Facebook started introducing Facebook pages, I kinda expected them to extend it to a social search engine. I see lot of friends are using Facebook as a search engine by asking questions about restaurants and movies. So it is only a matter of time before FaceBook automated the whole process. Combined with Yelp/OpenTable, FaceBook can give compelling results. If you mix in powerful AI like  Siri, you have a big winner. Let us see how things evolve.

In the mean while, the web is abuzz with rumors that Google is developing a Facebook killer. Search "Google Me" in net for more details.

4. Microsoft by the numbers
This was my favorite post from last week. In this post, Frank Shaw – VP of PR at Microsoft gives lot of statistics comparing it with other competitors. There are two things I liked in this post – He included source for each statistic and he did not explicitly mention what he set out to prove – which in my opinion is a master stroke. You may also want to read TechCrunch’s commentary on the post here .

5. Clash of Titans: Apple vs. Google
Another insightful post on Apple/Google’s budding rivalry in mobile Ads.



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1. Visions for Theoretical Computer Science
The basic aim of the this page is to highlight the broad research directions in TCS in such a way that even lay persons can understand. I think they have done an admirable job.

2. Express social objects in Atom format
I learnt about Activity Streams from Diaspora’s page on technology they are evaluating. I also played around with Google Buzz’s activity stream data. The idea looks very cool even though I feel the standard is less expressive.

3. How to Make an Artificial Cell
A detailed discussion of the recent break through by Craig Venter and his team.

4. Bringing improved PDF support to Google Chrome
Good move. I would be glad if they bring Flash support too πŸ˜‰ In the other Google news, they introduced a command line tool to control many of their services. It is limited by gdata APIs but still there are lot of them. See more details at Introducing the Google Command Line Tool.

5. Tech News
Lot of interesting stuff happening in Tech World . There is a new price war between Amazon and Barnes & Noble – See E-Reader Prices Are Slashed . Also check out Swype and SeaMicro .

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1. Travel itineraries from Flickr photo trails
The paper discusses a very clever idea of using Flickr photo details (like time,tags and gps) to automatically construct travel itineraries. Its a pity that Yahoo research keeps churning cool papers but the company does not commercialize lot of them. In a related travel post, Kayak Explore Shows You Where You Can Fly for the Money in Your Budget . The basic idea is to use budget as a filter for locations. Seems like a lot of innovation in this domain. Thanks to Kripa / Suresh for the link.

2. Free download: 10 terabytes of patents and trademarks
Google offers all the patent information as a free download ! I was exploring it and thinking of ways to use it for some data mining purposes after I graduate. The API is rudimentary but I guess there is lot of potential for offline mining.  Parsing patents also discusses about how to use the awesome data that Google has made available.

3. Multitasking is no problem for these brain cells
An interesting research which shows that some brain cells take part in different/multiple decision making tasks.

4. Adobe (Temporarily?) Kills 64-Bit Flash For Linux
Bad news for 64 bit Linux users like me. Looks like I should start evaluating other open source flash players like LightSpark. It crashes too much for me but I am hopeful about this project.

5. The Athens Affair
A nice analysis of the Greek scandal in 2005 where lot of whos-who of Greek had their telephones bugged and the culprits are still not caught. This article primarily focuses on the broad modus operandi of the hackers.

6. Merely Human? That’s So Yesterday
A NYTimes article on the exotic Singularity movement. As of now , I am a skeptic even though my area of interest is AI.

7. Why No Billion-Dollar Open Source Companies?
An interesting take on why there is no billion dollar open source companies. The explanation seems very plausible to me.


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1. Yi Ma and the Blessing of Dimensionality
I posted a link on last week’s Biweekly links dissing a MSR article. The linked article gives a better discussion about Yi Ma’s research.

2. SpaceX Illustrates Privatization Risk
One of last week’s big news was the successful launch of SpaceX’s rocket. Surprisingly, I did not find a comprehensive discussion about their achievement. The linked article discusses some of the important themes.

3. HTML 5 is hot
A good slide detailing all the capabilities of HTML 5. Better viewed in one of the "modern" browsers. In a related post, intellectual honesty and html5  talks about Apple’s recent attempt at bolstering their HTML 5 credentials.

4. Google Chrome’s Developer Tools Improve Productivity
The developer tools in Chrome is becoming a powerful tool and this post talks about some of the important features. There is also a long video discussing the features in detail.

5. NASA JPL, robots and the AWS cloud
A creative application by NASA using multiple AWS components. Pretty impressive.

6. FASTer search from Intel and Oracle
A very interesting approach to improve database search. I skimmed through the paper and it looks interesting even though the idea of storing B-tree index in memory seems a bit unpractical , especially for very large databases. But a very creative idea nevertheless.

7. How the brain recognizes objects
Very interesting. New cognitive (and computation) models like this gives hope that we will ultimately know all about our brain.


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This is a short post to announce that a new version of Chrome Nanny is released. This version incorporates the much requested feature of β€œBlock Sets” .  It also adds a couple of new minor features, new chart types etc.

URLs :

Installation : Chrome Nanny’s extension page.

Updated Instructions : Instructions For Chrome Nanny – A Leech Block like extension for Chrome .


Check out the extension and tell me your experience !

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1. Google TV Faces Some Prime-Time Challenges
A look at some of the practical issues before Google TV dominates the world.

2. PAC-MAN rules!
Google seems to have decided to make PAC-MAN permanently available to Google users. In a related event, Google’s Pac-Man freaks out Firefox users .

3. Prediction Optimizers
A nice post on Google’s Prediction API. Interestingly, this is also my view of Google API. I expect that most of the people will be happy to use Google’s built in model and move on. Only a small group of machine learning / data mining researchers will try to build or tweak the models. Will this be a tipping point bringing Machine Learning to the masses ? Machine Learning pervades all the digital world from Google , Amazon, NetFlix (not to say FBI or NSA) but surprisingly low number of people seem to have heard of it. I also think that this will make a GREAT cloud computing service – Probably Amazon or Microsoft should give it a test run !

4. My Contrarian Stance on Facebook and Privacy
A very thoughtful post by  Tim O’Reilly . He raises some very valid points and also (improbably) defends it too ! Whatever is one’s opinion about Facebook we have to accept that they keep experimenting (sometimes with buggy code πŸ˜‰ ) and keep pushing the envelope for which they have to be commended. Their relentless innovation also means that it is hard for any other social network to ever topple them – atleast in the near term.


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