An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com .

May 31, 2006

AdSense API: Social Networks Revenue Engine

As reported before, AdSense API is a service for community-driven sites that lets the users of the sites integrate their AdSense accounts and manage them. It's useful for social networks, blog hosting or web publishing sites that have more than 100,000 page views a day.

Sites will be able to:
* programmatically display ads
* show search boxes
* add referral buttons
* filter ads with specific URLs
* generate reports on AdSense accounts

So they'll be able to do exactly the same things as Google AdSense site.

AdSense API uses SOAP, so there is support for many programming languages, including PHP, Perl, Java, C#.

This new Google API will boost the growth of many startups and Web 2.0 sites. Imagine Digg uses AdSense API: the site will display ads next to your submitted story and you'll get 50% from the revenue. That means users will submit more good stories and less spam blogs.

Easter egg: guess who was the first beta tester for AdSense API? Blogger.

Morfik Claims Google Infriged Its Intellectual Property

Google has released this month Google Web Toolkit (GWT), a Java-to-JavaScript compiler useful for developing Ajax applications. Morfik is a company that has a similar product called Javascript Synthesis Technology (JST). Web 2.0 Explorer has a press release in which Morfik says:

"In October 2005 Morfik's JST was featured at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, California and immediately attracted the attention of leading search engine providers and software development organizations, including founders and top officers from some very large companies. In a number of instances, persons recognizing the potential in the JST innovation and its implications for their own organization's applications requested special more detailed presentations to their engineers or gained access to additional confidential information about JST.

Morfik as the owner of this ground-breaking innovation and technology is committed to protecting all of its rights, working closely with interested organizations to share its learning and innovations related to JST and to enter into appropriate licensing arrangements with such organizations to govern their use of JST."

Morfik seems to imply that Google ("leading search engine provider") stole their ideas, as they had access to confidential information about their compiler. Google has enough great engineers to develop products like that, and, most likely, they had to reuse a lot of code in their Ajax applications (Gmail, Calendar, Maps) so they decided to create a tool that makes writing the code easier.

May 30, 2006

Synchronize Google Calendar With Outlook

Remote Calendars is a COM-.NET Add-in for Outlook 2003 that allows you to subscribe, reload and delete a remote iCalendar. This open-source has added support for Google Calendars, and except for some limitations, you can now synchronize Google Calendar with Outlook 2003.

How you should do:
1) Make a new empty folder and subscribe your Google Calendar in that folder, and select the checkbox "It's my Google Calendar and I want to sync both ways"
2) After that, you can both add appointments or edit them, and the you can publish back to Google (see the help for finding the correct URL for publishing), by checking the CheckBox "It's a Google Calendar URL"
3) You're done... you can try to modify the appointments from Google and reload them back to Outlook, or viceversa...

Limitations:
1) Recurrent events don't work, so if you publish event with recurrence from Outlook, in Google they'll be without recurrence.
2) Don't subscribe any other iCalendar in the same folder.

The software doesn't work with Outlook 2007 Beta. If you encounter problems, read this thread.

More:
Synchronize Google Calendar with your phone
Synchronize Google Calendar with iPod
Popular calendars to import in Google Calendar
Google Calendar gadget for Google Desktop

Why Plagiarism Makes You Feel Sad

So you have to write something interesting, something that will make a nice impression to your audience (readers of your blog, your class mates, the staff at the meeting). You know it must be really great, but you don't have any inspiration. You don't have too much time to write the text, so there's a lot of pressure. In fact, what great things can you write when all the great things have already been written? All the ideas that cross your mind are rejected as "not interesting" or "already done". You look around and nothing inspires you. Time goes by and you still haven't written anything.

So you go to Google, type the subject of your article and get a text written by someone else. It's so easy, you don't even have to read it, just put your name next to it in a selfish attempt to gain some appreciation.

Maybe people will never discover your theft, or maybe they just wouldn't care. But how do you feel about that? Breathe deeply and say: do you feel content? Did you do anything to use your knowledge to make the world better? Did you discover anything? You're lazy, selfish and dishonest. But are you also untalented? Don't be a void echo, build an identity and earn your signature!

AdSense API To Be Launched

"RateItAll.com, a leading social network and review community, announces that it has leveraged the just released Google AdSense API to enable revenue sharing for its contributing members."

But wait a minute... what AdSense API? Let's read more.

"Pioneering online community and social network RateItAll.com today announced that it had integrated Google AdSense into its service via an API in order to share advertising inventory with RateItAll members.

By leveraging the Google AdSense API, RateItAll has enabled its members to create Google AdSense accounts, earn cash for their content contributions, and track their earnings without ever leaving the RateItAll.com Web site."

So that means the yet-unlaunched AdSense API will let community sites integrate AdSense ads for its members.

"Several months ago I approached Google about our vision of transforming RateItAll into a marketplace for content in which ad inventory was shared by all contributors," said RateItAll President Lawrence Coburn. "Not only did Google thoroughly grasp what we were trying to, they had already begun development on the API that would help make this vision a reality."

"We're going to allow every RateItAll member to submit their own AdSense account number to their RateItAll registration information. Once an AdSense account number is associated with a RateItAll reviewer account, that RateItAll reviewer will immediately begin sharing advertising revenue on qualifying pages." says RateItAll. In most cases, members will earn 50% of the advertising revenue.

AdSense API blog is listed on Eric Case's profile, among many other Google blogs.

{ Via Eric Giguere. }

Google Video Has Movie Previews

Google Video has a collection of trailers from movies now playing in theaters and from movies that will launch later this year. You can find the disappointing Da Vinci Code, Mission Impossible III action movie or my favorite: United 93, a very good movie about September 11, 2001. Also check the trailer for Superman Returns.

Google should integrate these trailers with Google Movie Search and they will deliver a great experience.

May 29, 2006

Google Impressed by a New Search Algorithm

Google has bought the rights for a search algorithm developed by Ori Allon, a student at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The Age reports that Rob Pike, who is a Google engineer, was very excited about the algorithm. "This is the first time I've walked out and said: 'Wow! We should buy this stuff'. So it's pretty unique".

Orion's algorithm displays an extended snippet from each result, so you don't have to visit the site to get the answer you need.

Eric Schmidt told in a interview that Google will make "heavy, heavy investment in new search algorithms" to improve the quality of Google search.

Google still didn't decide if they integrate Orion's algorithm in their web search or they release it as a new product.

Google Talk Started Simple

Big things should start simple. Draw the sketch, define the important lines, see the big picture. Test the simple project, accept ideas while the project is still manageable and enjoy the simplicity. Google Talk is an example of a very simple program that does a lot without a bloated interface.

Designers rarely get to work on their dream projects. When I was researching instant messaging in grad school, the prospect of designing a new instant messaging product was fanciful at best. When I came to Google, the odds improved a bit. When I became the designer on Google Talk, it still didn't quite seem real until we launched today.

Google Talk is far from perfect, but it's a start, and we chose to start with simplicity. Big plans are in the works, but for now I'm enjoying it for what it is. Hope you do too.

(Chad Thornton, Google Talk team -
on the day Google Talk was launched, August 24 2005)

Google Earth For Linux Soon

After Picasa, another Google software (well at least Google-owned software) will be ported to Linux: Google Earth. From LinuxToday:

"Picasa, founded in 2001, was purchased by Google in July of 2004, and the photo management tool has seen some extensive use, albeit from Windows users. DiBona indicated that Google made a public committment to begin porting two applications to Linux about a year ago. The other application in this project is Google Earth. Picasa for Linux was announced first simply because it was finished first.

When asked if the additions to WINE would bootstrap Google Earth's porting progress, DiBona answered in the negative, explaining that Google Earth relied on Qt and GL libraries and code, so additional WINE support would not help. No timeline for that application's release was revealed at this time."

If these applications are succesful, Google will port other programs: Google Talk, SketchUp or maybe even Google Desktop.

Dave Kegel, who works at Google, wrote an interesting mail in the Wine developers group:

"Many people assume that when porting a Windows app to Linux using Wine, the best thing to do is link Winelib into the application to create a native Linux application. Not so! It's just as effective, and a heck of a lot easier, to run the same binary on both Windows and Wine. So that's what the Picasa team did. Picasa for Linux uses slightly different text messages, but the .exe file is identical for both Windows and Linux.

The Picasa for Linux team had a blast. It's not often you get to pour resources into a vital open source project to help ship a commercial application! We hope we get to do it again sometime soon, and we hope the results are good enough to encourage other companies to give Wine a try."

Many Linux users think Google should build native versions for their software, instead of using Wine, but if Wine becomes powerful enough to run (almost) any Windows software everyone will gain: more people will adopt Linux because they can use their favorite applications and companies will have a wider audience for their software.

Update: Google Earth for Linux has been released.

Check Out: Google Bought a New Domain

There is a lot of debate lately about the fact that Google registered GoogleCheckout.net / .org /.info. Garett Rogers speculates that this could be related to Google Purchases, the new service that will allow you to make payments with Google. Garett found many domains registered by Google through MARKMONITOR: Googlesubscribed.com, GDrive.com, googletv.com, googlehdtv.net, googledvr.net, gbrowser.com. Now that doesn't mean Google will launch a browser any time soon, or a HTDV service. These are just ideas and speculations. They could as well register any domain that contains "Google".

You can find a partial list of domains registered by Google at Search Engine Watch. The list includes: Googleporn.com, Googlemovie.info, Googlemastercard.com, Googlebuy.com, Googleregistrar.com, Googlesimplex.com. There's a lot to speculate: will Google release branded credit cards, will they teach people the Simplex algorithm?

Google sometimes buys domains to not let others have them and destroy their credibility. So I think we should stop speculating about this.

Related:
Google Wallet
Google Purchases - ready to launch?

May 28, 2006

The Best Music Player Brings Free Music

amaroK is the best music player you'll ever meet and chances are you haven't met it because amaroK is available only on Linux. Until amaroK is ported to Windows, you can try it on amaroK Live, which is a PCLinuxOS Live CD that includes basic applications, amaroK and free music licensed by Magnatune, a music label that has learned something from the open source software.

So all you have to do is burn the ISO image on a CD (350 MB), restart the computer and boot from the CD. This Live CD works on my laptop so it's likely it will work on any decent computer.

OK, but what's so special about amaroK? It's a music player, right? Yes, but it's a music player that does everything with grace. It shows you recent played tracks, your favourite tracks. For every song, amaroK finds similar tracks, lyrics, tags and information about the artist. It integrates with last.fm, it lets you create scripts in Python (to create an alarm that plays music to wake you up) and it has a dynamic mode that feeds similar music to your playlist automatically.

amaroK supports crossfading, CD burning, iPod, iRiver iFP and USB devices with VFAT and podcasting. Oh, and it looks extremely good.

Related:
Play and convert any multimedia file
If Google made a media player

Google Has a Visual Design Lead

Google hired Douglas Bowman, the man that designed Blogger homepage, many Blogger templates and Google Calendar. He will be Google's Visual Design Lead, a new position created for him. Douglas says he will try to redesign products like Gmail, Writely, Page Creator in order to "establish a common visual language" between Google products.

Douglas Bowman is the founder of Stopdesign, a company that "specializes in a simple, beautiful aesthetic, balance of form and function, and highly flexible design". That seems the right match for Google, that didn't care too much about design until recently.

How To Write A Kitschy Marketing Letter

1. First put a big header.
2. Write short lines with a lot of bold text, and highlighted text.
3. Use lists to split your content.
4. Be redundant, repeat the same 3 ideas many times. This way you'll have more content.
5. Don't forget to write how much money your visitor will get if they buy your products. The sums should be huge.
6. If you promote an AdSense book, include screenshots with your reports. It's easy: save your reports, open the source with Notepad and instead of $5, type $512.
7. Your offer should be exclusive and time limited. Even if you sell videos or PDF files, you should say there's a big demand. So buy now!
8. Put testimonials with enthusiastic text, beautiful photos and random names.
9. You should always say you offer 30 days money back guarantee. Nobody knows what that means, but it must be there. It gives you a feeling of comfort.
10. But wait, that's not all: along with our great products, you'll also get a bunch of useless tutorials, screensavers and another copy of our great book. All for just $99.99, instead of $299.99. So buy now!

As seen on many get-rich-without-doing- anything-than-paying-us sites, like adsense-videos.com.

May 27, 2006

Synchronize Google Calendar With Your Phone

GCalSync is a Java application that can be installed on your mobile phone and allows you to synchronize your phone's calendar with Google Calendar.

Supported phones: BlackBerry, Nokia (6230i, 6680, N70 and others), Motorola (A780, A45, E1000), Sony Ericsson (K750, W800, Z520 and others).

I tried it with my Sony Ericsson K750i, but it couldn't connect to google.com. Does it work on your mobile phone?

Update: There's a new version of GCalSync and the application is now open-source.

Random Files

Google indexes not just web pages and documents, but also interesting file types like executables, databases or source code files. To search for a file with a specific extension, you need to use the operator filetype.

1. Find applications.
If you search for [winamp filetype:exe], the first result is a direct link to Winamp 5.08. Searching for [python filetype:msi] brings many direct links to Python 2.4 setup. It's interesting to see that Google actually indexes the files and gets some metadata from them.

2. Find source code.
There's a lot of code available on Google: some on governmental sites, other useful for educational purposes. You can even restrict your search to a certain type of license.

3. Find databases.
You can find CSV files, SQL scripts, DBF files, MDB files.

4. Find feeds.
Get a list of great feeds to import to your favorite feed reader. This way you can search for the feed address of your favorite site, without looking in the source code.

5. Other interesting files.
Registry files, configuration files and, my favorite, Inno Setup scripts.

So the next type you need a file to test an application or to use it as an example, try Google.

Return To Innocence

In 1999, Google didn't sign any deal with Dell, did not censor the search engine results in China, wasn't sued for promoting child pornography or for click fraud. In 1999, Google could say it's not a portal and it didn't have problems with financial reports because there wasn't too much to report.

But what did Google do in 1999?

"I won't say we won't add services, but we wouldn't put free email on our site unless we thought we could do a much better job," Larry Page said in July 1999. "Google is about high quality products. If we add random services, we don't think that adds value."

In September 21, Google got out of beta and upgraded its index to 200 million web pages.

Google moved to Googleplex, won Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development from PC Magazine and let people wonder how it will make money. "I don't know exactly how they're going to do it," said Red Hat Chief Technology Officer Marc Ewing. "They're not idiots over there. They must have some sort of plan. They're just not sharing it."

Backup Your Firefox Extensions

If you use Firefox, there's a big chance you've installed extensions. There are some extensions that change your browsing habits, so you'd like to have them with you at work, on your new computer or on just about any computer you use.

There's an easy way to backup your Firefox extensions: Firefox Extension Backup Extension. I know it has a funny name, so you can just call it FEBE. You can backup your extensions, your themes, your bookmarks and settings to a folder. Copy that folder to a CD, send it by email in an archive or just put it on an USB flash drive.


How to restore extensions?
* Open Tools/Extensions from the menu
* Drag and drop the extensions from the backup folder to the extension dialog.

You can also restore extensions one by one from Tools/FEBE/Restore Extensions.

But what about the settings for each extension? If you backup your Firefox settings, you'll also have them.

Related:
Reduce memory usage in Firefox
Portable Firefox

May 26, 2006

Google News To Include Videos

Marissa Mayer said last month that "later this year, Google will integrate video into Google News". If you go to About Feeds page on Google Video, you'll see this text:

"How do I use Google Video feeds?
To access Google Video feeds, look for the Feed links on any Google News page. This link will generate a feed of up-to-date videos related to the page that you're looking at."

For the moment, Google News doesn't include this link, but it will appear soon. It will be interesting to see how many related videos can Google find on Google Videos, unless it includes videos from content providers like CNN or BBC.

Meanwhile, you can add "&output=rss" to the address of a search results page to obtain a RSS feed.

Happy Birthday, Philipp!


Today is Philipp Lenssen's birthday. He has the best blog about Google, Google Blogoscoped, that inspired me to create this blog.

Picasa For Linux

Google released a version of Picasa for Linux, using a version of Wine modified by CodeWeaver.

The page where you can download the software is http://picasa.google.com/linux (for the moment, the page gives a 404 error outside United States, but you can access it through a proxy).

Google said that Picasa should work on any Linux system with Intel 386-compatible processor, glibc 2.3 or greater, and a working X11 display system.

There is a group about Picasa on Linux and there is a link on Google Labs visible only for US.

Direct links: RPM | DEB | BIN.

This version of Picasa lacks CD Burning, export to TiVo, Hello instant messenger and has A LOT of limitations:
* no motion-compressing codec => huge movies
* no MP3 code => no sound in slideshows
* no video indexing
* weak browser and email integration
* the opening Picasa dialog has a spin loop and consumes a lot of CPU

May 25, 2006

Hi-Q Videos

Welcome to our great high-quality video site. Here you'll find high-quality music videos, trailers and viral videos.

You're currently using Firefox. Our site supports only Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP SP2.

[Linux, Mac audiences leave. A part of the Windows XP SP2 audience opens Internet Explorer 6...]

Welcome to our great high-quality video site. Here you'll find high-quality music videos, trailers and viral videos.

You can select a video from our huge collection of videos.

[Selecting a Shakira video from their 20 hi-q videos.]

To download this video, you need an ActiveX. Would you like to install it?

[Clicking OK three times on different warnings and strange dialogs. The ActiveX installs, along with a desktop icon, a Start Menu icon, a system tray icon and probably many other shortcuts.]

The video is now downloading. Please wait until our software downloads 100 MB of high-quality video.

[Waiting to download the video. Fortunately, I have a broadband connection, so I have to wait only 7-8 minutes. The player opens.]

Upgrading Windows Media... You need a new component for Windows Media Player. Please upgrade...

[I click on upgrade.]


The component could not be upgraded.

[A brief ad begins.]



Any connection with AOL Hi-Q Video is coincidental.

Remove Ads from Yahoo Messenger

Last update: Sept. 27, 2008

If you install Yahoo Messenger 8.0 or 9.0, you'll notice a very annoying animated ad at the bottom of the main window.

How to get rid of the ads?

1. Close Yahoo Messenger.

2. Save this .bat file and execute it.

Please note that if you run Yahoo Messenger from a FAT32 disk, this fix disables some features from Yahoo Messenger, like chat rooms and the plug-in manager. NTFS is the standard file system used in Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, so it's likely that you won't see these limitations if you use a recent version of windows.

The .bat file you've just downloaded edits most registry values related to the ads in Yahoo Messenger from HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ Yahoo\pager\YUrl, replacing the data with a dummy asterisk. Here's the list of string values:

Messenger Ad
Webcam Upload Ad
Webcam Viewer Ad
Webcam Viewer Ad Big
Webcam Viewer Ad Medium
Change Room Banner
Conf Adurl
Chat Adurl



The patch also makes the file C:\Program Files\Yahoo!\Messenger\Cache\urls.xml read-only and it revokes all the permissions for the file, but only for NTFS disks.

If you install new versions of Yahoo Messenger, you'll have to repeat the steps above, as Yahoo setup rewrites the registry entries. New versions will most likely make removing the ads more difficult or even impossible.

Google OS On Top Of Dell PCs

Reuters reports that Google and Dell have reached a three-year agreement in which Dell PCs will preinstall Google software (Google Toolbar, Google Desktop) and will set Internet Explorer homepage to http://google.com/ig/dell for $1 billion.

"A large-scale agreement with the world's largest PC maker would be a major inroad for Google. A decade ago, Microsoft used its leverage over PC makers to gain control over which software came installed in new computers, betting that customers rarely bother to replace many of those programs."

Google didn't want to use the power of default applications, but probably saw this as an opportunity to increase its number of users. Most people use toolbars to access search engines and Internet Explorer 6 has a big hole in this area. Besides, more than 50% of Yahoo Search users search from Yahoo Toolbar.

MSN Spaces Has Beaten Blogger


Microsoft has reasons to be proud today:

"MSN Spaces is the most widely used blogging service worldwide with more than 100 million unique visitors, according to data released today by comScore Networks Inc. of Reston, Va., an independent Internet audience measurement and consulting company.

comScore World Metrix’s proprietary audience report for April 2006 showed the total number of unique visitors to MSN Spaces has more than doubled in the past 12 months, from 41.65 million to 101 million. Figures compiled by comScore Media Metrix indicate that during April 2006, nearly one in seven Internet users worldwide had visited MSN Spaces."

MSN Spaces supports trackbacks, categories, statistics, layout customization, modules, contact cards. The site was launched in December 2004 and it will be renamed to Windows Live Spaces soon.

Google May Power MySpace Search

Google and Microsoft are in talks with MySpace to power MySpace's internal search, according to Financial Times.

A senior executive of one of the companies told: "They are looking for a partner and trying to figure it out. They have a good opportunity to increase the revenue on that property."

"Search engines need to encourage more searching [to build revenue] and youth audiences are spending increasing amounts of time on social sites," says Julian Smith, online advertising analyst at Jupiter Research. "So whoever provides the search facility to MySpace will generate a lot of traffic, search results and, ultimately, revenue."

For now, MySpace sends 8.2% of its traffic to Google, according to HitWise.

Office 2007 Beta 2 Review


I installed Microsoft Office 2007 Professional Beta 2 on Windows XP SP2. It was very easy: the setup had about 450 MB and took about 10 minutes to install. After installing, Office had to register, otherwise I could've used it only for 50 times. You can upgrade your existing Office version or you can keep your old Office.

When I opened Microsoft Word, I couldn't believe my eyes. I mean I've seen some screenshots, but what's this? Where is my menu? And why this new toolbar (ribbon) occupies so much space? The ribbon replaces the menu with a list of icons, comboboxes grouped in sections. For example, there is a font section that includes font selection, font size, bold, italic, underline, font color.

The Styles section from the ribbon takes almost half the space of the ribbon and when you hover on one of the styles (heading, normal, title) you preview how the selected text will look if you apply that style. That's all very nice, but I think find and replace is more important than style choosing.

Now instead of trying to find the menu that contains a certain command, you'll try to find the ribbon section that includes it. It's a more visual and a more task-oriented approach. Microsoft dropped menus from most of its products, but it didn't replace them with something as comprehensive as in Microsoft Office.

When you insert a table, you won't see the dialog that asks you how many row and columns would you like to include. Instead you'll choose them using a small rectangle. Office 2007 tries to avoid dialogs and replaces them with contextual menus where possible. Instead of manually selecting margings of the page, Word lets you choose from 6 options (normal, narrow, wide, mirrored, Office 2003 default). If you want to specify the values, you can do that using a classic dialog.

You can even create posts for blogs at Blogger and MSN Spaces, manage multiple accounts and take advantage of the great spell checker and the easiness of inserting tables or equations.



There aren't many new features in Microsoft Office 2007, but the existing ones are better organized, you can preview every setting you make, there are many preformatted elements and less confusing choices to make. Unfortunately, it will take some time to get used to the new interface.

Some more screenshots from Microsoft Office 2007
Review and Visual Tour: Microsoft's 2007 Office Beta 2

May 24, 2006

Start Menu Replacement


Forget about Start Menu. If you like how Google Desktop lets you open programs from Start Menu, but you don't like its high memory usage, you can try Launchy, a skinnable tool that appears only when you enter a keyboard shortcut (by default, Alt+Space).

You can use it too open all kinds of files from your computer. You can select what kind of files you want to index and their location. Although it won't index the text of the files or their metadata, Launchy is very fast and sexy.

Where to use Launchy?
* launch applications
* start different tools from Control Panel
* open music files
* view pictures

The Brilliant Niniane Wang

... works on a confidential Google project

Google ran a full-page ad in Wired with this text:

"Google is looking for engineers with great aspirations. Take Niniane Wang, for example. A co-inventor of 19 patents in various patents of filing, Niniane skipped three grades, learned the Lisp programming language at 10, and started college math classes at 11. At 18, Niniane graduated with a degree in computer science from Caltech (where she also designed a VLSI chip, built an audio recorder out of chips, and discovered she loved writing software).

We're privileged to have Niniane at Google, but we need more engineers like her - people with passion and ideals and a strong work ethic.

Check out www.google.com/aspireniniane for a list of current openings. If you see something that seems perfect for you, send us your resume, we'd love to hear from you. Cute childhood pictures optional."

Meanwhile, Niniane writes in her blog:

This morning Joby sent out an email to our team:


i realized today during the meeting that...

- if we're working on the best project at google, and
- we're working at the best company on the planet, then

we're working on the Best Project in the World.


Her resume shows that she worked for Microsoft Flight Simulator, movie onebox, Google Desktop Search, Gmail and a confidential project.

But what did she do for this great project?

* Envisioned and chartered a confidential project in the social application space. Spec'ed out vision and got buy-in from execs.

* Led a team of engineers through technical design and implementation of client (C++) and server (Java).

* Convinced artists, PM, UI designer, and engineers around the company to join the team or contribute 20% time.

So the best project still unlaunched at Google is a social network? Maybe a MySpace killer?

Free Password Recovery Software

Last week I found an archive with some important documents on my hard disk, but it was password protected. Unfortunately, I didn't remember the password, so I tried to find a good software to recover the password even if that meant brute-force attack.

Elcomsoft has many programs for password recovery that have many great features and are free for personal (non-commercial) use.

* For ZIP, brute-force attack speed is up to fifteen million passwords per second. The brute force attack is the slowest method of password attack, but can often be successful on short and simple passwords.

* Dictionary-based attack (with word mutations) is available. That's the most effective way to recover a password. English, French, German, Japanese (and many others) dictionaries with hundreds of thousands of words, as well as specialist, technical and foreign language dictionaries are available.

* Fast known-plaintext attack (it takes 10-15 minutes).

* The programs can work in the background, using the CPU only when it is in idle state.

There is no guarantee that the password will be recovered, but most people use short and/or easy to remember passwords. My password had only 6 characters so it was found in less than 2 minutes.

You can recover passwords for archives (ZIP, RAR, ACE), Office documents, instant messangers, files encrypted on NTFS (EFS) partitions. Although they say the free versions are available as 30 days trials, they can be used after this period (with some limitations).

Related:
How to reset Windows password
How to recover data from hard drive

May 23, 2006

Google's Not Done With Search

Larry Page talked about the future of Google at Google Zeitgeist Europe 2006 conference. Some interesting tidbits:

"People always make the assumption that we're done with search. That's very far from the case. We're probably only 5 per cent of the way there. We want to create the ultimate search engine that can understand anything ... some people could call that artificial intelligence." (From The Independent)

View the Q&A session.

How To Use Gmail Efficiently

Follow this order when composing emails:

* First think if you have to attach files to your email. Select the attachments so they will be already uploaded by the time you finish your mail. If you have many small files to attach or text documents, put all the files in an archive. It's faster and easier to download.

* Then type the text of your email. For compatibility reasons, stay with plain text. Most of the time HTML emails will create problems or will be useless.

* Check the spelling of your text. Gmail has a very cool spell checker with support for 38 languages.

* Then summarize the content of your email and type a meaningful title ("Check this!" or "Hi" aren't good examples of meaningful titles).

* Insert the recipient's email address. If you have more recipients, don't forget to include them in the BCC section.

* Send your mail. This should happen instantly.

Inspired by Google Blogoscoped.

Also see:
5 fast ways to check Gmail

May 22, 2006

Video AdSense

As reported in February, Google will start to deliver video ads through Google Adsense this week.

"A certain segment of advertisers have told us that they want richer and more engaging messaging capability," said Gokul Rajaram, product management director of Google's AdSense program.

AP says that the ad will show an image that when clicked will start to play a video of up to two minutes.

Hopefully Google will not include the video ads in the same category as image ads to push them to a wide number of publisher that sticked with the default settings. They did this with animated ads, that were animated Gifs.

You can see an example at Google Adwords blog.

Google World Cup Live Results

Google will show live results from FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany, informs an anonymous blogger.

Google will show information about the matches (when it starts, the teams, who scored) and videos for each goal. The information wasn't confirmed by Google, but it's backed up by some screenshots from Google Translation program.

More: the results are now live.

How Do You Recognize A Google Software?

What sets apart Google Toolbar, Google Desktop, Google Earth, Picasa, Google Talk, Google Deskbar from other software?

Most of the time, a Google software:
* it's free
* it self-updates
* it updates fast
* it has a small installer (maybe except Google Earth)
* it asks you to set Google as default search in Internet Explorer
* it doesn't have a local help
* lately it asks you to sign in to your Google Account to get more options
* it has a search box
* it does one thing (maybe except Google Desktop)
* it's simple to use
* most of the time, you'll find it in beta

If Google Made A Media Player

If Google made a media player, how it would be different?

* The media player would be small and dockable. It would have four buttons: play, pause, stop, shuffle and a search box.

* Google Media Player would find lyrics for your songs using Google search engine.

* It would fill the tags with the artist, the song, the album and the genre of each song.

* Each song would have a mood (like sad, happy, romantic, sleepy).

* Google Media Player's equalizer would adjust according to song's genre.

* You would be able to share your media library, playlists or stats with your Gmail contacts or the whole world.

* Google Media Player would suggest what other songs to listen.

* Google Media Player could play contextual music: let's say you read a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez on your computer. Feed Google Media Player a fragment from the novel and let it find the most appropriate songs from your computer or from online streams.

* Google Media Player would show the latest news from the artist that plays the current song, images from Google Images or what other people think about this song.

* Google Media Player's search functionality would be complex. If you search for "Bjork", you'll also find artists with similar music or artists influenced by her music.

Related:
Google Music Store?
Windows Media Player 11
Google Music Box

May 21, 2006

Googler's List

Haochi from Googlified has created a list of more than 200 Googlers, with websites for some of them.

Wikipedia has a list of at least 40 Google employees with biographical details.

An easy to digest list of the latest posts from Googler's blogs can be found at Google Blogoscoped.

On one of the best posts you can read there is written by Matt Cutts and gives a couple of corporate rules of thumb like this one:
"It can be difficult to keep a secret on the web. If you are working on some innovative, amazing product that no one has ever seen before, strip your referrers. Also, sanitize any PowerPoint you make available. You probably shouldn’t change how you handle new subdomains or urls either. Remember, if a url is supposed to be private but anyone can access it on the web by visiting the url, someone will stumble across the url; use an .htaccess file to provide password protection on Apache servers. Because if people are interested enough, they will dig through your source code, monitor your robots.txt, and study which domains you buy, even if you buy them through another company. Plan according to how much scrutiny you expect."

Yahoo Mail Beta In IE7

If you use Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 and you are accepted in Yahoo Mail Beta, you noticed that Yahoo blocks every browser that isn't IE 5.5, IE 6.0, Firefox or Netscape. And that includes
Internet Explorer 7, although Yahoo says they support "Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher". If you want to use Yahoo Mail Beta in IE7, there's an easy fix: spoofing the user-agent.

First close Internet Explorer. Copy this text to a file ie6.reg :

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\5.0\User Agent]
"Compatible"=""
"Version"="MSIE 6.0"
"Platform"="Windows NT 5.1"

... and double-click on the file to modify the registry. Now you can use Yahoo Mail Beta and other sites that block any browser they didn't hear about, even if that browser name starts with "Internet Explorer".

Related:
Test IE7 without installing it
Get Yahoo Mail Beta

Play And Convert Any Multimedia File

In this post I will list some problems many people have with multimedia formats and one solution. But let's start with the problems:

* I have a video file and I want to extract the audio part.
* I have an AVI video and I want to put it on my web page in a format optimized for the web.
* How can I transfer videos from my PC to my mobile phone that supports only 3gp format?
* I have an AVI/MOV/ MP4/WMV file and I want to convert it to AVI/MOV/ MP4/WMV.
* How can I save on my disk MMS and RTSP streams?
* Ok, I downloaded a file from YouTube as a flv file, but how can I encode it in a format that can be viewed in any player?
* I got a file in a strange format: 3gp/amr/mp4/ogg/mpc. Does anyone know how can I view it?

There's only one answer to these frustrations and many others: SUPER.

SUPER is a free program that lets you view and convert almost any multimedia format you've ever heard. And you don't have to have any fancy codecs or player, because SUPER includes MPlayer, the best Unix media player, and a lot of codecs, including FFDShow.

Let's see how easy is to save a YouTube video as an AVI file.

Step 1. Go to a video.
Step 2. Select the URL value from the "About this video" box in the right.
Step 3. Paste the value at keepvid.com and save the file as a flv video.
Step 4. Drag and drop the file to SUPER and select the AVI container. Press Encode button.

Although SUPER has a very basic interface, it's very powerful. You just select the format of the output file, drag-and-drop the input file and click Encode. Using the same simple steps, you can convert a MOV file to MP3, an AVI to a 3gp file, an MP3 to a Flash file or any video to a format supported by iPod, PSP or PocketPC. Or you can just play a file in one of these formats.

The package at a glance:
* contains ffmpeg, mencoder, mplayer, ffmpeg2theora
* supported formats: 3gp (Nokia, Siemens, Sony, Ericson) asf, avi (DivX, Xvid, MPEG4, MSmpeg4), fli, flc, flv (used in Flash), mpg (Mpeg I or Mpeg II), mov, mp4, ogg, qt, rm, str (Play Station), swf (Flash), viv, vob, wmv, ac3, amr, mp2, mp3, mp4, ogg, ra, wma
* download size: 25 MB
* freeware

Update. It's pretty hard to find the download links on SUPER's site, so here's a tip: download the software from third-party sites like AfterDawn or Softpedia.

May 20, 2006

10 Feature Requests For Google Notebook

Dear Google Notebook team,

I used Google Notebook from the first day you launched it and I liked it. I even created notes to help me with my blog posts. But I have some small request for you.

1. export notes as PDF files
2. images should be cached on Google servers (at least as thumbnails if it's a copyright issue, or even as files from Google Image Search cache)
3. gadgets for Personalized Homepage and Google Desktop
4. share a private notebook with your Gmail contacts, or only with some people
5. integrate Google Notebook with Google Calendar, so you can show notes from events
6. upload documents (.doc, .pdf, .xls) and images
7. notes should be searchable from Google Desktop and Gmail
8. a version optimized for mobile phones
9. original text should be differentiated from annotations
10. integrate Notebook with Google Toolbar and kill the Firefox extension and the IE plugin

and another request: sticky notes, notes that should stand out (maybe linked with events from Google Calendar)

I hope I don't ask for too much.

Pearl Jam Video Free Until Next Wednesday

Pearl Jam released its new video from the latest album for the song "Life Wasted" under a Creative Commons license, the same as this blog, and made it available on Google Video. The video can be watched for free until May 24. So enjoy:






You're always saying that there's something wrong...
I'm starting to believe it's your plan all along...

Death came around, forced to hear its song...
And know tomorrow can't be depended on.

I seen the home inside your head,...
All locked doors and unmade beds.
Open sores unattended
Let me say just once that

I have faced it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

I escaped it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

Having tasted,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

The world awaits just up the stairs
Leave the pain for someone else.

Nothing back there for you to find,...
Or was it you, you left behind?

You're always saying you're too weak to be strong...
You're harder on yourself than just about anyone.

Why swim the channel just to get this far?
Halfway there, why would you turn around?

Darkness comes in waves,... tell me,why invite it to stay?

You're warm with negativity,
Yes, comfort is an energy,...
But why let the sad song play?

I have faced it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

I escaped it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

Having tasted,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

Oh I erased it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.

May 19, 2006

How To Break Web Software

Mike Andrews, a software security expert, was invited at Googleplex to talk about web applications security. The video [ 1 hr 26 min 38 sec] is a part of Google Techtalks.

He talks about common security bugs: spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, escalation of privilege (STRIDE). He also shows how he bought -3 books from an online software and got money on his credit card, instead of paying. Another interesting subject is how to protect against session ID guessing or stealing and page defacement.

Mike gave examples of fixed security bugs from Google applications, including the Gmail cross-site scripting (XSS) bug.

First seen on Geeking with Greg (sorry, Mr. Linden and thank you for Findory).

Google Dreams

How would you dream about Google? Dreamlines is a challenging oneiric journey that lets you explore how dreams are made.

I dreamt about Google and I saw some images related to Google combined in an ambiguous scenery.

"The program generates a personal moving picture, unique, unpredictable, and forever gone when it is finished, just like dreams. But that dream is made out of pieces taken form the subconscious of the whole net, gathered by some words of the user and the obscure logic of searching algorithms."

New Yahoo Homepage In Opera And Safari

The new Yahoo homepage, available at http://www.yahoo.com/preview supports only Internet Explorer and Firefox. Opera and Safari's users can try the new homepage at http://www.yahoo.com/beta.

There are small rendering issues in Opera 8.5, but Opera 9 fully supports the page.

I think webmasters (and especially big companies' webmasters) shouldn't launch a page or a site until every browser can render it. If a browser doesn't support all the Ajax features or CSS 2.0 or other standards, that elements of the web page should degrade gracefully.

Partition Your Hard Drive Without Partition Magic

If you want to resize your partitions, create a new partition to install another operating system without losing your data, you need a powerful disk partitioning utility like Partition Magic. If you don't want to pay for a commercial application, you can use QtParted, an open-source utility that comes with Knoppix.

Ok, but what is Knoppix? Knoppix is a Linux live CD based on Debian distribution. That means you don't have to install it on your system, you just burn it on a CD and boot from the CD.

After Knoppix boots (type knoppix at the boot prompt), start at the large letter K at bottom left. Select K | System | QTParted to launch the utility. The main window is split into left and right panes. The left lists any hard drives that QTParted detects. Click the drive you want to edit, and QTParted will scan it for partition information, displaying the details in the right pane.

You can resize the partitions (choose Resize options), create a new partition. The tool will write the changes to the drive only after you select File | Commit. After QTParted finished repartitioning your hard drive, click on the K menu, and select restart. Remove your Knoppix CD and that's all.

QtParted supports FAT32, NTFS, HFS, ext2, ext3 file systems.

You can download Knoppix from one of these mirrors.

Related:
Burn a Windows Live CD
System Recovery CD
How to reset Windows password

Google Reader Mobile

How do you read news feeds on your mobile phone? If you use Bloglines to manage your favorite feeds, you'll go to Bloglines Mobile. If you use Google Reader, you'll definitely try Google Reader Mobile. There are two ways you can reach Google Reader Mobile:

1. Go to http://www.google.com/reader/m on your mobile phone.

2. From your computer: add Google Reader gadget to your personalized homepage.

From your mobile phone: visit google.com, select the 'Personalized Home' link, then sign in with your username and password.

You can restrict Google Reader to a feed, to a label or you can view the latest feeds. If you click on a post (or type the corresponding digit), you'll read the text from the feed. Any link from the feed will be treated the same as Google Mobile Search does: Google automatically translates (or "transcodes") these pages by analyzing the original HTML code and converting it to a mobile-ready format.

So now you can read this blog on your mobile phone, you just have to
.

Top 20 Google Subdomains

Hitwise created a list of the top 20 Google properties. The most used Google services, other than web search, are Image Search and Gmail. The rest have a pretty low share. It's interesting to see that Froogle is more used than Google Video and that many new services (Google Calendar, Google Finance) don't have a big audience, although they are integrated with Google (Google Calendar is linked in Gmail, Google Finance is the first result for any stock-related search).



In November last year, the first 10 Google services were:
1. Google Web Search: 79.9%
2. Google Image Search: 9.2%
3. Google Mail/Gmail: 5.6%
4. Google News: 1.6%
5. Google Maps: 0.8%
6. Froogle: 0.7%
7. Google Scholar: 0.6%
8. Google Groups/Groups 2 Beta: 0.5%
9. Google Print (Google Books): 0.4%
10. Google Earth: 0.3%

So the Google service with the highest rise is Google Video.

May 18, 2006

Seven Rules For Google Marketing


Nial Kennedy photographed in February a poster with the 7 principles of Google marketing.

Results must be trackable. [Google has a very complex system for evaluating search results quality.]

Let others speak for you. [Don't boast with your great results. Let your users say they are great.]

Promote trial. [Users should try products in early stages to send feedback and improve them.]

Data. Not hype. [Products should really have added value.]

You're smart. And your time matters. [Don't waste people's time.]

We're serious. Except when we're not. [You don't need a suit to be serious.]

Big ideas move us. [Start with a great idea. The rest will follow.]

Marissa Mayer Profile On Orkut

Marissa Mayer is Google's Vice President for Search Products & User Experience. She has a very nice profile on Orkut, Google's social network. To see it, you need to have an Orkut account and since Orkut is mostly popular in Brazil, here it is:

general
birthday: May 30
here for: friends, activity partners, business networking, dating (men)
children: no
ethnicity: caucasian (white)
languages i speak: English (US)
religion: Christian/Protestant
humor: dry/sarcastic, clever/quick witted
fashion: designer, smart
smoking: no
drinking: socially
pets: i like them at the zoos
living: alone
hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin

interests
passions: Travelling, design, science, math, puzzles, hacking
sports: Volleyball, swimming, softball
activities: Skiing, golfing, running, waterskiing, flying kites,dance (ballet & ballroom)
books: Great Expectations, Atlas Shrugged
music: Madonna, U2
tv shows: Picket Fences, Life Goes On, Friends, West Wing, Nip/Tuck, Project Greenlight, Alias
movies: It's a Wonderful Life, Say Anything, Minority Report, Moulin Rouge
cuisines: French, Italian, Californian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, pretty much anything other than Indian (curry gives me headaches :( )

professional
education: Master's Degree
high school: Wausau West High School, Wisconsin
college/university: Stanford University
major: Symbolic Systems
degree: BS
year:
college/university: Stanford University
major: Computer Science
degree: MS
year:
occupation: Software Engineer/Product Manager
industry: High Tech, Internet
title: Director, Consumer Web Products
job description: Lead product manager for google.com -- overseeing the user experience on the main search engine and the other consumer-facing properties (Images, News, Groups, Froogle, etc.). I manage a small team of associates who do much of the heavy lifting on the day-to-day PM work for the site.
career skills: Product strategy, management/recruiting, UI design, fostering innovation and ideas, coding
career interests: Innovation, design, user interface development, systems engineering

personal
deal match: Intelligent, funny/sarcastic, kind, flexible - willing to try anything once, passionate and excited about the world
height: 173 centimeters
eye color: blue
hair color: blonde
build: athletic
looks: average
best feature: eyes
turn ons: assertiveness, candlelight, dancing, flirting, intelligence, sarcasm, thrills, thunderstorms
turn offs: Smoking, apathy, insensitivity toward others
my idea of a perfect first date: Dinner, a movie, and talking until dawn
from my past relationships i learned: The best relationships grow out of friendship
five things i can't live without: Travel, my family, cashmere, Stuart Weitzman shoes
in my bedroom you will find: Silk pajamas, a down comforter (from La Crosse, WI :) ), high thread count sheets

Related:
Marissa prefers Pine to Gmail
She admits Google Video Store's launch was a failure

Criminal Activities On Orkut

Bloombers reports that Google may face a criminal probe for distribution of child pornography and racist materials by its users through Orkut, the most used social network in Brazil.

The lawyers say that Google failed to comply with a court order to turn over information on where the material comes from. They will try to authorize a police investigation of the Google's Brazilian unit.

"Orkut has become a paradise for pedophiles, who solicit sex with childen and distribute pornographic material", prosecutor Karen Kahn said at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

The attorneys prepare a civil lawsuit against Google's Brazilian unit to demand the company follow the country's Internet laws and pay a daily fine for failing to obey the court order.

Meanwhile, you can find a lot of pornography and extremism on Orkut. And a lot of kids also: more than 1000 kids between 12 and 16 years old.


Child pornography is an issue of great concern to the Brazil Government and Brazil has legislations against it such as the Child and Teenager Statute (Law No 8.069, on 13 th of July 1990), in which its article 241 says: "Take photographs or publish explicit sex scenes or pornographic images involving children or adolescents: – Punishment: 1 to 4 years of reclusion."

Related:
Google sued for promoting child pornography
Bush administration requests data from Google

Vista System Specs

From Microsoft's point of view, PCs will be "Vista-capable" or "Vista Premium Ready". "Vista-capable" computers will be able to run Windows Vista and use it minimally. "Premium Ready" PCs will take advantage of Vista’s Aero graphic engine.

To be Vista-capable, a machine needs at least an 800MHz processor, 512MB of memory and a graphics card that can run DirectX 9. To carry the Premium Ready designation, a PC must have a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and a graphics card that supports Vista's graphics-driver model.

Today Microsoft will talk about these two labels and how will they be used by retailers to characterize their systems.

More about the system memory and graphics memory necessary for Windows Vista at eweek.com.

To test if your Windows XP is ready for Vista, you can download Vista Upgrade Advisor.

Related:
Windows Vista launch delayed once again
Who can market Windows Vista (or why would you buy Windows Vista)?

Google Desktop Speaks Arabic. I Don't


Look what news I saw today in my english version of Google Desktop. The news about last night's Champions League final between Barcelona and Arsenal was from BBC Arabic and the text of the news was in English. But the title of the news, the description and everything else from the site is in Arabic. I wonder why the English edition of Google News lists the news from BBC Arabic, which are mostly in Arabic.



Related:
Top 10 Google Desktop Gadgets
Identity crisis for Google software

May 17, 2006

Google Search From Inside

The key to the speed and reliability of Google search is cutting up data into chunks, its top engineer said.

All machines run on a stripped-down Linux kernel. The distribution is Red Hat, but Urs Hoelzle - Google vice president of operations and vice president of engineering - said Google doesn't use much of the distro. Moreover, Google has created its own patches for things that haven't been fixed in the original kernel.

Google replicates the Web pages it caches by splitting them up into pieces it calls "shards." The shards are small enough that several can fit on one machine. And they're replicated on several machines, so that if one breaks, another can serve up the information. The master index is also split up among several servers, and that set also is replicated several times. The engineers call these "chunk servers."

As a search query comes into the system, it hits a Web server, then is split into chunks of service. One set of index servers contains the index; one set of machines contains one full index. To actually answer a query, Google has to use one complete set of servers. Since that set is replicated as a fail-safe, it also increases throughput, because if one set is busy, a new query can be routed to the next set, which drives down search time per box.

In parallel, clusters of document servers contain copies of Web pages that Google has cached. Hoelzle said that the refresh rate is from one to seven days, with an average of two days. That's mostly dependent on the needs of the Web publishers.

"When we have your top 10 results, they get sent to the document servers, which load the 10 result pages into memory," Hoelzle said. "Then you parse through them and find the best snippet that contains all the query words."


From Peeking Into Google, an article written last year at EclipseCon 2005, a conference on the open source.

An interesting video that talks about how Google search works is Google Factory Tour (the video is very long: 5 hr 39 min 41 sec).

Upload Videos To Google Video Faster

Google Video has an easier way to upload videos: using a simple form. Google Video accepts video in AVI, ASF, QuickTime, Windows Media and MPEG formats. The codecs allowed include H.264, H.263, MPEG 1/2/4 and motion JPEG.

The form can be used only for videos under 100MB. The other videos can be uploaded using Video Upload program, like before.

This is a great move from Google. Paul Botin wrote in Slate that "Google has failed to take off for the simple reason that it’s more annoying to use than YouTube. To begin with, you have to install Google’s special uploading application." Now you don't need to install the software. And Google Video doesn't have limitations regarding video duration, like YouTube (10 minutes maximum).

Google Web Toolkit - Ajax Compiler

Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a Java software development framework useful for creating Ajax applications.

You can create user interfaces using widgets like button, tree, tab, menubar or textbox, which work in most browsers. You can even create your own widget.

GWT widgets rely on cascading style sheets (CSS) for visual styling.

A simple application that has a button that displays a message when clicked will have a code like this:


package com.google.gwt.sample.hello.client;
import com.google.gwt.core.client.EntryPoint;
import com.google.gwt.user.client.Window;
import com.google.gwt.user.client.ui.Button;
import com.google.gwt.user.client.ui.ClickListener;
import com.google.gwt.user.client.ui.RootPanel;
import com.google.gwt.user.client.ui.Widget;

public class Hello implements EntryPoint {

public void onModuleLoad() {
Button b = new Button("Click me", new ClickListener() {
public void onClick(Widget sender) {
Window.alert("Hello, AJAX");
}
});

RootPanel.get().add(b);
}

}

The Java code will be translated to JavaScript and HTML and the resulting "Hello World" can be seen here. You will say it's unimpressive, but what about this Desktop Mail Clone or this Dynamic School Schedule? You can find other examples and the source code.

GWT applications can be run in hosted mode (usually during development) within JVM and in web mode, as JavaScript+HTML .

The toolkit is available for Windows (13.9 MB) and Linux (23.9 MB) and includes the GWT compiler, hosted web browser, class libraries, and some demo projects. The GWT Java class libraries are open source and licensed under Apache License 2.0.

GWT was used for Google Maps and Google Calendar.

It's A World Full Of Widgets

Widgets are small aplications that deliver information from the web or from your computer. Many software companies create widget frameworks these days: Yahoo acquired Konfabulator, Google has Google Desktop, Opera will have gadgets in Opera 9, Microsoft will include them in Windows Vista Sidebar, while Apple has an application for Mac OS X 10.4 called Dashboard. Let's see how each company presents its widgets (Google and Microsoft call them gadgets).

The Yahoo! Widget Engine is an application that allows light-weight files called "Widgets" to live directly on a user's desktop and perform a wide variety of tasks, such as checking for wi-fi presence or strength, finding contacts in an address book, viewing a user's calendar, or checking their latest e-mail. Widgets are built on an open platform, which allows any third party developer to build and distribute their own widgets.

Opera Widgets are small web applications that run directly on a user’s desktop. With Opera Widgets you can quickly write small, focused applications that perform useful tasks. They can interact with online services such as news feeds, dictionaries or search engines. Widgets are self contained Web applications. They may define their own behaviors, and they may offer different levels of interraction. However, widgets will, in general, have a certain level of functionality.

Dashboard is a new world of beautiful accessory applications called widgets that appear instantly to give users immediate access to information like stock quotes, weather forecasts, airline flight tracking, unit of measure, currency conversions and a phone book. With a single click a user's favorite Dashboard widgets instantly appear with up to the second information; with another click they're instantly gone and the user is right back to where they left off. Tiger ships with 14 widgets, and because Dashboard is based on standard web technologies such as HTML and JavaScript, it's easy for third party developers to create new widgets that users can easily add to their Dashboards.

Also announced today, Google Desktop 4 beta - available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Brazilian Portuguese - offers another way for users to improve their search experience, by personalizing their desktops with the introduction of Google Gadgets. These gadgets are mini-applications that reside on users' desktops and deliver a variety of personalized information such as games, media players, weather and news. Google Desktop can also recommend new gadgets and can automatically create a personalized homepage for users based on the subjects they frequently search and access.

Google currently has hundreds of gadgets users can add to their desktops and with the new Google Desktop Gadgets API, developers can easily create and share their own gadgets with other users.
Google Press Center: Press Release

Gadgets are a new category of mini-application designed to provide information, useful lookup, or enhance an application or service on your Windows PC or the Web. Examples might include a weather gadget running on your desktop or on your homepage, an RSS Gadget that pulls in your favorite feeds, or an extension of a business application providing just-in-time status on the pulse of your business.

Gadgets for Windows Sidebar will run on your desktop or dock into Windows Sidebar, an upcoming feature in Windows Vista alongside other applications. Desktop Gadgets can developed using Windows Presentation Foundation, DHTML/Atlas, and even ActiveX controls. The beauty of Desktop Gadgets is that they are visually and programmatically rich - scaling from vector-based graphics and managed code to standard techniques you’d use for the Web.
Microsoft Gadgets Blog

Do you like widgets? What do you think is the best product that delivers widgets without consuming all your memory?

Note: You can view this blog post as a Google Notebook.

May 16, 2006

What's New In Firefox 2

Firefox 2, code named Bon Echo, due to be available in October, will bring many interesting features:

* tabs will have close buttons

* the search box will resize when the windows resizes

* you'll search Google and Yahoo using inline suggestions from the search box

* Bon Echo will allow you to subscribe to feeds using a desktop feed reader (like NewsGator) or a web feed aggregation service (like Bloglines)

* automatic spell-checking for multiline text boxes (useful when you post comments on blogs, it works similar to Microsoft Word's spell-checking)

* session restore (if Firefox crashes, it will ask if you would like to restore your previous session next time you load it)

* when you bookmark a site, you can select a microsummary. Microsummaries are small descriptions for web pages provided by third-party sites, for example instead of seeing "BBC - homepage - Home of the BBC on the Internet", which is the title of bbc.co.uk, you could view the latest news "BBC - US releases 9/11 Pentagon video".

* Safe Browsing will alert if you visit a site that uses phishing or spyware.

* Why Bon Echo? It's the name of a public park located in Ontario, Canada and it means "good echo" - Firefox 2 tries to improve Firefox 1.

Related:
You can test Bon Echo Alpha 3
Reduce memory usage in Firefox
Opera 9 - Discover a new world

Try The New Yahoo Homepage

You've seen screenshots from the new Yahoo homepage. Now you can try it at http://www.yahoo.com/preview. It's cleaner, oriented to search, there are no ads and the space is used wisely.

The new Yahoo homepage gives reasons to sign in: to get a preview of your new mail or to see your contacts. If you don't remember the name of a Yahoo service (in fact there are so many that no one remembers more than five or six), you can click on "All Yahoo Services".

Note: You can try the new homepage only if you use Internet Explorer or Firefox. So Opera users and Safari users won't be able to access Yahoo Mail Beta and Yahoo homepage.