Entries Tagged as 'Google'

Why Google Image Search Will Ruin Bing

Google released some new technology just recently, from voice search to its image search. I would imagine that the voice search is using NLP (natural language processing) since the way a person searches via speech is completely different than from typing in keywords. It’s basically the next evolution of synchronizing normal human behavior with technology. Almost a transhumanism push if you will.

The Google image Search though is what is interesting. When Google purchased Riya, I had thought that this was what was going to happen with the next evolution of image search. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s what’s interesting. If you gave the web, a person’s face, and it came back with possible hits of where that person might have been or what not based on facial recognition or identification, then this makes it completely like an “Eden of the East” search. Which is what I had thought Bing was going to be when it came out.

Let’s be honest. No one knew what Bing was going to be about at the opening except for those crazy commercials and everyone thought it was cool. At first. So did I. But once I figured out that it wasn’t anything new, and they put up a pretty picture but didn’t use their technologies from Photosynth or any of the cool image projects in Microsoft Labs, they ruined themselves. They had the algorithms to make Bing into something special and they’ve been playing catch up since.

While this is true, I still believe Microsoft could in fact become a substantial player if they started to think in this type of scenario. There are a lot of amazing products out there that they’re missing out on because they’re not thinking about applications on other mediums. And that’s where the battles are won.

Regardless, image search has been one upped by Google for now. The question remains, can they stay on top, or will other competition finally figure out what to do to take Google on.

Error -18 Fix for Android

I’m not definite that this is the end all be all solution for this, but with the new Market push came some issues that happened on my Droid.

It didn’t happen all right at once, so I assume it was some new SDK updates.  In any case, several of my apps wouldn’t update and would give a “general error -18” whenever they did try to update.

Annoyed, I went to the web for an answer but couldn’t find one.  People ran into the issue but no one had a solution.  Which baffled me.   Then I woke up from a tiring night of work and it hit me.  All the apps that were having an issue were on my SD card.

Could it be as simple as that?  So I moved the apps back onto the phone, hit update and voila!  No error.

So the error happens when the app is partially on the SD card.  To work around it, you have to move it back onto the phone and update.

Definitely something that Google needs to fix on Android but it’s good to finally have all my apps updated.

Android Market Comments Need Moderation

Android Market
Image via Wikipedia

Google needs to step up to the plate when it comes to moderating Android Market comments.  Overall, the ratings system is pretty typical.  If you like a product, you rate it high, if you dislike you rate it low.  There’s some trolls when it comes to ratings, but it’s actually not all that bad for the most part.  The good stuff still tends to float to the top.

But lately, there’s been a rash of really annoying 5-star comments that I mark as spam all the time and keep seeing everywhere.   Subscription services are going around and posting comments everywhere and basically saying how it’s this website has all of the apps for a monthly subscription and it’s cheaper, and all that.  Extremely annoying when you’re trying to read about whether or not an app works or not and what problems they might encounter.

Think of the commenting system as a user review board.   I mean, overall, the goal is to be like Amazon’s product reviews where people tend to use these days as a secondary source of “real people-real reviews” type of place outside of reading Consumer Reports.   Since Android Market doesn’t have a Consumer Reports, you’ll just have to settle for trial and error, and user reviews.  Unfortunately, on a mobile interface, spam type comments not only take up space, but it throws the review off.   Especially these types of subscription services.

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Google Will Be Chasing Television Ads

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

People that know me have known that I’ve already been talking about this for the past few months, but it’s time to put it on paper. I’m calling it. Google is going to be chasing the airwaves for ad space in a couple years. Guaranteed.

Why? Pieces of the puzzle are falling into place already. Google Fiber experiment? Pulease. That’s a FiOS pull if I’ve ever saw one. And Verizon already brings television to your home. This would just give Google medium to mine all that invaluable data and run their algorithms on it to find out what you’re watching and how to target the advertisement. And we all know that Google is king when it comes to algorithmic ad targeting.

But this piece that I just found out about…. now this really puts it into perspective. Google is getting into set-top boxes. Forget Internet television. There is a real big money play being driven here, and it’s being done through the eyes of people thinking outside the box but staying within the realm of what the company is just plain good at: mathematics.

Companies like this are few and far between. Even many of the older 1990s companies have not been able to take any of their product lines outside of their general medium scopes. Google is actually buying up real estate in new mediums to try their hand at things that they have stuck with in the Internet world. And believe you me, it’ll work like a charm. Like a friend of mine told me a long time ago: it’s not the fact that you’re inventing a car, or a plane. It’s the thought that you’re building a car that can fly like a plane that is what no one else has grasped. And Google already setting up for take-off before anyone even realizes.

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Getting Googley Eyes for Google

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I’m really disappointed. So far, I’ve been tracking the entire deal for all sorts of cities on and off for the past week on “Google’s Infrastructure for Communities” venture. Amusingly, I had actually applied for the city of Winston-Salem long before Greensboro even knew about this venture. And with all of the cities, including Greensboro, no one has once bothered to mention that this product is specifically last mile driven. It’s to the homes of consumers. That’s right, it’s basically the same as Wilson’s Greenlight project.

FTTH – (fiber to the home).

It’s documented right there in the RFI, but everyone is trying this gimmick and that gimmick to try to get Google to come. Why not analyze what their business model has been and will continue to be? Why not actually look and see whether or not they have actually purchased dark fiber around your area? That’s information that is vital and crucial to your cause. Those that have dark fiber that has been purchased close to your locale will probably stand a better chance of becoming the venture’s pet project.

What journalists need to focus on, is not whether or not businesses or research institutions have access to high speed Internet. That’s just entirely irrelevant. So what if Google puts in FTTH. That would not effect a school, nor a law firm, or even a medical facility. What people need to find out is what sort of applications could be coming across a high speed connection to your home. Would you discontinue your cable service? Would you go with fiber based HDTV? What if Google was your provider and controlled the line and access points? Why would this be good for what they do?

I think there are many people that are not asking the right questions. Google doesn’t ever do anything for free (yes, Google does mine your Gmail. It’s in your terms of service). And it’s not like the Dell fiasco with the manufacturing plant since any job creation would be very much infrastructure related. Would your city become an instant techburg? Of course. But at what price, and do you have what it takes to do this?

Personally? I think they’re after the television content. Youtube is perhaps only the first step in the long line of things, but having been a shareholder and analyzed their corporation for a number of years, I can say that I can see many ways that they could monetize the information gathered by using similar techniques as their current search but applied in the high-definition medium.

Google is a great company and I would love for them to become a major corporate player in the Triad. But so far, what I’ve seen has been more of the whole … who can throw the biggest party and have the best food for when Google comes. Sorry, Topeka. Just. Not. Impressed. And that just doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes right down to it.

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Tips and Tricks: How to Turn Off Google Buzz

Google came out with their social network tool called Google Buzz just a day or so ago.

While it’s actually a fascinating tool and definitely could give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money, it really is a little too noisy for me. Mainly because of the integration with Gmail. When I logged in, I expect to see my emails since I have to respond to many of them and they’re usually something important even though they’re of personal nature. But with Buzz, it’s really just a noise floor to keep up with what’s going on in the world. I usually have another tab open for those types of things so I don’t have to pay attention to them unless I want to pay attention.

In any case, this isn’t a well-known thing so to turn off Google Buzz:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the Gmail screen
  • Click “turn off buzz” in the footer.

And that’s it. It’s pretty easy and straight forward, although you’d never think to do it in the footer since there’s a Settings tab for your account. In any case, there have been some other friends that have been seeking this information since it got too noisy in their lives too so obviously it’s not just a personal occurrence. Either way, if you’re looking to turn off Buzz, there ya go.

Couple Days with the Droid

OREM, UT -  NOVEMBER 5: A manager holds an App...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I have to say that with my first couple days with the Droid, I’ve noticed some things that no one else has really bothered to mention. First, if anyone think that this is a contender for the iPhone, I would say that Apple really has some competition. This is definitely the first phone that I’ve touched that overall has a better feel and the apps actually are close enough to really give Jobs some heartburn.

Very smooth. If you have it linked to your wifi at home, when the signal disappears, it actually switches off to 3G immediately. No fuss, no muss. The interface moves very well. It does lag sometimes if you don’t have the right apps to shut down the apps that you quit from (why you can’t quit from an app is another annoyance that Google has to fix).

I love the notifications. I mean, that’s one thing that iPhone doesn’t do well, and notifications here are out of the way and are there when you want to look at them.

Maps integration and voice dial? Awesome. The entire Car Mobile feature is sweet and I think Garmin itself might have a contender on its hands. I’ll have to test it out more to find out.

The multimedia station sync is great. Immediately, my phone also became my alarm clock. Will have to note to self not to chuck alarm clock across the room…. not that I do that anyways, but still.

Vibrate function is super powerful. Now this might be somewhat annoying and I sorta wish people would make it so that you could control the level of vibrate sometimes, but a powerful vibrate always helps when you’re in a loud place and your phone goes off. There’s nothing more annoying than waiting for a call and missing it because you didn’t feel the vibrate feature. Entirely useless then, isn’t it?

OpenGL support. Android is basically a flavor of linux (don’t believe me? kernel is 2.6.9….), so we shouldn’t be surprised here but that makes 3D gaming and animation completely possible and with the smaller resolutions, you can guarantee some interesting gaming coming your way.

I’m not fond of keyboards, but the hardware keyboard is actually a nice one and compared to my Nokia n810 Wimax, it feels pretty good. The on-screen one could use a little work when it’s trying to detect what you’re trying to type so it corrects it after learning what letters you hit off in portrait mode.

Android Market is awesome. It might be a little more simple compared to the iTunes store, but when people complain about how there’s just not enough apps? From one geek to another, I’m going to say that there’s plenty out there. Plenty. Sometimes I wish open source apps were this easy to find.

Forget the in-the-box browser. Get Dolphin. Know how iPhone users are all talking about how they can zoom and such? Dolphin can do that. Now if only Google put it in all of their apps like Google Maps and such.

I don’t like the fact that BT headsets don’t have voice dialing. This is a problem of Google’s Android OS, and not the phone itself. Very annoying considering it’s a phone built by Motorola, and every past Motorola phone actually had BT voice dialing. This should have been brought up during testing by product development on Motorola’s side since it’s a feature they’ve had since… well, forever.

Don’t like the fact that you can’t quit from an app. Some apps might need to be persistent but out of the box, there are many that don’t have to run in the background. Very annoying out of the box. Fortunately, I went and grabbed Task Manager, and life is good again.

I also don’t like the fact that you can’t group contacts together from different sources. While an auto-merge might be a little crazy, the fact that you can sync your Facebook contact information with your Google accounts means that you’ll get a lot of duplication. Merging the two in a pseudo-group format would make life a lot easier and provide profile shots for those that you didn’t have profile pictures. Personally, I think the Android is missing out here but then again, somehow I doubt the iPhone can do it too (can anyone tell me one way or another? ).

Camera auto-focus. What? Seriously, the time it takes to auto-focus for certain apps, I’d rather do a manual focus feature. Oh wait, you can’t. But seriously now, this sounds like a fix that can be done via firmware.

In portrait mode, the on-screen keyboard is pretty blech. If you have big hands, it’s hard to type with it on there. Fortunately for landscape mode, eh?

It’s really a blanket bomb of my thoughts, but I really don’t see any reasoning why you can’t send text messages and surf and such while on a call like the iPhone commercial. Having worked in the telecommunications industry for over a decade on the infrastructure side, there’s not really any reason that it couldn’t happen unless the phone itself occupies resources that otherwise can’t be used for a call when on data, or vice versa. Of course, if people wanted to do it, it could still be done by using the same techniques as PTT on CDMA. Think about it.

I still haven’t seen any driving or flying games that require the accelerometer for turning that I’ve seen on the iPhone. But based on the sensitivity of Google Sky, I would say that the Droid can totally pick up the same type of gaming.

Battery life seems a bit lacking, but nothing out of the ordinary with a smartphone. Most of your battery goes to the radio and the LCD in a smartphone anyways. Some power-save features might be nice.

If you get down to the Verizon over AT&T for service? I’d agree completely on voice and data. There’s just no question when you compare the two networks. Part of the reason why I haven’t bothered with an iPhone.

With Google’s coffers, I think the Droid and Android phones in general have a really good shot at taking on the number one smartphone maker. There are a few things that I would start pushing and remind Google that when you’re gunning for the number one spot in mobile devices, your product can’t be in beta. Some of the dislikes that I mentioned above are staples of the mobile industry and need to be patched for all current and future phones. If you just let it be, people won’t want to use your product. Just as RF is finicky, domestic mobile users are finicky. And you just can’t rely on that type of situation when so many vendors are looking to your OS to end the slaughtering.

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Tips and Tricks: Google Apps SPF Record With GoDaddy

Annoyingly, email from Google Apps will fail to some recipients if you do not set up the SPF (Send Policy Framework) record for your domain. And while Google Apps tells you how to do it with a TXT record, the way GoDaddy does it is a little bit different:

  • Go to Total DNS Control Panel.
  • Under the TXT section: click Add SPF Record.
  • Select An ISP or other mail provider: click OK.
  • Select Outsourced tab: put “aspmx.googlemail.com” (no quotes) in the field and click OK.
  • Click OK again when GoDaddy sets up a SPF record.

And then you can wait a little bit for that to propagate to all of the DNS servers. Once that’s done? You’ll have your SPF Record set.

First Thoughts about Bing.com

bing I have to say that from a technical perspective, I’m pretty disappointed with Microsoft’s Bing.com. A lot of press came out when Microsoft released Bing, and to tell you the truth, the fact that it held even number two for a day was pretty amusing. Mainly because most people didn’t know what it was.

I for one, was actually curious when I saw the tv advertisements and it had a bunch of pretty high contrast pictures. Bing.com? What the heck is that? Decision engine? You realize later on that the entire decision engine thing is sort of a joke. I’m not sure which marketing person came up with that, but Caterina Fake’s Hunch, is way more of a decision engine than Bing ever was. But with all of the imagery, I had thought that Bing finally hit on something that people have been waiting for. Image search on the next level.

Let’s not forget that Google had acquired Riya years back and there was a significant amount of press about that cool image searching. Basically, the thought is that you can give an image and the engine would be able to detect where faces were and perhaps next steps were to detect similarities in facial recognition and say… search out all of my pictures on the web. Now, image processing at this level isn’t something that’s revolutionary but in an indexed web form, it is. According to my father, whom I would say is an expert at image processing, it’s not about whether or not it can be done as much as the processing that comes with it. It takes a lot of power to determine if images are related and if there are matches in facial structures. That’s what I had thought Microsoft had cracked with Bing since that definitely would propel it into another arena, especially with its research into Photosynth.

Unfortunately, like many others, it was a real disappointment. It seemed that Bing.com was just another search and it still didn’t pull as accurately as Google does. While there are some that are touting the greatness of Bing’s moves in search and the gradual growth of market share, I frankly don’t see it. If the results were better or they had focused on something like images, I would definitely consider a switch. Call me a cynic, but I really don’t understand how seeing a picture of the Sydney Opera House today is really going to help me search for anything… for example: web based accounting startups.

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Gmail needs to whitelist Google Affiliates

Gmail-affiliate.jpg Okay. This is getting rather annoying when one hand doesn’t talk to the other hand.
It’s amazing how much email (if you are both a Google affiliate and you run it through either your personal email, or Google Apps) that isn’t white listed by Google itself. One of my favorite ones is when the spam filters or phishing filters catch the affiliate emails that were coming from Doubleclick.com previously and now the ones that actually come from Google itself but are not being put into a global whitelist of some sort.
You would think that being part of the same corporation but in different divisions, that this would have already shown up somewhere as a yellow flag. But it’s been over a year since the acquisition and months it seems that I’ve seen this issue happening and it’s still not resolved.
So what’s the deal? Someone in Google Affiliates just not use Gmail for their email? Perhaps they have an internal filter that lets things through. Either way, it’s interesting to note that the rest of us that actually do use Google products are running into this workable but slightly annoying issue.
So would someone at the big G at least have the affiliate emails whitelisted? It would be much appreciated.

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